On Board with A Budget
By Sami Womack from asunnysideuplife.com
Getting your spouse on board with a budget is a crucial step to being successful with any goal…especially one that affects both of you like your money goals do. My favorite marriage + money metaphor is to imagine that you’re both in a rowboat, and you’re paddling in opposite directions, you’re going to get nowhere fast! That’s essentially what you’re doing with your money if you don’t realize that you’re in the same boat…you’re on the same team…and you should be on the same page about your money! However, that’s often times easier said than done…trust me, I know! I’ve been married to a free-spirit + reluctant budgeter for nearly 10 years!
My husband, Daniel, and I are like most “normal” couples. One of us is the spender and one of us is the saver. As they say…opposites attract…and we couldn’t be more different when it comes to our spending + savings desires. We fell victim to these difference and let it hold us back for the first 6 years of our marriage. Until we eventually hit rock bottom. Our second daughter, Izabell, was days away from being born and my husband was on the other side of the country working offshore. I scheduled my induction date and then we went to book his last-minute flight home for the crushing price of almost $900! Even though this was a planned pregnancy we still had absolutely no money saved, in fact, we didn’t even have enough money available on a credit card to buy the plane ticket. Luckily the transaction went through, but it left our Discover card maxed out plus an additional $500 over its limit. This set us into a downward spiral of postpartum depression mixed with living with our bank account in the negative numbers several days before payday for the next 10 months.
One night I had had enough! I printed out our past 3 months worth of bank statements and back-tracked our spending. I was shocked to see it all added up in front of me…we had been wasting so much of our hard-earned money! I later came across a quote from Joshua Becker that states, “We don’t buy things with money, we buy them with hours of our lives.” That quote hit us hard! We thought about all of the days and hours that we had spent away from each other while my husband worked and reality really sunk in.
When you change your mindset to buying things with time instead of money, that’s when your entire world will change. Once you realize that life is too short to spend it chasing frivolous things, and that if you’re going to spend time away from each other each day that you’d better have something to show for it! Think about it this way…if you make $60,000 a year and you buy a $60,000 vehicle, then you’ve essentially spent an entire year of your life on a vehicle. An entire year!
This fact really got my reluctant budgeter of a husband to start thinking differently about how we spent our family’s money. What was he working so hard for? Not only did I want more out of life than living paycheck-to-paycheck, he finally did too!
Soon after we had what we call a “dream date”. We sat down (while the kids were sleeping) with a piece of paper and started to dream out loud together! Life had gotten so messy that we couldn’t remember the last time we had really been excited about the future. This step was one of the biggest success factors of our budgeting journey because it allowed me (the saver) to plan out our dreams years into the future, and it allowed my husband (the spender) to visualize all of those awesome things that we would one day get to experience and own. It was the best of both worlds! We both felt heard and we were finally playing on the same financial team!
Although my husband and I were now on the same page with achieving our financial goals and we had started budgeting together, we still had those times where we’d fall off the wagon or just simply disagree. One of our most difficult roadblocks to overcome was my husband feeling like he “deserved” certain luxuries because he worked so hard to earn our family’s money…which of course was true, he is an incredibly hard worker. In fact, he spends weeks away at a time away from the kids and I to earn the money that he makes…he does deserve a reward for all of those sacrifices.
However, to become truly successful with our money we had to broaden our horizons of what we deserved. We had to stop selling ourselves short. We had to stop only living for weekends out, fast food, and trips to the mall. We switched our focus to our long-term goals, becoming debt-free, traveling more while our kids were still little, and my husband retiring from his offshore boat job in his 40s.
So many people say that they work so hard, and in return “deserve” all of these luxuries. Now, I know you work hard…and there’s nothing more exciting than getting to spend that money that you’ve busted your butt to make, but you’ve got to be smart about it!
Yes, you deserve to have something to show for your hard work, but what you truly deserve is security for your family, a great future, and the freedom that comes with being debt-free!
Getting a reluctant spouse on board with budgeting can be a challenge…I’m not going sugar-coat that, but it’s absolutely necessary to be truly successful financially. Remember my boat metaphor…you’re in this together! Open up the conversation with your spouse, show them that your true heart is for the good of the family. Stay calm and positive…usually lecturing or pushing won’t do any good…I’m speaking from experience here. Keep sharing your budgeting wins and how much progress you’re making. The reluctant spouse won’t change at the snap of your fingers so keep showing them love and grace, and allowing them time to come around to this new lifestyle. Stay focused on your shared long-term goals…and before you know it, you’ll both be on board with budgeting!
About the Author
Sami Womack is the Budgeting Coach + Motivational Speaker behind A Sunny Side Up Life. Her passion is inspiring women to live abundant lives through budgeting, intentional living, and positive thinking. She offers a jump start into budgeting with her free 5-day email course.
Sami is the wife of her high school sweetheart, Daniel, and a homeschooling momma to their three daughters. Her family used to be living paycheck-to-paycheck + drowning in $490k worth of debt, but after they hit rock bottom everything changed!
Now that Sami has become debt free + gained financial freedom for her own family, she wants to help your family do the same!
Where to find Sami:
Facebook Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/asunnysideuplifecommunity/
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