If you’re married or in a committed relationship, chances are you’ve experienced a financial rollercoaster at some point. Whether it’s your spouse trying to convince you to splurge on a vacation or you convincing your partner that it’s time to start saving for retirement, managing your money together can be a tricky situation.
Moving in the Same Direction
One of the most important things you can do is establish common goals and a timeline, so that you move in the same direction. This will help you know much you need to save towards your goals. Whether that means saving for a house or taking a dream vacation together, make sure that the two of you share the same vision for the future of your finances. This will ensure that both of you can work towards those goals together instead of sabotaging each other’s efforts.
Lowering the Tension
That means, communication is key. Talk openly and honestly with your partner about what both of your financial goals are. When you agree upon goals, it lowers the tension on ‘overspending’ discussions because you both know that overspending today means you are delaying your goals. The goals give you a common point to build your discussion around. You should consider ‘Budget Dates’ where you talk about how much money went towards your financial goals. But, if you really want to sell it to your partner, don’t call it a ‘Budget Date.’ That sounds dreary. Call them ‘Dream Dates’ where you talk about your financial progress towards achieving your dreams.
Another tip is to decide who will be responsible for certain financial tasks like paying bills and tracking expenses. Some couples may prefer to do this separately while others might want to work together on it as a team – whichever works best for the two of you! Of course, this kind of task can become overwhelming quickly so be sure to take advantage of budget apps to help keep yourself organized and motivated.
Here are out top picks and reviews for budgeting apps designed for couples.
Mint is an all-in-one budgeting app where couples can track expenses and investments, create budgets, and get alerts when bills are due. It also has an “Investments” tab where users can easily track their retirement funds and other investments. The app also provides personalized advice about how to save more money each month which helps couples make smart decisions about their finances. Plus, it’s free!
YNAB (You Need A Budget)
If you’re looking for something more tailored to couples and families, YNAB might be the perfect fit for you and your partner. Not only does it provide budgeting tools like Mint but it also comes with features specifically designed for couples such as shared goals and joint accounts. Through YNAB users can easily set up long-term goals like saving for a family vacation or short-term goals like having dinner out once a week – whatever works best for them! YNAB works great for couples because of it’s money rules. For example, Give Every Dollar a Job. That means every incoming dollar is already allocated to expenses, debt payoff, and savings. If you go over on expenses, that means you have less for payoff or savings. Another example is Age Your Money. That means, instead of your paycheck already being allocated to all of your bills before you even receive a paycheck, you should work towards paying bills with money that is 30 days old (already in your account) and then 60 days old, etc.
Couple Money is another great budgeting app made specifically with couples in mind. This app allows users to sync bank accounts so they have full visibility of their combined finances in real time—no more surprises when one person finds out the other has been overspending! Couple Money also provides users with personalized insights into how much they should be saving each month in order to achieve their specific financial goals—which is especially helpful for newlyweds who may not be used to managing money together yet.
Goodbudget Budget Planner
Goodbudget is another popular budget app that helps couples stay on top of their expenses without any hassle. This app allows you to share a budget with your partner so that both of you are aware of what you’re spending money on each month. Goodbudget also has an electronic envelope system feature which makes it easy to allocate funds towards specific categories such as groceries, entertainment, etc., making sure there’s no confusion about who is responsible for certain expenses.
One practical way to use an app like Goodbudget is to split spending responsibility amongst the different envelopes (spending categories). And, then schedule a monthly time to talk to your partner to review spending. As you find overspending in a category, you both note which goal is delayed. Because you are both tracking and both talking about common goals, you both inherently understand the impact of overspending making it much less likely to experience overspending and lower the tension on an overspending conversation.
Making it Fun
If you both like friendly competition, you can gamify the experience by competing to see who can lower the expenses in their spending categories by finding technologies or ways to cut costs without changing how you live. You might think about a monthly competition. Our brains love rewards, so offering a reward that each partner wants to encourage them to win is a great way to make spending less…fun. And for couples, some rewards don’t cost any money.
Spending money as part of a couple can be tricky but with the right apps and tools it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re just starting out in life together or have been married for years, give one of these budgeting apps a try. Depending upon your life situation, you will find one app that works best for your family. If you don’t like one, try a different one. And most importantly, remember that communication is key when it comes to managing your money together – so get talking today.