Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

How to Discuss the Budget with Your Partner When Only One Person Handles the Money


Man and woman in a tense conversation

My husband and I have been married for almost 23 years. From the beginning, we agreed to merge our money and that I would be the one to pay the bills and make and keep the budget. We both preferred this, so it’s worked well for us. However, I want to make sure he stays in the financial loop, so we have a budget meeting once a month. Here’s what we discuss.

How to Discuss the Budget with Your Partner

In many relationships, one partner is the money nerd, and the other wants to avoid money talks and prefers to discuss the budget as little as possible. These tips work for those types of relationships.

Keep It Brief

Whenever we discuss money issues, my husband’s eyes glaze over, so I try to make our meetings brief. They usually last 15 minutes or so. If your partner has little interest in money, keep your discussion short and to the point so he will be willing to meet you again next month.

Use an Easy-to-Understand Budget Format

If you have an easy-to-understand budget form, your spouse should have no trouble seeing at a glance where you stand financially. I’ve used You Need a Budget (YNAB) for over ten years. Last year, YNAB raised its price significantly, and I talked with my husband about ending our subscription. He surprised me by advocating for keeping it. Even though he’s never used YNAB, he likes the format and how easy it is to measure our net worth and track our expenses.

Remain Neutral

When discussing money, remain neutral. If you feel your partner spent too much, don’t accuse her. She won’t come back to discuss money if you do. Instead, without blaming, show the details of your budget.

Discuss What’s Coming Up in the Next Few Months

In addition, you can discuss with your partner what expenses are coming up so you can both plan for them. For instance, in July, I might remind my husband that August and September are expensive months because we have to pay our car insurance and property taxes. Then, the person knows why significant money left your checking account.

Let Him Look It Over Beforehand When It Comes to Important Decisions

Recently, my husband and I decided to find ways to cut the budget. I put YNAB on his computer so he could look over categories and determine what he thought we should cut. I did the same. Then, we met and discussed what we each thought. By approaching important money decisions this way, our meeting could remain short—less than 10 minutes.

Final Thoughts

Being the money nerd can feel lonely if your partner doesn’t want any part of the finances. However, keeping him or her in the financial know is essential. Your partner needs to know how you are progressing toward money goals, how expensive your bills are, and the basics of your finances in case anything happens to you and you no longer can maintain the budget yourself.

Read More

Don’t Give Up If You Need to Start the Budget Over

4 Ways to Make Budgeting More Fun

What to Do If Your Spouse Refuses to Follow a Budget



By: Melissa Batai
Title: How to Discuss the Budget with Your Partner When Only One Person Handles the Money
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Published Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2023 11:57:43 +0000

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