Maintaining a Budget

Budgeting Part 3 We’ve talked about some of the questions associated with setting up the budget, now let’s talk about some of the questions associated with maintaining the budget.

Do you really look at your budget each month?

Yes, we meet at least once a month (and to discuss any purchases over $100). Because our budget form is a spreadsheet, we are able to see the information any time one of us wants to see it.

How do you cut down on your budget?  

I think of cutting down on your budget like I do dieting. Cut back a little at a time, because if you cut back too far at once, you are not likely to stay on course. Review the numbers and determine if there is one way that each of you can begin to reduce expenditures. For Sweet Husband, it was only having one drink when we go out to eat instead of two. For me, it was not ordering an entree each time we went out. I ordered an appetizer and had a bit of what Sweet Husband ordered. As that got easier, we found other things that we were willing to sacrifice to stay on track with our financial goals.

If I am married, should I share a checking account?  

Yes, and I think doing so is important for your marriage. Having the money in one place allows you both to contribute to managing the household budget. This is a partnership and you can make decisions together.

If you’re married, isn’t it hard to share a checking account?

It totally is. We got married in our mid-30s and we were well established with our banking routines. I had a hard time because Sweet Husband makes more money than me and I had a hard time spending “his” money. Let me be clear here, though--Sweet Husband NEVER did anything to make me feel that way. I felt that way because I was an independent adult woman used to running her own life. Eventually, I came to see that we are managers of our money together.

To get there, we had to have MANY long conversations about what our accounts would look like. More on this next week.