It’s not uncommon for one spouse to feel like they’ve turned into the family banker. And it definitely should not be a one-man show.
This can even breed a bit of resentment among partners as one wonders where all of the money is going and the other fumes at unwarranted spending. Your whole family needs to be involved in and aware of your budget and savings goals.
Whether you’re tired of doing all the heavy lifting, or routinely find your family coming up short each month, it’s legitimate to be concerned about balancing financial responsibility. Before you take action, determine what’s bothering you: is your spouse not pulling their weight in bills? Are they not putting away any savings? Once you’ve decided what the problem is, you can use these techniques to find a solution—for everyone.
Maybe your spouse is a just a little bit clueless about what your family budget looks like. This may be a simple matter of suggesting a change in bill-paying routines; one of you can cover electric, water, and cable, while the other takes care of the mortgage. Or, rotate the monthly payments. Either way, dolling out responsibility will keep everyone’s eyes on their checkbooks, and hopefully give a clearer idea of what budget you’re really working with.
A Little Stronger
Didn’t work? It might be time to add a few entries to the Family Financial Rule Book. Convince your spouse to meet at least once a month to review the budget. At this conference, calculate how much each of you can (and will) spend and save each month. If things are very difficult, use the pay yourself first rule. This means that you determine an amount to save each paycheck. Move that money into your savings accounts and then deposit the remaining balance into individual checking accounts for you and your spouse. This is your spending money until the next paycheck. If anything major happens, call another meeting, or decide to meet more frequently.
The most important piece of this is making sure you and your spouse are on the same page about your goals. These are the forces that drive your financial plan, and once you’ve agreed on what they are, it’ll be far easier to decide how to slice and dice your paychecks.
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