My wife and I have been budgeting for 9 years now. That means 9 years of monthly Budget Committee Meetings™. When you do anything monthly for 9 years, it is easy to fall into a rut. That’s exactly what happened with us.
Last week, we were trying to determine the spending priority for the commissions that she had coming in. I was attempting to describe to her my system for looking at not only this month, but next month when budgeting our income. She understood what I was saying, but she was having difficulty understanding my logic. So, I proposed that she sit down and allow me to illustrate my point in the budget spreadsheet.
That’s when she hit me with, “Let’s sit in bed and look at it on the iPad instead of having me stand and look over your shoulder at the PC in the computer room.” I had never thought about the fact that she was not comfortable during our meetings. The meetings had been growing shorter over time, but I had attributed that to the fact that we are seasoned veterans of budgeting. Turns out, that was only partially true.
Photo Courtesy of flickr.com/giumaiolini
Here are three steps for keeping your spouse engaged in the Budget Committee Meeting™:
- Accept your spouse’s input. You, the nerd, have had your say in the budget. Your opinion is right there on paper or in the spreadsheet. Now, slide the budget across to your spouse and shut up. Let your spouse change things in the budget. Discuss the changes and come to an agreement.
- Hold the budget committee meeting in a different location or via a different medium. Pack up the budget forms and head to a local coffee shop to discuss your finances over your favorite beverage. Or grab the iPad and head to the den. Move away from the stale confines of your office or dining room table and make an adventure of it.
- Bribe your spouse by budgeting in extra blow money for them. OK, maybe not extra blow money, but you can offer other non-monetary consideration in exchange for working with you on the budget. Offer to do the laundry this week. Or mow the lawn. Or watch the children and allow your spouse some well-deserved quiet time. Or prepare your spouse’s favorite meal.
The thing to remember is that couples who work together to come into agreement about where their money is being spent are the ones who ultimately get to win with money..