Monthly Archives: July 2017

Tips to Plan With Your Partner And Save More Together

In a world where we broadcast our major life events on Facebook, real, genuine face-to-face communication is increasingly hard to come by.
And when most of our communication takes place via text, it’s not easy to understand a person’s feelings about a subject or even get your point across.
Money is one of those topics that just isn’t suited for Facebook or for texting.
Sure, you can ask your other half to pick up a bottle of wine on their way home, but if you’re always short on cash, living paycheck to paycheck, or you just want to have a better handle on your finances, it’s time to start talking about the price of the wine (and everything else) by sitting down and budgeting.
Related: Best budgeting tools: our favorite apps and websites
Now, your other half might grumble at the idea of making a budget together. After all, what’s the fun in that? Well, I’m here to argue that budgeting with your partner can actually be a great relationship-building activity.
Want to try planning a budget with your partner? Here’s how to convince your honey to join:
Make it a date

I know that having a nice romantic dinner and a movie might seem like a better date than sitting down and crunching numbers; however, you would be surprised at how accomplished you feel after a budgeting date.
You know that small voice in your head that thinks you should track your spending better, or get out of debt, or maybe start saving for retirement? Well, now you can conquer those doubts head-on with a budgeting date with your other half. Together, you can answer these questions and decide how to allocate your money.
What’s important is changing your mindset on what “budgeting” really is: For better or for worse, finances define almost ever part of our lives. If you plan your finances together, you’re helping to build a life together. Just like cooking and cleaning, budgeting can either be a chore or a shared challenge that brings you closer to your partner. Make it the latter, and you’ll strengthen your relationship and your finances. What better activity for a date with your other half?
Once you’ve finished your finance date, you’ll have a clear plan that you can work on together. Best of all, you have someone built into your life who can help you reach your goals on a daily basis.
Attract, not attack

When you finally sit down and get into the nitty-gritty of budgeting, it can be very easy to point fingers. It’s common to have a spender and a saver in a relationship. After all, opposites attract. However, this doesn’t have to be your downfall.
Instead, use it as a learning opportunity. I’m far more frugal than my husband: he encourages me to live a little, while I remind him that his bow tie collection is already quite full, thank you very much. We balance each other out, and we try to use that to our advantage when budgeting together.
Budgeting meetings should be about communication and mutual love, not attacking. If you finally convince your other half to sit down and budget with you, they likely won’t repeat the experience if they have to answer questions about every purchase and financial decision they made.
Don’t forget that personal spending habits can be a sensitive subject, especially if it feels like the things we love are being threatened. Reassure your partner that you’re in this together, and that no one is being punished. Keep thinking of it like climbing a mountain: It won’t always be easy, and some parts will be steeper than others. But if you help each other out, you’ll get to the top together and you’ll feel closer and more accomplished than before.
Related: What baggage do you bring to your relationship with money?
Build in rewards

Although there are some people who can go long periods of time without any sort of budget break or reward, most of us need positive reinforcement to help us get through challenges.
I personally love getting my nails done. There’s just something about typing on the computer for 30+ hours a week that makes me want to have shiny, pretty nails. These, of course, come at a cost, and I have to budget properly in other areas in order to reward myself.
Cut back where you can, but not so much that it’s not sustainable. If you cut out everything you both love, you’ll never stick to the budget at all. The goal is to save for your life together, so make sure to focus on your hopes for the future while still enjoying some treats in the present. Remember, sometimes when you cut back on the things you love, you enjoy them even more when you get to indulge.
Enjoy shared goals

When you budget together, think of it as sharing a mutual project rather than enduring a shared prison sentence. Budgeting can definitely be challenging. I know because I’ve gone through periods where I’ve budgeted perfectly for months only to fall off the wagon and not budget at all for a period of time.
What I’ve learned, though, is that when it comes to finances, someone to keep you accountable is one way to guarantee success. Plus, if you have shared finances, working together on a budget can help eliminate some of those money arguments that pop up and make life together more challenging and downright unpleasant.

Know More About Some Financial Lies We Tell Ourselves

“We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.” ― Eric Hoffer

We don’t mean to, but we lie to ourselves — about a lot of things. We tell ourselves what we want to hear to justify our choices, our behavior, and our avoidance of responsibilities.

Unfortunately, we believe ourselves. We repeat our lies so often, we eventually accept them as truths and continue in our self-deception. Lying is damaging, and telling ourselves financial lies has lasting repercussions.

Here are five common financial lies we tell ourselves.

1. I Just Need to Make More Money

The Lie

We only have one problem. We don’t make enough money. Once that tiny problem is solved, the keys to all doors will unlock. Nevermind our poor habits. Nevermind our inability to say “no” to ourselves. We need more money — that’s it.

The Truth

Increasing your income may very well contribute to improving your financial situation, but surely it’s not the only factor. In fact, if you have poor money-management skills, give in to all your wants, forgo planning and budgeting, then making more money will only compound your negative situation, not improve it. This requires being brutally honest with yourself, but is your income the problem or are you?

2. I’ll Start Saving When I Make More Money

The Lie

We have good intentions with this one. We know we need to save, and we plan to (really, we do), but we feel there just isn’t enough money to pay our bills, AND have a little fun, AND save. As soon as we make more money, we’ll save. (Uh-huh, sure.)

The Truth

If saving is not a priority now, making more money won’t suddenly make it one. Once you’re accustomed to spending 100% of what you bring in, it will be incredibly difficult to break that habit. When your income increases, your wants and needs surprisingly increase too. Make saving a percentage of your income a non-negotiable, much like paying taxes (unless you lie to yourself about that too).

3. I Don’t Make Enough Money to Budget

The Lie

Hahahahaha…(ahem, excuse me.) We really do believe this. Our income doesn’t cover all our expenses so we couldn’t possibly dream of budgeting. As soon as there is enough money to cover ALL our expenses PLUS a little surplus, that’s when we’ll budget.

The Truth

Not budgeting because you think you don’t have enough money is counterintuitive. A budgetis simply a plan for your money. If money is tight and you are struggling to cover all your expenses, then you NEED TO BUDGET! Budgeting will allow you to prioritize what you spend your money on, and often a surprising outcome is that you DO have the money to cover your needs and then some.

4. I Can Afford It. The Payment is Only…

The Lie

We have short-sighted thinking. We focus on the “affordable” monthly car payment, not the $30,000 and almost six years behind it. We think about the “manageable” student loan payment, instead of the $37,000 it represents and the impact those payments may have on our career and life choices.

The Truth

This is one of the hardest things to admit, but if we can only afford the payment, then we can’t afford the purchase. Ouch! The good news is, if you can “afford” the payment, then you can also afford to wait and save up for it. A big difference between financing an item and saving up for it is which side of the payments you make the purchase. It requires a significant amount of maturity and discipline on your part, but by exercising patience and delayed gratification, you will come out ahead.

5. I Need It

The Lie

We can easily talk ourselves into believing our wants are needs. We all do it. Unfortunately, we’re good at deceiving ourselves, and before we know it we’re plunking down money or worst, financing, an item that we convinced ourselves we can’t live without.

The Truth

It may seem like the lines between our needs and our wants are blurred, but it’s only because we’re doing the blurring. If you believe an expense is a need, carefully consider whether or not it is a legitimate necessity. What would happen if you didn’t buy it? What are you giving up to buy it? Is there an alternative? If it is a need, is it possible to wait and save towards it? Rationally thinking about a “need” can reveal that it isn’t one.

The Truth Will Set You Free!

Most of us have operated under at least one of these false assumptions at some point or another in our adulthood. It’s so easy to believe these lies — especially when our culture and those we love and adore perpetuate them.

Thankfully, the beauty of making mistakes is that we learn from them and can move forward with new knowledge! Embrace the freedom that comes with squashing these financial lies!