Having the "Budget Talk" with my spouse

Hi all,

I've been using YNAB now for several weeks and I'm sold on it as the best way for my spouse and I to make sure we are spending beyond our resources. I have planned a sit-down with my spouse this weekend to try to get her on board. She typically resists technical solutions for household management (i.e. she prefers a paper calendar in the kitchen over a shared Google calendar). However, she is on her phone constantly.

I have mostly been the "money person" in the relationship but now with all our bank accounts and several credit cards and trying to keep tabs on all of those, it's just too hard to know what we are really spending and to make sure we are keeping funds aside for those once-in-a-while expenses. 

I've read a bunch of the YNAB blog posts about joint budgeting and found them helpful. But I thought I'd toss it out to the forum to see if anyone has any specific advice for how I should approach this conversation.

Thanks and happy budgeting!

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  • You need to discuss the "why" before you discuss the "how". Why do you want to manage the money better? What are some goals that she wants to work toward? As the money person, I get satisfaction from the number crunching itself. A spreadsheet is a joy to behold. But for the spouses, this is seen as lame and controlling. When my husband finally got on board, I had to let go of some of the limits I wanted in order to let him have what he wants. I was able to sell it to him as a way to give him greater freedom, not less. By having his expenses be a part of the budget in the amounts that he wants, he no longer has to defend every expense. So we have a monthly financial discussion instead of a daily one where I ask "what is this for" and "why did you spend $150 at Home Depot". And dream big.  What are the big goals? A vacation? Furniture? Make sure those get addressed in the discussion. 

    Like 5
  • Just about to do the same with my husband. We had a trip out last week where he spent a large amount on something I didn't know we needed (we don't) and all I could think was that I have been budgeting down to the pennies to cover the bills, doesn't he know we needed the money more?

    Then realised that no he doesn't, because I do the budgeting for the household from the joint income and my income and haven't been communicating that we need to sit down and look at everything for both of us.

    He is still on the pre marriage thing of his income is for his things except for emergencies. After 16 years of marriage it is time we got a bit more adult about our finances...

    Better late than never, and good luck!

    Like 4
    • BookCat hmm, maybe that's what my husband thinks too...!

      It does teach me so much to read these money and relationship conversations. Also it makes me feel I'm not the only one in a situation like this AND gives me hope and optimism about how to change it over the course of time. :-)

      Like 1
  • My husband hates the act of budgeting but likes having a budget. So I deal with YNAB and he checks the categories. About once a year we sit down and go over the monthly category funding and change things around a little. (The best question for when he thinks we need something that isn’t budgeted: “What category should I pull that from?”)

    Like 5
    • Relieved very good question! (shame I need to get him to add his money to the budget first, but still, very good question!)

  • I'm happy to report that after we had "the talk" she actually got on board. Initially she told me that although she would go along with using YNAB for our joint budget, she didn't see the need to use it for her own personal/small business (as I do). After about a week, she completely changed her mind and now we are using YNAB for "yours, mine and ours." Win win!

    Like 7
    • Ellie Armsby wauw! And well done! You must have taken the right route, as otherwise she never would have agreed on using it

      Like 1
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