When I first met him, my husband was not a budgeter. He didn’t know how, nor did he want to. He was happy saving a small amount of his money and spending the rest, and he felt that budgets were restrictive and for people with a lot less money than he had.
His money seemed to flush down the drain, though, and he never seemed to understand how it got away so quickly.
I was the same but quite a bit younger so I didn’t see a problem with it.
When I started budgeting, many pieces of the money puzzle fell into place for me. Because my husband and I were just dating at this point, we didn’t have combined finances so I didn’t share my newfound love for budgeting with him.
When we moved in together and began to incorporate more and more of our financials, such as bills and bank accounts, I started trying to get him interested in budgeting. At this point, I started realizing the impact of his money behaviour on our financial future, good or bad. He never had particularly bad money habits, but some could be cleaned up, as could mine.
It was a rocky road when we first embarked on our joint budgeting strategy, but now that we are both on board and on the same page, it’s become a lot more manageable.
It took a while for my husband to get on board. It’s not impossible to spark interest in budgeting in somebody who hasn’t previously shown any, though. Here area few tips if you are struggling with the same with your spouse:
The Numbers Don’t Lie
I spent a lot of time preparing what I thought our spending should/would look like (estimated, of course) and creating alternatives and showing savings rates on spreadsheets before bringing it to him.
I would then ask him to look at the computer and show him the savings rates that we could achieve if we cut back on this, or watched our spending on that.
There’s something about looking at a spreadsheet on the computer that reflects a huge jump in savings just by cutting back on eating out. I could see that imaging that amount of money in our bank accounts piqued his interest.
Get Them Dreaming
I was a bit sneaky with this, but it worked nonetheless. I picked something I knew that he wanted (a canoe) and pitched the idea of budgeting as a method to meet the goal of buying one. I said something along the lines of “It would be so awesome to have a canoe. I bet if we looked at a budget and cut back a little on something, we could afford one”.
That made him take a look at the basic budget that we had already set up and check out the money flow.
The more excited they are about the dream, the more effective this will be.
Get Them Involved
I wouldn’t be interested in something if I had no involvement in it, so I wouldn’t expect my husband to, either. Instead of just showing them a budget you have already made, ask for their input and work with them instead of by yourself. While it might be easier for both parties if you do it yourself, the other person won’t be as invested in it, which is exactly what you are looking to avoid.
Many people don’t like budgeting or don’t think it is necessary, which can be bad for your finances and therefore your relationship with them. Instead of getting frustrated or writing them off as somebody who will never “get” or like budgeting, work with them to try to get them into it!