3 Ways a Budget Eliminates Stress & Creates Freedom in your Marriage (Part Three)

Eighty-Four.

That’s about how many budget meetings Beth & I have had since being married…twice a month for 3½ years. For us, we brought most of our debt to the wedding, and then topped it off with a few dumb mistakes in our first few months of marriage (new furniture? sure!). Most of our marriage has been characterized by responsible financial decisions. And above every other financial arena, the one thing we’ve done very well since day one was create and maintain a monthly budget.

It’s sad to me that “budget” is such a four-letter word to so many people. They avoid budgeting as a way of avoiding problems, conflict, and stress. Yet the irony is this: the very issues they try to avoid are in fact created by not having a budget!

The first two posts in this series primarily discuss the emotional benefits of having a budget: Eliminating Judgment, and Eliminating the Fear of the Unknown.  In this post, we want to share possibly the biggest benefit of a budget: Eliminating the #1 cause of divorce – Disagreements about Money.

Financial Disagreements & Divorce

A study from Utah State University followed 2800 couples for a period of five years, and found that disputes about money were the best predictors for divorce. While this is not new information by any means, one facet of their study proves very interesting.

They found that a couple who has financial disagreements “almost every day” has over a 100% increase in the risk of divorce than the couple who disagrees about money “less than once a month.”

What does this have to do with budgeting?

By having a monthly budget, you deliberately take yourself out of the “almost every day” category and put yourself in the “once a month” category, drastically reducing your risk of relational issues. Here’s how this works.

When you sit down to create a budget with your spouse, the primary goal is for you both to agree on a spending plan…you’re assigning a task to every dollar (this dollar is for food, this dollar is for gas, etc). A budget meeting is the one time a month where you allow yourselves to “disagree” about money. However, you work through those disagreements until you have a spending plan for the month that you both agree on.

If you find something in the middle of the month that you want to buy, instead of arguing with your spouse about it, simply consult your budget. If it’s been agreed upon within the boundaries of your budget, buy it. If it’s a purchase you haven’t agreed about with your spouse, simply wait until the next budget meeting to bring it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a song on iTunes or an SUV, for you to spend money on it, it needs to fit somewhere inside the budget you have agreed on with your spouse.

Do you see the power in this? If you don’t have a budget, what happens? Every single purchase becomes a potential argument, because you and your spouse haven’t agreed beforehand that it is an acceptable purchase. It creates unbelievable control issues within a marriage, and results in husbands & wives trying to hide their purchases from each other.

Is a Peaceful Marriage worth 12 hours a Year?

Beth & I have a “monthly budget,” however, since we get paid twice a month, we also meet in the middle of the month to update our budget, make sure all of the bills get paid, etc. All in all we spend about an hour a month discussing our budget and paying bills. If you’re just starting out, expect to spend a little longer, but after just a few months it will become pretty routine and you’ll begin to reap the benefits of a significantly greater level of peace in your marriage.

Please leave us a comment, we respond to every one! How would a budget help eliminate arguments in your marriage?

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

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One Response to “3 Ways a Budget Eliminates Stress & Creates Freedom in your Marriage (Part Three)”

  1. Jen McDonough Says:

    FANTASTIC blog! Wow, a couple who has financial disagreements “almost every day” has over a 100% increase in the risk of divorce than the couple who disagrees about money “less than once a month”…absolutely stunning statistic!
    Live Beyond Awesome!
    Jen
    Twitter: @TheJenMcDonough

    Reply

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