From time to time I get questions from readers and so far I’ve been getting some wonderful emails about family and finances in the real world.
Today I want to share an email from a family who have accomplished much. This husband wants to keep his wife on board with the momentum. I’ve edited it a bit for privacy and to highlight the questions asked. After sharing my take, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
Making Progress as a Couple
I am 29 years old, and my wife is 30. We have a toddler. About 2 years ago I was introduced to Dave Ramsey’s program (The Total Money Makeover).
Last year we paid off quite a bit of debt, including all student loan debt, car purchase , credit cards, travel program, and some house projects. It was a relief beyond what we had ever experienced as a couple. We want to continue that trend for our daughter.
My wife is not as much into money as I am. How did you all become a “couple” in money, rather than just a nerd and a spendthrift?
I manage our finances, but my wife doesn’t really spend anything, so it works well for now. I just want her to be a part of the conversation.
Does one of you do more of the detailed updates? Do you have weekly/monthly/quarterly update meetings? Also, what does the conversation sound like?
Also, with a child, how do you manage the time to grocery shop and cook food? We find ourselves eating out more than we want because of convenience. We both work and it just gets exhausting to work, keep up with household chores, play with our daughter, and do the cooking.
There are some questions included in the email that I wanted to share here because I think many couples have the same issues at some point.
Does one of you do more of the detailed updates?
I do more of the day to day finances. My husband likes knowing where our money of course, but he doesn’t stress over it. We created our system together and adjusted it as we saw fit. After doing this for a few years, much of it is automated and consistent. We use Mint to alert us to anything unusual.
Do you have weekly/monthly/quarterly update meetings?
We discuss our finances on a monthly basis. Doing the net worth reviews on Couple Money have been helpful in a sense as we have a routine with discussing money.
The purpose of the net worth reviews is to give us a regular system to look at our accounts, see what’s changed, and analyze what went well and what we need to work on.
Getting a spouse on board doesn’t have to be a big ceremony or job. Keeping one another in loop and asking for each other’s thoughts can be a good start.
What does the conversation sound like?
Honestly there is a lot of shorthand between us now. When we first started conversations were longer – it was about money and it was more than money. When offering a suggestion and ideas many times we discussed our reasoning behind them.
It took time for the two of us to find a way to fit both of our styles with our joint finances – my husband is more cautious with money and I’m more proactive about making changes.
Now our conversations are a lot of quicker and we’re both trying to reach the goals that we created together. We’re comfortable enough with each other to ask questions if we see an expense that we’re not sure about.
How do you manage the time to grocery shop and cook food?
When we signed up for a CSA delivery program last year we were more concerned with eating healthier and saving money. While it was definitely convenient last year when I was pregnant, it has been even better for us now that we have a little one.
Our grocery shopping for meats and other perishables is more planned than before we became parents. With a young daughter we tend to make the most of our shopping trips – preparing a grocery list can be a huge help as making small runs for a forgotten item to the store is a waste of time.
Cooking food, believe or not, is not as time consuming as we feared. Most meals can be done in 30 minutes or less with cooking time being the majority of it.
By the way, Wojo and I blog about cooking for family with Married Food. We both have little ones and so we share meals that are easy to prepare. If you two are pressed for time learning some basics about stir-frys, pastas, and tacos can pay dividends. Crock pot meals are fantastic for busy families.
Thoughts on Getting a Spouse on Board with Finances
I shared my take on it and I’d love to get your feedback. Each couple has their own way of handling their finances. How do you two juggle everything? What are some success that the two of you have had already? What are some of your goals right now?