Every year seems to go faster and get busier. Maybe it’s the age of our boys, but time seems to fly past so quickly. We are thankful that Thanksgiving and Christmas slow us down a bit to reflect on the great year we’ve had. But sometimes when you look back, you realize that some goals or hopes you had for the year, slipped through the cracks. That’s okay. Because we believe there are ways to make up for lost time with your money and your marriage.
Now is great time to play “catch up” on the few things that got away from you this year.
Starting with: How is your marriage? Then take a look at: How is your money? Don’t focus on one and ignore the other. What good is a big savings account if you fight about it all the time? Neither of you will enjoy your retirement savings, if your relationship has gone sour by then.
Good news: it’s not too late!
Starting TODAY, consider these 3 areas to catch up on:
1. Unnecessary expenses.
These next several weeks are often some of the most expensive of the entire year, so pause and take note of any expenses you can eliminate.
What unnecessary expenses can you cut? What seems necessary, but on closer examination can you both agree isn’t quite so “must have”?
What area of your budget would benefit from trimming some expenses? Could you:
- Reduce debt.
- Add to a savings goal.
- Establish or build up an emergency fund.
- Make a dent in student loans.
Keep in mind it is easier for some Money Personalities than others to reduce spending and cut back. But catching up on a little more saving is a good idea.
Some clever ways to get started: 7 ways to save on a tight budget.
2. Your relationship.
Even though life feels busy right now don’t put your relationship on the back burner. We all know what happens on the back burner. And, man, does it stink.
Make time to catch up on your relationship. Reconnect. Check in with them on a deeper level than just logistics of carpool and groceries.
Do you need to redouble your efforts on keeping a regular Date Night?
Or did that get away from you and you need to make it a priority to start one?
We recommend you aim for one a month at least. Get out your calendars (they’re probably right there in your pockets) and schedule two — right now.
Not feeling it? Try to avoid the temptation to skip Date Night when life is a little rocky at home. That’s when you need it most.
Nothing fancy, but commit to share some time away from kids and bills (and your phones). Grab a meal or dessert or a movie. Invest in your relationship the same way you are investing in your savings. A little again and again adds up.
In fact, there is a study that proves couples are 14% less likely to break up if they keep a date night.
Treat each other to some “down time” – sounds nice, right? – and reap the benefit of improving the health of your relationship.
3. Goals for next year.
Take some time together to set goals for next year. If you set goals last year and didn’t get to them, that’s okay. But don’t give up. Set some new goals for this year.
We recommend setting at least one shared relationship goal or dream and one shared financial goal.
Make sure your goal isn’t too big or you’ll end up right back here this time next year.
A good rule of thumb for setting goals is to make them SMART. Smart stands for:
- Time bound
Maybe you didn’t reach your goals this year because no one could have reached them. Set ones you can achieve together.
Teams that work together are more bonded by the big game at the end of the year. Bring your team together. And prepare to dump Gatorade on each other in celebration this time next year.
We can’t stress it enough. Your marriage is priceless. Invest in it. Don’t pay more attention to your stocks than your spouse. Be intentional about finishing strong this year and having your best ever year, next year.
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple