We talk a lot about communicating with your spouse about money at The Money Couple, but sometimes, less is more. Anytime you can do something more efficiently, we are all for that. We want you to know that talking about money more often is not going to necessarily improve your finances or, frankly, your relationship. After awhile it just sounds like white noise. Money, bills, debt, receipts, budget, blah, blah, blah. We have a solution to the white noise and a way to end endless money talks.
The solution is to “table” or delay all the smaller discussions about money for one weekly “Money Huddle”. Set a time limit of 45 minutes to make sure you only stick to important topics, and focus on the big picture. And if you keep it short each week you will be more likely to make time for it in your busy lives.
How do you structure that? We like to take a page out of the advice in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and “Start with the E.N.D. in mind”.
Start by evaluating your situation. Do not try to cover every penny and every receipt here. And definitely avoid finger-pointing. The blame game won’t get either of you anywhere fast.
Break your financial reality down into your two main areas: spending and saving. This is the time to look over things like your credit card statements and savings account balances to figure out where you are financially.
If you need some tips on how to talk about the more sensitive side of money, check out our video on talking credit scores and debt.
Next, figure out how to handle your financial NEEDS.
It’s important to have this conversation every time because your needs change every month. For example, back-to-school is a crazy time for us financially. Did you know that back-to-school spending is the largest expense for a family behind Christmas? The average family spends over $600. So taking the time to figure out what supplies the kids need is crucial.
And we hate to say it, but it seems like every month has some “new” need pop up that your budget needs to cover.
If you’re meeting weekly and forecasting your future expected needs you won’t get caught off guard. You lay the foundation to work together to make your hard-earned money work for you.
You don’t have to spend each day as you’re rushing out of the house or sitting down to dinner discussing bills. Knowing you have a set time to talk about it later helps end the endless money talks.
Money shouldn’t be all about paying for things you “have” to buy. You should dream about what you’d like your money to help you do beyond just paying the bills.
Really dream. Once you get out of debt what will that feel like? What will you be able to do then that you can’t do now? Or if you’re not in debt, but you want to cut back on spending what is that dream you get to realize by skipping your usual lunches out? Envision your money working for you.
We suggest you spend at least 15 minutes at your Money Huddle talking about your dreams. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of just focusing on surviving instead of thriving.
Would you like to set aside funds for:
- A kitchen remodel
- A trip to see college friends
- A class to see if you want to make a career change
- Starting a ministry or non-profit on the side
- Creating a secondary emergency fund for your aging parents, just in case
- College for the kids
- A road trip with a rented convertible
- A phone upgrade
Keeping your mutual goals in mind helps remind you what your working towards and helps refocus your efforts. Plus, when you’re still at your desk after 5pm working away the thought of that new culinary class or that family trip while put a smile on your face more than the stack of bills at home.
The “Money Huddle” won’t eliminate all other money talks, but you’ll be amazed how it eliminates the daily nagging about money. A little weekly, focused discussion is great to end your endless money talks.
For more ideas on planning together and eliminating debt, follow The Money Couple YouTube channel. We post a new video every week.
Make it happen!
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Creators of the 5 Money Personalities