Budgeting Around My Husband's Spending

Meeting weekly to discuss the budget can help you both stick to it.

Meeting weekly to discuss the budget can help you both stick to it.

Many couples bring different financial backgrounds with them to a relationship. One may be a spender, while the other saves as much money as possible. It can be difficult to stick to a budget when you don't know when your husband is going to spend money or how he plans to spend it, but you can work together to get your budget on track.

Necessary Expenses

It's best to create a budget together with your husband so he has an idea of how much money is coming in and how much is going out. He may be overspending because he doesn't know how much money is necessary to cover household expenses. Make a list of monthly bills such as utility, mortgage, car and credit card payments. These are payments that must be made each month without fail, so are payments both of you are responsible for.

How to Pay

As part of your budget discussion, determine how the monthly household bills are to be paid. There are a couple of ways to handle this, but first, you must decide how much of the total household expenses you each are responsible for. You can add up the monthly bills and each pay half, which works best if you both make about the same amount of money each month. If one of you makes significantly more than the other, a percentage system might be more fair. Each of you puts in the same percentage to the monthly bills. This means the spouse who makes the most contributes the most money to the household bills, but it doesn't put a heavier financial burden on the person who makes the least. Once you've decided how to pay, you could divide up the bills so that each of you is responsible for certain ones; for example, you could pay the car payments while your husband pays the mortgage. Or, you could create a joint checking account for the sole purpose of paying joint household expenses, then each of you contributes a portion of your paycheck to the joint account.

Set Priorities

It's likely that you and your husband have different ideas of the best ways to spend money that isn't tied up in your monthly bills. If you're a saver, you may see your retirement account and household savings as a top priority. However, your husband might think a new big-screen TV is a higher priority. To create a successful budget, you two must find a compromise to bring your financial ideas together. Once you've agreed to set aside money for household bills, discuss budget line items for other necessary items such as gas, groceries, entertainment or work clothes. Set an allowance amount for the household or for each of you to cover those items. Then, ask your husband how much he needs each month for discretionary spending. Ask him what his goals are for saving and retirement funds as well. Determine how much money is left after paying household bills and covering other necessary items, then work together to determine how to meet your saving needs and his spending needs. Both of you might have to give a little on what you want, but you should be able to come up with a workable compromise.

Work In Extra Funds

Some people just can't seem to stick to budgets, even if they've been involved with planning them and have agreed to them. If your husband is one of these people, it's likely he'll blow through his discretionary funds before the month is over. To combat this, work a little extra into the "other necessities" fund so he'll have a place to draw from when he runs out of money. To do this, you can overestimate how much you need for groceries or pad the clothing fund slightly. You can't force someone to change spending habits, but you can pad the budget slightly to help you stay on budget if you know he tends to overspend. Also, encourage your husband to take out his discretionary money in cash. Cash gives him a bit more freedom to spend the money without you tracking every penny, and it allows him to continue to feel independent while remaining part of a couple. The cash might also help him rein in some spending. When he can see the cash dwindling in his wallet, he's less likely to overspend than if he uses a debit or credit card.

About the Author

Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.

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