They can’t. If couples could create budgets and stick to them, we wouldn’t need to create these resources. But over and over, we work with couples who have great intentions and beautiful budgets who are falling apart financially. That’s because budgets only work when both partners are fully committed to creating them and using them as a map toward their financial future.
The couples with the best financial communication are those who create realistic budgets together. They sit down, they agree to honor what they create, then they talk about what’s important to them, what they want to save for, what they want to invest in. They look at what they earn and what they spend. They talk about how to adjust one in light of the other. They listen to each other and compromise to come up with a budget that works for both of them.
If you want a budget that works, plan a date where you and your partner can lay out all of your finances—in First Comes Love, Then Comes Money, we call this a Money Huddle. Take an honest look at what you earn and what you spend. Then set some financial goals for the next 3 months, the next 6 months, and the next year. Create a budget that helps you reach those goals and meet at least once a month to check in on your progress.
Working together, having mutual buy-in on the budget, and keeping the lines of communication open are the keys to making a budget work.