How to divide financial responsibilities with your partner, plus why it will help you take control of your budget and stop fighting about your finances! We're answering all your questions today.
For Q&A Monday I'm answering a question that I've actually been meaning to do a post about…well…forever, sadly. So I'm glad for the push to finally get around to doing it! (P.S got a question for me? Drop it in my Q&A Box!) Today is all about divine up spending responsibilities in your family!
Have you ever thought about why you fight over finances? It's because you probably have different ways of doing things, thinking about things, and different priorities. To keep your family finances running efficiently and smoothly, and to help you stay on-budget (and fight less!) I suggest dividing up spending responsibilities so you aren't stepping on each others' toes! Yes, you are all working for the same team and the same common goal, but by dividing up, you're making sure everything is covered, and it gives everyone the chance to track and manage things their own way.
Think of it this way…
Any successful company doesn't have two CFO's or two CEO's or two CMO's. Why? Because it's not efficient! And they would want to kill each other because everyone has their own way of doing things! The best thing to do is to give everyone their own roles and responsibilities based on their skills, interests, talents, and what they do on a typical daily basis.
I summarized this thought in this quick video, so take a look. Then scroll below for a detailed example of how my husband and I divide up spending responsibilities in our own household. Watch the video online or click and watch below:
Pretty simple, right? Here's a better breakdown on how to divide up spending in your family to help you stay on track of your budgets:
(Get a printable version of this breakdown HERE)
STEP 1: Go through every dollar you have spent for the last 3 months and write it out, line by line. Yes, EVERYTHING. A spreadsheet is probably easiest
STEP 2: Grab 2 highlighters, assign one color for each person, and don’t stop until every item on your list is divided up!
Tips for success:
- Try to divide based on what your skills, talents, and typical routine revolve around
- Don’t get too stuck on it looking “fair”; it might not look like a 50/50 even split, and that’s ok
- This DOES NOT mean that you can’t help each other and that you shouldn’t be involved with the financial decisions of your family, it simply means that ONE person is in charge of the responsibility, tracking, and spending…but remember, you’re all working toward the same common goal!
STEP 3: Set a budget and take charge of your responsibilities!
Once you have your budgets set, now you need to track them! That means you need to:
- Take charge and track the budget for this responsibility, which also typically includes doing the spending, finding the deals, and monitoring the saving up for (if needed).
- Spend responsibly and be organized with the shopping and spending
- Still consult with your partner and be open to suggestions and ideas
Here's an idea of how we divide up responsibilities in our house. Remember, every family will be different! But in our house I'm home with the kids so my duties naturally revolve around the home, kids, schools, and activities. My husband works full-time in an office and is at a computer all day, so his naturally revolve around things that can be done on the computer, analytical tracking, and things he's interested in such as cars and taking me on dates. Here's how we've broken it down:
I also think it's important to dedicate ONE breadwinner and learn to live off of their income. That doesn't mean you can't both work, but by living off of ONE income it helps you prioritize your lifestyle, and will help you stay on-track and safe financially. It also gives the second money-maker the flexibility and option of staying home with the kids someday if they so desire. If you're used to spending 100% of your combined incomes, you will be forever stuck with having two full-time workers in the home. Set ONE breadwinner, stock the other income away toward debt first then savings second, and you'll have security and flexibility that is invaluable.
I know I just brushed by all of this, but I hope it helps at least. Here are additional resources that help:
- Simplest budgeting technique ever and how I track my budget
- How we divide up our anniversaries and Valentine's days (HERE too)
- How I grocery shop and save 1/2 on my groceries without coupons
- The 7 bank accounts your family should have – how we divide up and easily track all our budgets
Thanks for reading!