The old “head of the household” title is now long gone and today comes sharing duties in regards to shopping, child care, and chores are part of the norm, so handling the household finances should be as well. Both you and your spouse should be on the same page when it comes to spending, savings, and goals for your combined income. Creating a budget is an important piece in efficiently handing the money coming in and going out, and one that will take some tweaking along the way to remove unnecessary spending and maximize savings. Coming together is a smart and effective way to handle the household finances and should no way make you feel like of a man, if anything, you are ahead of the game.
Track Every Dollar Spent
The best way to stay on top of money going out is to actually track every dollar spent. By taking the entire bank and credit card statement from the prior month you can analyze every charge made, by circling the necessary monthly bills in one color, and then going line by line track spending. By discussing with your spouse, you can decide if it is a necessary expense so you can build it into the budget, or if it can be avoided.
Automatically Set Savings Deposits
If you have to manually move money from checking over to savings the chances are the funds will look a lot prettier in your checking account, thinking you have some money left over to make a few purchases. If you build a set amount into the budget that is setup to be automatically deposited into your savings account, you are more inclined to watch it grow and not touch. Start with a reasonable amount, and gradually increase as you begin to see how your budget works, having any money left over.
Set Priorities and Goals
You both need to be on the same page when it comes to the goal of the budget. In addition to curbing spending so you can build savings for retirement, do you also want to save for an upcoming vacation? A kitchen remodel? Discuss to ensure that priorities are built into the budget so that you do not have to dip into any savings. If you notice one is spending more than the other, then have that conversation right away to ensure that you both are adhering, or it will never work.
Try Paying with Cash Instead of Credit
When a credit card is used, it can feel like an endless supply amount of money that you will have to worry about at a later time, so you are less inclined to think about what you are purchasing. If you use cash, seeing the actual exchange of money leaving your hand and going to the cashier could be enough to rethink any unnecessary spending. If anything, at least use debit because at least it is coming out of the checking account so it should curb some excessive spending.
Find the Best Deals!
Financial guru’s can talk about our ability to separate our “needs” versus our “wants” until they are blue in the face. To a certain extent, human beings are consumers, plain and simple. If you are going to spend money on certain items at least make sure you are paying the lowest possible price for them. If you shop at a specific store often enough then disregard my earlier statement about using cash. Pick up a rewards card, or credit card, like the one at Victoria’s Secret. They make it easy to head to the victoria secret credit card login and check your status and points at anytime you want.