How can I convince my husband that budgeting is important? I'm a firm believer in this method of money management, but my husband doesn't think it will work in our situation. How do we resolve this disagreement?
Our first thought is that you and your husband need to get together and learn how to talk things out more effectively. Finances are a significant issue in any marriage. Disagreements about money can create huge problems between husband and wife, but the need for good communication is even more important. In fact, it's absolutely fundamental to the health and longevity of your relationship.
Apparently you and your husband don't see eye-to-eye on financial goals and spending patterns. This leads us to suppose that you may be out of step with each other in other areas as well. Before tackling the question of a budget, then, we suggest you take steps to strengthen the foundation of your marriage. Do some serious reading on the subject of marital communication and goal setting (for recommendations, see the resource list below). You may even want to enter into counseling with a qualified Christian marriage therapist. We'd also encourage you to pray diligently that the two of you would be enabled to see your finances from the same perspective.
The second thing that comes to mind is a question: why is your husband convinced that a budget "won't work in your situation?" What exactly is "your situation?" Permit us to hazard a guess: your bills are bigger than your paycheck and you're spending more than you're earning. Are we anywhere near the truth? If so, you need to know that you're not alone - millions of families are facing the same apparently hopeless set of circumstances. The good news is that things are not really as hopeless as they seem. If you can learn to communicate with each other, and if you take the time to seek professional assistance, you and your husband can come up with a workable plan for gaining control of your finances. That's where budgeting comes in.
The key is to learn how to live on less than you earn. A budget will enable you to do this. It will also make it possible to set something aside for a rainy day. If your husband wants to know how it works, you can tell him that a budget:
- Establishes a spending plan. It helps you decide in advance what you will do when faced with the need to make a purchase.
- Encourages saving. If you plan your budget properly and follow it faithfully, you'll end up with the beginnings of a savings account at the end of the month.
- Reduces stress. With a budget, you'll know exactly how much money is available each month. When you respect the system, finances will no longer be a primary focus of conflict.
- Allows for the unexpected. Setting aside funds for surprise expenditures can help reduce pressure.
- Encourages giving. Having a budget will allow room for generosity and help you honor God with the resources that already belong to Him.
- Discourages debt. By adopting a reasonable plan and sticking with it, you'll prevent yourselves from sliding into financial over-commitment.
- Facilitates flexibility. Financial freedom can be expanded by constantly re-evaluating your budget.
- Encourages spouses to submit to the same authority - God. To set up a budget, you have to establish priorities. Discussing those priorities and seeking God's direction in the process can take you a long way in the direction of financial harmony.
We realize that we've given you a lot of food for thought here. If you feel you need help sorting through these ideas and applying these suggestions to your situation, please feel free to give our Counseling department a call. Our staff counselors will be happy to listen to your concerns and offer their perspective over the phone. They can also provide you with referrals to qualified financial planners and professional counselors in your area who specialize in marriage and family therapy.
In this iQuestions video from Focus on the Family, Ron Blue offers advice for how to communicate about money in marriage.
Family and Personal Finances (resource list)
Crown Financial Ministries
Money and Finances