If you and your spouse haven’t had much success with money in the past, there’s no reason to worry. Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you keep the conversation about money positive and are able to find some common ground when it comes to how you want to approach financial goals together. To help you start saving, here are five tips for how to talk to your spouse about saving money.
1) Be Understanding
You and your spouse are on the same team when it comes to finances, so it’s important to be understanding when you’re talking about saving money. Budgeting can be a sensitive topic for some people, so approach the conversation with an open mind and heart. Try to avoid making any assumptions about what your spouse is thinking or feeling, and really listen to what they have to say. Sometimes couples just need space from each other in order to work through their own emotions and come up with a plan that works for them both. Asking your spouse how often they want to review the budget together is also a good idea, since everyone has different needs as far as frequency goes.
Be honest about your own needs and concerns. No matter how you approach it, there’s always a chance that your spouse may not be on board with budgeting at first. That doesn’t mean you have to give up though! Instead, take time to reflect on what went wrong in your initial conversation and see if there’s anything you can do to improve things next time around. If you’re worried about how open or honest you are being with your spouse, then it might help to start by writing down some thoughts before sitting down together. Writing things out beforehand can sometimes make saying them out loud easier, since they’re out of your head and down on paper instead.
2) Identify Goals
Many people avoid talking about money with their spouse because they fear it will lead to arguments. However, avoiding the topic can actually lead to more financial problems down the road. It’s important to be on the same page about your finances, and that starts with communication. The first step is figuring out what you want to accomplish together financially. If you’re planning a future home purchase, for example, then it would make sense to discuss how much of a down payment you can put together and when that might happen. If one of you wants to retire early while the other wants to work longer before retiring, this could also be an issue worth discussing.
These are just two examples of goals; there are many others such as saving for college or putting aside money for retirement. Once these goals have been identified and agreed upon by both spouses, then saving strategies may follow. Identifying your financial goals is a first step in figuring out how to talk to your spouse about saving money. Having these goals written down can help you remember what you’re trying to accomplish, and it may even reveal when you’re not on the same page financially. Once you’ve identified your goals, write them down and put them somewhere both of you will see them every day. An easy place might be on your refrigerator or on top of your computer monitor so that they’re always present in mind. Then, share these written goals with each other.
3) Set Up Short-Term Goals
It can be helpful to set some short-term goals when you’re first starting to talk to your spouse about saving money. This can help provide a focus for the conversation and give you both something to work towards. Try talking with your spouse about how much money you want to save each month or week, what expenses you’ll cut out of your life, or what kind of financial goal you would like to accomplish by this time next year.
Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to talk about a lot of things with your spouse at once. If that doesn’t work for you and your spouse, try breaking it up into smaller steps. This will make talking about saving more manageable and also more likely to stick. Take as much time as you need, but try to check in on how your short-term goals are going each month or week so you can talk through what’s working and what isn’t.
4) Plan for the Long-Term
It’s important to start thinking about saving for retirement as early as possible. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow. Begin by discussing your retirement goals with your spouse and decide how much you’ll need to save each month to reach those goals. Then, make a budget and stick to it. Establish goals that are realistic and have short-term savings targets. Start by focusing on smaller expenses first, like purchasing a new car or TV instead of paying off the mortgage faster. Once you’re comfortable with small savings goals, move on to bigger ones like investing in your own business or purchasing a home. You can also choose to use credit cards responsibly so that you pay off monthly balances in full every month.
Always speak with your spouse about saving for retirement early and often. If you have children, talk to them as well because they may also be interested in saving for their future college fund. As a couple, you can set aside money every month by either putting away a portion of your income into an investment account or by cutting expenses like eating out at restaurants and shopping at department stores. Most people can afford to save just 10 percent of their income each month which will provide a solid foundation for retirement, but you can start with more if you want. Another way to save money is through compound interest that allows your investments to grow faster over time so that you don’t need to contribute as much when investing small amounts of money each month.
5) Celebrate Wins
Celebrating your wins is a great way to stay motivated when it comes to saving money. When you hit your saving goals, take the time to reward yourselves. This could be something as simple as going out to eat or taking a trip. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy yourselves! It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget how important it is to take care of yourself too.
Let’s be honest, saving money can be hard. It’s much easier to spend it when you have it than to put it away for a rainy day. That’s why so many people get in trouble with their finances—they don’t take time to appreciate what they already have and spend it impulsively instead. If you want to stay on track with your savings, then you need to make sure that you celebrate your small wins and don’t give into temptation whenever life hands you lemons. Plus, it will make staying motivated easier if you feel like there are benefits waiting at the end of your efforts!