Best Creative Budgeting Ideas for Couples
Budgeting as a couple is critical if you want your relationship to flourish. Finances play an important role in stabilizing a relationship, so you must collaborate in ensuring you don’t fall into the trap of lousy budgeting habits. By creating a budget, you can know where every dollar goes. Even with that $500 loan you took, you can track how the money was used. It helps you understand the direction your finances follow. If you’re yet to begin budgeting as a couple, you’re among many couples who could benefit from creative budgeting ideas.
For some people, budgeting can be a touchy subject, but it does not always have to create friction as you can be good at it while having fun. While creating a budget for your household, you should always remember this is only a plan that would help you spend your money more prudently. Like all plans, it requires the input of both of you, so you can discuss it, tweak ideas, and often revisit to ensure you reach your goals. Consider these home budgeting ideas if you’re getting started.
List Your Combined Income Sources and Amounts
Whether you’re looking for budgeting ideas for large families or young couples, you always start with listing all income sources and amounts. Knowing the amount you have and the expenses you need to cover will make your work easier. Income should be the first item on your budget.
Start with all the expected income you will get between you and your spouse throughout the period you’re budgeting for. The period could be a month, two months, six months, or a week. It depends on your preferences and needs. You can get income from many sources, including a 9 – 5 job, bonuses, side-hustle money, dividend income, rental income, refunds, or royalties. Once you create a list of your income sources, you then list the amount you expect to receive from each. Combine these numbers to get the total amount you’ll both bring to the household.
List all Household Expenses
In all budgeting ideas for couples, you combine expenses from both of you. After knowing the total amount available to cover expenses, you then list the expected spending. On that list, you’ll have expenses like mortgage and rent that don’t change, and there are those which change depending on your consumption, like the electricity bill. For recurring expenses, you can create 12 categories, which include saving, giving, housing, transportation, personal care, utilities, food, medical/health, entertainment, debt repayment, household goods, and insurance.
Grouping expenses like this is one of the best budgeting ideas. It helps you to keep the budget organized and also allows you to see where most of your money is spent. Under the housing category, you can have things like property taxes, rent, and mortgage. Even if the expense does not come during the budgeting period, you can include it in the list.
Decide How Much You’ll Spend on Each Item
While some expenses are recurring, if you want to get budgeting ideas for families right, you should not stick to the same total cost. Review your expenses when it’s time to create a new budget. Estimate and list your expenses as this allows you to see what you can reduce in your budget to save cash for other things. If you want to estimate your expenses easily, calculate an average of the amount you spent in the prior months. A good example would be the average of the past three months.
Sometimes, you can tell the exact amount from your billing statement, while at different times, you’ll need to decide where to place the limit. Understanding these procedures is among the most important budgeting ideas for young adults. The same rule applies to expenses like savings and gifts. The secret is creating a realistic budget that you can afford and stick to. Calculate the total of these expenses and deduct them from your estimated income. If the expenses exceed the expected income, you must reduce some of them. If less, you can allocate additional money on items you think could require more cash.
Track Your Expenses
Among budgeting good ideas you must pursue is tracking your expenses. This is a crucial part of budgeting. You need to know if you’re living within your budget. Here are ways you can track spending in your household.
- Budgeting Apps – You can use extreme budgeting ideas like managing your expenses through budgeting apps. The apps can connect to your cards and bank accounts for easy management of your spending. The apps even help you in categorizing expenses and can send alerts when you get close to the amount you allocated for the month.
- Shared Templates or Spreadsheet – A spreadsheet template is also ideal for managing your expenses as a couple. You can publish your expenses on Google Drive or Dropbox to allow access between you and your spouse. Find free templates online that offer a good way to track expenses.
Log your expenses to ensure you do everything as planned. Ensure consistency in tracking your expenses if you’re not using an app to manage them.
Rules of Thumb for Budgeting
All these budgeting group ideas may sound like too much work, but it’s only when you do it first. From the second time, it gets easier as you all understand the procedure for managing your income and expenses. With these tips in mind, you both need to agree on several other things to make your plan a success:
- Create the budget before you get paid – The best way to manage a budget is by being proactive, not reactive. Waiting to receive your income to create a budget will make it harder to follow through with your plans.
- Budget as soon as you’re paid – Every time you receive your paycheck, correlate your budget. If you get paid monthly, align your expenses with your income to ensure you don’t overspend. Both of you should be aware of the date on which everyone expects an income.
- Don’t budget for more than you earn – Always keep your budget within your income bracket. Staying within your means prevents irresponsible borrowing. If your expenses exceed your income, sit and review the things you can cut back to lower your expenses.
- Agree on a plan – Discipline is critical if you want your plan to succeed. Each one of you must support the idea and not do things that could jeopardize your plan. Have a conversation about your budget to prevent conflicts. When everyone is on the same page, things run smoothly.
- Track expenses jointly – It’s vital to know the expenses both of you have. Tracking also shows you irregular expenses that might be coming up.
Building strong collaboration when it comes to managing your income is one way you can build a successful relationship. As a couple, you must understand how to manage your income and expenses. Embrace these budgeting ideas to live within your means and grow your savings.
How do you track miscellaneous expenses to keep your spending within budget? Leave a comment below.
Daniel Miller is an experienced specialist in the business and financial area. Daniel has also worked as a financial advisor at a bank and provided consulting and advice about budgets, savings, insurance, stocks, retirement funds, tax advice, etc. He is currently doing specific research on the topic.