Some of you may think that blaming budgeting mistakes for the collapse of a marriage is an exaggeration. You are right, it is. Nobody ever filed for divorced because of mistakes in their budget plan. That is just absurd.
However, you have to understand that there is a certain amount of truth in this. The mistakes in your budget can lead to more serious financial problems that can drive you and your spouse apart. These problems cause couples to argue and that puts the strain in their relationship.
According to an article published on New Day Counseling, financial stress is not only because of lack of money or work. Sometimes, it also involves different money management styles. The difference in opinion can sometimes start an argument and lead one or two of them to resent each other. The article written by Krystal Kuehn, a psychotherapist that is passionate about family and childcare issues, revealed that financial stress can lead to a lot of negative results in the relationship. This includes irritability, depression, resentment, insecurities, withdrawal, physical illness, and lower affection. If the financial stress is not addressed, this can pile up and lead a couple to separate.
You have to keep these fights over money from destroying your marriage. To do that, you have to start by looking at the budgeting mistakes that you may be making. That way, you can correct the mistake right at the source.
7 bad practices in budgeting that can destroy relationships
Budgeting is an important part of money management. You cannot be a good manager of your finances if you do not have a budget. This is a plan that will help you identify your income and expenses each month. It details how much money is coming in and provides you with a list of the financial obligations that you are committed to – even your debt payments. You can even say that a lot of financial plans originate from a budget plan. Your spending plan, retirement plan, savings plan – all of these will depend on what is stated in your budget.
Since this plan has such an important role in financial management, you need to pay close attention to the budgeting mistakes that you may be creating. Of course, on top of the list is not having a budget at all. But even if you do have a budget plan, there are still a couple of mistakes that can lead to financial problems that will drive you and your spouse apart. Here are 7 of them.
- Guessing your monthly expenses. Admittedly, a budget plan can be tedious and will involve a meticulous analysis of your financial transactions. At least, this is true when you start a budget. You are usually advised to take note of your expenses for a month so you can be sure of how much money you are really spending. But after that, it does not have to involve too much work. Some people do not want to go through all the trouble of setting up a budget. What they do is to assume their monthly expenses. This is not the right way to create a budget. You might end up with inaccurate figures that can lead you to spend beyond your income. This can cause unnecessary stress.
- Leaving out important expenses. The most common of the budgeting mistakes is leaving out important expenses in your list. This can be made worse if you are committing mistake number 1. These expenses are usually those that you do not make on a monthly basis. An example of this is the annual birthday of the people in the family. You have to celebrate birthdays and that requires you to spend. Another example is the holiday spending. If you fail to include this is in your budget, that can lead you to have holiday debt.
- Failing to track your spending. The third mistake that you may be making includes failing to track where your money goes. Some budget strategies will only allocate a total amount for a major spending category. This is okay, but you have to be strict in staying within the amount that you allocated. If you are always going beyond your budget, then you should track your spending to see if there are unnecessary expenses or if you should increase the allocation for that specific category.
- Neglecting to save for emergency funds. Not having an emergency fund is one of the worst budgeting mistakes that can commit. According to a study done by PewTrusts.org, 55% of households usually struggle to make ends meet after a financial emergency. This was especially true when the emergency cost a huge amount of money. In fact, at the time of the survey, almost 50% of the families have admitted that they have not yet recovered from the financial setback. It has to be noted that the setback happened at least six months earlier. This can cause tension in the family especially when the financial difficulty had been going on for quite some time.
- Justifying your wants as needs. This is actually a problem for couples who are spenders. You have to stop justifying your wants as needs especially if it causes you to spend more than the income that is coming in. If your income is just enough for your expenses, then you need to strictly stick to your budget plan.
- Forgetting to work as a team. This mistake will cause friction in couples who have different money habits. But even if you are both savers or both spenders, it is still important that you talk about your finances. While one person may be assigned to deal with all the bills and monitoring of all the expenses, you have to work as a team always. This is true, especially for big financial decisions. And if one of you makes a mistake, try not to be judgemental. Be supportive of each other and it will be easier for you to get past any financial hurdle.
- Deciding not to budget for entertainment expenses. The last of the budgeting mistakes that you should avoid. You need to budget for entertainment expenses. Since we are focusing on couples and relationships, you have to budget for your date night. Sure you can enjoy watching movies at home but you have to budget for a romantic dinner is a fancy restaurant every now and then. That should help keep the flame alive in your relationship.
Try to avoid all of these budgeting mistakes so you will not be in danger of failing your marriage. If you think that budgeting itself is hard, there are ways for you to simplify your budget plan so it will not be too difficult to maintain.
Tips to help your marriage survive financial difficulties
According to a study done by SunTrust.com, those who have admitted that they are going through relationship stress said that money is the major cause. To be specific, 35% of them said that money is the cause of their strained relationship.
If you are currently having financial difficulties, you need to start by looking at the budgeting mistakes that you and your partner may be committing. Apart from that, you have to do the following tips to help you overcome what you are going through.
- Communicate. In the same study by Sun Trust, an executive of the company was quoted in saying that an open dialogue about finances can uplift and strengthen the relationship of any couple. Regardless if you are going to talk about the problem or the solution, you need to sit down and spend some time to discuss the money concerns in the family.
- Share the burden. Some couples make the mistake of letting the one handling the money deal with all the stress. That is one of the quickest ways that you can develop resentment. The financial manager will feel the burden and resent the other for not helping. The other might feel resentment if the decision of the financial manager leads them to a financial difficulty. In every financial transaction or decision, you have to involve both parties – even if only one of you is earning an income.
- Be honest to each other. We all make mistakes. Do not let your fear of being blamed keep you from being honest to your partner. The earlier you divulge the mistake and apologize for it, the less damage you have to clean up.
- Respect the opinion and emotions of one another. This is probably one of the best ways that you can avoid arguments. When there is respect between a couple, you are more careful about hurting each other. As you go through tough times, it is natural for you to feel frustration and possibly even anger. Respect these emotions even if it is coming from the one who made the mistake.
- Get help. Sometimes, the financial difficulties may be beyond your abilities to solve. You need to consider getting help from a professional – especially when your problem involves debt. Talk about it with your partner and consider your options for a financial solution.
- Avoid pointing fingers. Finally, you have to skip the blame game. You both know who is at fault. Skip blaming the culprit and move forward to the solution. That way, you can avoid the unnecessary resentment towards each other.
Remember that we are all bound to go through some financial difficulties. Do not let it come between you and your spouse – if you can help it. Stay within your budget and make sure you are not committing any of the budgeting mistakes that we discussed here.