How Budget Meetings Will Change Your Life
This post is about how creating space for a weekly budget meeting has changed my marriage and my overall satisfaction with life. If you’re still working on trying to get your partner to actually want to budget, you might want to check out this post first!
“Are budget meetings a real thing? People actually do that?”
This was a real question, from a real person. And I don’t believe it’s unique to this individual.
Intentionality takes intention. Part of that intention, when you’re building and sustaining a budget aligned with your values, is to hold budget meetings.
Sam and I have tried all types of budget meetings – daily, bi-weekly, weekly, the iterations are nearly endless. I’ve already told you about our 2-day marriage retreat that included a good portion of time spent on financial planning.
We are nothing if not experimental.
For now, we’ve settled on Monday evening, after the kids are in bed, as our scheduled time to sit together and review our accounts and the budget. This session is now sacred, and if something comes up at the same time we think long before we choose to say yes. And, if we choose to say yes to that something, we try to reschedule the budget meeting for another time that week.
I hear you saying “Ugh. No, thank you. That’s too much rigor for my tastes.” But, hear me out. Remember, intentionality takes intention, and intention is a choice.
Budget meetings are not ONLY spent talking about where you need to move money around in order to make space for something unexpected that happened that month. Though, that is SOME of what you’ll need to talk about, because, something ALWAYS happens.
Budget meetings are able to be SO much more.
Here’s 5 ways budget meetings have improved our marriage and most definitely, improved our finances.
BUDGET MEETINGS CONNECT, OR RECONNECT YOU TO YOUR SPOUSE’S VISION.
Since you’ve likely already created a vision and values together (if you haven’t, fill out the form below to get started) this is a great time to reconnect to each other’s visions, big and small.
Sam and I have very different lives during the day, and it’s easy to get distracted with the day to day and forget to focus on what we’re really working towards! The budget meeting is a great time to check in with your spouse and see what they’re hoping for this week and how it plays into their greater vision. Hopefully they’ll give you space to do the same!
BUDGET MEETINGS GIVE YOU BOTH THE SAME UNDERSTANDING OF BOUNDARIES FOR THE MONTH.
While budget meetings can’t always be fun and sunshiny, this aspect of meeting weekly is really helpful when you’re trying to achieve budgeting goals. They may be big, long-range plans, or smaller, immediate needs and plans – like a personal challenge to avoid buying coffee for a week.
Budgeting goals, when aligned with your values, are the glue that sticks you to the budget.
The boundaries, when shared between both you and your partner, are seen, rightly, as tools or steps to get you to the prize. The goals, and their associated boundaries are real and become more powerful when spoken aloud, and immediately creates a space of mutual accountability. It’s empowering and inspiring.
BUDGET MEETINGS NATURALLY SHARE THE BURDEN, RATHER THAN PUTTING THE WEIGHT SOLELY ON ONE SPOUSE.
Budget meetings consist of balancing the accounts, and paying any bills that aren’t on automatic and making sure the budget is aligned with what’s actually in the bank, also known as reconciling. It simply isn’t good enough any more to glance at your online balance every once in a while.
You’re out to change your relationship with money, and, by extension, change your life. This takes intention and… say it with me… intention is a choice. Make the choice. You won’t regret it.
While some of the budget meeting is fun and connecting for a couple, it’s also practical and communal – there are a lot of tasks in personal finance management that are better off shared. Remember what your grandma said: Many hands make light work. It’s straight up true, like most things your grandma said.
Of course, if you’re single I don’t mean it’s too much for you. I mean that a household’s financial well being (one that includes 2 adults) should not rest on the shoulders of one person.
Tough love alert: it’s time to adult and get involved.
BUDGET MEETINGS CREATE A SHARED VISION.
This connects you on a marriage level, but can also be very connecting on a budgeting level. A shared vision provides space and fertile ground to create intention and purpose behind your budget. Once you know where you’d like to go with your life, it’s much easier to align your budget with that vision.
Creating a shared vision makes it easy (Yes, easy) to cut out expenses that don’t get you closer to that vision, and fuels you to fund the categories that do. It’s a tangible way to create meaning in your budgeting practice.
Talking about this weekly is a real way Sam and I have stayed on track.
BUDGET MEETINGS STOP ANXIETY AND FIGHTING ABOUT MONEY. SERIOUSLY.
You’ll both have a deep understanding of where your money is, where it’s going AND you’ll have decided TOGETHER what you’re spending money on this month. No joke, money fights will soon be a thing of the past.
True story: Before Sam and I began budgeting regularly and together, he used to give me that frustrated look anytime I would come home with something new. Even small things like toiletries. His interrogations left me with a nasty guilty feeling. Did I need to buy this? Was this a waste of money?
Oh, those feelings are real. And even just talking about them, I can remember what a horrible cycle it was for us.
Sam hates it when I use the words ALWAYS and NEVER, but I’m going to. We NEVER do that anymore. Because we have such open communication about money the guilt and shame and frustration are all gone.
This is hands down, the BEST side effect of budget meetings. It changed our life and our relationship and allowed for a much deeper trust in our marriage. It’s a beautiful thing, friend.
Creating space for weekly budget meetings will transform your budget and transform your marriage. The budget will become a tool for freedom and choice rather than one of guilt and shame.
I hope you’ll give the weekly budget meeting a try for a month. That means you only have to commit to 4 meetings to see how it might work magic in your life.
Let me know how your first one goes!
I’m rooting for you friend,