How to Have a Family Budget Meeting- Free Checklist!
Today, I wanted to give you a short a sweet synopsis of how we hold a weekly family budget meeting as a couple. If you haven’t already, go check out Monday’s blog post and see WHY we have budget meetings. Then, go schedule a meeting with your spouse – really… put it on the calendar. It might even be helpful to watch this video together to ensure you’re on the same page! A budget meeting will totally revolutionize your financial life…and maybe even your marriage. I know it did ours!
Our budget meetings have been an evolution, and we were NOT always so organized and smooth. It’s been at least a 10-year process, so please give yourself grace if it doesn’t go quite as planned this first time around!
Here are 5 key steps for holding a budget meeting:
CHECK IN WITH EACH OTHER FINANCIALLY.
This can honestly look many different ways. It could be checking in about any large purchases you or your spouse would like (or need) to make this coming week. It could be checking in about how you both are feeling about your finances – good, anxious, guilty, amazing. This is big-picture, emotional (even spiritual) territory – just connect with each other.
RECONCILE ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS.
OK, if you’re new to budgeting this might freak you out a bit and will likely take you a while the first time around. This is how you get your budget to line up with what you actually have in the bank, or with your credit card. If you use budgeting software, it makes it a bit easier.
Import all your transactions and categorize them as needed. Then, mark those transactions as “cleared.” Then check and see if your balance matches what the bank has listed for your balance. If it does, great! You just reconciled your account! (Happy Dance!) If not, you’ll need to search through the bank transactions and see what’s missing to get it to match up.
This is actually REALLY important. You have to reconcile every account that you’re actually using on your budget. So, if it’s a checking or savings or credit card – no matter what, reconcile that account. If you don’t your budget will be off and it might look like you have money that you don’t actually have. Imaginary money is not good money.
REVIEW YOUR BUDGET AND ADJUST ACCORDINGLY.
Now that you’ve reconciled every account, it’s time to go through each category of your budget and move money around as needed. Maybe you’ve overspent in dining out (where we overspend most often). You need to cover that overspending with some money from another category in order to stay on budget. So, maybe you choose to move some money from groceries to dining out to cover the overage.
Now, you have less to spend on groceries and you see that you can’t eat out for the rest of the month because you’ve already spent your allotted amount. It might be a good idea to get a meal plan in at this point to prepare and ensure you can make it the rest of the month without going out to eat!
TALK ABOUT ANY NEW PURCHASES COMING UP THIS NEXT WEEK.
This is a good time to talk about any purchases that you’d like to make this week. We don’t really talk about small things anymore, but we’ve also been doing this for 10 years and have a deep level of trust at this point. It might be helpful to start by talking about all your expenses. That way you both can start building up trust for each other, and learning how to navigate the trickier territory that will inevitably arise as you progress through the process.
Lastly, but definitely still super important:
CLOSE WITH GRATITUDES ABOUT EACH OTHER’S WORK THUS FAR.
Just take a minute or two and talk about how much you appreciate each other’s work toward your financial future. You’re likely sacrificing something in order to make time for this meeting. Thank each other for that sacrifice. Thank each other for not buying that thing – that coffee or that breakfast out – that you LOVE to do every day because you’re beginning to use your values as a filter for your choices rather than your raw desire. The sacrifice is real and gratitude will connect you both and connect you back to your bigger mission!
Well, that’s how we hold our budget meetings, distilled to 5 key steps. We’ve started doing them weekly and we’ve had MUCH better results with saving money and meeting financial goals this way. Intention is the answer friend!
Good luck. Leave a comment and be sure to subscribe to my youTube Channel. I’d love to know how your meeting went or if you have any advice on budget meetings for the rest of us!