How do I talk to my spouse about budgeting?

Marriage can be tough. Just ask any married person. If you're straddling to communicate with your spouse about money it can make things more difficult, more tense, more troubling. 

I get this question a lot: How do I get my husband to budget? Or how do I get on the same page with my spouse? 

Recently I sat down and talked to Jason about his thoughts on getting a couple to think in sync when it comes to finances. 

1. Face the reality of your situation. In total honesty, Jason and I rarely fought about money before we got out of debt

I joked that you couldn't fight about something you did have. But in reality we were both ignoring our financial situation. Guys, we had to short sale our house. 

I can't help but wonder how much easier things would have been if we had openly communicated honestly about our situation. 

2. Don't blame. Your reality might be that your spouse spends too much money at Target or on a new gaming system or a car or the baby's nursery. But don't come to the budget meeting with your finder loaded and read to point. 

3. Respect the individual. Your spouse isn't you and you are not him or her. Respect that you are unique people with your own thoughts and feelings. How boring would your life be otherwise? Even if you don't agree with something your spouse wants, don't belittle that feeling or treat them like it is stupid. That just causes hurt feelings and resentment. 

4. Don't force your will. We all know you cannot force a grown person (or a child a lot of times...) to do something he or she just doesn't want to do. 

I am not a professional marriage counselor and Jason and I are NOT financial advisors, but I can tell you that trying to force your spouse to do something causes more damage than good and can really hurt both of you. 

5. Find some common ground. Make a list of your goals and see where they match. For us it was me getting to stay home with our kids. So we figured out what we needed to do to make that happen. 

Secondly it was buying a house. So we set our savings goals and worked towards those. We looked at what we HAD to cut to get there and we did it. 

6. Find where you can compromise. My husband gave up cable. I showed how the math and we saw that it was eating up just too much of our budget. 

However, if you're spouse is unwilling to let go of something completely see if you can find a cheaper alternative. Say, a smaller cable package. 

Remember you're a team and the load is easier to lift together. 

What about you? What would you add to the list? 

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