How To Budget As A Couple Without Fighting

Budgeting as a couple is one of the first steps when you start thinking long term. Whether you are a married couple or not, it is crucial to set standards from the beginning.

Studies show that couples that communicate their goals and expectations early on are more successful.

In this guide, I will share some of the techniques that we used at the beginning of our relationship, and our best tips to stay on track with your budgeting goals.

Listen And Communicate

man and woman happy on a field

Communication in your relationship is critical. It is impossible to set up any budgets without having agreed to shared goals.

Having a budget is essential, but it can be tough to set and keep track of them. It’s hard to talk about money so that both parties agree.

If one partner constantly blames the other for being unsupportive (and probably doesn’t particularly care), then there is little chance that anyone will stick with it. If you are already busy with work and personal projects, it can be even harder.

Related: How To Budget For Busy People. 4 Different Methods

Few things are more annoying than someone who demands to have their money handled differently than you do.

You may find yourself trying to reason with the person, or you may get annoyed and walk away. And each time you want to maintain or avoid the problem, you create another opportunity for blame and disorganization.

Treating it like a formal business meeting helps. Both people feel the importance of the conversation as well.

So set an appointment with the specific purpose of creating a budget. Bring your notebook and an outline of the topics you want to cover.

It also helps to time the meeting to more than 30 minutes. Budget meetings that take too long can be overwhelming.

Once you and your partner have an appointment to discuss financial goals, you can apply the tips below.

Figure Out How Much Money Each Is Bringing To The Table

The first step in creating a budget is to list all your income sources. This step should not feel like pulling teeth if you have mutual trust.

If you feel like your partner is more reserved, it may be that they are not ready.

List all your sources of income and tally up the numbers to start creating your budget. If you are adding your paycheck. List only the take-home amount, also called your net pay.

What if one person is bringing significantly more money than the other?

At this point, realize that you will be working toward a common goal.

This can only be achieved if both of you are on board. This north star will help you stay on track with your financial goals.

Although the gender gap is closing between men and women, both parties’ responsibility is to create a budget.

To create a budget, you need to know how much money you have.

Figure Out How Much Money You Are Spending As A Couple

 couple looking at a paper

Once you know your combined income, the next step is to analyze your combined expenses. This is easier said than done, and it may take a few weeks or even a few months of tracking your expenses to see trends and discover where your money is going.

The most common practice is to use a spreadsheet or automated apps that do it for you.

According to the Motley Fool, the average expense for American households is $5,111, and that is $61,334 per year. It becomes tough to have money left over at the end of the month with costs like that.

Budgeting as a couple is different from budgeting by yourself because you have to share what would normally be just your yours.

A lot of times means cutting back on credit card usage, and credit cards account for most expenses, as it is easier to pay with plastic than to see cash coming out of your pocket or purse.

It is easy to forget about regular expenses daily because you are busy with so many other things in your mind, but tracking your expenses is a crucial step in creating a joint budget, and eventually putting some of that money away for your emergency fund.

Also Read: Emergency Fund Mistakes, Avoid These Common Slips

Create A mutually agreed budget

computer with budget letters on it

To create a budget that both partners can agree on, it is essential to understand each other.

You may be tempted to point out how much your partner is spending on their own “needs”, but it is better to just sit down and listen attentively.

Be merciful and try to have an understanding attitude. After all, it will get better over time.

Consider also what categories you can save money on. Start with the superficial stuff, this includes streaming subscriptions, switching cable companies, and even looking at how much you are paying for insurances.

Every little bit adds up.

After you have calculated your monthly expenses. You can see the big picture, and create a budget.

Some things to keep in mind when developing your budget:

  • Create categories for each one of your expenses.
  • Take a look at each category and brainstorm ideas to lower costs.
  • Come up with a reasonable number instead of trying to cut the expenses in half, which can be overwhelming.

Apps That Can Help You Automate Your Budgeting

When we first started budgeting, we tracked every expense in a spreadsheet. If you are handy using google sheets, that is fine. We quickly discovered easier ways to automate this process.

Although there are many apps, we settle on using mint.

We loved using mint because it is free, simple, and safe. Connecting our bank accounts was something we had to consider; with so many breaches nowadays, is vital to know who to trust.

However, after using mint for so many years, I have to say we cannot live without it.

Set Up Financial Goals That Will Keep You Focused

wood board to set up goals

If you don’t have a financial compass, it will be harder to save money. Having shared goals will make the process much more effective.

Examples of goals for couples:

  • Paying down credit card debt.
  • Saving up a down payment for a house.
  • Save up enough money for a dream vacation.
  • Purchase used car with in cash.
  • Helping out a family member in need.
  • Create an emergency fund (usually 3-6 months’ worth of expenses).

These are just some ideas we achieved by applying the techniques written above. You can come up with your own.


Relationships are not easy, but having your finances disorganized won’t help either. Creating a budget can help you stay organized in the long term.

However, this is something that so many couples forget to do at the beginning of their relationship.

It also will develop your financial discipline, and as a result, you will have more time to dedicate to yourself and your loved ones.

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