How to Get Your Spouse on Board With Your Budgeting Plan
When I first heard about Dave Ramsey, I was so happy and so sure that just following him would be the end-all-be-all for me.
I was crazy gazelle intense about it.
I was talking about it all the time, I was listening to Dave Ramsey on my commute to and from work, and watching influencers on You Tube who were going through Financial Peace University and doing the plan.
But for a long time, it just talk. I was making the monthly payments on my student loans but the balance wasn’t going down because I was only paying the interest. I was still shopping and going out to eat a lot and wasn’t making much progress.
Here are the three ways that I finally got him on board and showed him that this plan was going to work.
- LEAD BY EXAMPLE
My husband had a bad experience with money from a previous relationship. So it wasn’t easy to come out and say let’s combine our finances when I wasn’t even good with my money.
Because I knew this was a sensitive topic, I backed off and didn’t pursue the issue. We both shared the responsibilities of paying the monthly bills but kept our bank accounts separate.
And I didn’t blame him. I was the one with the huge student loan debt that I brought into our marriage. When we got married, it was years later after I had heard about Dave Ramsey but I wasn’t committed to the plan.
My husband is not the type to give in easily. He doesn’t like to be pushed into anything he doesn’t want to do so I needed to back off. He always says that a push is to be told what to do but a pull is to lead by example.
He started to see my habits change. I stopped going to the mall on the weekends and would suggest going to the beach instead. I started looking for ways to increase my income and cut back on our grocery bills. I was doing no-spend challenges where I would find ways to have fun without spending a penny.
I remember I started completing certain tasks online through apps like Swagbucks and Shop kick and started earning gift cards and that’s what I used to buy whatever I wanted at Target and Amazon.
That was really the turning point where he saw that there was some merit to this Dave Ramsey plan.
I used a chart from debtfreecharts.com where I would color in the lines every time I paid I made a debt payment. It was a helpful visual chart and he could see the balances start to go down.
He saw that I was doing everything I could to get our finances back on track and we had money left over at the end of the month to pay down our debt.
He had finally agreed to take a Financial Peace University class with me. He started to understand the concepts and how it was going to help us feel victorious instead of victimized.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation, my tip is to stop talking about it and start making some small changes on your own. This doesn’t mean that you’ll go from eating steak and potatoes to feeding your family ramen every night, but if you suddenly stop shopping all the time and start being responsible with your money, your spouse is more likely to be curious and wonder what’s changed.
- COLLECT THEIR INPUT
When most people think about Dave Ramsey, they think about how he says that they need to have NO LIFE until the debt is paid. Eat a “Rice and Beans” diet and you can’t be inside of a restaurant unless you are working there.
While I understand that Dave says that because he is trying to get people out of debt as fast as possible, sometimes that comes off as too restrictive, especially if they will be on this debt-free journey for years.
So I would do the budget on a spreadsheet and show it to him and he would just leave it up to me to make the decisions. Even when I asked for his input, he would tell me it looked fine and he was happy as long as the numbers made me happy.
But as a couple of months went by, I realized that the reason he wasn’t participating in our budget discussions was because our budget looked so restrictive. I was the one who was putting the budget numbers together instead of letting him decide how much we should be spending in each of the categories. We had little to no personal spending money. I was so focused on being gazelle-intense and fired up to get the debt paid as fast as possible that I forgot we needed to allow ourselves to have some fun.
He felt bad spending money on himself because I was so driven and fired up and kind of got myself into this “have no life” lifestyle. I can be extreme when I’m really fired up about something. I’ll be “all in” that I forget about the people around me.
After a long talk, we both agreed that it was healthy for us to each have personal money in our budget that we could spend on anything we want without the other partner getting upset or feeling bad.
We also said that we would allow ourselves to decide what to do with the money we earned from any side jobs. Of course we wanted the bulk of that money to go towards debt, but we also realized that it was healthy to keep some of it for ourselves for things we wanted to buy.
So the tip for step 2 is to let your spouse have some skin in the game. Let them make some of the decisions. If increasing their personal spending money will help them stick to the budget, just do it. The key is that both of you need to have a say in what goes in and what goes out of the budget.
- DREAM TOGETHER, PLAN TOGETHER
Once he started to understand how budgeting worked, he would make the changes in our budget as it lined up with our goals. He would suggest that we decrease our grocery money for the month so that we could use those extra dollars towards a date night. When we were planning our Disneyland trip in 2019, we thought of creative ways we could cut back each month or increase our income so that we could put that extra money in our vacation account.
When he got involved and made adjustments to our budget each month, we both started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and it was going to be a LONG journey but we were moving in the right direction.
Then we started to dream together. We wrote down what we both wanted to do with the money that was going to debt once we were debt-free.
We talked about the house we were going to buy, the places we were going to visit, expanding my husband’s t-shirt business.
So I just want to encourage you and your spouse to each write down what you want your future to look like. Maybe it’s your dream to be a stay at home mom. Maybe your spouse wants to quit his job and start a new venture doing something that he loves. Maybe you’d both love to travel the world (once we are able to travel again) and make unforgettable memories together.
So I hope these three tips on how to get your spouse on board has given you a good baseline on how to go from here.