When budgeting as a couple, take into account your individual goals + a reasonable timeline for both parties. It doesn't have to be hard!

Managing finances in your twenties can be a challenge. This is potentially the first time you’ve had a major income source to deal with and you need to balance it between school, rent, bills, fun, and savings. That’s a lot to do as one person before you even consider adding a second person into the mix.

Budgeting as a couple, especially if you’re not yet married, can be tricky. If you’ve been together for a few years you’re bound to have common goals that you want to work towards together. But you also probably have competing priorities or differing views on what you should save for first.

To get to the same page you’re going to have to communicate! Make it a priority to sit down and discuss what’s going on in each of your financial lives and what your short and long term goals are. It’s OK if things don’t match up, that’s the point of talking about it.

Now keep in mind communicating and sharing information is NOT the same as sharing finances. You can both keep everything separate but have joint goals that you’re both contributing to.

Here are the steps to consider when making a productive and argument-free budget as a couple:

1. Make your separate budgets first. Each person should outline their income, debt, necessary bills and payments and individual savings goals. If you need help making your own budget, we have a great Monthly Budget download for you here!

READ MORE  5 Habits You Need to Stop Now That Will Improve Your Life

2. Now discuss the goals you have as an individual. Are you planning a friends trip (sans significant other) is one of you going to school and will need to save for tuition, etc?

3. After the individual goals you can discuss what you want to do as a team. The keyword here is “team” — as in you’re in it together and you need to work together. Did you want to take a trip together? Get a pet? Or maybe your shared home needs some work. If you’re ambitious, you could even plan out your shared financial goals for the next few years.

4. Focus on your shared goals and a reasonable timeline for both parties. Maybe one of you makes a bit more so it’s easier to just take off for a week in Mexico while the other person needs to save more. Be considerate of each person’s individual goals and financial obligations when agreeing on a timeline to reach your joint goals and agree on a monthly savings amount and timeline that works for you both.

5. Save, save, save — and check in with your timeline. When budgeting together, it’s important to stick to the timeline. Especially when you are each relying on each other to reach a certain milestone in order to reach your goal.

READ MORE  5 Ways to Feel Kick-Ass About Who You Are

6. Figure out the logistics of your money. Will you open a joint account? Move the money to one person’s account before you spend it on your goal? Take the time to figure this out and do what makes the most sense for the two of you.

7. Enjoy your hard work! Enough said!

These are the steps I use with my partner when we agree on goals, and we still butt heads from time to time. It’s natural–money is a very personal issue.

We have three spreadsheets: one for him, one for me, and one for us. Although we don’t always agree on what goes on the “us” spreadsheet, at least with everything laid out in front of us we can work towards a middle ground between our differing priorities. This is not a one and done solution, you will need to re-visit these spreadsheets and adjust your priorities as things come up.

Keep in mind what works for you and make sure you’re not sacrificing your individual’s goals for the joint goals unless that’s what you want. Some people will want everything split evenly others are more willing to “treat” their partners and I believe either is fine as long as no one incurs any debt and there is no resentment.

READ MORE  Mother's Day Gift Guide

You work hard for your money, enjoy it! (In a fiscally responsible manner, of course).

[clickToTweet tweet=”Budgeting & Planning For Financial Goals as a Couple” quote=”Budgeting & Planning For Financial Goals as a Couple”]