My husband and I are still, after almost 7 years of marriage, trying to learn how to work together as a team when it comes to finances. Most of the time, one of us is budgeting but not the other, or sometimes we BOTH feel that we are doing most of the work and the other person is refusing to participate. We have the same goals of financial freedom, working together, being wise with our spending, etc, but we’re still learning how to work *together*. We are very different people, as it turns out. I’m sure most of you have felt the same way!
My quick encouragement for today is to find what works for your marriage and run with it. Learn the specific tripping points you repeatedly fall over, and find a way to smooth it out. For us, one of our big issues is receipts. In an ideal world, the one who does most of the shopping (me) would look at the receipt after each transaction and enter it into the budget. This requires adding up the different categories within the transaction (I’m a Wal-Mart shopper, so one receipt could have groceries, tools, clothes, and pet supplies all together) and getting it into the app. Well in the real world, the primary shopper is also the primary caregiver for two small children who are always present for these shopping trips, and has ADD. I don’t feel like I have time to sit and enter it at checkout, so I save the receipt… except that I lose it.
My husband had a good idea of taking a photo of the receipt and sending it to him, so he could put it in for me. The problem there was that I’d snap the photo, and never send it! Also, it’s hard to tell from a Wal-Mart receipt which category each item belongs in.
Finally, we’ve got it worked out. I now shop at King Soopers for groceries, and Target if I need multiple categories. Target receipts categorize automatically, with headings for grocery, pharmacy, pet, household goods, etc! Easy! While the computer system is reading my card, I open my phone to text my husband and hit the camera button. When I get my receipt, I snap a photo right there within the text messenger, and hit send. Boom. Categorized receipt delivered directly to my husband before I get to the car.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. Don’t be ashamed of your weaknesses. It’s embarrassing that I’m so forgetful, and it’s confusing that it feels so emotionally exhausting to enter stuff myself, but it’s just reality for right now. Be honest, work with it. And if something doesn’t work, just trying something else.
What budgeting pitfalls do you fall into? Do you have any creative ideas to try?