What the heck is a money date?
A money date is where you set aside time to spend with your spouse to go over your weekly budget. You also go over any bills and create a plan for spending money in the upcoming days. A lot of spouses don’t get too excited about money dates, because it usually is a source of tension. But it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE.
A money date is awesome! It gives you a chance to connect with your spouse and to spend time planning out goals. I don’t know about you, but after a money date I always feel like J and I are on the same page. We finally are in alignment about our checking account balance, what any debt balances are and where are money is going. Agreeing on where you will be spending money can give you peace of mind while trying to get out of debt. Because nothing is worse than getting to the end of the month and realizing just how much you spent eating out, running to the grocery store for those oops-forgot items or for those unplanned expenses. That’s where the disagreements arise because your month didn’t go like one of you think it will.
When we were first engaged I added up every time we ran through a drive-thru on our lunch breaks or the gas station for a fountain soda. I didn’t add in the times we were together, just the times we ate separately. It was a huge eye opener to how much money we were wasting with poor planning. I didn’t know how much he was spending and he didn’t know my totals either. Our lack of communication was leading us down a bad path.
But by having money dates each week or every other week, we’re finally on the same page with who is spending what and why.
I typically recommend to others to have your money date when you’re planning out your meals for the week. You’re already looking at your calendar to see what nights you are going to be late or which nights you want to eat out, so you might as well talk money too.
If this is your first time for a money date, then start tonight. Don’t put it off! There really is no need to put off doing a money date with your spouse and right now during our spending freeze, now it’s a great time to get started. Once you’ve had your first money date then you can start having them on the nights your meal planning. We meal plan for two weeks at a time, so we get together every other Sunday to plan out our next two weeks. We talk money and make sure we know what each other has going on.
Now if we are traveling or have an unexpected expense pop up then we’ll talk finances in the middle of the week. It doesn’t have to be that big of a deal to sit down, look at your calendar, look at your budget and plan out your spending.
Check out the quick video on my best tips for a successful money date with your spouse:
Know Next Week’s Schedule
Use your money dates as a time to plan out the next week. By knowing what your family has going on during the next week will help you be prepared for any expenses. For instance, summer school for your little one starts on Monday, which means the final amount for the class will probably be due. By taking a look ahead then you won’t be caught off guard or forget when a bill is due.
Bonus Tip: Add a reminder in your calendar for any bills that are due. Now you won’t forget about them and can plan accordingly.
Don’t Wait Until You’re Too Tired
One of the biggest reasons couples fight during money conversations is because they do it when they’re exhausted. After chasing kids all day, tackling laundry and finally getting the house cleaned you’re wiped. That’s not the best time to sit down and talk money. You should do it earlier in the day or before the day gets too chaotic. If life happens, which it does and the day has slipped away from you then just wait until the next day. It’s better to wait than it is to start a fight over something small that wouldn’t even matter with a clear head.
Plan Your Week and Meal Plan At the Same Time
As I mentioned above, you should be able to have your money date while you are planning meals and your week. It’s so easy to multi-task because by looking at your week you’ll know what you have going on each evening. This will help you plan out your dinners, which nights you’re eating at home or when you have an event to attend.
Listen With An Open Mind
Make sure you never accuse or blame your spouse for something. That’s how fights get out of hand. Make sure you try to place yourself in their shoes. Listen as they explain their reasoning or desire for something specific. If it’s something that is important to one of you then by working together you will be able to plan to reach your goals.
Being open minded also means compromising for the sanity of your marriage. This is why we finally separated out our miscellaneous funds. J can do whatever he wants with his funds and I can do whatever I want with mine. No questions are asked and no one is made to feel bad for their choices. Now, we don’t do this with the big chunk of our checking account, but it’s possible with smaller amounts.
Look Ahead To Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Gift Giving Events
There is nothing worse than realizing your forgot about a birthday party and have to run out to buy a gift last minute. You always end up spending way more than you wanted to. To prevent this, look at the month ahead to make sure you know of any parties, birthdays or events you’ll need a gift for. Give yourself plenty of time to plan ahead, shop sales and get a good deal. Buying a gift last minute usually means you’ll spend more money than you wanted or get a gift you aren’t proud of. So take a look at the next month or two to plan out gift ideas and time frames to buy them.
There you have it. The best tips for having a successful money date with your spouse. Before long you will be having productive talks with your spouse and be on the same page with where your money is going.
What are some of your favorite money date tips? Leave a comment letting me know!
Need More Help?
If you’re looking for a great tool to help keep your family on budget, then check out out my budget spreadsheet. Each month is laid out right in front of you where you can keep track of what you budget and what you actually spend. Now you’ll know in real time how you’re doing each month.