Friday, February 19, 2010

Who is Responsible for the Family Budget?

For the greatest happiness and productivity in life, both husband and wife are needed. Their efforts interlock and are complementary. Each has individual traits that best fit the role the Lord has defined for happiness as a man or woman. When used as the Lord intends, those capacities allow a married couple to think, act, and rejoice as one[.]

Richard G. Scott, The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness

In the family where I grew up, my father did the finances. In Jeremy's family, his mother did them. So, naturally, when we got married each of us hoped the other would do them.

It took us a long time to figure out who would be responsible for our money.

In the meantime, we had a budget, but we didn't follow it well or keep detailed records. Bills got paid on time, usually, but we spent more and saved less than we should have.

Fortunately, Jeremy stepped up and decided we needed to put together a better system. Every family is different, but here is what works for us:

1. Jeremy set up budgeting software and makes sure it is working correctly.

2. I go through our expenses every week online and label them with the proper budget category.

3. Jeremy pays online bills.

4. I pay bills that require writing a check.

5. Together, we discuss the budget and make changes as needed.

6. Jeremy files taxes.

7. I deposit most checks.

8. Jeremy manages our investments and keeps me informed.

9. Both of us are responsible for staying within budget.


Molly said...

I think I'm in charge of the budget in our home. I love numbers and spreadsheets and all that stuff. The problem is that we'd probably spend less money if Christian were in charge of the budget. You inspired me. I'm going to re-vamp our budgeting so we're both equally in charge.

Jeremy said...

Our spending and budgeting definitely improved when we both started handling finances.

Before, when I mostly handled the finances myself, I'd felt guilty about mentioning Julianne's spending to her, but then used her spending as an excuse to spend even more myself!

Now, instead of the finances being a minor source of conflict, they're kind of fun - and we definitely spend less.