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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
Navigating finances in a relationship can be tricky.
You may think everything is progressing smoothly, but your budget and savings account say otherwise.
Talking about money and budgeting with your partner isn’t the most romantic way to spend time together, but it can actually make your relationship stronger.
Whether you use a budgeting app, an Excel spreadsheet or a pen and notebook, it’s important to discuss with your partner where the money is going without it devolving into icy silence or a screaming match.
Take a little time at the beginning or end of each month to close out your budget as a couple. This is your time to reflect on joint spending and saving, then determine whether you need to make any adjustments for the month ahead.
Here are some budgeting questions to get you started.
How to Budget Together
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Before we get started, it’s helpful to understand how to budget as a couple.
You’ll want to see where your money has been going to get an idea of where it needs to go in the future.
Make sure to account for:
- Your income: How much do you both bring in each month? Note the combined total of your income from your jobs or businesses. If one person makes significantly more money than the other, talk honestly about how to handle it. Each couple should figure out what works for them.
- Your fixed expenses: List out bills and obligations that must be paid each month and rarely vary. This includes things like rent, car payments, student loans, utilities, life insurance, cellphone bills, internet bills and retirement contributions. These are the costs you have already committed to paying each month, and they likely come with a contract.
- Your variable expenses: This is anything that doesn’t have a monthly payment, but you need to buy anyway: groceries, gas for the car, pet supplies, clothing and household goods like shampoo and sandwich bags.
Once you have all the numbers in front of you, it’s time to ask a few important questions.
Here are four budgeting questions to ask your partner to help strengthen your wallet and your relationship.
1. How Do We Feel About Our Spending?
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This is the most obvious question you and your partner should consider as you both reflect on spending from the past month.
It’s helpful to compare how …….