Can Budgeting Be “Fun?”

April 20, 2011

Last night, I met with a couple in one of my classes and wanted to share their insight into what they were experiencing. They had come to my Budgeting (aka “Spending Plans”) class a couple of weeks earlier, and they shared last night that they were making solid progress.

They had not only gone home and talked about a household budget, Can Budgeting Be Fun?but they had put one together and had been having regular discussions about it. I was excited for them because I know how a household budget can affect the family finances.

When I asked them how they were feeling about the past couple of weeks, the wife shared that they were having “fun” working on their budget. Now, you have to understand that during many of my budgeting classes, I explain how the critical step missing in virtually all failed budgets (written financial goals) makes budgets “meaningful,” but that even I – a budgeting professional – don’t think of budgets as “fun.”

So, when she said they were having fun, I had to ask for clarification. I was doubtful, I must admit. But, as she began explaining how they were enjoying the process of working together on a budget and feeling more in control of their finances each day, I could actually tell that she really was enjoying the whole process.

Budgeting Brings Peace of Mind and Greater ControlThe feeling of lacking control when it comes to our household finances is very disconcerting for pretty much all of us. Regaining that control really can provide us with a sense of euphoria that will have us coming back to our household spending plan again and again. In that sense, then, budgets certainly can be and are “fun.”

How about you? What are the feelings you’ve had as you’ve taken back control of your finances? Please feel free to share.

Todd

Todd Christensen
Director of Education
www.NationalFinancialEducationCenter.org
Facebook: MoneyDay2Day
Twitter: Day2DayMoney

Love and Money-1 Key to Personal Finance Partnership

There are so many great ideas for improving one’s personal financial situation. But that’s just it. A lot of those tips are for “one,” not for partners. There are some books (e.g. Financial Bliss by Bambi Holzer) and studies out there regarding love and money, but not enough.

However, I personally believe that one simple step, more than everything else, would do more good in a couple’s personal finances than anything else. And in spite of the fact that we teach budgeting every day at the National Financial Education Center at Debt Reduction Services Inc, it’s not a budget.

  • Both partners must simply write down mutually agreed upon goals that are then posted where they can be seen by both partners regularly

First of all, this turns the couples’ finances into a team effort. That’s part of a relation after all, isn’t it? To partner and work together?

If financial goals are not discussed, not agreed upon, not reviewed, not tracked, then finances can all too easily devolve into a competition or, worse, a grudge match. When it comes to money and relationships, rather than one-on-one (where there is only one winner), think one-and-one (where there are at least two winners).

So the next time you think that money is the cause of most divorces in this country, remember that money is a tool. Don’t blame the poor workmanship on the tool.

Here’s a link to our budget planner. It’s still on a budget that I think is most important in marital financial bliss, but rather the shared financial goals. That’s why at the very top of this planner, you’ll find a place to write down 3 financial goals. Write them down and agree to them with your partner. You’ll never regret it.

Todd Christensen
Director of Education
www.NationalFinancialEducationCenter.org
Facebook: MoneyDay2Day
Twitter: Day2DayMoney