- Which partner will be responsible for each spending category within your Spending Plan. For example, you may have always paid the utilities and so feel comfortable continuing with that responsibility. Your partner may want to buy the groceries, and both of you may have categories that you share a portion of. It doesn’t matter how you split up each category.
- Categories do not need to be divided evenly among the two.
- Make sure you both have some responsibility for the categories on your Spending Plan so that you can both have the experience of paying for the items in that category and the responsibility of not going over in spending for that category.
- Set up two separate checking accounts, one for you and one for your spouse in joint ownership. Two separate accounts make it easier to avoid the chaos that can come from uncoordinated bank withdrawals. One partner’s account should have their name at the top and the other partner will have their name at the top.
- The last step is to hold a weekly meeting or as we like to call it a “Money Huddle,” where you will meet with your partner for no less than 15 minutes, but no more than 30 to talk about how the week has gone and how you did tracking your spending in each category. If your partner goofs up, you must practice instant forgiveness — remember, next week you might be the one to overspend in a particular category and then you want your partner to be understanding, right? When couples do this, it is astonishing how quickly money troubles are turned around.
To sum up: Create a Spending Plan, now, and then divide up categories with your partner. Begin tracking your assigned categories, meet once a week to discuss how things went with your partner, and remember, always practice instant forgiveness!