During the month of February, I’m sharing budgeting tips for you and your spouse or significant other. Last week, we focused on a few budgeting-specific tips. This week, I’m including tips about how to set and achieve financial goals.
After you’ve begun budgeting your money, and you have an idea where it is going, it’s time to decide where you want it to go instead. We try to sit down every 6 months and examine where we’d like any extra monthly income to go. (Paying off debt? Retirement? HSA? Christmas budget? Vacation to Cancun?) Even if we only had just a few dollars left at the end of the month, we made sure that we had goals for where we wanted that money to go. Setting goals that you are both in agreement with helps you to stick to your budget, because you know that if you do, you’ll be working towards those goals and you’ll reap the benefit (Being debt-free, having money to retire, being able to pay medical expenses, having money to buy Christmas presents, treating yourself to a fabulous vacation, or whatever you’ve chosen).
Another tip is to write down your financial goals. If your lives are like mine, they can often be busy and hectic, and in a month, you may have no idea what the goals you set the last time you talked were. So, I highly recommend taking written notes (digitally or on paper), and keeping them someplace safe where you can come back to them. This applies to long-term and short-term goals both. And of course, keep records of when you achieved your goals to celebrate!
In many relationships, it makes sense to have one person be the one to pay most of the bills and track the spending for the family. If you’re that person, then you need to make sure you keep the other person in the loop, in order to stick to your monthly budget. We’re pretty informal about this—I tell my husband when we’re out of money in our budget categories, and he stops spending money that month! But, I know other couples do this in a more formalized way. Kristen over at The Frugal Girl writes her husband a monthly money e-mail, which I think is a great idea. Depending on your situation, a weekly update might be a better choice.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments! Next week, we’ll be looking at tips for eliminating debt.