How to Throw a Budget Party with Your Spouse

My wife and I have had some incredible financial wins during our marriage. We eliminated $48,032 of debt, paid off our $195,000 mortgage and increased our net worth by $800,000 all in the last 9 years. And the one tradition that has been constant throughout the entire process has been our Budget Party.

The Budget Party is a monthly get-together meant to set aside time for me and my wife to have important conversations about our financial future together. We review how we used our money from the previous month, what we want to do with our cash this month and how we’re tracking on our overall financial goals.

Outside of the obvious financial benefits of this activity, these meetings are great for our marriage. We discuss what’s important to us, how we’re going to get there together and how we see our relationship growing over the years to come. With two small children in the house, time for discussion is limited. The Budget Party gives us a little break and helps me feel closer to my wife. 

If all this financial growth and marital relationship building stuff sounds interesting to you, I’ve compiled 10 easy steps for you to build your own Budget Party. This way, you can create your own monthly meeting and strengthen your family tree for years to come. 

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How We Decreased our Spending by $20,000 (While Increasing Our Fun by $10,000)

In order to achieve financial independence, you need to first understand what your annual expenses are. That’s how much money you need to live comfortably every year.

Your annual expenses can include things like housing, transportation, food, utility bills, entertainment, travel and the many other things that make your life … well, your life! 

For our family, I’ve found that number to range between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. That number is after taxes and it doesn’t include money for saving and investing. 

With lower annual expenses, it would definitely be a lot easier for our family to become financially independent.

If we’re using the 4% rule to calculate how much to save to become FI, then we’d need $1,500,000 – $1,750,000. Considering I have around $4,000 in a taxable brokerage account at 37 years old, that’s going to take quite a while!

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My Spouse Doesn’t Want to Talk About Money. What Do I Do?

And for our second question of the month comes in from Christine …

Hey Andy,

I’m looking for some advice. My husband and I have been together for 5 years now and money has always been a difficult subject for us because we have very different views.

I’m more financially conscious and he doesn’t like talking about money.

We have around $36,000 in debt. Our first child is due later this year and I’d love to be debt free like the people I hear on your show.

Combined we make around $120,000 and we’re in our late 20’s.

Do you have any advice for me to get my husband to want to pay off our debt with me?

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When Couples Have Different Views on Money in Marriage – with Dr. Laura Dabney

Married couples can sometimes have different views on money. Those opposing opinions can cause fights, arguments and in some cases, divorce.

My guest today has had a lot of experience helping couples to deal with this very issue. Dr. Laura Dabney is a certified psychiatrist based in Virginia who prides herself in helping her patients change their lives for the better. Her writing and advice have been featured in major media outlets like NBC, Bustle and Yahoo Lifestyle, as well as many other popular radio shows.

One of Dr. Dabney’s core focus areas is with marriage and relationship guidance … and we married folks could all use a little bit of that, am I right?

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The Benefits of Keeping Separate Accounts in Marriage – with Aditi Shekar

When we get married, we have an important decision to make. Do you merge your money or keep it separate? Well, what if there was an option in the middle?

I’ve invited the Founder and CEO of Zeta, Aditi Shekar to discuss different ways to manage your money as a couple. We’ll also learn about how their new financial tool is supporting couples with this big decision.

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16 Money Questions to Ask Your Partner Before You Get Married

So, you’ve found the one! Congratulations. What a feeling! Being married to the love of your life is absolutely incredible. I’m speaking from experience here … meeting and marrying my wife substantially increased the awesomeness of my days.

As optimistic as I am, I’m not naive in thinking that marriages are all roses and sunshine. Marital fights happen all the time around raising your children, family traditions, religion, political viewpoints and, of course, money. Disagreements around the all mighty dollar have caused countless arguments and, in some cases, those disagreements have caused marriages to end.

To prevent a future divorce based on money issues, let’s start off our new relationships with brutal honesty and transparency. It’s not only smart for the future of our marriages, but it is also a healthy way to engage in any new partnership. We wouldn’t accept a new job offer without asking a boatload of questions, would we? 

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How Refinancing and Loan Forgiveness Can Help Your Big Student Debt Problem – with Travis Hornsby

With our country currently drowning in $1.5 Trillion of student debt, it’s fair to say we have a big problem on our hands. This problem is hitting home as well. Couples are delaying marriage, delaying having a baby and even strategically getting divorced to lessen the burden of their student loans.

If you’re listening to this, you may just be one of the many Americans that’s feeling like they are completely under water with these loans.

Well today, I have a very special guest who’s going to talk with us about our options for getting rid of these loans the right way. Travis Hornsby from Student Loan Planner shares how refinancing and student loan forgiveness may be our tickets to student debt freedom.

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With a New Baby, How Do We Prepare Financially?

Our question of the month comes in from Stephen:

Hey Andy!

My wife and I are expecting our first child this year, so it will be a true test on how we work around the new costs we will be accruing. I am on pace to pay off a student loan in 3 years and I don’t want to break that. We max out our 401k and we pay extra on our mortgage and my student loan each month.

I don’t want to lose this momentum we have — we both promised ourselves we would never decrease our 401k contributions because we value investing in our future too much. I guess I’m divulging all of this to ask …

What do you advise so I don’t lose momentum when the baby comes?

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How to Increase Your Net Worth by $800,000 in 8 Years

One fall night in 2010, my wife Nicole and I were watching the Suze Orman Show. (Yes, I used to DVR it). There was this fun segment where someone would call in and Suze would analyze that person’s financial health and give them a grade. It was called How Am I Doing?

One term that we kept seeing over and over again on this segment was “Net Worth”. Since we were personal finance newbies, we had no idea what this meant. Nicole and I were making a combined six-figure income together so we figured our net worth must be HUGE.

After the show was over, we decided to see how rich we really were. There was no doubt in our mind that we’d be better off than most of the jokers that call in to the show and get an “F” grade from Suze!

via GIPHY

We walked upstairs and started to write down all of our numbers on a big white board. By separating our “assets” (what we owned) and our liabilities (what we owed) into two big columns, we started to discover that we weren’t rich.

We were kinda broke.

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Why Date Night Is So Important in Marriage – with Martin Dasko and Kristen Manieri

The more I think about it, talk about it and research it, I feel like “date night” might be one of the most important investments we can make for our long-term family happiness.

I know it’s something that I’m personally working on. With two small kids and the responsibilities of life, date night sometimes takes a backseat.

That changes now!

On today’s show, we’re going to do three things:

  1. We’re going to hear from professional writer, podcaster and YouTuber, Martin Dasko. Since he focuses most of his content on personal finance and dating from a single guy’s perspective, he’s going to tell us married folks can spice up our marriages without going broke.
  2. After our chat with Martin, I’m going to interview Kristen Manieri, the founder of Do Good Date Night. Kristen started this organization to help couples have an opportunity to give back in their community while having fun with their spouses.
  3. After we get inspired by Kristen, I’m going to share my top 3 takeaways so you can start creating some epic date nights with your spouse.

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