How to Get Your Spouse on Board with a Budget

When LB and I started FPU over a year ago, we were both in pretty bad shape financially. I also had no idea how to leverage the income from my new job to best create a financial future for us. The VERY first thing I did was sign us up for FPU. I had talked about wanting to do this class for a while and as soon as I saw that Sam's church was doing the class, I wrote the $90 check and away we went. I straight up forced LB to go. It wasn't phrased as a question. It was a see-this-look-in-my-eyes-we-are-doing-this kind of thing. The first four weeks of the class were BRUTAL. So much blaming, and arguing, and self/other shaming. I was EMBARRASSED that I had accumulated SO much credit card debt and LB had certain other financial liabilities he had ignored for a good long while. Plus, we had a wedding a year away and no solid plan to pay for it. It was so so so so so so so so so hard. It is STILL so so so so hard. We fought on the way home in the car pretty much every night of class those first four weeks ("pretty much every night" is code for every. single. night).

couples money quote

LB has this thing where he hates to be told what to do. And his second thing is that he hates to be told what to do by me A LOT. His third thing is that he is a classic spender. There is no blame here in him being a classic spender because I am NOT a classic saver either. Dave says that there is usually one saver and one spender. I like to spend as much as LB does. But years of being totally financially responsible for myself have FORCED me to become the saver. Just as I posted recently, I get the urge to spend and it's pretty hard to ignore.

I also like to enforce double standards. I will shut LB down on spending and then proceed to spend myself on non-necessities that somehow feel like necessities at the time. I rationalize it all, but it's totally unfair. I also instantly switch to the defensive which parlays into my need to always explain WHY I deserve something. It's obnoxious.

couples money quote 2

These two paragraphs that gently describe our behavior are why we needed Dave. We needed someone to come in and break the stalemate. To TELL US what we were going to do. Period. And you know what? It worked. LB checks in with me on the budget after every paycheck. For example, he came home last week and asked if there was enough money in the budget for him to get his iPhone upgrade (spoiler alert: there was not). But I reworked a few things in November so that he could get back to a functioning ear piece in his phone. It will have to wait until November, but he knows we will get it done for him.

I manage the budget and tweak it and tweak it and tweak it. I am sure that I have saved our budget document over 750 times this last year. I change it A LOT.


To really get a full sense of our budgeting journey, I encourage you to check out our newly updated Budget tab. So tell me. How do you and yours manage the budgeting bull crap?