My husband and I like to spend money. A lot. On useless crap. And we try to save. TRY.
But last year, we came upon the idea of Financial Dates. The idea behind it is that you have yourself a date with your partner and talk about finances. Boooorrrinngggg! And awkward??? But these financial dates have been VERY useful. So I’m going to show you how you can have them too.
Side note: We were able to pay off our 300 guest wedding with me being unemployed at the time with this simple tool? Yeap, that’s right! So keep on reading.
Step #1 – Make a date
An actual date. You both need to be there if this is going to work. Put it on your phone, a planner, calendar, whatever, but set a date that works for both of you. You can go out or stay in. We choose to do it at home since we like our privacy.
Step #2 – Assign a notebook
This makes it easy to keep track of it. Write down all of your credit cards, loans, and bills you have. (Bills are optional – see below). At the bottom, put how much you have on your savings and checking accounts (for both of you) and what the plan for the month is. Ours looks a little like this (made a computer version for some of you who just like to print – you can then just put it in a binder)
Step #3 – List all of your bills
Make a list of all your bills. And I mean ALL of your bills.
Think: Utility bills, internet, cable, phone, Netflix, Hulu, magazine subscriptions, gaming console subscriptions, etc. Really dig in deep. Do you need all of this? Note: We only did the bills the first time. Since there wasn’t much we can do there.
Now, list all of your credit cards. I am very good at paying off the balance every month. But my husband wasn’t. He didn’t realize how much interest he was paying each month. And this is where I’m glad we talked about it. We are no longer paying interest on our credit cards when we can help it.
Loans are a bit hard. But this is where the financial dates really helped. We listed all our loans and listed the interest on them. We decided to pay off the loans with the highest interest first. We thought this was a smarter way to go.
Step #4 – Handle It
Don’t just write them down and not do anything about it. This is where the section at the bottom comes into play – PLAN.
Can you pay off your credit card completely?
Can you add an extra $5 to your savings?
How much interest are you paying if you don’t pay your credit card completely? Is it worth it to wait?
Can you afford that video game this month?
Christmas is coming, maybe add an extra $10 to savings so it’s easier during the holidays.
Can you start saving for your kid’s college?
And so on. Just plan according to your situation and your future vision.
Step #5 – There is no step 5!
It’s that easy. It’s a simple idea and that’s the beauty of it. Finances are hard enough so we don’t need to overcomplicate it with some crazy app or tool. Keep it simple and basic. Discuss it with your loved one and keep the ultimate goal in sight. Discuss and plan. We do this every month to keep us on check. So go ahead and give it a try!
Do you have any ideas on how to discuss finances with your loved one? Maybe a great tip on how to handle finances? Please share, I’m always on the lookout for that next big tip!