Have you ever tried to do a budget and only ended up with something completely unrealistic for your situation?
No matter how hard you tried, you overspent in the grocery category, completely forgot to fund the fun category, and said, "Just this one treat," one too many times.
We understand. Budgeting is tough work and takes trial and error to figure out. No one ever said it would be easy for beginners. That's why it's important to have an accountability partner when you create your monthly budget. Married or single, we all need someone trustworthy in our lives who isn't afraid to ask us how the budget's going and call us out when we're going against our commitments.
Just don't corner the first person you see in the beans and rice aisle at the grocery store tonight and ask them if they'll be your accountability partner. That's a recipe for disaster. Do this instead:
Your accountability partner should be your spouse. If it's not, you need to change that immediately. Couples need to communicate about their money with each other first. It's fabulous to meet with financial coaches and other trusted sources to get outside perspectives, but not before you have agreed to work as a team with your spouse. Since money fights are the main reason behind divorce in America, being on the same financial page with your spouse is necessary to experience unity in your marriage.
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Creating a budget that both of you can agree on only works when both of you have input. When only one makes the budgeting decisions, the other feels controlled and has no motivation to stick to the budget. However, when you both have a say and are motivated to reach the same goals, you can hold each other accountable to your budget commitment—and each other.
No matter how tough it is to get through those monthly budget meetings, you have to do them. No pain, no gain, right? It will take a few months to fine-tune it and get used to keeping each other accountable more than you have in the past, but it will get easier as you watch the savings literally grow!
It's my money, and I'll do whatever I want with it!
There's good news and bad news to go with that statement. You're the decision maker—and the decision breaker. You're the responsible one—and the impulse one.
As a single person, don't think for a moment you're off the hook from sticking to your budget just because you don't have a spouse as a built-in accountability partner. Find a trusted friend who loves you enough to be bluntly honest with you for your own good. This can't be a "yes man," someone who will bend the parameters of your budget because they're afraid to tell you, "No, you don't have enough money in that category to buy it."
This person can also help you put together a working budget and fine-tune it along the way. You don't have to run every single decision about money by this person, but it would be wise to do so for big purchases you're thinking of making. Their outside perspective and commitment to you can save you a lot of heartache and financial woes!
Once you have an accountability partner in place, you will feel a sense of empowerment, self-accountability and control over your budget.
Put It Into Practice!
Everyone's budget is different because every person is different. But we all need a solid budget and accountability partner. That is exactly what Dave's class, Financial Peace University, helps you with. It's great for those just starting out as well as those who are debt-free and on Baby Step 7.
If you're still committed to being weird (aka not broke) in 2011, check out what this class has to offer. You can even attend the first class absolutely free! Just find a class near you and register to attend so the leaders know to expect you.