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Christian Personal Finance

Marriage and family finances: Seven tips for sharing the load

It's important that both spouses are involved in handling the family finances.

By Jason PriceGuest blogger / March 22, 2010

It's important the both spouses share family financial duties.

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Keeping your spouse involved in the management of finances can be a tough thing to do. In most situations, there is a nerd (as Dave Ramsey often puts it) in the family who likes doing the numbers stuff. The nerd pays the bills, manages the spending or cash flow, looks for great deals and works on cool spreadsheets.

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Even though the nerd is doing all of these things, there is still another money manager in the family. It’s the nerd’s spouse. Now the spouse might not be as involved in day to day management. In many cases the spouse doesn’t have knowledge of how much money is in the bank account. Perhaps the spouse just knows how much he or she can spend on entertainment or clothes for the month and maybe a few other budget categories.

But, this is a dangerous approach to family finances. What if something happened to the family CFO? Would the spouse know how to step in and manage everything? And we are all considered financial stewards in God’s eyes. So, both spouses are responsible for managing resources that have been entrusted to their care by God. If one spouse isn’t involved, how can he or she be managing God’s resources wisely?

The answer lies in a few ideas to get the cool person, not the nerd or family CFO, involved in the family finances. The spouse doesn’t have to necessarily be involved in the day to day finances at the level of detail as the nerd, but should have knowledge of the resources and how they’re being used. So, if you are the nerd, consider these tips to get your spouse more involved in the management of family finances. He or she will appreciate it if done for the solid reasons I just mentioned.

1. Budget together every month

One of the most important things spouses can do together is budget their money together each month. Even though you have fixed spending in place, there are still planning decisions to be made each month for discretionary spending.

2. Provide a weekly status report

While the monthly meeting is important, so is a weekly meeting about money. All this requires is a review of spending for the major budget categories and a discussion around any new significant expenses required for the month. I like to think of it as a status meeting. If you want to take it to the next step, you can write down the balances of the major budget categories for your spouse so he or she knows the overall state of the spending plan.

3. Let your spouse tithe