My husband and I are reconciling our on-paper budget with our bank account. Bills are due the first half of the month, but most income comes during the second half. What should we do? — Kathy
If you’re actually making a budget and sticking to it, what you’re describing is a cash flow bind. You are in charge of your budget until it’s on paper. Once it’s on paper, it has to accurately represent reality. In your reality, that means a cash flow strain on the first checks and extra money on the second checks.
You won’t be able to fix this in just one month, but there is a long-term solution. Move some of the money from your second checks into the first half of the next month. By doing this, you’ll start running from the 15th to the 15th, instead of from the first to the first. It will help you stay ahead and avoid getting pinched for cash.
The second part of this equation is that you are in charge of your budget. When everything is written and agreed on by you and your husband, that’s when the budget becomes the boss. You can’t come home with a new shirt or a new purse, and hope it fits into the plan. The budget has to be the plumb line by which you build your finances straight and true! — Dave
How do I get my fiancée to take a more active role in planning a family budget? We’re getting married in a few months, and everything between us is great except for this one area. She seems to want me to handle the money and make all the decisions. — David
Many marriage counselors will tell you if a couple comes to agreement on four major issues—money, kids, religion and in-laws—they have a greater chance of forming a successful and lasting marriage. Try sitting down with her and explaining from your heart how important this issue is to you. I believe it’s vitally important that financial decisions are made by husband and wife together—as one. Most women value communication in a relationship, and the process of doing a monthly budget together will be a wonderful sharing experience for the two of you.
Money isn’t the most important thing in the world, David. But the way a couple handles money is representative of their dreams, passions and fears. It’s also indicative of their vision for the future! — Dave
I just got married, and my husband and I want to book a honeymoon to celebrate. We don’t have all the money for it right now, but we will have it in a few weeks. We were thinking about booking the trip on a zero-interest credit card, and paying it off when we have all the money. I know you hate debt, but would this be OK since it would be a very short-term debt? — Laura
I know you guys are excited and happy about being married. And I wish you all the happiness in the world. But I don’t recommend credit cards of any kind, for any reason, whatsoever.
If you can’t pay for this trip up front, you can’t afford it. Believe it or not, a lot of people postpone wedding trips until they’ve had a chance to save up a little bit of money.
My advice to you and your new husband is to work, and save up a little bit more. Maybe one or both of you could pick up extra jobs for a little while, and make it happen sooner. Then, when you can pay cash for the trip, go have a blast on a honeymoon you can afford! — Dave