Family Budgeting Rules

As soon as a man and a woman decide to live together, there are many things they have in common: they have to decide who takes out the trash, hangs up the laundry and vacuums the house. But these are all small things that overshadow the main question: where in the family (which is already a family, no matter what you say) the money comes from. Take this issue as seriously as possible – trust me, financial problems can destroy peace in a family.

Practicing psychologists, who focus on family well-being, give 3 options for making a budget. You should decide which one to choose, but you should not decide alone – discuss the options with your partner.

Types of Family Budgets

1. Separate family budget. This type of budgeting, of course, gives each spouse financial freedom. This type is best suited to mature, established and well earning people. Everyone disposes of their own money and is free to spend it at their discretion, without reporting to the spouse. They are suitable for people who will not complain (and then blame) that someone has been buying groceries and paying utility bills for a whole month, and someone has bought a new laptop/coat/jeep and doesn’t give a shit.

2. A joint family budget. This type of budget implies that everything the couple earns goes into a joint fund. As it happens, this is the form of financial relations that most took root in the families in the post-Soviet space. This is due to the fact that women here tend to occupy low-paid positions, as well as the fact that the social protection is obviously lagging behind – a “sick leave” with a child may eat up a lion’s share of women’s earnings, while maternity pay is hardly realistic to live on.

3. Equity budget. This type of budget is somewhat of a compromise between the first and the second type, because spouses form a common budget by contributing specifically agreed shares (not necessarily equal) of their own earnings. The rest is their personal funds, which are not subject to accounting or control by the other half. In such cases, the amount needed is calculated on the basis of the family expenses: for food, for utility bills; for loans and other mandatory items.

Whatever form of family budget you choose, you should try to follow the main rules:

Honesty – because lying about financial matters is very painful, even if you are going to spend the whole stash on a gift.

Accuracy – contributing your share to the budget should be done in a strictly specified period, because there is usually always a plan for the money.

Responsibility – it is expressed not only in strict compliance with the stipulated terms, but also in creating a certain reserve, which, if necessary, will serve as a “safety cushion”.

And remember – do not hesitate to discuss financial problems with your significant other. Together you will find a solution, and trying to solve it on your own, you risk getting even more confused. Family is as much about love as it is about trust.

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Author: Cheryl Gorman

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