Even though I’m married, I still budget like I’m single. Since I’m also self-employed, income is often variable and sometimes comes at a premium. Therefore, even though I have my wife to work with, adding her income to mine and helping to split expenses, I still find that budgeting like it’s just me on my own helps to bolster our personal finances.
Psyching myself out
When I budget as though I’m single, it puts a greater emphasis on covering the total of all budgeted areas rather than just my half. Even though I might only have to cover half our total expenses, since I have a working spouse, thinking as though I have to cover the whole lot pushes me to earn more and work to cut costs, especially considering I’m self employed.
While it’s just a mental game, it works. And sometimes it just takes psyching yourself out a little bit to push you harder to be more financially responsible.
More detailed budgeting
It tends to be easier to spend money when you know that half your costs will be covered by someone else’s pocketbook. Having a spouse or significant other to carry the budget burden may allow for a bit more frivolity when it comes to spending.
Only having to spend $50 of my own money for a purchase of a $100 is like constantly getting a 50 percent discount on purchases. This can skew perceptions of what things would cost were I footing the bill independently. This means that a $1,400 mortgage payment suddenly becomes just $700. A $100 dinner out becomes just $50. So you can see how forcing a single person’s budget upon myself helps to give me more detailed and defined cost parameters and keep my spending grounded in reality.
Better forecasting and planning
Budgeting like I’m single also helps me plan better. It pushes me to forecast future costs before they arrive, sometimes moving forward years in advance with my planning. Especially when budgeting for big-ticket items such as a home or vehicle purchase, forecasting future expenses as though I’ll be handling the cost myself, helps push me to save more for these future costs.
Thinking in terms of handling such costs myself also helps with planning for the unexpected. Emergency situations like health issues, vehicle and home repairs, and similar costs can hit a budget hard. Dealing with such costs on my own would be much scarier than having the help of a spouse. This pushes me to have a well-funded reserve fund, which can help to cover such costs without going into debt.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.