No two words are more magical for many couples than “date night.” Date nights take many forms, but most individuals agree they can be part of the glue that holds a marriage or relationship together. Maybe your ideal date night is binging your favorite show with your partner or spouse, or perhaps going out on the town is more your speed.
There’s also a different kind of date night, though. That’s the kind where you sit down with your spouse or partner to talk about your budget. That might be the time when you research a debt snowball calculator, figure out which bills are the most pressing, or maybe you start a spreadsheet to track your joint income and expenses.
When planning a budget date night, it’s important to cover everything you need to talk about, but also make the experience as stress-free as possible. Let’s talk about some ways to make that happen.
1. Set The Mood
Some individuals feel that talking about money with their spouse or partner is uncomfortable. They might feel some degree of stress about it. The goal of setting the mood for your budget date night is to alleviate that.
You might decide you’ll go to one of your favorite restaurants to have a budgetary discussion. If you have kids, leave them with a babysitter. If you’re talking about money by candlelight, perhaps with a glass of your favorite Riesling at your elbow, the experience should be a whole lot easier.
2. Listen To Each Other
Budgeting is something the family’s adults must do to make sure they’re on the same page. If you don’t ever talk about monetary matters, you might have different expectations or goals, and you’d never know it.
You can start your budget strategy session by listening to what each person has to say. Maybe each of you is bringing some new ideas to the table regarding how you want to pay the bills, divide up the expenses, etc.
Each of you should have a chance to speak before the other one does. Then, you can talk frankly and rationally about where your ideas coincide and where they differ.
3. Normalize It
Because talking about money isn’t always the easiest to do, some couples might do it once, and then feel like they never have to do it again. That’s probably not realistic, though.
That’s because your monetary situation will always be in flux to some degree. Maybe you’ve had your money date night, and you walk away feeling satisfied, but then one of you loses your job, or your hours get cut. Perhaps you find out you’re expecting a baby, or you learn that you’re going to get a substantial cash windfall if a relative dies.
Because your financial situation is not likely to remain consistent as time passes, you should get in the habit of having one of these money date nights every month or so. Normalizing them should make them easier. If you actively listen to each other and genuinely value each other’s input, you may find these nights are a lot more pleasant than you envisioned.
You Might Learn To Enjoy These Date Nights
If you start each budgeting date night by picking a restaurant or some other place or meal you both enjoy, that should make hashing out money matters a lot more tolerable. You can also start by each saying your piece about your current finances to see whether you agree on most points. It makes sense to plan on having these date nights periodically rather than taking a “one and done” approach.
If you both communicate honestly and listen to one another about your wants and needs, a time may come when you start actually looking forward to these budgeting date nights.