In many families, all of the finances, bill paying, and budgeting fall squarely on the shoulders of one family member. I definitely understand that usually one person takes the lead on finances. But it is still so important for so many reasons that all members of the family are involved in money discussions and decisions.
Here are 3 reasons to involve your whole family in budgeting:
Both Spouses Should be in the Know
In any couple, there is usually one person who takes the lead with finances and one person who is happy to hand it all over. It is important that the spouse who is ready to wash their hands of the finances doesn’t completely turn a blind eye. They need to stay in the know!
One very simple, and easy to understand reason both spouses need to know what is going on with your family budget and finances is in case of an emergency. If, god forbid, the budgeter in the family becomes incapacitated for any reason, the last thing you are going to want to spend your time doing is sifting through financial records you likely don’t even understand.
To keep both spouses aware of what’s going on in the household financially, we suggest making time to meet and discuss finances. Have your “Money Meeting” minimally, once a month. If possible, I’d even suggest doing it once a week. As your kids get older, have them join in, too.
It is definitely okay for one spouse to manage the budget. But the other should be 100% aware of what is going on and have complete access to all financial documents and materials.
Overall, I think both spouses should be in the know about the finances, whether one or the other physically manages it.
Teach Your Kids Valuable Skills at an Early Age
Looping your kids in on your budget is a good way to get the kids learning what it takes to run a household at an early age. This is a lesson they won’t ever forget.
I totally understand the desire to hide weakness or difficulties from our kids. Of course, we want to shelter our kids from any unnecessary stress and allow them to be kids for as long as possible. But, they should also enter adulthood with a realistic idea of how finances work.
This is why we recommend speaking openly about money, costs of different things, and bills in front of and with your kids. We also recommend including your kids in spending decisions starting at a young age, and inviting them to your money meetings as soon as they are old enough to grasp what is going on.
Since our kids were 4 and 6 years old, we’ve had them use piggy banks to start teaching them the concept of earning and saving their money to pay for things. Now that they are 9 and 11, we’ve been working on introducing the concept of budgeting to them.⠀
Kids that grow up in a home where money is discussed openly and honestly, become more conscious and responsible with their own spending and expenses.
One day, your future daughter or son-in-law will be thanking you for raising such a money conscious child.
What’s the Big Deal, Anyway?
This might be the simplest reason of all to get the whole family involved in budgeting. Ready for it… why not? What is the big deal? As far as I can see, there is no downside to getting the whole family involved in budgeting. It brings partners closer together, eliminates placing blame, makes everyone aware, and helps develop responsibility in kids.
Budgeting is not something to be feared or hidden. If you have family members who avoid budgeting, it’s likely a sign that they NEED to be budgeting. If you make budgeting a big scary thing, it will feel like a big scary thing. In reality, a good budget is actually pretty simple and easy to follow once you take the steps to put one in place.
Make your budget fun and speak about it openly – your whole family will rally together and really bond over budgeting. It might sound crazy, but trust me, it’s true – just look at my family!