Before we started doing weekly budget meetings, every month felt like a dance with the devil when it came to our budget. It’s not that we weren’t necessarily following our budget, but that we never really knew how much money we had left at any given time. When we first started using a budget, we signed up for an account on Mint to help us track our spending. However, an online spending tracker doesn’t do anyone any good if you don’t look at it.
We would watch the bars on on our budget fill up until they turned red (meaning we had overspent in a particular category). Then, we’d sit down together at about the 15th of every month and realize we had barely enough money left to get through the rest of the month. We didn’t remember what we had spent, if we had pulled any money from our budget envelopes during the month, and we weren’t always sure we would make it to the end of the month without being in the red.
It is not enough to simply create a budget. If you struggle with sticking to a budget, this is perhaps our hardest struggle, then you can’t leave it to chance and hope that you didn’t spend outside of your spending categories each month. For months, we ate out more than we’d budgeted for and had no idea where we’d pull the extra money from. When I would go shopping for groceries each week, I had no idea how much money was actually there for me to spend. For months, I blamed our budget for not doing it’s job. However, the reality was we needed a new way of holding ourselves accountable. If this story sounded all too familiar, here is how (and why) you need weekly budget meetings.
How (and why) You Should do Weekly Budget Meetings
1. Pick a Date and Time
Our weekly budget meetings take place every Saturday or Sunday depending on our schedule. We decided to schedule ours on Sundays so we could start each week with a fresh perspective on where we stand with our budget, and so I’ll know what my budget is for our grocery shopping trip on Wednesday. Pick a day and time to sit down with your significant other, and make sure to sit down every week and discuss your finances.
2. Remove all Distractions
Make sure wherever you choose to hold your weekly budget meeting is free from any possible distractions. Don’t leave the TV on in the background, or have your meeting while one of you is busy doing something else. For example, last week when we held our budget meeting, we were sitting on our bed together away from the TV and any other possible distractions.
3. Come to each Meeting Prepared
Prior to each meeting, I get my bill tracker, budget envelopes, our budget (if we’re thinking of making changes), expense trackers, a pen, and paper while my Fiance is looking up our credit card balances and bank account balances. While he is searching for the numbers, I will pull any expenses that need to come out of our envelopes to have ready. We do this every week, and each of us knows what to do. Make sure each person knows what they are responsible for prior to each meeting. This will make them run quicker as well. Our weekly budget meetings usually only take a few minutes.
Since we have started our weekly budget meetings, we have felt more in control of our money and our budget. We are no longer scraping by at the end of the month or freaking out when we’ve run out of money halfway through the month. One of my New Year’s Resolutions for the year was to stay on budget every single month, and so far we have been able to stay on track with this goal by doing these weekly budget meetings.
We always know how much money is in our bank account
One of the scariest parts of our budget used to be the fact that we never knew how much money we were working with till about halfway through the month. Since we’ve begun our weekly budget meetings, I always know exactly how much money I’m working with each week, and I know whether or not I need to adjust our budget. While looking at your bank account might be a scary thought, it’s not nearly as bad as not knowing whether or not you are overspending.
We know where we stand on our financial goals
As a couple, you should be creating short term and long term financial goals. During our weekly budget meetings, we also discuss where we stand on our short and long term goals. One of our big goals for this year was to spend our honeymoon in Hawaii. That isn’t exactly what you would call a cheap trip. However, through budgeting and living frugally we were able to make this dream a reality! During our weekly budget meetings, we would discuss how much money we still needed to save for our trip and how we were coming on these goals.
Sticking to our budget is probably one of the hardest parts of living on a budget for us. However, by using weekly budget meetings to our advantage we always know whether or not we are on budget, and where we stand each week with our finances. If you don’t already do weekly budget meetings with your significant other, give it a try and see what happens.