Never in my 40+ years did I think that I’d actually consider a discussion about money a romantic date. But here we are. I look forward to Money Date Night as much as I look forward to an escape to a local winery with my most favorite person in the world. These monthly dates have created a space for us to talk about our dreams, however small or outlandish. They’ve kept us accountable to our goals, our bank account, and each other. Plus, they’ve helped my husband perfect his margarita skills: unexpected bonus!
Each month begins with me setting our monthly spending budget after completing and reviewing the month’s before. I then check our calendar, as well as what’s going on in our personal finance journey, to determine whether we’ll have a beginning-of-the-month or mid-month Money Date. Then, I’ll set an agenda.
The agenda always includes a review of our budget, where we stand on annual spending and saving, as well as a check-in on our accounts and future goals. But each Money Date must start with a fun ice breaker or silly game related to our financial pasts or our future together. Sometimes we play Would You Rather?, such as “Would you rather have an RV or a boat?” and “Would you rather travel annually to the same cool spot or go somewhere new on every trip?” Our answers to these questions often surprise us and lead to a fun conversation. Sometimes our dates start with a Top 5 icebreaker, such as “Name your top 5 vacation spots” or “Top 5 Possessions”. These lists can be eye-openers about what each partner values most. One time, our date began with what careers we envisioned for each of our children based on their personalities and led to a discussion about what resources would be needed to support them in their education or pursuit of these careers.
No matter how the date starts, these ice breakers or goofy games are essential to get in the mode of future-thinking, and they allow us time to imbibe on a few lime-flavored sips before we launch into the more detailed (and maybe less exciting) money talks.
Below are a couple sample agendas for our money dates:
Your Money Date can look completely different from ours, but I hope you’re having them regularly. There’s nothing easy about combining finances, spending habits, and future goals; it takes a lot of work to get on the same page and stay the course as a team. This requires practice and perseverance, as well as a large dose of constant communication.
The key is for money to NOT become a source of argument or resentment. Communication is the proactive move to prevent finances from developing into a relationship strife. However, if it continues to be an issue despite money dates and communication, maybe your money plan needs a a total revamp. Consider these options for sharing (and splitting) funds in a partnership. There are many ways to make it work, and because personal finance is personal, your way doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.