Financial Alignment With A Partner (& How We Do Our Money Dates)

alignment podcast Mar 31, 2024

I recently shared about my husband and I’s weekly money dates on Instagram and by popular request, I’m sharing all the details here. From navigating conversations about “doing money together”, what we had to let go of in order to find peace and alignment with money as partners, exactly how we do our money dates to the lessons learned along the way, I’m sharing an in-depth look behind the scenes.

The misalignment, guilt and pressure that led us to needed to re-evaluate and shift how we approached money together

It all started coming to the surface about 2 years ago, right before getting married (as I write this, our 2 year anniversary was yesterday!). We hadn’t really communicated about how we’d navigate money as a team (or not) and what each of our expectations/preferences were.

At the time, I was feeling a lot of guilt that I wasn’t making as much money as my husband and he was reflecting back that guilt/insecurity by feeling resentful and burdened by the imbalance. As this energy festered, it manifested in passive aggressive comments, avoidance and an unspoken disconnect in our relationship.

Releasing triggered emotions around money along the way

We knew something needed to shift so we decided to try having a weekly money date together to see how much we were spending and what we were spending it on. The first few months were intense because each money date would draw up all of the repressed emotions and tension, in order for them to be cleared. This turned out to be the biggest benefit of these money dates (at least to me!).

Over time, as I continued releasing the heavy emotions and coming back to a clear, neutral state, I became less and less triggerable over time. I no longer felt guilty or unworthy for contributing less; I felt at peace with what was. As time went on, I noticed my husband’s energy shifted too. The more I accepted myself and the situation, the more Trevor did too.

Through this release and a lot more honest, open communication, our dynamic shifted from guilt, pressure and resentment to deep appreciation for each other and peace with things as they were. 

How we do our weekly money dates

In case it’s useful, I want to share exactly how we do our money dates. This is not the “right” way or only way, it’s just one way that worked really well for us.

We did these weekly for a long time until we were in a good flow and now we do it monthly (sometimes more or less). Feel free to play with the frequency that works for you!

  1. Set up an empower personal dashboard (it’s free). Link all of the bank accounts, credit cards, etc that you want to track.
  2. Choose your spending categories (groceries, rent, mortgage, gas, utilities, etc) and set a budget for each category and the totals. 
    1. We tracked our expenses for a few months before setting a budget. This allowed us to use the averages from a few months of data to inform our budget.
    2. This is the google sheet we used to track everything. Feel free to use and adapt it for your needs if you’d like. I’m sure there’s much better ones out there but this has worked well for us and been easy to use.
  3. Have a weekly money date where you categorize and review all the numbers to see where you’re at in relation to the budget.
    1. We liked to make it fun by going to a coffee shop, putting on light music, lighting candles, etc.
    2. For us, it naturally brought up how we were feeling and what we needed to communicate about. You could also intentionally check in with each other at your money date and share how you’re feeling, how the process is working, any ideas for things that need to shift, etc.
    3. It was also a total game changer for us when we added a year to date number. This was just the monthly budget x 12. It was really helpful to compare what percentage of the yearly budget we’d spent to what percentage we were through the year (for example, if we were 30% through the year and 32% through the budget, we knew our spending was pretty aligned with our budget intentions overall).
  4. Do an annual check-in or reset (or more often if you’d like). 
    1. Review the prior year. Set intentions and a new budget for the new year. Share and communicate what’s coming up for you as well.

Lessons Learned Along The Way

1. Clear your side of the street 

 If any activated or heavy emotions come up for you, can you have the courage to feel them fully until they dissolve?

It’s easy in situations with other people, to feel like “if they’d just change this or be different in this way, then I’d feel better” but that keeps us trapped. Taking responsibility for feeling the emotions that are within us, is the best thing we can do for ourselves. 

As we find this peace within, we’re able to communicate more clearly, make more effective decisions, listen more openly, accept the situation and other people more easily and take more effective action (it’s getting to clarity rather than being clouded by emotions).

2. Have more honest, open communication

 Stuffing down how you feel and what your expectations are doesn’t help anything; it comes out in the energy and connection of the relationship. 

Share how you’re feeling. Ask how they are. Ask what their expectations are with money in a partnership. Share yours. If any emotions arise in these conversations, go back to 1 :)

3. A budget isn’t necessarily the answer to solving your financial misalignment with your partner. 

It’s just a tool that for us, forced us to come together, bring what needed to be released to the surface and get back into alignment. 

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that financial peace is not about getting it “right” or having a certain amount of money or hitting certain budget amounts and more about releasing any emotions that make it feel hard/stressful and flowing with your intuition to uncover what is most aligning from there. 

The budget will not solve your “problems”. But it may shed light on them and be a tool that supports you in more clarity and alignment, as you continue releasing the emotions that make it feel like a problem along the way.

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