This post is sponsored by Capital One. All opinions are my own
When you’re trying to clean up your finances, one pill that might be hard to swallow is the expense of date night.
Sure, especially if you have kids, it’s important to get away and have some quality one-on-one time with your spouse… but it can get expensive quickly. Between a babysitter, dinner, and maybe even a movie, we’re easily talking $100 or more each time. Ouch.
So with that in mind, I want to propose an alternative.
Okay, so hear me out – because this is kind of a unique date night idea… but why not make your weekly budget meeting into a date night?
Not only will this help keep you motivated to stick to your goals even on date night, but it will also give you the opportunity to turn a mundane, not-so-fun task into something to look forward to. It means you can talk about and plan your budget without kids screaming in your ear (just me?)
How To Have The Ultimate Budget Date Night
So there will be two parts to preparation: preparing for the date and preparing for the budget. A great way to partner up on this is to split it up.
Since the average couple is usually made up of a natural saver and a natural spender, assign the actual date preparation to the spender and the budget preparation to the natural saver. If you’re pretty evenly split, go ahead and flip a coin 🙂
Prepare the Budget
The budget prepper will need to set up an actual budget and bring it to the meeting to be reviewed, adjusted, and agreed upon by the other partner.
If you don’t already have an established budget, this guide will help you get started.
In addition to having the actual budget ready, write out exactly what you want to cover in your budget meeting. The actual budget discussion should last about 20 minutes, so make sure to have an idea of what you want to discuss so you don’t lose track.
Whether this is your first time setting up a budget or not, you’ll also want to get an idea of your current spending habits. Where do you feel you’re spending too much money? Are there any areas of your budget that need work? Alternatively, are there any areas of your budget you’re totally rocking? You’ll want to talk about those things at your budget meeting.
Prepare the Date
The “date prepper” will need to decide on a time and a place (the natural saver may choose to set a dollar limit on this depending on how good the spender is at spending :))
I do want to make a quick suggestion on that one, though: see if you have a Capital One Banking Cafe nearby. I was in Short Pump Town Center in Richmond a while ago and saw that Capital One opened up a new banking cafe, and it’s awesome.
It’s like a bank, your favorite coffee shop, a tech store, and a life coaching center all rolled into one. And I for one love that it gets people more excited about taking charge of their finances.
But as a couple, it’s kind of the perfect venue for a budget date night. You can get dressed up, head to the coffee shop, grab some coffee and dessert, and talk about your goals together. You can even actually start funds as you sit there and work on your budget. You can just grab a host, ask them to open you a new savings account, and transfer the money in.
Plus, if you’re in need of some guidance, they offer free life coaching with a financial emphasis from certified life coaches.
At a banking cafe, you’re not only surrounded by like-minded people who will help support your financial goals, but they also sell delicious sandwiches and food as well as Peet’s Coffee (hint: coffee is 50% off for Capital One customers!). Win-win.
This place is seriously awesome – but if you don’t have one near you, don’t fret! You can still have an awesome budget date night elsewhere.
Review your budget.
Yes, it’s a non-negotiable part of a budget meeting 🙂
Take the time to go over where you think money should be spent and explain why.
As difficult as it can be at times, be open to the suggestions your partner makes. You’re a team! If you need help with this, this article may help you.
In addition to discussing the budget for the next week, don’t forget to talk about how you’ve done before (in a nice way, with no finger-pointing!) Celebrate your wins and figure out how to prevent mistakes from happening again.
You’ll ultimately want to come out of the budget meeting part of the date with a budget you’ve both agreed upon and decided you can stick to.
Talk about your dreams.
Here’s where your budget meeting is going to get fun. Talk in depth about the dreams you have together.
Do you dream of home ownership? Talk about what your perfect house would be like. What would it look like? Would you have a huge back yard? If you live in a place where you can’t have pets, would you get one if you owned a home?
If you dream of taking a vacation, talk about when and where you’d want to go – even if it seems unlikely. That’s half the fun of daydreaming!
Whatever your long-term goals are, spend some time daydreaming about them together, because when you focus on your goals as a couple, budget meetings can be hugely inspiring.
Plus, having clear goals in mind will help keep you motivated to actually stick to your budget!
That’s the whole point of date night, right? 🙂 Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it.
Enjoy the time you have with your spouse, enjoy whatever activity you’ve decided on, and enjoy whatever treats you’re enjoying. Just have fun!
Once the date is over, it’s time to put into practice the budget the two of you have decided on. Take the actions you’ve agreed on and make a commitment to stick to the budget.
If budgeting is new for you, remember to give yourself a break if you make mistakes. After all, it’s a skill like any other. It just takes time and practice to get good at!
Also, if the budget date night went well, by all means use this time to plan another 🙂
Budget meetings get a bad rap because people see them as limiting. While that’s true for a very short time as you work yourself out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, budget meetings are really just goal planning and then stepping it out.
In reality, budget meetings mean that the world is your oyster and you can do anything you set your mind to. What’s more romantic than that?