Why My Husband and I Do a Quarterly Money Checkup

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I review my finances regularly. Here's why.

When was the last time you sat down to calculate your net worth, assess your savings, or review your household budget? It's not the sort of thing a lot of us do every week.

The same holds true for me. As a busy working mom, I can only carve out so much time in my week for financial matters. But my husband and I do sit down for a financial checkup about once every three months. Here's why we do it.

1. It helps us stay on track for our goals

My husband and I have a number of financial goals. For one thing, we'd like to buy a second home -- something we've saved for over the years. We'd also like to build a nice retirement nest egg and set up funds for our kids' education. These things require us to manage our money efficiently, so sitting down regularly to do a check-up helps us see where we are and whether we need to do better.

2. It helps us identify where we're overspending

Because my income is variable and our household bills evolve, my husband and I feel it's important to reassess our budget from time to time. During our quarterly money check-up, we typically bust out our budgeting spreadsheet and compare what we planned to spend to what our bills have actually looked like. If we see discrepancies, we make adjustments.

As an example, we used to factor in $1,000 a month for groceries and household items like cleaning supplies and tissues. But that was when our kids were younger. These days, they have heartier appetites, so we've increased our grocery budget by $200 a month. But we've also cut back in other places to account for the higher food costs.

3. It keeps us accountable to one another

My husband and I mapped out a joint financial plan. If one of us strays from that plan, it hurts the other. A big reason we like to sit down and review our finances is that it helps remind us what we're working toward, and helps ensure that we're being fair to one another in our individual spending. For example, my husband loves getting new gadgets and electronics. But if I remind him we're trying to save for a big family trip, he's less likely to buy stuff he can do without.

While a money check-up may not be your idea of a rocking good time, it's important to do it nonetheless. This holds true whether you're in a relationship or living alone. You may not feel you need to do a quarterly money review, but you could aim to do one every six months, or at least once a year. These regular sit-downs do a lot for my family's finances, and chances are they might be helpful to you as well.

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