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How to Be the Best Household CFO

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Here’s how I realized I was the household CFO (Chief Financial Officer) for my family…

It dawned on me that I do most of the buying at my house: I buy the groceries, I shop for the children’s clothes, and I plan our vacations. Even though my husband makes more money than I do, I am actually in charge of most of the decisions of what we purchase—from oatmeal to phone plans. My decisions really impact my family’s financial condition.

Having said that, how am I doing? Well… I could do better as our Chief Financial Officer. How about you? Wouldn’t it be nice to let the power you have as the “chief spender” propel your family to more financial security?

Here’s how to be the best CFO for your family:

1. Teamwork.

Talk about your CFO duties with you husband. If you already have a spending agreement in place, great. If not, define just what you’re in charge of. Try to be on the same page as your husband by asking each other these three questions:

What do you see as my financial role in the family?

What are your expectations of me financially?

What are our financial goals?

From there, do the following:

Go over the numbers. Together with your husband, look over your family’s spending habits, your standing bills, and your debts.

If money is a touchy subject in your house, look over these 8 Ways to Stop Fighting With Your Husband about Money.

2. Dream.

Talk with your husband about where you both would like to be financially one year from now. Then look at where you hope to be five, ten, and twenty years down the road.

3. Plan.

Okay. Now that you’re clearer on your CFO job description and your CFO powers, plan out how you will manage the money you control. Look for areas where you can cut back.

Also look for the areas where you can save. These 4 Tips for Saving Money can help.

4. Power up.

Once you have your plan, power up and power on. Remember, your habits directly affect your family’s financial present and financial future. Ask some tough questions. Does your son really care if his play shorts are new? Or would he be just as happy with some from the Salvation Army? Can you go a year longer with a standard smart phone, instead of trading up? 5 Ways to Avoid Spending Mistakes.

How are you with managing your family’s spending?


What do you think our family spends the most money on?

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