How Values-Based Budgeting Changed Our Relationship

Do you have a hard time agreeing on spending priorities, or getting on the same page? For some couples, values-based budgeting can help. Here's one story.


Brian and Nicole Crangle, both 29, have big goals for their finances. Together, the Orlando pair have focused on values-based budgeting to help achieve those goals.

Values-based budgeting is the idea that how you spend reflects your values. Those values could include starting a family, traveling, tithing, going debt-free — there’s a host of values to focus on. Instead of, say, relying solely on the advice of a single financial advisor, the goal for couples on value-based budgeting is to assess what values are important to them, and then budget accordingly.

The early years

Brian and Nicole are working on growing their own business Victory Development, a mentorship and leadership development program. Brian also works in admissions for a flight school, while Nicole works in leasing for an apartment community.

They married in 2013, and settled into financial habits without much thought. They owned their home and splurged on conveniences such as a home delivery dry cleaning service. Nicole had student loan debt, but they kept up with the monthly payments and didn’t worry about it paying it off faster.

A couple years into their marriage, some friends introduced them to values-based budgeting. Brian and Nicole admired the intentional life their friends had built and decided to give it a shot. The couple started by identifying their values and goals: Leave their jobs to work on their business, have a family, make an impact, and pursue freedom in time and finances.

What they changed

With their values in mind, the Crangles decided to spend less in many areas and more in a few strategic areas.

Brian cancelled his dry cleaning service, and Nicole traded expensive salon visits for $20 haircuts and at-home manicures with $2 nail polish. Nicole asks for clothes for her birthday and avoids the mall unless she needs something specific.

It’s not always comfortable or convenient, they say. However, they’re able to allocate more money for giving, savings, debt repayment, and expenses they value.

Opportunities to grow themselves and their business are a top priority for them. For example, they recently attended a leadership conference, opting to spend the money they used to spend on groceries on the conference instead. Nicole’s also investing in a personal trainer because she values her health.

The couple’s budget changes as their life changes. They record each purchase and check in weekly to see how they’re doing or make adjustments.

How their relationship changed

Brian and Nicole are enthusiastic about values-based budgeting because they say it’s changed nearly every aspect of their lives.

They say they now get excited about money and fight less because they agree on how they want to prioritize their spending. They’ve learned how to work together, communicate well, and navigate tough conversations about how to reach their long-term and short-term goals.

And, Nicole is leaving her full-time job soon to focus on their business, thanks to their budgeting.

Start the values conversation today in your own marriage today. For help, check out the tools from TogetherTM, brightpeak’s financial platform designed just for couples.