6 Critical Financial Tips for Newlywedsadmin
From the very beginning of your marriage, you want to set yourselves up for financial success. The decisions you make in these early years of your marriage could set the tone for your overall financial success long after the wedding is over. But where do you start? Whether you’ve always adhered to a strict budget or you’ve tended more toward spending heavily, getting married can change your financial outlook in a major way.
1. Talk about money early.
Ideally, you want to talk about money with your spouse before you get married. If you’re already living in newlywed bliss, now is the time to sit down and have that discussion. You want to be on the same page about your finances from the beginning to help avoid arguments and stress down the road.
Your spending habits.
In most relationships, you’ll have one partner that is a saver and one that’s a spender. That doesn’t necessarily mean that either of you is reckless with your money, but it does mean that one of you is likely more invested in saving than the other. Talk about it. Get to know your partner’s spending style compared to yours. Simply understanding your new spouse’s spending habits can help you make vital financial decisions together.
Did you bring debts into the marriage? If so, lay them out clearly. Make sure both you and your partner know where you’re coming from.
Your financial history.
Talk about past spending mistakes and where you’ve both been, financially speaking. If she grew up in poverty, she may have a tendency to feel panicky when the bank account dips below a certain level. On the other hand, if he grew up in an affluent family, he may be used to spending whatever he wants and turning to his family when he doesn’t have enough to handle his expenses. A look at each other’s financial history can help you be more understanding when conflicts do arise.
2. Set financial goals together.
Do you want to own your own home? Have plans to get pregnant? Need to replace one of your vehicles in the near future? What about major purchases like big trips or other exciting investments you want to make? Set financial goals together early in your marriage and plan how you’re going to make them happen. If, for example, you’re planning to buy a house together, it can make it easier to skip those meals out and eat a romantic meal in on the couch instead. Setting big financial goals also helps ensure that you’re on the same page when it comes to your finances, so that one of you isn’t spending constantly while the other one is saving hard.
3. Put together a budget.
Even if only one of you handles your finances–and it’s perfectly fine for one partner to take responsibility for making sure that the bills are paid on time and that you can make ends meet until the end of the month–both of you should have a solid understanding of your monthly expenses. Make sure your budget covers everything from food and lodging to entertainment expenses. Get in the habit of budgeting in at least one date night a month now, even if that means cooking a special meal together and watching a movie in your own living room. Starting that habit early will ensure that you always prioritize one another!
4. Make sure each spouse has a little spending money to call their own.
Many spouses have an agreement that if they spend over a certain amount of money, they have to clear it with their spouse first. Some share a single bank account. Others choose to link their accounts, but allow each partner to handle their own money.
Regardless of what setup you have, however, make sure each partner has a little spending money to call their own. Account for it in the budget. That money is their money, to spend however they like. It doesn’t matter if he chooses to use it to stop at his favorite coffee shop on the way to work every morning or she saves it up for a big splurge at the end of the month: that’s money that each spouse can use according to their needs and desires, rather than having to explain that spending to the other.
5. Commit to not arguing about money.
Money causes, on average, 31% of arguments between couples. It remains the most common source of disputes in many marriages. Commit early to not arguing about money. Sometimes, you’re going to have disagreements, especially if you have very different spending styles. However, by talking about money early and often and committing to work out your differences, rather than fighting about them, you can avoid a large percentage of those disputes and a lot of the tension in your marriage. Instead, discuss your finances calmly. Check in regularly so that you both understand your financial status and plans.
6. Start saving early.
As soon as you can, start setting aside a percentage of your paychecks in savings. As you combine your income for the first time, you may have more wiggle room in your budget than ever before. This is the perfect time to start setting aside money for future expenses. First, make sure you have an emergency fund in place: ideally, one that will cover a month’s expenses. Continue to set money aside as a cushion against future emergencies. Setting that habit early in your marriage can help you successfully navigate many of the financial challenges that may arise throughout your lives together, from injuries to layoffs.
7. Don’t hide spending from your spouse.
Once you’ve made an agreement with your spouse, stick to it. Don’t make splurge purchases out of your savings account or sneak around behind your partner’s back and make purchases that you don’t need. If you do make a mistake–an impulse purchase that cost more than anticipated, for example–own up to it and commit to doing better in the future. You’ll find that honesty can help smooth over many mistakes and get you back on the right financial track together.
By talking about money and dealing with it effectively from the early days of your marriage, you’ll find that it’s easier to stay on the same page with your spouse throughout your marriage. If you do end up in a financial bind, contact us to learn more about how a cash loan can help you bridge a financial gap and take care of emergency expenses and bills.