8 Budget Tips for Newlyweds
Saying “I do” doesn’t just mean sharing a life together—for some couples it can mean sharing finances. Managing your combined money isn’t just a matter of opening a joint bank account and doubling the budget, it takes a lot of hard work. Here are some budget tips to help your marriage and money grow.
1. Be honest. Sit down and discuss your monthly pay. Don’t be shy or over exuberant. Since you’re sharing the bills, you also need to share the numbers and know that you can afford the lifestyle you’re living as a couple.
2. Create a monthly list. Identify all the shared expenses—mortgage, car payments, groceries, electric bill—and decide who pays which bills or how much to deposit into the shared account each month so the necessities are covered.
3. Talk about saving. One of the most overlooked money budgeting topics is saving for the future. To avoid a financial meltdown in your golden years, book an appointment with your bank or financial adviser to discuss 401K plans, IRAs, budget tips, and how to grow a fluid savings account.
4. Create a nest egg. You may be enjoying the newlywed lifestyle now, but in the future you may face a few huge financial commitments, such as starting a family or buying a home. Talk about how much money you want to put away each month for your future child’s education or the down payment on a house you can call your own.
5. Pay down debt. Vow to one another to pay off debt accrued during college or living alone before the marriage. You’ll flourish as a couple when you don’t have the weight of credit cards or loans hanging over your head. Start using coupons for groceries and buy gifts online to garner discounts via promotional codes and Internet-only sale prices. Put the extra dollars toward debt.
6. Set aside fun money. With all this talk about budgeting, it can be hard to imagine having much leftover for extras. But you should be able to enjoy yourself on a vacation or night out. When planned for, the extras won’t put a strain on your month-to-month responsibilities.
7. Be realistic. Just because your spouse begs for a new car or you want to jet off for a romantic weekend, you can’t always make purchases at the drop of a hat. That’s how credit card debt grows. Work as a couple to discuss and plan major spending choices before diving in without knowing how it will affect your bottom line.
8. Trim expenses as needed. If things are a little tight while you pay off the wedding or the honeymoon trip, make a few adjustments to your daily living. Limit yourself to one meal a week at a restaurant and pack your lunch for work the rest of the time. Carpool with co-workers to save on fuel costs. Buy favorite grocery items in bulk and shop based on the weekly grocery store sales, not cravings.