In the United States alone, over two million couples get married each year. While being a newlywed comes with lots of fun and exciting moments, it can also come with some challenges as well. No matter how long you and your significant other have been together, transitioning to life as a married couple requires a new level of flexibility from both people. As you and your new spouse embark on your journey through life together, creating a budget now will help you avoid some serious conflicts down the line. Here are 6 tips for budgeting as a newlywed.
Have an Honest Conversation About Finances
Money is always a sensitive subject, even between people who love and trust each other. Ideally, this conversation will happen before couples tie the knot, but if not, it’s an important question to have at the beginning of the marriage. Understanding each other’s spending habits, debt, credit scores, and salaries are essential to bring up during this conversation. You may also want to decide who will be responsible for which household expenses. Will you split everything down the middle, or will one person be in charge of paying specific bills?
Determine How Much You Want to Spend on Living Expenses
For many newlyweds, getting a new place together is one of the best things to look forward to. However, it’s important to keep finances in mind when looking for the perfect place. You’ll need to decide whether renting or buying makes the most sense for your lifestyle and your budget. Having an idea of how much you can afford to spend on living expenses in the near and distant future can help you determine whether renting or buying is best for you.
Create an Emergency Fund
Life is unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible. Setting money aside for an emergency fund will give you a cushion in the event of an unexpected situation such as an illness, a major home repair, or unemployment. Saving up about 6 months’ worth of money for household expenses will help relieve stress on yourself and your relationship should something happen.
Come Up with Goals
The wedding may be over, but there’s still lots of planning that needs to be done. Is there one debt in particular that you’re really hoping to pay off? Is your spouse saving for a new car? Making a list of your long term and short term financial goals can help you decide the best ways to budget your money. Writing the list and reviewing it on a regular basis can help couples stay on track with achieving their goals.
Manage Personal Expenses
Joining finances might seem like the first logical step when it comes to managing money as a couple, but it’s important that neither spouse feel the need to micromanage the other’s spending. Although a joint account is useful for managing shared expenses, each partner should have an individual account where they can take care of their own finances.
Identify Areas Where You Can Cut Back on Spending
Are there any areas where you or your spouse could cut back a little? If so, you two can make a list of you usually spend money on that are no longer necessary and get rid of them. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save by removing seemingly small expenses. Being on different pages when it comes to money is one of the leading causes of marital issues. Help your relationship get off to a strong start by following the tips above.
Guest Writer: Amanda Turner