You just got married, and you’re ready to move on to the next milestone.
Buy a new car?
Purchase your first home?
There are many ways that you can begin your life together, but before you get ahead of yourselves, you need to keep an eye on your finances. Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to spending or else your honeymoon will be over before you know it.
To help start the conversation about managing money, here are six tips for managing finances as newlyweds.
1. Figure Out Your Financial Goals
Even if you and your newlywed partner enjoy all the same movies, foods, and music, you might not share the same objectives with your money. If one of you likes to spend more than the other saves, you can run into conflict. Talk about what both of you see for your financial futures.
Do you want to purchase a home or a vehicle?
What about starting a family?
These are important conversations to have with your partner. Once you outline what you want to save money for, you’ll have an easier time sticking to your budget, which brings us to our next tip:
2. Make a Feasible Budget
The word “budgeting” probably doesn’t inspire much motivation; it’s a task that many people dread. After you make your budget, you then have to follow it, which means cutting down on some of your favorite expenses (getting takeout, online shopping, and other treats).
You don’t have to record it with pen and paper—many apps help you budget digitally. When you have big financial goals in mind, like saving up for a down payment, you need to take it one month at a time.
Week by week, you’ll build up those savings until you’re ready to purchase, and all that frugality will pay off. But to get there, you and your spouse need to be on the same page about budgeting.
The keyword here is feasible—even the best budget will fall apart if it’s not realistic. Saving is important, but cut yourselves some slack to indulge once in a while.
3. Schedule Preventative Maintenance
This step won’t apply to you if you’re a renter, but if you and your spouse are buying a house, staying one step ahead of incoming repairs can save you money. An HVAC system inspection for new homes will help you spot major issues before you invest in a property.
Sometimes, you need to spend money to make money; that’s the goal of preventative maintenance. There are some appliances in the home that need to be maintained yearly, just as with a car.
A few examples include the furnace, air conditioner, hot water tank, and laundry appliance Considering how often you use these machines; it’ll be a lot of trouble if they break down. Schedule service for your main appliances to avoid buying frequent replacements.
4. Start an Emergency Fund
You never know when disaster will strike. In one survey, 36% of respondents cited finances as the biggest stressor in their relationship. The only thing you can do is prepare for the worst financially.
Starting a rainy day fund can significantly reduce the stress of uncertainty. Try to set aside enough income to pay for several months of bills. If one of you loses your job unexpectedly or falls ill, you want to know that you have some room to breathe in your budget.
An emergency fund will give you the peace of mind that you need. You can also invest in different types of insurance to protect your families, like life insurance or disability insurance.
5. Talk Openly About Your Finances
It can be awkward to talk about money. You’ve been told that communication is an important part of marriage—this is especially true when it comes to managing finances.
If you’re in the red, your marriage will be too if you aren’t forthcoming about it. Ask your spouse about any outstanding loans or debts. It’s best to have the debt conversation before tying the knot, but better late than never.
Once you’re married, your debts become theirs, too. Make a plan together to tackle your financial issues. There are some debts you should pay off first to avoid high interest rates. Even if one of you manages the money in the relationship, it’s essential to make sure your ideas line up.
6. Decide whether You want to Joint Bank Accounts or to Keep them Separate
Not everything in a marriage needs to be done together; if you prefer to live more independently, you can keep a personal bank account to yourself. Consider making a joint account for shared expenses like bills and groceries. Your choice may depend on your partner’s spending habits.
Keeping some money separate will prevent you from squabbling over the other person’s spending—if they’re using their money, it won’t impact you. The joint account in both of your names can be used for purchases that relate to you both. Another expense to join is if your jobs offer benefit plans.
Now that you’re married, you may be covered as a dependent on your spouse’s plan. If it has more inclusive coverage than what you have, consider switching to theirs and canceling yours to save money.
Getting married is an exciting and pivotal moment in life. If you make a comprehensive plan to manage your funds together, you’ll be better off as a newlywed couple.
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to partnerships. Sure, talking about money doesn’t make for the most romantic honeymoon conversation, but it helps ensure smooth sailing for the years to come.