Some couples find it challenging to sort out their financial priorities when they get into married life. As singles, they may be used to paying their apartment rent, grocery needs and utility bills only. However, after marriage, decisions that involve their future home, kids and retirement come into play.
These factors make it necessary for newlyweds to establish a financial bond right from the start. With money management, they wouldn’t have to deal with issues on finances that, in most cases, affect relationships. Here are some of my money-saving tips that can help establish a smooth-sailing and financially stable married life!
Money Management Tips for Newlyweds
I’m sure most of you would agree that money talk wasn’t at the top of your list when you and your partner got married. It may not be your favourite subject, but it is essential for marital success. Going through this phase allows couples to communicate, share ideas, plan and build trust. Let these tips help you get started.
1. Talk about your financial situation in detail.
Ideally, you need to discuss your finances with your partner before you get married or, if not, as soon as possible. As you would be handling money matters together from now on, you must be aware of each other’s financial needs and contribution.
At this stage, the goal is to identify your expenses and sources of income. Expenses may include basic needs, loans, investments, parent or child support, debts, insurance and other financial obligations. Your income, on the other hand, may be your separate bank accounts and savings.
When handling finances, it will be helpful if the couple has designated financial roles. For example, one of you can manage the budget and bill payments, while the other can be in charge of investments and loans. This way, both of you know how to maintain your finances, even if one becomes ill or incapable.
2. Discuss your bank account plans.
There are three ways on how you can go about this: (1) create a joint bank account, (2) have joint and individual bank accounts or (3) maintain separate bank accounts.
I suggest having a joint account for easier tracking of your expenses and budget. Joint accounts also help breed trust. However, if you have different spending behaviours or prefer some degree of independence, you can opt for both joint and individual accounts.
3. Create a budget based on your monthly expenses.
After identifying your expenses, make a list of your monthly budget to ensure that your income can pay for all your needs. Your list may include:
- Food, groceries and medicines
- Utilities (electricity, water, gas, internet service and phone)
- Subscriptions (cable TV, music streaming, publications and more)
- Home maintenance and mortgage
- Government dues and taxes
When you allocate your income, make sure that you set aside enough funds for your savings. By creating a budget, you’ll be able to determine whether you’re saving enough or if you need to cut cost to save more.
4. Try to stick to your budget and spending limit.
Your attitude towards spending also changes when you get married, which is a good thing as earning money now has more purpose and direction. Both you and your partner must understand the need for this change and agree on how you will adjust. For instance, if one of you frequently make impulsive purchases or use credit cards for non-emergencies, these habits need to be addressed.
One way to solve this, aside from having a monthly budget, is setting a spending limit. For example, if your spending limit for non-essential things or impulse buys is at $100, anything beyond that should be discussed first with your partner. Address this matter early on and make sure that both of you are comfortable with controlled spending.
Another way to help you stay on budget is to make smarter buying choices. For instance, you can wait for sales when purchasing expensive items, or buy groceries in bulk. You can cook healthier, homemade meals rather than order takeaways, and purchase enough perishable goods to avoid food waste. Also, choose natural cleaners or reusable items to save on expensive household products.
Then, to make sure that you’re not spending beyond your means, you can use apps for tracking expenses and income. I also like doing the old-school budgeting system, where I put a specific amount inside labelled envelopes.
5. Save for emergencies and your future.
All that saving will help you pay for unexpected expenses like natural calamities, major home repair, illness or job loss. Ideally, allocate about half a year’s worth of your household expenses for emergencies. Make sure that you place your emergency fund someplace that is readily accessible.
Savings shall also cover your future short or long-term goals. It can be a vacation abroad, dream house, business investment or retirement plan. I highly recommend having these goals as they give you something to look forward to and at the same time help you curb unnecessary spending.
Save Money and Work as a Team
Budgeting and saving money may require effort at first. But with communication and teamwork, these can help newly married couples start on the right foot. Make sure to pass these money-saving tips to your kids in the future!