Finances can hold power over people, especially a couple. Financial stress is one of the top 5 problems that newlyweds face. By budgeting together early on, and having effective communication, you can avoid that pressure. Social media makes us prone to envy, but understanding what you can and can’t afford is a vital part of responsible finance. There’s nothing wrong with not being able to afford a certain vacation or item of clothing. Living within your means can relieve pressure between you and your spouse, and ease your mental health.
While these were the major themes, I got plenty of other ideas from the people I interviewed. Here are some more of their tips:
- Before getting married, get a clear picture of the amount of debt you have as a couple.
- Create a one-year, five-year, and ten-year plan, then work together to stay on track.
- Set aside a percentage of your earnings to put into savings each month.
- Pay off student loan debt as soon as possible.
- Understand the spending dynamic between you and your spouse. Is one of you passionate about saving? Do you agree on what to spend money on? Best to keep the lines of communication open and avoid labeling your spouse a spender or a saver. This can affect the way you structure your budget.
- Don’t let one person bare the financial responsibility – work together and keep an open dialogue.
- While credit cards are often necessary – they can be dangerous if you are not disciplined in keeping up with your payments. Take careful consideration before using them, and do the proper research to find out which cards offer the best rewards for your family.
- Prioritize your spending on things that hold their value, such as investments in stocks and real estate.
- You don’t have to spend money to be of service. Donate your time, rather than your money, whether to your church, favorite charity or organization.
- Be patient – you and your spouse are sure to have different perspectives about money based on your respective upbringings.
The most important things to remember are to have honest communication, and be open to guidance from others in order to make the best decisions for your future. Don’t make decisions based on what you see others doing. You can have fun and make wonderful memories without spending a fortune. All it takes is a little creativity and planning.
“Financial fitness is not a pipe dream or a state of mind. It’s a reality if you are willing to pursue it and embrace it.” - Will Robinson