Managing family money is one of the crucial components of married life, but it can be pretty challenging to navigate, especially when you’re just starting out. While some people enter adulthood with excellent financial skills, others might feel overwhelmed by the idea of budgeting, saving, and wise investing. These mixed dynamics may lead to irrational spending habits or even heated arguments that can take a toll on the freshly-formed union.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid financial struggles and set your marriage up for success. If you want to be smart about your finances, you need to understand that managing your own money isn’t just about setting up a monthly budget. You need to learn to track both your incomes and make an effort to start saving as early on in your marriage as possible. It’s also important to take time to assess your financial goals and figure out how to handle your debts and credit cards responsibly.
This article will guide you through the essential money management tips that every newly-married couple can follow for financial bliss.
It’s impossible to budget or save money if you don’t keep track of how much money both of you earn and spend each month. Learning to keep track of these two on a regular basis is one of the vital steps for every newly-married couple. It’s also vital that you don’t view this as a way for one partner to control the other. Instead, try to think of it as a way to ensure financial security and fluency for both of you.
There are a few different ways to go about this. You can simply use pen and paper, create a spreadsheet on your computer using programs such as Microsoft Excel, or download a finance app on your phone to always have it at hand. Try to choose the method that will be easiest for you to keep updated.
This way, you will also be able to locate the areas where you can save some money each month. To figure this out, you’ll need to carefully list all your expenses, including all the loan payments or insurance. For instance, if you notice that you’re paying way too much for your current insurance, you can google phrases such as “Insurance Hero Expats cover” (depending on your individual situation) and get a quote to see whether it’s possible to get a better deal, especially if you haven’t thought about the topic for years – these things change pretty quickly.
Once you know how much money both you and your partner have coming in and out on a regular basis, you can try to create a realistic budget that the two of you agree on. This might require some serious and honest conversations, but it's all perfectly doable if everyone’s willing to compromise and accept changes. Creating a budget is essential as it’s a way to ensure that your spending doesn’t exceed the paychecks you both bring home.
Start by getting all your bills and necessary paperwork together. Calculate your combined income, how much you’ll owe each month in the essential payments, and what will be left when everything’s paid for.
If you’re unsure how to write this down, you can look online for some budget templates and handy calculators. While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to set spending limits. Try to talk with your partner and agree on a set amount that each of you can spend in a month without consulting the other first.
Do not forget to account for irregular or unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, and try not to be too strict or frugal with yourself – allow some wiggle room for occasional splurges or small things you might rather “want” than “need.”
Having an emergency fund is an integral part of finance planning, especially when you’re doing it as a newly-married couple, as too many things can’t be predicted. If there’s a medical emergency or one of you crashes their car, you certainly wouldn’t want to be left without no money to pay for the hefty bills. By making sure you have enough cash in your emergency fund, you can avoid any grim scenarios and have a way of dealing with sudden expenses.
Usually, financial experts recommend keeping enough cash in your emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of living expenses for the two of you. However, don’t worry if, currently, you’re nowhere near this amount or don’t think it’s realistic to save that much. It’s crucial that you at least try to start putting money aside and do it as soon as possible.
For instance, you can try to save around 10% of each paycheck a month. You can also choose to add saving for emergencies as a part of your monthly budget plan so that you won’t forget about it. The sooner you start building the emergency family fund, the better.
Getting out of debt is always a good idea, and that’s certainly something that newly-married couples should work toward, especially if they have some student loans or credit card debts.
Similar to building your emergency fund, the sooner you and your spouse start to pay off your debts, the better, as every dollar spent on something else is another dollar away from living a debt-free life. Moreover, when you pay off your loans and credit cards, it is so much easier to stay within your budget and have money left for other expenses and savings.
When you’re a married couple that’s working toward paying off their loans and debts, it might be helpful to establish a timeframe and priority for which debts to pay off first. You can also try to develop a debt payment schedule, research paydown options, and make decisions together, as well as stay transparent about your shared and individual debts and regularly talk about money and review progress.
Many newly-married couples experience trouble managing money-related problems, but this doesn’t mean that the same has to happen to your marriage. If you make an effort to prioritise budgeting and keeping track of your shared finances at the very beginning of your relationship, it will then make it so much easier to enjoy the financial bliss for years to come.
You can get your spouse involved in keeping track of your income and spending, sit down together and learn about the importance of having an emergency fund, create a budget that both of you can stick to, and develop a soundproof strategy to pay off all your debts and loans. Be smart with your finances and enjoy your marriage!