Even though you are excited about your new life together, it is important to remember that budgeting is critically important for newlyweds. You may want to go out immediately reap all the benefits you can out of having a two income household, but that usually leads to massive debt and future money trouble.
Establish a Budget
No matter how good you are at adding things up in your head, it always helps to actually see things in print. Add up your combined incomes and make a list of both of your monthly expenses. Be sure to include debts like credit cards and student loan payments as well. Once you’ve established your budget, stick to it. Don’t add an expenses until you’ve dropped an expense or increased your income enough to keep your bottom line the same.
Include “Funny Money”
Include a reasonable amount of weekly spending money for yourselves in your budget. This should be your personal entertainment fund. It is money for each of you to use as you see fit. Another good tip is to use this money to buy each other gifts for special occasions instead of tapping into your joint money; after all, it isn’t a good gift if you blow you budget to buy it. In addition, set aside a weekly amount for entertainment time together.
Start a Joint Savings Account
Plan to put away money into a savings account that you never use unless it is an absolute emergency. If you start saving early in your marriage, you will be able to do things like buy a house and take expensive vacations when the time is right. Save now so that you can spend later without incurring debt.
Don’t Live Beyond Your Means
This is more than just sticking to your budget. Avoid extravagant expenditures in the early years of your marriage so that you can establish a comfortable nest egg. If you are both living paycheck to paycheck and/or racking up massive amounts of debt, you will pay dearly for when something inevitably goes wrong. Never get into a situation where spend more than you earn.
Before you spend any money outside of your personal “funny money,” you should discuss it with your spouse. Both people have to stick to the budget in order for it to work. Be open-minded and consider that you may have to occasionally rearrange your budget if there is something that your spouse really wants. By the same token, realize that your spouse may be giving you good advice if he or she says, “Honey, we really can’t afford this right now.”
Too many newlyweds make the mistake of trying to have everything they want all at once. Budget lean in the early years of your marriage so that you’ll have money set aside for when you want to buy a house or if you decide to have children. Goals are an important part of planning your life together, but you have to start off on solid financial ground if you want to reach them successfully.
Dona Collins loves sharing budgeting and financial tips with new couples. She is also enjoys employment counseling and often recommends temp staffing services to young couples looking for new employment opportunities. She’s a new contributor on 20 and Engaged.