June is the most popular month for weddings and it’s right around the corner. You can practically smell the champagne and roses. For all those happy couples getting ready to tie the knot, you have been worrying about picking out, scheduling and paying for every piece of your big day, but there’s still plenty about your money to think about after your honeymoon.
1. Say ‘I do’ to sharing your financial situation completely
Before the big day, share your complete financial situation with your partner. It doesn’t have to be all the way down to how much you spent on food three months ago, but it should include any debt, your income, credit score and really any other problems you may have.
Finding out ahead of time works better than not saying anything until there’s a problem.
2. Finances don’t take a honeymoon
Congratulations! You’re married. Hopefully you don’t have bills piling up from your big day, but even if you do it’ll be alright. Have a financial plan and be prepared to put it to use.
A month after getting married, we had to buy a new car because my wife was in an accident. We certainly hadn’t discussed how much we wanted to spend on a car, what kind of car we needed and could afford, or what our options were when it came to shopping and financing what we didn’t have saved. Our budget didn’t have a car-sized hole to fit it into either.
Don’t be afraid to sit down and go over your needs as they come up in as much detail as you need. Everything might be great in the honeymoon phase, but life still happens, even to newlyweds.
3. Schedule financial discussions until you find a rhythm
If you’re not discussing your finances regularly, there will be a lot about money the two of you will sweep under the rug and try to forget. To start with, find a time each week to sit down and have a discussion about your budget, financial plan, or spending. Start with the easy conversations and go from there.
Pick a time that is at the beginning or end of the week when there aren’t too many distractions. Put it on your schedule and stick to it until it’s a habit.
4. Figure out how your partner views and uses money differently than you
Taking stock in your financial plan and prioritizing what you want it to accomplish can be muddled at first. Figure out what is a comfortable amount of savings for the both of you. Figure out where you’ll put extra money. Will you pay off debt or save for specific things? What expenditures are non-negotiable in their mind like visiting a certain vacation spot every year or some other tradition that costs money?
Putting your money on cruise control will only lead to your two individual thoughts and ideas clashing and usually an argument ensuing, not necessarily about money, but how to use it.
5. Share the financial chores
In a heartbreaking study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, families who eventually declared bankruptcy were interviewed. The division of what were minor financial chores became something much more difficult once a problem arose and those worries typically rested on one person.
The simple act of paying bills turned into having to micro-manage the household’s finances. Just to pay the bills, usually the wife, would also have to negotiate with debt collectors, research options (debt consolidation, counseling, bankruptcy, etc.), decide what and how much to pay, find where that money was coming from, and still watch over every penny like a hawk.
When financial struggles occurred, those chores become much more difficult. Determine a way to ease the burden before it gets to that point. Just because someone is in charge of paying the bills and doing most of the heavy work doesn’t mean there aren’t tasks that can’t be shared and things that need discussed.
6. Your budget sticks around
Paying bills and other monthly habits change like the wind, but the bigger decisions of saving for retirement, how many accounts you use, and your method of budgeting don’t change all that often. Don’t let your finances drift by without making a firm decision on how you want to manage your money and plan for your future.
The envelope budgeting system in Mvelopes is a time-tested way to not only limit your spending, but to track and control all your money better.
Better yet, the digital envelope budget doesn’t require you to only use joint accounts, you can keep them separate if you want and still see all your money in one place.
7. Be content with what you have
Happiness in a marriage comes more from feeling you have enough rather than needing more. Learn to be content and live with the money you have and don’t seek out more and more. The more content you can be, the more you won’t feel the urge to spend money on things that aren’t necessary.
Need help combining your finances? Want to start on the right foot financially? See how Mvelopes can help you get on the right track for your new life with a 30-day free trial.