As newlyweds, finances and budgeting may be the last thing on your mind - but it’s important to start your marriage off on the right financial foot if you want to keep your finances strong in the long-term. The following are 6 essential budgeting tips that will help you make those first financial steps together as a happily married couple.
Tip #1: Write down long term and short term financial goals
You and your spouse should get together and come up with both long term and short term financial goals. Think of long term goals such as saving a certain amount of money for assets like a new home, a car, or even a less tangible asset such as striving to go down to one income in case you have a child and one parent decides to stay home. Short term goals can include paying off a certain amount of debt each month or something more fun like having enough left over each month to see a movie.
Tip #2: Start building up your savings
You should start building your savings now! It’s never too early to begin saving together as a married couple. Your savings are going to help keep you financially stable and ensure that you have some money to fall back on when you get older.
Tip #3: Create and track a budget
It’s very important to create a budget together once you’re married. In addition to creating the budget, make sure you track it very well so that you don’t overspend or miss payments.
Tip #4: Create an emergency fund
It can be hard depending on your income, but you need some kind of emergency fund in order to have money to fall back on in case of an emergency. The sooner you start, the better! In general, you will want to build up a higher emergency fund at the start before you reduce the money allotted for emergencies in your budget in favor of traditional savings.
Tip #5: Avoid building unnecessary debt - and pare it down as quickly as you can
Credit card debt, student loans - these are things you will want to avoid building up unnecessarily, and things you will want to pare down as quickly as possible. Credit card debt can be particularly tricky, so start working on paying off your credit cards so you can remove that debt from your financial life.
Tip #6: Encourage open communication about finances
As newlyweds, you need to start sowing the seeds of healthy communication now: and it can start with your finances and spending. Encourage your spouse to be open with you about their finances and be open with them as well. It’s important for your spouse to feel like they can speak up if they disagree about something in regards to finances, and vice versa, to avoid conflict.
Remember, you want to start your marriage off on the right foot in every sense of the word - and that includes your finances!
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