Married life means less disposable income. This fact may come as a shock to singles who are used to blowing away their entire salaries on vacations, gadgets, and other indulgences. Now, bills are your priority and not being able to deal with this new setup can put a strain on your relationship.
Avoid a bumpy time together by doing things right from the start. The following are some common financial pitfalls couples fall into:
- Doing the money talk too late in the marriage. Procrastinating on this may haunt you later. Lay everything out on the table early on. Pay particularly close attention to luxuries that you think you can’t live without. That morning cappuccino from your favorite coffee shop? Stacey Kelly from CreditDonkey says, "You can take care of a utility bill or two from the annual savings when you give that up." Give unnecessary vices up as a token of your concern for the relationship.
- Talking about money matters takes an even more serious tone when the both of you are in debt. Couples tend to settle their individual debts separately. What they should do instead is to tackle them as a household. Take credit card debt for example. One of the highest interest rates one can encounter come from credit card finance charges. If one partner has outstanding credit card obligations while the has a long-term loan to worry about, the credit card debt needs to be prioritized. It is easier to take care of obligations together, one at a time, provided you can choose which ones to settle first.
- Most couples think that they both need to work in order to sustain the lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to. Do you really need two incomes? Before you answer, sit down and take note of your combined salaries and compare them with your expenses. Now, take away those expenses that you will not need with a partner staying at home. The trouble with going out to work for money is that you spend money even before you get your first paycheck. Gas, eating out, daycare, babysitters, housekeepers, handymen, even your work clothes. You forego every single one of these expenses when one of you mans the home front. Do the math and then decide.
- Nobody wants to think about problems, but you have to prepare for them. There is nothing more devastating – both emotionally and financially – than the loss of a spouse. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is to pretend that it won’t happen to you. You have to be prepared for the worse and set something aside. In fact, you must set aside your savings as soon as you receive your salary. Planning to save whatever is left at the end of the month will net you pennies. Couples with children need to be doubly aware of their financial position. Take salaries, assets, debts, and other financial matters into consideration when drawing up long-term plans.
- The last common mistake couples make happens even before they exchange “I do’s”. the average U.S. wedding in 2009 costs $30,860. This amount can do a lot for a young couple just starting out. Planning an overly-lavish wedding can lead to debt so early on in a marriage. Even simple ceremonies can quickly balloon up and get out of hand. What you need to learn from financial experts is to always do your homework. Spend time shopping around for alternative services. Planning a wedding can take months – even as long as a year if you want to do it right. And by right, I mean on a budget while still being special and memorable.
- Shallow as it may seem, a marriage can be strained to the breaking point with money problems. The experts at CreditDonkey, an online credit card applications website, says, by ingraining positive money habits, you are spared the headache of financial woes. This opens the both of you up for enjoying every moment together. Be sure to read the latest review on costco credit cards to see if it's right for your family.