Although love should be the foundation of any marital relationship, let’s be real. When your finances are not in order, it can make you feel pretty insecure. And when that happens, it tends to affect—and in many ways even infect—your relationship. That’s why, whether you’ve been married for two years or 22 years, it’s always a good idea to put a plan in place when it comes to your finances.
Some people prefer to get some marriage finance counseling (always a beneficial thing) while others simply attend a finance seminar or read a few books or follow a few blogs from finance moguls. But whatever route you and your spouse decide to take, just make sure that you do make your financial stability a priority. You can get a great start by applying the following finance tips.
1. Write down your debt
When you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, it can be hard to get a real handle on your debt. You simply look at the bills as they come in and try and pay what you can. But when you’re not sure about how much debt that you have, interest can accrue, late fees can apply and your credit score can be severely affected. That’s why, it’s a good idea to sit down once a month and go over all of your household debt to see what you owe so that you can create monthly payment plans.
2. Pay ahead
OK, you might not be in the position where you can pay your mortgage or car note ahead, but you can pull it off when it comes to smartphones and water bills. Just knowing that you don’t have to worry about small bills coming in every month is a little thing that can put a huge smile on your face.
3. Set up automatic payments
There are two great things about setting up automatic payments for things like your utilities and cable bill. One is that you don’t have to commit to memory when things are due. Two, it’s a surefire way to avoid any late fees. And just think about how much money you can save by not having to pay $15-$20 for paying bills late every month.
4. Have a joint bank account
Although some people will frown on this, your spouse is not your roommate; they are your life partner. One great thing about sharing your world with them is they can help to hold you and your spending accountable. When both people are aware of how much money is in their joint bank account, this means that discussions can be had when it comes to spending, saving and future planning. And you know what? That’s a good thing. Far too many couples find out far too late in the game that their spouse owes thousands in credit cards or hasn’t paid a bill in months all because they keep their finances separate. You can support and strengthen one another by merging them together instead.
5. Create a savings account for your marriage
Whoever said “marriage is an investment” said a mouthful. It’s an investment of love, of time and yes, of your resources including your finances. Yet one mistake that a lot of couples make is not putting aside money for things like vacations with one another. Life can be hard, but knowing that you both are setting aside income so that you can spend some real quality time together can get you through its challenges. Remember, both of you saving $100 a piece each month equates to $1,200 by the end of the year. That’s a nice chunk of change for a romantic cruise or a road trip. And the best part is you’re spending cash rather than creating any credit card debt!
Follow these smart finance tips and you’ll notice a significant improvement in your marriage in no time.
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More by Shellie Warren