Chances are, if you were to ask a marriage counselor to share with you some of the biggest mistakes that couples make in their relationship, one thing they’re going to mention is they don’t make learning about finance a priority. They don’t go to marriage finance counseling. They don’t sit together to create a marriage finance checklist for their future. They don’t even look to see what they can do to get out of debt. And you know what they say: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to create an environment of financial harmony within your relationship. It does require doing a bit of research, investing a lot of time and cutting back on some of your spending. But if you follow these five tips, you can be certain that no matter where you might be when it comes to your current financial situation, harmony is well on its way. Between you and your spouse and between both of you and your bank account as well.
Here are some tips to keep your finance in check after marriage:
1. Talk about your strengths and weaknesses
It’s not money or even infidelity that’s the leading cause of divorce. It’s a lack of communication and honestly, you’re not communicating as well as you should be if you and your partner are not talking about money. Your spouse is there to help you to become better, even when it comes to finances. So, take out some time every couple of months to talk about one another’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money. It’ll be good for your relationship and your financial future.
2. Tackle debt
Saving money for a new television or car is fine but if you have a lot of debt, that money could actually be going to getting out of it. And anyone who doesn’t own student loans or credit cards will tell you that there is no freedom better than financial freedom! That said, sit down, look at your debt, decide what you want to get rid of within the year and pay off the smallest debts first. New things can usually wait. Besides, you’ll feel a lot better about purchasing them once you have your creditors off of your back.
3. “Buy” as much as possible
Credit cards can help you to establish credit, that’s true. Yet that’s only if they are used responsibly. If you’re trying to book a reservation, use your credit card. Otherwise, try and get into the habit of using cash for your purchases. If that sounds a bit foreign, look at it this way: Credit cards are loans. So, if you’re using them, you probably don’t have the cash. If you don’t have it now, it’s best to wait until you do later. Buying rather than charging means that you own it, whatever “it” is, flat out. No interest, no bills…no problem.
4. Create an emergency account
If you’ve ever paid attention to any advice from finance advisor Dave Ramsey, you might have heard him mention that it’s always a good idea to have an emergency fund of no less than $1,500-2,000. That way, should you have something like a household repair or your car breaks down, you don’t have to panic and/or rely on your credit cards to handle the situation. Cold hard cash will already be at your disposal. If you both get paid every two weeks and you both put aside $50 or so each time, you’ll have most of your account established within 12 months.
5. Shop together
It’s kind of amazing, the amount of couples who share a house and a bed but don’t spend time together making purchases for their home. You’re much more powerful together than apart; this is even the case when it comes to buying things. Therefore, make a point to do a lot of your shopping together. You can get one another’s input on what’s a better item, you can both scout out the best prices and you can also give advice on if something is truly necessary or not. This alone can create a lot of financial harmony within your home.
Finance after marriage needs some planning and demands that you spend time together as a couple. When done smartly, it can nourish your bond and create financial harmony at home.