Isn’t it interesting that when it comes to planning our weddings, we are extremely meticulous—right down to the color of flowers that we want in the ceremony and the place settings at the reception? And yet, when it comes to our marriages, there are many of us who don’t spend nearly as much time planning for our future whether it be spiritually, relationally or even financially.
Perhaps that’s why so many couples find themselves in really tough spots so often. It’s not because the love isn’t there; it’s that since there’s no plan in place, things end up getting so out of control that it’s hard to figure out how to find a balance. And when there’s not a sense of stability in a relationship, it’s hard to know what to do. This can especially be the case when it comes to finances.
If you and your partner have found yourself in dire straits more times than you would care to count, we want to provide you with some marriage finance tips in the form of a marriage finance checklist. These are just a few things that you should mentally make a note of on a monthly basis. That way, you can stay ahead of your financial situation so that it doesn’t end up overwhelming you.
Here’s a finance checklist you should consider:
1. Create a budget for monthly household expenses
Although they say that “home is where the heart is”, we’re pretty sure that you’ll agree that home is also where your house is. In other words, for security’s sake, it’s important to make sure that above all else, you have enough money set aside to cover your home’s monthly expenses. This includes your mortgage/rent, utilities, house insurance and also a couple of thousand dollars for repairs and home-related emergencies. Once you have a good idea of what your overall budget is, try and save twice that amount. That way, you’ll always be one step ahead.
2. Have a savings account (two actually)
Every couple should have two savings accounts. One is an emergency fund of no less than $1,500. This can take care of unexpected things like if your car breaks down or even if you lose your job and you need a bit of a cushion. The other is an account that’s devoted solely to your marriage. Money that you can use for a much-needed vacation or to use on a romantic spa day for two.
3. Pay down your debts
Virtually everyone has some type of debt and you definitely need to set some money aside to pay them off. Even if it’s only $25 per month towards a bill, by sending the money in, you’re showing your creditors that you’re taking some type of initiative. Plus, it can actually keep them from reporting you to the credit bureau which is always beneficial. It will help to prevent your credit score from being affected now—and later.
4. Go easy on the credit cards
Is there anything wrong with having a credit card? No. The problem comes in when you solely rely on the ones that you have to pay for things. Credit cards are not cash. They are loans that come in the form of little plastic cards. This means they have interest attached. So, you should really only use them for booking reservations, in the case of an emergency or to make a really large purchase. Otherwise, cash is always best. This one tip alone can save you thousands of dollars and keep you out of future financial debt.
5. Get a retirement plan together
There are a lot of published reports indicating that many people don’t ever expect to retire. Not because they don’t want to but because they can’t afford to. If you feel like you and your other half are two of those individuals, there’s no time like the present to put a retirement plan together. There is a wealth of information online that can walk you through the steps.