16 Financial Tidbits for Newly Weds

April 19, 2010

My neighbors’ son is getting married in June. Thinking about his wedding, made me think of all the “advice” I have for this couple.

I have a few things I can share from my own experience of being married nearly 17 years:

1. PATIENCE! It takes time for your finances to grow. When I moved to Texas in 1992, the ONLY stuff I brought with me was what I was able to fit in my 1988 Buick Skyhawk. Nearly 18 years later, we have a house full of stuff!

2. Don’t rush into any large purchases. Give yourselves time to adjust to married life before you decide where to live or what to drive.

3. DON’T GET INTO CREDIT CARD DEBT! Avoid it like the plague. You’ll be thankful you did.

4. Create and stick to a BUDGET! It doesn’t have to be super-detailed and it doesn’t have to ruin your life. However, you need to have a grasp on where your money is going.

5. Put money aside for emergencies—even if it’s a small amount. It’s amazing how even a small cushion of a few hundred dollars can help in times of need.

6. Start saving for a down payment on a house as soon as possible.

7. Start saving for retirement as soon as possible. DON’T LET THE ASSET OF TIME GET AWAY FROM YOU. Even if you can only afford to save a small amount each month, save it.

8. If your finances are tight, cut out what you don’t need. My wife and I went without cable for many years.

9. Give each of you an allowance that can be spent on anything you wish and don’t criticize each other’s purchases.

10. Have a grocery budget and plan meal menus.

11. Take your lunch to work.

12. Buy some term life insurance.

13. Sit down together and write out a list of financial goals and talk through the prioritizing of those goals.

14. Decide whether or not you’re going to tithe or give to charity.

15. Seek financial advice from your parents (as long as they are good role models).

16. Read some basic books on financial planning and investing. A great place to start is Jeff Opdyke’s Financially Ever After: The Couples’ Guide to Managing Money and Bill Schultheis’ The New Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get on with Your Life*. I have not read Opdyke’s book but am very familiar with his style, having read his columns in the Wall Street Journal.

Thoughts? What would you like to offer?

*Affiliate links

9 responses to 16 Financial Tidbits for Newly Weds

  1. I always see the word “budget”, which got me to thinking that I’ve never really used one in an ordinary way. What I’ve always done is intended to spend as little as possible on anything/everything for quality and value. At the same time, I’ve tracked every penny spent by category for years, using a DayTimer system. Every month I do accounting, and have past months and years to compare to. In the beginning, if I found I spent to much on (for example) food and non-food groceries, I would look at the receipts to see how I could save – by eliminating some purchases. This is also a way to “trade off”. If you want something out of the ordinary, you can figure out how to get it by doing without something else. This can make it seem as though the special something cost much less, and it is an exercise in personal priorities. Beyond that, always be open to spending less. An example of this is that I spent 12 years using Verizon Wireless for cellular service. At the beginning, my plan was $19.99 monthly, but when I was forced to upgrade to the digital network, my plan was $35. I found out about prepaid PagePlus cellular, and was able to switch and keep the same network. Now I typically pay $11 monthly for service. Because of this, my husband got a cell phone as well and we still spend less than previously.

  2. If I were getting married I would try to reduce our expenses so we could live off of only one person’s income. I would use the other partner’s income to fund retirement accounts and emergency funds. Then, in the case of a job loss, all your expenses are still covered plus you have a large (hopefully) emergency fund to get you through any unexpected costs.

  3. AMAZING LIST! I agree with each and every one up there…the only one I would add is for the *really* newly wed…

    Separate out those presents of friends you know getting married shortly after you. It isn’t *your* money and there is a huge weight lifted off your shoulders when you get to go to a wedding without worrying about the amount you are giving as a present.

  4. Here’s the best advice: Don’t get married until your financially sound and you can support both yourself and your spouse.

    Let’s face it: the number one reason for divorce in the US is financial problems. Why risk it? Even if you love someone, these problems are bound to creep up.

  5. Margin – it’s all about margin. Without margin in life, whether we are talking money, the speed you drive, or time, you will be stressed.

    Remember – the greatest invention is compound interest. Let it be your friend.

  6. Might want to include something about the potential financial responsibility of children, as they will be your biggest expense ever in life.

  7. Great list. As a newlywed, I’d suggest that newlyweds get to know Dave Ramsey and go through his Financial Peace University. The best thing you can do for you finances (and relationship) is to be on the same page with your goals. Communicate about money!! Thanks for the blog!

  8. I would have #14 at the top…pay God first.

    This teaches a life of service, to give more than spend.

    Agree w/ saving early when you first start working. It’s amazing how no matter how much more money we make, we always can find a way to spend it.

    Definitely avoid debt of all kinds if possible. Otherwise, you are a slave to whoever has the lien.

    Good topic.

  9. married life is the happiest part of a persons life if the wife and husband really love each other*.*