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Finances for the newly married

Last post Thu, Oct 3 2013 12:36 AM by MRSOBRIEN. 7 replies.
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  • Mon, Jun 28 2010 1:20 PM

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    Finances for the newly married

    It's a new life with new responsibilities and new priorities, bringing two financial histories together as one. What would be your best advice, financially speaking, for newly weds? What is the best way to bring incomes and financial responsibilities together?

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  • Mon, Jun 28 2010 1:53 PM In reply to

    • Toni B.
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Apr 5 2008
    • Seneca Falls NY
    • Posts 3,826

    Re: Finances for the newly married

    For starters - Full disclosure of all debts and information regarding finances. In most cases that would be pulling credit reports and score for both people. Second: Know where you stand. No estimates - Know on how much income is coming in and how much is going out. Third: Short Term Goals - This would be a list of bills that can be paid off as soon as possible, bills you would like to cut down on or eliminate, establish a savings plan and agree on how to handle every detail of the budget (accountability) Fourth - Long Range Goals: Home purchase, Retirement and a proactive plan for your kids to get scholarships for college.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
  • Wed, Jun 30 2010 7:37 PM In reply to

    • Walt34
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Dec 17 2007
    • WV eastern panhandle
    • Posts 1,406

    Re: Finances for the newly married

    Talk a lot about life's goals and priorities. That was a mistake I made in the first marriage, not doing that. She did say that she wanted to take trips, but I didn't know she was going to keep us flat broke taking trips!

    Watch carefully how the other handles money, and see if what they say is consistent with what they do. Does he or she spend impulsively, yet insist that their spending choices are well thought out? If so that should be a huge red flag if you're not comfortable with that. Or conversely, if the other feels that an occasional restaurant meal at any place more expensive than Micky D's is simply out of the question and a waste of hard-earned dollars, be sure you're comfortable with that value.

    Is the other equally meticulous (or sloppy) in paying bills when due? Money gets to be such an emotional issue in marriages because it's not about dollar bills, it's about respecting and honoring each other's priorities.

    A "budget", "spending plan", "bucket list" - whatever label you want to put on it - is not about money. It's about negotiating - and being willing to negotiate - priorities.

    That assumes, however, that each has the maturity to realize that loans have to be paid back, plus interest, and until it is paid back, other interests and priorities will have to be curtailed by an equal amount.

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Money Management
  • Wed, Jun 30 2010 8:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances for the newly married

    I think it should be discussed before marriage from my own exp. he owed $8000.00 which I had no clue NEVER AGAIN but also nowdays it's pretty easy to pull a credit report on someone which wasn't the case at the time.

  • Wed, Jun 30 2010 9:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances for the newly married

    beefore getting hitched I recomend this make sure you all are taking care of old debpted this happened to me dh now x came in with a heavey debpt wow took 10 years to pay off we could have had a nice house to the debpt he was in me I had no debpted when married so he who laughs first will laugh last. Some old guy told me that saying guess it was my old fart dad.

  • Fri, Jul 30 2010 2:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Finances for the newly married

     1. Don't buy rings that are too expensive

     2. Don't have an expensive wedding

     3. Don't have an expensive honeymoon

     4. Don't splurge too much on eating out, entertainment and other things to celebrate your marriage

     5. Have joint accounts wherever possible

     6. Share account information where joint accounts aren't possible

     7. Budget from the beginning

     8. Don't wait until the last minute to pay bills

     9. Talk openly about money, since it's a big stressor in many relationships

    10. Work together - for example, if a woman is used to weekly pedicures or a man is used to nightly meals out but they can't afford it as a couple, compromise

  • Fri, May 10 2013 7:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Finances for the newly married

    Layout everything on the table. Inform each other of your debts, how much money you both are making and how much money is going out. Conduct a credit check and determine where you stand financially. Make a list of your debts and financial responsibilities, prioritize them and pay them off as soon as possible. Establish a savings plan that you both can agree on and do not put off making long term goals such as retirement and educational plans for your kids. Hopethis helps!
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  • Thu, Oct 3 2013 12:36 AM In reply to

    Re: Finances for the newly married

    Well, if you're not married yet I would STRONGLY advise premarital counseling. Our church made us do 10 sessions with an older couple who had been married a minimum of 20 years while reading a book and workbook together over several months. It brought up a lot of issues and differences that we worked through, like money and family differences. Family always influences money, so we discussed how our parents handled money in great detail and read Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud. We were both in agreement with Dave Ramsey's philosophies on money for the most part and agreed beforehand how to handle tithing and charitable giving. If you're Christian, my husband and I also recommend Sacred Marriage. If you're a Christian entrepreneur, we recommend Larry Burkett's book, Business by the Book. You should also agree on financial roles. I keep an eye on our spending, do all the shopping and meal planning, and handle all of our travel planning. My hubby pays all the bills and keeps track of the software side of our finances, interfaces with our accountant, and handles our retirement accounts. Practically, we combined our finances a few months before the wedding. Basically we picked his credit union (USAA) over mine and just had me added to his existing account. I ported over my money to the account and all the money and debts were "ours" from day 1. We added each other as beneficiaries to all of our retirement accounts and insurance policies and looked into life insurance right away. We got a safe deposit box at the bank (Chase gives free ones to military members and veterans) to put all of our important documents in and kept scanned copies of financial documents (marriage license, last year's tax return, etc) on hand. Execute a quick will and healthcare directive - a really basic one is just fine - early on in your marriage so that everything is handled in case of emergency. If this seems like overkill, know that I had a life-threatening health situation a little over a year into our marriage! These things happen! In terms of spending, keep all of your housing costs (including utilities and insurance) to under 25% to 30% of your income. Right now, our housing costs are about 20% of our monthly income. Keep a good eye on how much you spend on eating out - all the "cheap" dinners and coffees add up. Meal planning alone slashed our grocery bill in half. We cancelled our cable and use our Apple TV to stream Netflix, Hulu, and professional sports. I also watch shows on Amazon Prime. We drive used cars that are paid off or were purchased cash and maintain them regularly to avoid expensive repairs. We buy a lot of healthy food in bulk at Costco or at the farmer's markets and pack our lunches every day. We don't spend a lot of money on hobbies or going out, but we will go on a nice date once a month and try to go on vacation for a week each year. Never, ever go without health insurance - even if its just the catastrophic kind, have something in place. As for budgeting, we go out to dinner somewhere at the end of the month and write up a budget sitting in a restaurant booth. Its a nice to have someone cook your dinner while you can chat about more important things. We deduct all the mandatory and largely static expenses from our income (housing, gas, tithing, student loans, utilities). We also automatically transfer a set amount every month towards our "slush fund," which funds any car repairs, gifts, travel, and charitable giving. We try to spend as little of the slush fund as possible so that we're never short on Christmas money or caught off guard by expensive SUV maintenance. Then we budget for our planned or expected expenses for the month. For instance, this month I have to replace a cellphone and get new glasses and hubby needs 2 new shirts and a new sportcoat for the office. Then we budget for a little pocket money and set a budget for "household expenses" which is a catch-all pot that includes groceries, toiletries, household cleaning supplies, beauty, etc. The "household" pot works for us because if I spend too much money on groceries during the month, I know to reduce my spending in other areas. Any remaining money we throw on our student loans, which is our biggest financial priority. We take all of our employer matching for retirement, but otherwise EVERYTHING else goes to the student loans. Once the loans are paid off we'll throw a lot more towards retirement and hopefully save for a house, but for now, I work for Sallie Mae! Once its all written out, I come home and input it all into Mint and Quicken to track over the course of the month. I track our spending every other day or so and then review how we did at the end of the month before our budget meeting. We also hold quarterly "family meetings" to set bigger goals and see how we're progressing.
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