When you’re young and in love, the last thing that you want to hear is how you should or should not spend your money. It’s such an exciting time to be engaged or newly married. Whatever phase you might be in, we are here to tell you that making money a priority is such an important thing to do as a couple.
When Colby and I got married 8 years ago, my grandfather who gave us some premarital counseling touched on money for like maybe 5 minutes and that was it. Other than him, we had no one giving us advice and instruction on what we should do with our money. We were both in our early 20’s when we got married and had no clue about so many things in the money world. Now that my sister just got engaged, although we are no financial experts by any means, we thought we would give her some unwanted advice. Except she doesn’t listen to the podcast so she has no idea.
1. Start talking about money with each other early
Talking about money, in general, is weird, I’ll admit. It’s like opening your deep dark secrets that you would love had hidden away. But now that you have said “yes” to the question, it’s time to start the conversation now. Some questions to ask:
– How much debt do you exactly have?
– Do you consider yourself a saver or a spender?
– Who is going to handle the finances?
– How are you going to split your bank accounts up?
2. Create financial goals from the beginning
It’s good to know what you are prioritizing as a couple and what is important to both of you. It could be saving up for vacations, a down payment for a home, maybe you’re already into the investing thing. It doesn’t matter what it is, now that your couple, you guys have to be on the same page.
3. Don’t spend more than $50 without each other’s consent
This is a rule that we implemented very early on in our relationship that has made a huge difference. It means that we can’t be spending money behind each other’s back without the other person knowing it. I guess there are ways to get around this, but I’m going to assume that you’re an honest person in a trustworthy relationship.
By keeping to this rule, we have made all of our bigger purchases with each other’s consent. It helps create a barrier to impulse purchasing. Now you might be thinking, but my grocery bill is always over that limit or what happens if I have to pay gas? These things don’t qualify under this rule for us.
When it comes to birthdays, anniversary gifts or Christmas time, we don’t tell each other what we are buying. We always recommend going simple on all of these occasions from the beginning. We have chosen to go big on birthdays for each other. We don’t do anything for anniversaries and barely anything for Christmas. But for all of these occasions, we agree to a spending limit. Wouldn’t want your partner to go all crazy on you, even if it was out of good intentions and love.
4. Set up notifications on credit card/ debit card spending
This isn’t because we don’t believe that you’re going to follow advice 3, but knowing that a notification will be sent to your partner does help in sticking to the rule. More so, this is because no matter how hard you try, your card is going to get hacked one day. It seems as though the people who hack our cards love to buy shoes. The issue with your card getting hacked is that its a pain in the butt to get your money back. Sometimes you don’t. But by having these notifications can notify you sooner that something fishy is happening on your accounts.
5. Find ways to save money on rent
Rent, closely followed by loans will be your biggest bill that you will have to pay. I know when you’re young and in love, you dream about the place you will have together. How you’re going to furnish the place. But you need to ask yourself, how much time will you be spending at your home? Most of us work outside of the home. When you calculate all the time you’re away at work, nights out with friends and going on vacation, it might not be worth it for you renting that dream place. Be smart here. Ask if there are any alternative ways to live more cheaply?
With social media giving us a glimpse into so many people’s lives, you can find so many alternative ways to live. Maybe one of those seems doable. Maybe you’ll just rent out the basement of your in-laws. Find what you can work with. Save that rent money when you’re young.
Although we didn’t talk about this on the podcast episode, I do have to add one more point to this. If you’re on the search for your starter home, don’t buy at your highest lending amount. Sure you may qualify for that home loan, but those payments are going to hurt. It’s ok for your first home to be a starter home and not your forever home.
6. Make it a priority to get out of debt
As much as people are shouting from the rooftops to get your debt paid off, I feel like when we just got married no one in our social circle was worried about their debt. It was almost like it was normal to have debt and it wasn’t something that you should worry about it at that time. But that’s far from the truth, and I wish that we had known that sooner. We just did what everyone else was doing when it came to our debit. We weren’t aggressive about it, nor did we have a game plan about it. There are a million resources on the internet that will help you make that game plan. Research, and start paying.
7. Start creating multiple avenues of income
8 years into our marriage, and this is the one that we still are complete failures at. It’s only within the last 3 years that I learned about the importance of creating multiple avenues of income. I know that’s crazy, but it’s the truth. I always believed that if I lost my job, I could just get another one somewhere else. As I dive into analyzing people who are wealthy and learn more about finances, over and over again I come across this idea of multiple sources of income. Some people might call this passive income. How you want to go about it is up to you. Like advice 6, there are tons of resources out there to get you started.
8. Pull out $20 every time you go grocery shopping and hide it
I know this one sounds weird, but it’s something that we’ve done for a long time in our marriage. Colby has this thing where he wants to have a stash of cash around the house. It gives him a sense of security. It’s also convent when you need cash to pay for parking or when you go out to the farmers market.
We love this because it’s not a lot of money to strain your bank account. Yet, it adds up over time. The best part is that you can’t see it chilling around. It’s a mystery on how much you are saving, but you know you are. We have a tradition at the end of the year to sit down and count how much money we saved up just by doing this. If you want to take it a step further and put all the cash you get throughout there year in there, you can save more.
9. Start budget parties
If you’re curious as to what budget parties are, they are a specific time to go over your finances with your partner. We recommend at least once a month but twice won’t hurt. It’s time to see how you’re spending is doing. How are you saving? Do you need to make adjustments? It’s one thing to make a game plan, but you have to revise it over and over to make sure it’s working out for you. These parties allow you to have difficult conversations about money. Oddly it will bring you closer as a couple.
We always say make these meetings fun, hence the party. Order some pizza. Open up your favorite drink. Listen to good music. Whatever you need to do to make it more enjoyable. And one last thing, mark these down in your calendar until they just become a habit.
Well there you have it, the advice we wished that we would have gotten when we first got married. Funny thing is that 8 years later, we are still doing all these things. We desperately need to figure out advice 7 for ourselves, which is something we plan to focus intensely next year once we become debt-free. If you can take away anything is that we encourage you to prioritize money in your relationship. Make it one of the center pillars and things will be a lot easier.