These tips will help you create a financial planning foundation as a couple, and will serve you well throughout your marriage.
Discuss your finances from the start
Early on, have an open conversation about your existing debts and your long-term savings goals. Don't worry about whether it's a romantic topic—just be practical. This way, you'll have fewer surprises later on, and you can start helping each other save for the future as soon as possible.
Trim your monthly bills to the bare minimum
Make a list of your essential recurring expenses. This should include items such as your housing, transportation, groceries, utilities and debts. Now cut the rest from your budget and see how much you really need. For example, you might save a lot without your gym membership and cable subscription. Most likely, your wedding plans are a higher priority. No matter what, you're in charge here, so choose your best options.
Set spending limits together
You'll both be tempted to spend a little more than usual when you're newly engaged. This could mean celebrating with friends and family, buying new clothes, or taking a trip together. Decide how much you'll spend individually and as a couple, and then go have fun.
Try to avoid accumulating debts
As you consider large purchases like an engagement ring or a gown, it may be tempting to use your credit card. Just remember that paying for debts will cut into your ability to save. And as soon as you're married, you'll both be responsible for your debts. Keep in mind that debt can be a source of stress on your finances as well as your relationship. Knowing this ahead of time will help you make the decisions that are best for you in the long run.
Open a joint checking account
As you start making a plan for your life together, you'll realize that there are a few must-have items for you to get set up. They might include a new place to live, furniture, appliances, and more. A joint account can be a great way to save and pay for the things you'll share.
Create a savings account just for the wedding and honeymoon
These events tend to cost more than anyone thinks at first. So do your research up front: get the prices for the wedding location, the wedding dates, and any before and after celebrations that you want to have. Then account for the hidden fees. These might include licensing digital copies of your photos, overtime pay for the band and caterers if the party continues past a certain time, taxes, tips, and a lot more. Now divide the total cost by the number of months until your wedding day, and adjust your plans as necessary. You'll see that it's a wise idea to set up a savings account funded by automatic deposits just for this purpose.
The bottom line
If you're like most people, a lot of expenses—many of them unexpected—will come your way as you set up your new life together. As long as you create a solid savings plan and anticipate some of the common financial pitfalls for newlyweds, you'll be off to a great start.
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