It’s awesome when you finally find that special someone to spend the rest of your life with and it’s so easy to get swept up in the euphoria of happily ever after. But soon after the wedding flower petals settle down, a new couple must inevitably face the reality of “adulting,” which entails joint responsibilities like work, bills, and savings. And it's best to start managing resources wisely early on in marriage.
1. Be transparent.
Money can be a touchy subject. If one or both partners have poor spending habits, choosing to gloss over them could have destructive effects in the long run. Start making decisions as a couple. Inasmuch as you trust each other, it is better to consult your spouse before making a big purchase or a considerable investment rather than having the bill pounce on them later. As unromantic as it may seem, you will need to talk about these things. A couple should work on honestly and openly communicating their expectations in managing finances together. This skill doesn’t happen overnight and it might take a while before it comes naturally, but it really does pay off in the end (pun intended).
2. Set goals.
Take time to sit down to talk about immediate and long term goals. Do you plan of owning a house and car, or securing your future children’s education? Do you have a dream vacation or a wish to travel the world? How do you foresee life at retirement? Write them down in a notebook. Seeing your goals on paper would help you strive to achieve them together and remain on track.
3. Designate payment for food, utilities and transportation allowance.
I’m taking a leaf from my mother’s book here. Instead of using a conventional wallet, she prefers to allot an amount for specific, expected monthly (or bi-monthly) expenditures in separate, labeled envelopes. And she’s always managed to stay within budget. I’ve tried her method and it does help to stay on top of things. You may opt for a compartmentalized wallet for this system to keep from being clueless as to where exactly your hard-earned money goes.
4. Create your contingency fund.
Life is full of surprises and it’s best to come prepared. A contingency fund could become your silver lining should you need funds to cover unexpected medications or hospitalizations. Having an emergency stash puts you in a position to help your extended family as well. Here you may also get donations for charitable institutions, church offerings, and community fund-raisers.
One mistake most people make with their finances is saving what little is left after splurging. To save effectively, do the opposite and save first, then spend what remains. Commit to save a specific amount as soon as the paycheck arrives. Tuck it away safely in the bank and forget about it – that is, do not allow yourself to keep reaching into your proverbial cookie jar.