Tips on How to Budget Properly as a Newlywed Couple
  • | April 18, 2018
Newly married couples face many challenges, from deciding how to set up their first home together to figuring out how to share a bathroom.

One of the biggest hurdles that many newlyweds have to overcome is deciding how to manage their money. Making the leap from handling your own finances to merging your income and expenses can be difficult, and can lead to marital difficulties. That is why it is vital to get on the same page about money — ideally before you walk down the aisle.

Putting together a comprehensive budget together as a couple can help to prevent arguments about money, and ensure that you can meet your financial goals and challenges. By working together as a team, you can avoid one of the biggest problems that many couples face throughout their marriage: money stress.

Of course, knowing that you need to set a budget and stick to a financial plan is different than committing to actually doing it. Read on to pick up some tips for how you can work with your new husband or wife to get on the same financial page.

Talk about Finances Openly

The first step in any budgeting plan is to actually have a conversation about your finances. After all, it is difficult to come up with a strategy for how you can manage money as a team if one team member doesn’t tell the other about his or her strengths and weaknesses, or what he or she brings to the table. Talking about money is often considered taboo in our society, but it is vital if you are going to succeed as a couple at handling your finances. Discuss your history with money and how you have handled money and how you currently do. You should also talk about your current income and debt so that you can get an idea of your budget as a couple.

While this conversation should ideally happen before you get married, it shouldn’t be a one-time conversation. Continue to talk about money throughout your marriage and see how you can improve, and make sure to touch base with each other about big purchases or important decisions.

Set Your Priorities

As a couple, you need to decide what is important to you. Is it buying a house? Paying off your student loans? Retiring early? Traveling often? Talk to each other about what matters most to you, and how you can use your money to accomplish those goals. By working as a team, you will be better able to get to where you want to be. For example, if you decide that you want to be debt-free, you can work together to put all of your extra cash towards paying off a credit card balance — which will help get rid of that debt more quickly than if just one spouse was making payments.

As with other financial conversations, revisit your priorities often. Life goals change, and as you achieve one milestone, you may find that your priorities have changed as well.

Challenge Each Other to Save

For most people, saving is not exactly exciting. It is generally more fun to splurge on a trip or that car you have always wanted, or even on a nice dinner out, than it is to put another $50 in the bank. That is why it is often helpful to come up with ways to motivate each other to save.

If you’ve set your priorities, then you already know what your goal is. Perhaps it is saving enough for a down payment on a house, or maxing out your 401(k) plans each year.

Whatever the goal may be, challenge your spouse to see who can save the most money each week. Come up with creative ways to cut back on expenses, such as packing lunches, skipping coffee, or cooking in more often. Foregoing expensive gifts can be another way to challenge each other to save. Think about fun ways to reward each other for saving the most, with the real winner being your finances (and your marriage!).

Make Budgeting Fun

Like saving, budgeting can be dull — listing out income and expenses, and finding ways to cut expenses to meet your budgetary goals. But there are ways that you and your spouse can make budgeting more exciting. Start by taking some of the drudgery out of the task by downloading an app to take care of the number crunching. These apps will connect to your bank account and cards to automatically track your expenditures.

Next, find ways to live within your budget — with your spouse. Maybe you can dump your gym membership and work up a sweat on runs or bike rides with your spouse, or get rid of your car and take public transportation to work. You could also find inexpensive dates in your area, such as hikes, concerts in local parks, or free days at the museum. You’ll get to know each other better — and will spend quality time without breaking the bank.

Final Thoughts

Although it can be hard to learn to budget with your new husband or wife, tackling the job as a team can make it easier — and more fun. These tips should help you get started, and make the process much simpler.