So, you’re back from the honeymoon and setting up a life together as a married couple. Congrats! You have so many great times ahead of you. Of course, great times happen more frequently when newlyweds are on the same financial page. And that means setting up a budget. But don’t worry, budgeting isn’t a chore. It’s an invitation to wedded bliss if you get it right. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Get your timing down
The best time to start setting up a budget is before the wedding bells ring. But, of course, that isn’t always easy. Wedding plans, new jobs, and college debt bills can muddy the financial picture. Still, it’s essential to start making an effort early. The American Psychological Association’s “2104 Stress in America Survey” revealed what most of us intrinsically know.
A lack of communication about finances is a drag on relationships. So, if you can’t start formulating a budget before the wedding, then start doing so early after the honeymoon.
Pick a budget style you can agree on
“Wait,” you might say. “There are different styles of budget?” Absolutely. One of the most common is the 50/30/20 budget. This type of budget sets 50% of your budget for necessities, 30% for wants, and 20% for debt reduction and investing. Of course, you can vary those percentages so you and your spouse are happy.
Another style is the Every Dollar budget. In this style, every single dollar of your income has a job and is dedicated to some area of your budget. This one can be a little more taxing but gives you more information on where your money goes so you can make future sound decisions. Of course, you can make your own hybrid of different styles. The big thing is to find a style that works for both of you and stick with it.
So, your budgeting style has lots of room for flexibility. But there are a few areas that are non-negotiable if you and your significant other hope to be successful with finances. First, you both must be willing to listen to one another’s worries, concerns, and ideas. If one of you feels they don’t have a voice, then the entire process is at risk. And that’s especially bad for the next reason: regular meetings.
That’s right, you and your spouse will have to meet regularly to review finances. Ideally, you should meet on the same day, at the same time, every week. By doing so, you both get buy-in and catch minor problems before they become big ones. The next thing that must be done is to set goals. You should have long-term goals like when you want to retire, mid-term goals such as when you want to buy your first home, and short-term goals like where you’d like to go on vacation next.
Of course, nothing can trip up the budgeting process like lousy organization. So make sure you use an app or software that is comfortable for both of you to use. That’s it! Congrats again on tying the knot. And remember, that knot will only get tighter if you and your spouse are on the same financial page.