Michael Delmonico has extensive experience providing planning advice to families, college students, and individuals of all ages going through all stages of life.
In a recent blog, Michael discussed the major expenses for recent college students and tips to help them save their money. In this blog, Michael Delmonico discusses essential money management tips for newlyweds and married couples.
Congratulations, you’re married! Pop the champagne and enjoy the ceremony, but don’t get too wrapped up in all the roses, you’ve got a lot of new responsibilities now. One of the new responsibilities that often trips up newlyweds is handling money and savings (which is tough enough as it is when you’re single). Nevertheless, it’s something you have to address, and if you approach it with these concepts in mind, you and your spouse can go about making an effective budget and make married life that much easier.
Communication is Key
Whatever your situation is, openly communicating with your significant other is key to maintaining stability. Chances are, money saving goals were probably not high on the list of discussion topics during your honeymoon. However, talking with your significant other about how to approach your spending habits is a must.
Honesty is extremely important when figuring out how you’re going to manage life together. When you sit down to talk about your plan, bring any paperwork, bills, or bank statements you can find, in order to get the whole picture, and make sure to be honest with your spouse about your situation. This goes beyond the initial planning stage: when making these kinds of decisions that affect the two of you, make sure to run the idea by your significant other before making a final decision every time. Michael Delmonico has found that with many couples, leaving your spouse out of decision making is a surefire way to cause tension, as well as increase the chances of making a mistake that could negatively affect the both of you in the long run.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Now that you and your spouse know where you both stand, you can figure out where you want to be in the future. Michael Delmonico has found that the best way to do this is to ask simple questions to figure out what kind of life you’d like to live. Once you’ve done some speculating and settled on some goals, you can begin to prioritize them, separating short term goals (for example, making monthly rent) and long term goals (starting a college fund for any future children). Remember to prioritize both your short and long term goals, and understand that sometimes compromise may be necessary. Goals may be added or abandoned along the way, and in order to make a more pressing short term goal, a long-term goal may at times have to suffer a setback. Your plans will likely end up changing, and this is natural. However, some changes are acceptable, while others are unnecessary.
Live Within Your Means
Having a flexible plan that can adapt to unforeseen events and compensate when necessary is important; however, this in no way applies to luxury items and splurging. Your plan should be based around making sure you meet all your needs, and should only be deviated from in order to meet those needs. If you find that you have disposable income at the end of the month after all your needs and goals have been met, go ahead, live it up (this can be planned for if you include an “Entertainment” or “Leisure” category to your budget, set to the lowest priority). But if you can’t afford to do it without dipping into your emergency fund, or the money you’re saving up to buy a house with, then you can’t afford to do it. Accepting this and rigidly adhering to your budget is possibly the most important aspect of the budget: a plan can only work if you follow the plan. However, sticking to your plan will be rewarding in and of itself, and forgoing splurging in the short-term will allow you to afford much nicer things later on.
To learn more about money management and planning tips, check out Michael Delmonico on Certified Consumer Reviews: http://certifiedconsumerreviews.com/michael-delmonico/.