You’ve said your vows and had your honeymoon, now comes the tricky part. How should you share the household costs? How much are you saving for the future? Here are five financial tips to help newlyweds live for richer, not poorer:
1. Make a Budget … and stick to it!
Sit together and write out all your fixed expenses: housing, debt, insurance and more. Make another list of variable expenses, like your phone bill or ATM withdrawals. Track both lists for a few months to get a picture of how your earning and spending stack up. Figure out what variable costs you can cut, and keep your spending below the limit.
2. Share and Share alike
When it comes to money, don’t keep each other in the dark: You should both be involved in the financial decision-making. Each of you needs to know what bills are due when, and share your account information with each other, including online logins and passwords. And if you each own a car, putting them under the same policy could save you up to 25 percent.
3. Open a Joint Account
Want to avoid quibbling over bills? A joint checking account can help make sure you both contribute equally to the household costs. Each of you can deposit a regular amount each month, and only use the account for shared or household expenses. (It’s OK for you to also keep separate accounts, for when you need to treat yourself, or surprise your spouse.)
4. Do Away with Debt
People can bring a lot to a relationship, including debt. Don’t add your spouse’s name to your outstanding loans and credit-card balances; it’ll only hurt their credit score. Instead, work out a payment plan to get yourselves out of debt faster. Start by paying off high-interest credit cards, and think twice before making a large purchase on credit.
5. Get Back to the Future
Talk about your long-term goals, and make a plan to reach them. Make monthly contributions to your savings or investments (it helps to treat these like just another monthly expense), and make sure you have the right policy to cover any surprises. The best wedding present you can give yourselves is peace of mind.
Visit geico.com or call us at 1-800-841-0728 to ask questions or make changes to your policies.
What kind of a saver are you? Take our quiz to find out and get tips on how you and your new spouse can get better about saving for the future.
By Sam Song
Originally published September 2014