Budget tips for married couples come in all sizes and types. This post provides 5 simple, practical tips to get started. This is far from an exhaustive list. Budgeting as a married couple could look differently for each couple; however, there are a few foundational steps that just about everyone should consider putting into place and exploring when they take that blessed step to marriage.
Getting Started With Budget Tips for Married Couples
Before you establish a budget and make plans and goals, some preparation will help you to be more comfortable and transparent during your process.
Step 1: Discuss Your Emotions About Money
How you and your spouse feel about money and even about discussing money will certainly impact the way that you plan together. It’s very unlikely that you and your spouse feel and operate the same way with money. There are lots of reasons behind this, but the most obvious reason is that for a couple to complement one another, it means that, typically, you will handle tasks and topics from different angles and perspectives.
Of course, this is not true for everyone, but the nature of relationship chemistry indicates that if you are a money person, the other might not be. And even if you are both money experts, within the dynamic of your relationship, one person may be more likely to take charge in this particular area, just like you have naturally and/or intentionally done so in different areas of your relationship.
In either case, it’s best to talk about how money makes you feel, your experience, and what makes you nervous, excited, or hesitant. The more you are willing to share about money, this will help you to prepare for decision-making and take action in areas that will help improve your financial situation. Of course, this discussion is a one-time thing. You may feel differently about money as your marriage grows and progresses. But when you work on this in the beginning, it will be much easier to return to this discussion more like it never ended than coming back to it repeatedly.
Step 2: Give Yourself Time To Gather Info
A big part of good budget tips for married couples is ensuring you don’t rush into your planning. Sure, it is urgent to have a budget in place, but it’s better to take your time to set a solid foundation that you can rely on for life than rush through it and have a system that is fragile and does not serve you well.
Take your time to think about where all of your important documents are located. Go through your apps, such as Rocket Money, Mint, Credit Karma, and Nerd Wallet.
Check your credit report for free on Experian.com. Check your FICO score and, if possible, all 3 bureaus.
Look into your social security projection, 401k and employer retirement account balances, and any other savings accounts you have and investments. There are other types of accounts to look into, but this is just an idea of what kinds of information it would be helpful to gather so that you know what direction you are going with your financial planning.
Step 3: Set a Time to Talk and Stick To It
This one requires the least doing, but at the same time, we all know it can be not easy to stick to a date that you may want to avoid deep down. However, setting a time to discuss your finances as a couple is important because it invites accountability to your planning.
Step 4: Talk with an Advisor
Another essential part of our budget tips for wedding couples is seeking professional input. Of course, you want someone with a good reputation for being helpful and solid credentials. At the same time, it’s important to start somewhere. Having a person to talk through your dreams, plans, and goals as a couple will also help you understand what you have in mind. Hearing yourself repeat it to someone else does wonders in helping you examine what’s best for your marriage.
A good advisor can change your life. On a personal note, when I talked with an advisor, it helped our family to prepare to buy our first home and have our first child. We prayed about these things, and a good advisor helped us prepare for these amazing blessings.
Another tax preparer who is also an advisor helped to correct a mistake that was made by a tax preparer, not enough withholding, and business loss and helped me to correct that and also gave great advice about financial decisions that are still helping us today. I’ve eliminated student loans, prepared to pay all tax balances, and moved forward with eliminating credit card debt, Lord willing.
But again, just talking with a person comes with preparations that help the couple know what you want and how you think you will get there. A good advisor will help you to arrive.
Step 5: Create Clear and Manageable Categories
Here is the most tangible tip we will offer to start creating your budget as a married couple. Think about all of the categories you have as a couple. Every couple’s categories will be the same. However, there are a few categories that should be universal for just about everyone. Items like food, clothing, and housing should be items everyone has at some level or another. You’ll notice that the tips offered in this guide are to help you get started. They are not meant to be conclusive or exhaustive but rather to help get you started so that you will continue until you have a strong budget plan.