I came across this across on Kiplinger’s website titled, Six Money Mistakes of Newlyweds. I thought that there would be a lot of advice that I disagreed with, but when I started reading the article, I realized that I agreed with most of it. Money is definitely one of the biggest issues that can cause strife in a marriage, especially new marriages. Typically, young newlyweds don’t have much money, and they need to watch what comes and what goes out more closely. Here are the three mistakes that I think are key in trying to avoid:
Not Keeping A Budget. This is the roof of a lot of arguments, because it’s easier to overdraft when two people are pulling from the same bank account, and your spending habits might differ greatly from your spouses spending habits. Your budget can be very simple. We keep ours fairly simple. We pay all of our bills online. Then, with the money left over, we take it out of the bank and divide up the money into separate envelopes for things like food, gas, entertainment, clothing, household expenses, and so on. We also divide out how much money we can spend per month that does not have to be explained. Everyone needs some money to blow. The question is, how much should you have per month? I would say like 5% of household income would be a reasonable amount.
Giving One Person the Financial Reins This is crucial. You must have good communication with your spouse about money. If you hand the checkbook to your spouse and say, “Here, you take care of it”, you’re going to have problems. It is critical for you both to participate in making financial decisions. If your spouse is the money nerd, then let him or her figure out the math and logistics. But, you should both sit down and talk about your finances at least once a month. Don’t be lazy. Talk to your spouse. Express your opinion and come to a decision about how to handle your money.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff. This is easy for new couples to do. New couples love to nit-pick at each other and all of a sudden you are bickering to each other. You’re getting used to that person, so you feel like every little thing bothers you about them. I think it’s important to pick your battles. Choose what issues are worth arguing over. Getting mad because your spouse spent $4.00 at Wendy’s is going a little too far. Getting mad because your spouse spent $200 shopping at the mall is worth the argument.
If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a month, then you know my strong position about how I feel spouses should handle their money together. I am a big believer that spouses should share a bank account. If you have separate accounts to store your “blow” money, that’s fine. But, my opinion is that there is no reason why you should keep your finances and/or debts separate. You made vows to each other to become one cohesive unit. Don’t treat your marriage like a joint venture. Embrace your finances as a couple and, make decisions as a team.