Newly married, recently home from an amazing honeymoon and ready to start their lives together many couples forget to sit down and deal with the budget. This is a vital part of the success of any marriage, as financial disagreements are the leading cause of divorce. Through setting a budget couples not only learn to manage money and eliminate stress, but they also learn how to properly communicate with each other.
Many marriage counselors recommend newly married couples take some type of financial budgeting class together and some will even include this in the pre-marital counseling sessions. However you go about learning the right way to manage money together, it’s an important step towards a successful marriage. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:
A Quick Five-Step Guide to Help Couple Budget Monthly
1. Budget for Actual Income
One of the biggest mistakes couples make when they start their budget together is assuming they will make a certain amount of money, and then making less. Setting up a budget is very easy if you know exactly how much money you will both make, but if it could fluctuate at all, you need to always plan on the lowest possible amount. If you or your spouse work for commissions, tips, freelance, take income from investments or run a business, you will need to budget for the worst case and plan for the best case.
2. Cover Necessities First
Your budget should start with the most important expenses first and this doesn’t mean you pay for the most expensive cable package before anything else. Take care of basic necessities, such as rent/mortgage, utility bills (cable/internet not included), transportation and food. Many also include giving or tithing as a necessity and if you practice Christian money management, your tithing /giving should come before anything else.
3. Budget for Everything
Every expense, purchase, unexpected event or anything else that will cost you money needs to be included in the budget. Whether you want to get Charlotte Bobcats tickets or your spouse wants to take a trip to Paris, these things all belong in your budget. You should also consider expenses you don’t pay on a monthly basis, such as car maintenance (oil changes, tire, etc.), license renewal fees and other expenses you may pay quarterly or yearly.
4. Plan for Emergencies
Men must understand that building an emergency fund is like an insurance policy for a happy wife. Most of the time men don’t understand the necessity of stacking up thousands of dollars in a savings account earning very little interests, but for a woman this gives her security and she can let go of her worries. Building an emergency fund equal to 3-6 months of your regular expenses should be your first goal, and then you can start investing.
5. Payoff All Debts and Avoid New Debts
If you want to live a life uncommon with true financial peace, you need to pay off all your debts and never take out another loan. If you currently don’t have any debt, don’t take on any new debts. Instead, build a savings plan into your budget for things you want, such as a new car, house or anything else you may desire.
Building a financially stable household will bring peace to your new marriage and help set you up for success. You don’t have to struggle through the money troubles or miss out on things you want to enjoy just because you live on a budget. All your budget does is assign a use for every dollar you make and help you avoid the financial perils that can lead to divorce.