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Spending for Newlyweds: How to Create a Budget and Stick with It

Thursday, July 17, 2014

You just got married, and it seems like all of a sudden, there is more to buy - at more expensive prices. To top it all off, your new spouse probably has different ideas about what to spend money on than you do.

Did you know that problems with money are the biggest cause of divorce? Address the money situation at the start of your marriage rather than waiting until it's too late. By making a budget with your spouse, you can save your money and your marriage. A budget will help you see how much money is coming in, and it will force the two of you to decide together what that money will be spent on.

Creating Your Budget

There are many ways to create a budget. You can use a spreadsheet, write it out by hand, or use one of the many free programs online designed to help with budgeting. No matter how you budget, the basics will be the same.

  1. Start by listing your monthly income.
  2. List the prices of everything you are required to spend money on each month. This includes, but is not limited to, how much you pay for:
      • Rent/mortgage payment
      • Utilities
      • Car payment
      • Car insurance
      • Gas
      • Food
      • Medical prescriptions

Subtract this amount from your monthly income.

  1. From the remaining money, decide how much you want to put into a savings account. The amount is ultimately up to you and your spouse and will depend on your circumstances. Perhaps you're saving to buy a car, go on vacation, or prepare for emergencies. Subtract this amount from your monthly income.
  2. With the money that is leftover after your monthly expenses, you can decide how much will go towards each category of nonessentials or lifestyle items: personal hobbies, date nights, entertainment, clothing, new gadgets, etc.

When making your budget, consider following the 50/20/30 rule: 50% of your income goes towards essentials, 20% towards financial responsibility (which includes loan repayment, savings, and retirement contributions), and 30% towards lifestyle choices. Since money is normally tight for newlyweds, you may end up using more than 50% of your income on the essentials.

Sticking to Your New Budget

It's one thing to prepare a budget, and another matter to adhere to that budget. Here are some suggestions for staying true to the plans you set:

  • Use cash for one of your nonessentials categories. For example, take out the amount of cash you've allotted to spend on clothes for the month. When you're out of cash, you can't buy any more clothing.
  • Go shopping with an expert saver. You can pick up some tips on how to shop wisely.
  • Forgive yourself if you end up over budget. Mistakes (and accidents) happen. Begin again and try to meet your goals next month. It's important to stay on track with your budget in the long term.
  • We hope these tips will help you live your dream of having a debt-free marriage. Create your budget today to experience financial freedom and harmony in your new union.

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