When couples first get married money mistakes are easy to make. You are still learning to live with one another, communication might be tentative, and money is not a very romantic subject, especially when you don’t have much of it, which is often the case for newlyweds. Another reason money mistakes are common is because couples are often opposites, meaning one is a spender and the other is a saver. This clash of ideas can lead to arguments, which is why many avoid discussing money like the plague, and thus begin making money mistakes. The good news is that with a bit of awareness, you can avoid money mistakes. The first step is figuring out where you might go wrong. Here are the most common money mistakes newlyweds make:
1. Spending Like Singles
Single people don’t usually have as many responsibilities as married people, nor do they have to pass their spending decisions by a second party. Getting used to the fact that you now should discuss your spending decisions with a spouse, especially if you have a joint account, can take some time. Realizing that your decisions impact two people, instead of just one, can sometimes take even longer. The sooner you stop spending money like you did when you were single and start sharing your spending decisions with your spouse, the sooner the two of you can discuss how to dole out your money.
2. Eating Out
One of the quickest ways to lose your money is to eat out all the time. Between the higher cost of the meal, tip, and gas (if you’re traveling by automobile), you are wasting lots of money. Investing in a romantic dinner out once in a while to rev up the relationship and get out of the house is all right, but making a habit of it is a major money mistake. Start brown bagging your lunches and making dinners together at home, and you’ll notice more money in your pocket every week.
3. Failing to Save
When you are first married and high on love, you think that you can live for the day and the future is going to be smooth sailing. But you will learn that unexpected events might throw a wrench in your plans. And you need to have money set aside for these occasions. Even if everything goes according to plan, you still need to save money. You might have kids who you want to send to college and you’ll definitely want to retire someday. All this living costs money, so start saving now.
4. Maintaining Debt
Some of you might have wedding debt to pay off. Or you might have taken out a mortgage on a home together. Paying off your debts in a timely fashion is your best bet. Debt, after all, is a weight on your shoulders that doesn’t leave until it’s paid off.
5. Unwise Spending
Spending too much is unwise. True. But, in this case, unwise spending refers to making mistakes about the products in which you are investing. Buying cheap furniture that you’ll have to replace a year or two down the road or having subscriptions to magazines or movies or anything else that you’re not using enough to justify. Cut down your expenses to the necessities and things you actually use and think long term for investments that you will be using down the road.
6. Living Without a Budget
The best way to keep tabs of your spending and saving is to create a budget. The two of you should sit down, take stock of how much you spend in a month for particular items, determine the necessities and what you can cut, and devise spending and savings goals for each month and the year’s end. Having a plan will keep you from making many of these other money mistakes.