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With the new year around the corner, I always start thinking ahead for what we want to accomplish in the new year. Where do we want to travel to or what do we want to invest in during 2020? Do we want or need to fix anything in the house? Is it finally time to get a new washing machine or kitchen countertops. Probably not. That’s the thing about marriage and budget, it involves a lot of compromises unless of course your marriage doesn’t have a budget. Ours does, and I actually think it makes us stronger. Here are five tips for managing your finances as a couple and working on credit goals.
How to Manage Your Finances as a Couple
- Calculate Your Income and Monthly Expenses
The first thing that was the most helpful to us when starting to combine our finances as a couple was figuring out our expenses. First, we totaled our combined income. Then, we created a spreadsheet and totaled all of our monthly expenses, including credit cards and utilities and going out, etc.
- Track Your Actual Spending
Then we spent a couple of months tracking our actual spending. Don’t be surprised if what you’re actually spending is way higher than what you both thought. We were definitely spending a lot more than we thought, in virtually everything.
- Budget as a Couple
Once we knew we were spending a lot more than we thought, it was clear where we needed to adjust. For us, going out to eat was definitely the highest spending. We also had to manage our student loans and lastly, our credit card debt. So we made a plan, together. Prioritizing what we knew were important expenses that would reflect on us having a high credit score.
A great credit card score for us meant we have the potential to save for a new house, and the epitome of adulting! If your credit needs some repair, I would suggest definitely reaching out to an advisor with CreditRepair.com. The worst thing you can do is ignore your credit score, especially when there is CreditRepair.com that can help make the process easier and attainable and less intimidating.
Establish Clear Financial Goals as a Couple
It’s a lot easier when you only have yourself to be accountable to, but much harder when someone else is also there, and the thing about managing your finances as a couple is that you have to be on the same page. We have completely different spending habits, and we realized quickly we weren’t going to be able to change them. So instead, we focused on creating clear financial goals as a couple, so we can both feel empowered and responsible for these goals.
The first step was definitely identifying where the majority of our spending was going and curbing it a little. For us, this meant going out to eat less and putting those extra bills towards our credit cards. By focusing on the same task we were able to maintain good credit.
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Why We Use Credit Cards
A lot of financial advise we read has you getting rid of credit cards all together to manage spending. But for us, what worked better is actually using our credit card for everything and reaping the rewards of that one credit card. Because travel is important to us, it wasn’t something we wanted to eliminate, but we also learned to budget for it, and save ahead. By consolidating to only one credit card, we are able to track all of our spending, and keep our credit history healthy. For us, deciding on one card to use together was key to managing your finances as a couple.
For a healthy credit score, it’s good to maintain a credit history. If your credit debt is out of control, always start paying off the card with the highest interest rate first. If your spending on credit cards isn’t being well managed, then consider putting away credit cards for a few months until you can pay down your debt.
It’s also helpful to call and be transparent with your credit cards, you may find they are flexible to people making an effort to pay down their debt. The worst thing you can do though is nothing! CreditRepair.com is a good place to start if this topic is stressing you out.
I found it impossible to have two people pay bills. We never knew which bill was paid, and which bill hasn’t. Dividing that responsibility has been key to managing our managing your finances as a couple. Now, only one of us pays all of the bills and communicates this to the other person. Like all things when it comes to marriage and couplehood, communication seems to be the key!
Make Rules When It Comes to Spending
When we went to pre-marital counseling, one of the most helpful conversations that our session focused on was around managing your finances as a couple. One of the greatest pieces of advice we were offered was to make rules around the amount each of us can spend without consulting with the other.
The counselors had us write down an amount we felt the other person could spend without consulting with the other. When we wrote down that number we were about $600 dollars apart! So, it was very important to have a conversation about how to spend money as an individual while being a couple.
Managing Your Finances as a Couple
In short, managing your finances as a couple starts by combining your financial goals and working on them together. The key is to always be building towards the same goal. For us, this means making small sacrificing along the way, like eating out less. Then, holding each other accountable when our spending doesn’t align towards our financial goals as a couple, and lastly checking our credit score to make sure we are keeping it healthy.
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