There are many important things to discuss as newlyweds, but among the most frequently mentioned is the issue of finances. Money can easily become the cause of major rifts in the relationship, as most people differ in opinions regarding how money should be spent, when it should be spent, and how much should be saved.
The best thing that you can do for yourself, your bank account, and your relationship is to set aside time to make a budget together. Rather than working side by side over the same piece of paper or the same computer screen, it might be better to go through the process individually and then compare notes. This serves two purposes. First, if one person overlooks a particular expense, the other is likely to think to add it. Secondly, it demonstrates how differently the two of you look at income, expenses, and the percentage to be saved versus that to be spent.
Here are a few budget creation pointers. First, create four columns – two for income and the others for expenditures. For each, there is a column for bills or income sources to be listed and the other is for the associated figures to be entered. At the end of the columns, the figures can be summed. Do be sure to take into account gross versus net pay. You won’t want to determine your budget based on gross pay because a large percentage is taken out for taxes each pay period. If you are not sure what the net value is, you can estimate is by multiplying the gross pay by 0.8. Still a little lost? Check out newlywedfinances.com for more help in the newlywed finance department.
Comparing the total of the income column to the total of the expenses column will give you a clear picture of how much is left after the bills are paid. Consider figuring this as a monthly, weekly, and daily value. This way, you will know what you have to spend each day. At that point, you can figure out how much should be put into savings and then compare your figures with your spouse’s until you can come to an agreement and create a firm and realistic budget. Sticking to this schedule, you will know exactly how much there is to spend each day and you will know that you are always on the same page as your spouse. Hooray for a workable newlywed budget!
Do you and your spouse have a budget? Was it difficult to come up with one or are you wishing you had one? We’d love to get your feedback on budgets and being a newlywed.