Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Corinne Schmitt
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine.
I’ve gathered this Money Advice for Newlyweds to help my oldest daughter start off on the right financial foot after her upcoming nuptials this summer.
My daughter and her fiancé are about to start a very exciting phase in their lives. They’re graduating from college, getting married, and starting their careers.
While this is an exciting time, it can also be a very stressful time. It’s a lot of change all at once!
With all of these life changes about to occur, it’s important now, more than ever, for this young couple to eliminate and avoid other stressors as much as possible. And since money is the leading cause of stress with far-reaching negative effects on health, this is the area that deserves some serious focus.
7 Money Tips for Newlyweds
I’ve put together this list of tips based on advice I wish I’d received sooner and lessons I’ve learned over decades of managing our household finances.
My hope is that these tips will help young couples like my daughter and soon-to-be-husband enjoy a long life of financial security.
1. Lay Your Cards on the Table
A happy marriage is rooted in trust. Early on establish strong, clear communication and collaboration by hashing out your finances.
Be honest and transparent about your current financial status — savings, debt, spending habits, and knowledge (or lack of). This is a great opportunity to work together as a team towards common goals.
2. Make Money Dates
Like everything in a strong relationship, one conversation isn’t enough. Keeping financial stress at bay will require a regular commitment.
I recommend scheduling “money dates” once a week or once a month (depending on how you and your spouse like to handle finances). Set a day and time to go over accounts and bills together on a regular schedule.
Most importantly, do something to make it fun! You should look forward to these dates.
My husband and I like to make a special breakfast together and then go over the finances at the table while we eat. Then, we go on a walk together afterwards. Since we rarely get to eat breakfast together, these dates are special.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be breakfast. It could be coffee, lunch, or dinner. It doesn’t have to involve food at all! Just any activity you’d both enjoy that allows you to go through the finances together in a fun way.
3. Save Aggressively
One of the best things about nailing down your finances early in married life is that you have decades to leverage compound interest and to wait out downturns. Don’t waste this tremendous opportunity!
Although it will be tempting to splurge when your paychecks roll in, resist the urge. Instead, set a small budget for indulgences and save the rest.
Get in the habit early of paying yourself first (in the form of a savings or investment account) with each paycheck, just as you would any other bill. Small sacrifices now will provide you with years of financial security and freedom later.
Live lean and save as much as possible.
4. Establish Frugal Habits
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the advice above. If you can establish frugal habits early on, you’ll be able to save more throughout your lives so that you have more freedom overall.
While date nights and vacations can be wonderful contributors to a happy marriage, remember that these events don’t have to come with a hefty price tag.
You can enjoy some wonderfully romantic moments together without spending a fortune. Some examples:
- A picnic at the beach
- An evening in the backyard stargazing
- A day exploring a nearby sunflower farm
Learn how to do things yourself rather than hiring out simple tasks. Seriously, there’s a YouTube video for almost anything!
Save money on furniture by thrifting and restoring items yourself. This can be a fun hobby to do together.
Use coupons, compare interest rates, regularly review your subscriptions and recurring expenses to see where you can trim expenses. All of these habits will save you little bits that will add up over time.
5. Pad Your Emergency Fund
While it may be tempting to keep the standard 3 to 6 month emergency fund as a newlywed couple, I recommend saving more at this stage for several reasons:
- Early in your career, promotions (and raises) tend to occur more frequently so it’s easier to set aside a little extra from each income bump
- Although you may intend to be a dual income couple, so many factors can change that might impact that choice so set aside extra to help you through a possible future transition
- With major life changes still ahead of you (e.g. children, new cars, new home), there are a lot of expenses coming that will come with hefty cash requirements
6. Invest Time in Research
One thing I wish I’d learned earlier is there are so many amazing deals and opportunities available. You just need to be willing to invest the time to look for them.
A few minutes of searching can save you a ton of money in the long-run. A quick web search before opening new accounts, making purchases, or investing will provide you with tons of information to help you make the best decision.
Always look for special discounts or offers that may apply to your individual circumstances and affiliations:
- Club memberships
- Geographic location
My future son-in-law is going into the Marine Corps and is eligible for the Career Kickoff Program offered by Navy Federal Credit Union. Previously, it was only available to military academy students but it’s now open to ROTC rising seniors and OCS/OTS candidates who have been recently (or are about to be) commissioned.
In addition to free active duty checking, he’ll also have access to a career kickoff loan at an amazingly low rate.
7. Use Credit (Carefully)
Despite all the scary tales of young adults getting into trouble with credit cards, I’m a strong advocate for getting a credit card early and using it wisely.
A good portion of your credit score is tied to your credit history. So, the sooner you start using credit responsibly, the sooner you can start building a good credit score.
A smart way to build good credit habits is to pay one or more of your recurring monthly expenses with your credit card. Then, set up an automatic payment from your checking account to pay off the credit card balance by the due date each month.
In summary, newlyweds have a unique opportunity to establish financial habits that will not only prevent money stress, but will also strengthen their relationship. Just be open with one another, work together, and make small sacrifices now to ensure a comfortable future.