One of the fun things you get to do when you get married is share finances. It means figuring out who pays what and who saves what. Join account or separate accounts. What's your debt look like compared to mine? Can we afford to this or how about that?
My husband is a GREAT saver. Me on the other hand, not so much. It pains him to see money coming out the account where I just tend not to look. I know, not very grown up. But we are both guilty of not adding up all the little things we purchase.
As we are trying to save more money for a house and every other dream we have, I know I have to get my grown up saver self into gear. We recently decided to open a joint bank account but still have our own separate accounts as we ease into this married financial business. For 2014, we will be adjusting our finances and developing goals for us, and any newlyweds, to get on a great financial path for the future as husband and wife.
1. Saving for the Future
To start, I am personally hoping to save well over 2 thousand this year to put towards our future. It might not seem like a lot but to me, that's a huge feat because I can name all the things I could buy with that money instead. It is just for me because as I said, I have a hard time saving money so I need to make a habit for just myself of saving.
I was so excited when I saw Mandy at House of Rose was hosting a 52 Week Money Saving Challenge. I pinned this challenge about a year ago and never really got around to looking more into it. This was exactly the incentive I needed.
If you haven't see the 52 Week Challenge, it is 52 Week (or a year) challenge to get you to save money with very little put away every week.
2. Making a Budget
As of this very moment, we do not have any sort of budget for how we spend our money. Do we know how much we make and how much our bills cost? Yes. But beyond that, nada. I know, tisk tisk. Definitely not the way to start a marriage of financial success.
So this month, we are spending sort of how we normally do, with a little caution, and saving all receipts. We will then see how much we actually spend in a month. Especially on the Dunkin runs, nights out and other little trips we make that actually add up. Then from there, we will assess where we need to cut back and what we can save on and really set limits for our spending. And I am willing to bet most will be for me. But I accept my spending ways and am ready to change.
Really sit down and see where your money is going every month. Where can you save that money? Options can be anything from buying less bottled and getting a filter or even using the car that has the better gas mileage on all trips to save gas money.
3. Adjusting the Grocery Bill
The kitchen is our biggest money eater at this point. Grocery shopping drains our account every month. So much so, I am a little embarrassed to share the number we spend for just 2 people. So, I am jumping on the meal planning train. My friends tell me how much money it saves them because they shop just for those meals. And I know it will help with those nights we are all too tempted to order takeout. We are also guilty of throwing out food that goes bad because we do not use it.
To also help bring down the grocery bill, coupons will be entering my life. I am not talking crazy couponer here because this apartment can barely fit the normal amount of food. Just the stuff we use every week and can actually save money on. All you really need is a computer or smart phone and most coupons are at your finger tips. My favorite right now is coupon.com.
4. Addressing Debt
Most of the debt we have at this point are my student loans. That is a hefty payment that comes out of my account every month. I also have a credit card that keeps eating me alive every month. We will need to address my student loan payments and any options we might have to consolidate further now that we are married. And of course, getting rid of that credit card debt once and for all.
5. Monthly Rent
Beginning in June, our rent for this teeny apartment will rise once again. For an apartment that has very little space, no storage and no washer/dryer, we feel we will be paying too much with this increase. Since we need to give our notice in May, we are starting to look for different options in the area. We are fairly certain we can find a much more affordable place that includes the things we are not getting now from our apartment.
The extra money we spend every month for a storage space will also be factored in the monthly budget for rent and will hopefully, help us save money monthly in the long run. You can also look at your monthly mortgage or any expenses you feel like you can chop down a little to help you save money on your monthly expenses.
If we all do these as newlyweds, I think we can really set ourselves up for our future and family's future.
What are your financial goals as a newlywed or for 2014? Anything else I can do to be a super saver?