Friday, October 10, 2014

Getting Back on Financial Track Once You're Married

Your wedding was beautiful. Your family was happy. Your guests had a blast. It was by far the best day of your life. And the most expensive perhaps. Now that you're coming back to reality after all the festivities, you might learn that you spent a lot more than you expected on your wedding. "How did that credit card bill get to be so high," you may be wondering. Or maybe you're doing a double take at the balance on your account. If you and your groom find yourselves fretting over your unexpected financial debt, take steps to start digging yourselves out right NOW! Start your marriage off on the right financial foot by considering the following:
1) Stop Using Your Credit Cards: Obviously, you need to pay your rent or mortgage and put food on the table. For those real everyday expenses pay by check or cash. Stop spending money on your credit cards. Credit card interest rates are generally high and compounded. That means the $10 lunch you charged can end up costing you a lot more than you swiped for. If you don't need it, don't buy it. Wait until you're in a more financially stable period in your life.
2) Pay Down Your Debt: You already owe money. Now you have to figure out a way to pay up. If you have multiple credit cards, look at which one you might be able to pay down first. It may be the one with the least amount on it. Then start putting more than a minimum payment on it each month. The quicker you pay it off, the better you'll feel. Do the same with the rest of your cards and remember not to use them! You may also want to look into doing a balance transfer. Some credit cards offer deals like a 0% interest for the first 12 months or so on a balance transfer. Sounds like a great deal, but beware there are usually transfer fees involved. Get the details and if it's worth it, go for it. It might help you pay down those cards faster since it's not accruing interest.
3) Don't Spend All Your Wedding Money at Once: Now that you've opened all your wedding gifts, you may be happily surprised with the chunk of change you came out with. Wasn't it nice of your guests to be so generous? But before you go and buy a brand new set of wheels, consider your money woes. It might be in your best interest to buy the things you need, like a dining room set, and keep some of your gift money in a savings account or a rainy day fund.
4) Cut Spending: If you don't anticipate making additional money somehow, find little ways to cut spending. Skipping the cable bill could save you $50 a month or more. That's money you could put towards your necessary living expenses or pay down your debt with.
5) Make a Plan: Sit down with your spouse and come up with a budget and a plan to stick to it. Ask all the important questions like, what's our monthly take home income, where are most of our expenditures going, where can we cut costs, how can we save more. It's critical that you both are on the same page here. Working together to get your finances in order is key to starting off your marriage in the right direction.

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