In my previous Gold Nuggets post (10 Tips for Managing Money in your Future Marriage, Part I), I listed five money management tips I believe will deeply bless your marriage, as they have mine.
Below are five more tips that I believe will bless the socks off of your marital finances. Please feel free to comment or ask questions about these!
- Do Not Impulse Buy– This is a tough one in some circumstances. Currently, I have car fever. I want to buy a new (to me) Ford Escape or Chevy Equinox so badly I can taste it. This is a big ticket item and based on what I previously said about paying cash for cars, I know I have some time and saving ahead of me before making such a big purchase. But what about the smaller items?When you go shopping don’t impulse buy on small stuff either. Put the item you think you want in your cart and walk it around the store for about a half hour. If you still want it as much or more as when you put it in your cart and you have the money available, go ahead and make the purchase.For more expensive items ($100 or more), sleep on it. Take a night to think, sleep, and gain perspective. If you wake up and you still want it as much or more than the night before and you’re willing to go back to the store and purchase it, it is not an impulse buy. Of course, make sure the money is budgeted and available before making the purchase.
- Wave Goodbye to Debt – When you get married, make an agreement with yourself and each other that you will not fall into the trap of consumer debt. Even if you have debt, don’t create new debt.Start saving for purchases before making them, and have an emergency fund in place for unexpected expenses.If your future spouse has debt, that is not a red flag; but, if your future spouse has no immediate plans to pay off his or her debt, and has no concerns about accruing more debt, those certainly are red flags that need to be addressed prior to marriage.
- Find Small Ways to Save – Though small savings don’t seem significant, they can really add up over the course of a lifetime.Turn off lights when you leave a room. Use fewer paper towels and more rags for cleaning. Don’t throw away products until they are completely empty (e.g. add water to shampoo and shake to get the last bit to come out, buy and use a plastic toothpaste squeezer, and use a little bit of water to get the last bit of spaghetti sauce out of the jar). Carpool when you can.The list of small ways to save is virtually endless. Don’t become obsessed, but make it a point to look for small, convenient ways to save each day.
- Have an Emergency Fund – Earlier, I mentioned having an emergency fund. Dave Ramsey’s recommendation for emergency funds comes in two parts. The starter emergency fund is simply $1,000 in the bank or hidden well in your home.These funds are for those unexpected expenses (e.g., paying for car repairs after a wreck) which arise. After paying off all of your debt (excluding your first mortgage, if you one), save up enough money for three to six month of expenses. This is called your fully funded emergency fund.Both of you also need to write down what constitutes an emergency. Agree on the list so when temptations come to spend your emergency fund money on non-emergencies, you can remind yourself of your emergency fund’s purpose.
- Save, Save, Save– God supplies all of our needs. One of the ways He does so is through the wisdom He gives us in the Bible. There are more verses in the Bible on money and resources than even on love – so, I think it’s safe to conclude that God definitely cares about how we spend the money with which He has entrusted us.Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” (ESV).Proverbs 21:20 says, “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” (ESV)Your future is in God’s hands. We can’t know what the future will bring, but we can know that He is in control of it. Trust Him for your provisions, but save because God’s Word tells us it’s wise to do so.
If you and your future spouse haven’t already, Eric and I strongly recommend that you and your fiancé/fiancée go through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University 13-week course before you get married.
If you are newlyweds, or not so newlyweds, we would still recommend appropriating the thirteen weeks to go through this course at a local church or organization near you. Learning God’s principles for handling our finances was a huge blessing to our marriage and I believe it will be to yours as well!
What can you tell about your future spouse’s character based on the way he or she views and handles money?