Browsing Category: Marriage and Money

Planning Romantic Outings With Your Special Someone

couples dates money

For everyone in America, it’s been hard times as far as the economy is concerned. Budget is everyone’s top priority, especially considering that many families that were once duel income now live on a single family income. These economic realities are making it difficult for couples to get by and even harder to keep going in the face of such adversity. There’s been a lot of belt tightening lately, but in order to weather this storm, it’s important that we keep our focus on what’s most important, our spouse and family.

In order to keep things going and morale high, it’s important that you don’t neglect your husband or wife, and continue look at this current struggle as a team effort. That’s why it’s so important to plan special outings and events with your loved one, and doing so doesn’t have to break the bank in the process. Great ways to treat each other include: couples dates money

First Date

Consider reliving your first date. It can be as simple as a dinner out, but if you still live in the same area, make it a special occasion by retracing the first steps that you took together as a couple. It can be a way for you to rediscover the foundation of what brought the two of you together.

If you’re lucky enough to live near by, then start from the beginning and, given the fact that most first dates are inexpensive, you can do this affordably. If the restaurant is now closed down, go to another place with the same kind of atmosphere and try to recreate it as best as you can.

Renewed Commitment

If you can’t afford an expensive vacation, try to think of ways that you can renew your vows to one another with matching jewelry or promise rings with personalized engravings. We often take the symbols that we wear everyday for granted. After years of living with someone, it’s easy to let the spark die down. Don’t let this happen to you.

Consider going in together and picking something that the two of you can share that you’ll keep on you at all times. It doesn’t have to be jewelry. It could be anything. It just has to mean something to the couple.

The Great Outdoors

Camping or having a picnic is an excellent way to get away from the kids and spend a few nights together underneath the stars. It doesn’t really matter where it is because it’s all about sharing your time together. The focus is all about the time you’re spending together.

Camping out is also really cheap and many camping grounds charge close to nothing. All you need is a few camping supplies and you’re set to lie out and sit around the campfire while spending some quality time together.

In all honesty, when planning something special with your spouse, it doesn’t really matter what it is. What makes an evening or gift special is when it’s from the heart. Doing something special together can renew your resolve, even when you can’t afford to backpack across Europe or take a super expensive vacation. You don’t have to be rich to enjoy life because enjoying each other doesn’t cost anything.

Photo Credit: flyskyfrp

Six Tips for Newlyweds to Manage Finances

newlywed money tips

newlywed money tipsBefore getting married, couples should understand the risk associated with finances during their lifetime. The majority of the financial problems that new couples encounter include being in debt, overspending, and not having a plan. Here are six tips that couples can use to help them manage their finances.

Put Money on the Agenda

Since money is a huge issue for many couples, the first step to do is to bring it on the table and acknowledge the importance of money in the relationship. It is also helpful to begin a financial management plan by setting financial goals for one year, five years and 10 years throughout the marriage.

Rein in the Debt and Purchases

Newly married couples should not purchase things that are beyond their economic capacity. Couples should set up a strict budget and try to follow it closely each month. When couples have to make a big purchase, they should set a limit on how much they can spend. Nonetheless, couples should also have some spending money to have an outlet.

Establish a Joint Checking Account

It is always a good idea for new couples to merge their finances and establish a joint checking account. Expenses that can be covered by a joint account include child care, houses, utilities, and cars. It is also important for couples to establish responsibilities on how much they are going to contribute to the joint checking account.

Discuss Finances

It is always important for couples to be transparent and honest with each other on a regular basis about finances. A good idea for every couple is that they discuss their financial status every month. Investing is also another area for couples to decide on together. If a particular investment fails, both people have to share the repercussions.

Set up an Emergency Fund

When tough economic times come, it is important for couples to have an emergency fund to get through. Couples should each contribute equally to their joint account each month. An emergency fund should also be used when health issues arise or when one partner loses their job.

Merge the Lifestyles

When two people get married, it is very important for both people to merge their lifestyles together. Couples cannot live under the same roof with two different lifestyles. By compromising and accepting each other’s lifestyles, couples can make the right budget to support each other’s hobby.

Throwing a Romantic (and Debt Free) Wedding

wedding cake

How much are people spending for their wedding? A recent story on Daily Finance on finances of weddings showed the numbers:

A survey of 18,000 U.S. brides married last year found that their average wedding cost $27,000. And according to Carley Roney, co-founder of The Knot, “In 2011, 20% of U.S. couples spent more than $30,000, and 11% spent more than $40,000 on their weddings.” And that isn’t even including the honeymoon that, according to Bankrate.com, costs roughly $5,000 on average.

Where you two fall on this spectrum is up to you.

wedding cake

Why Having a Debt Free Wedding Can Make You Rich

Besides not having to spend your first year or more paying back the debt owed for your wedding, having a paid for wedding also gives the two of you room to achieve your dreams quicker. Some goal either one of you may have include:

  • Travel: Who wouldn’t love to see the world with their spouse, thinking about new experiences rather than worrying about the burden of debts waiting for them at home?
  • Own a house: Speaking of homes, couples look forward to owning their own house. If you want to secure a better rate on your mortgage, then having a healthy down payment is key.  Buying a house with some money down will also lower your monthly mortgage payments, giving your budget some wiggle room.
  • Retire early: Whenever you two decide to retire, not having a wedding debt to pay off means that money can be used for investment in your future.
  • Start a business: If wither one of you would like to start a business, reducing and eliminating debt can ease the burden of getting your dream job off the ground.

As you can see, whatever your plans, having less debt can make the start of your marriage even more of a blessing. You two are less worried about finances and more focused on each other.

Planning a Debt Free Wedding

While typical wedding planning can take up much of your time, you may find that having a debt free wedding with seem less stressful. Why? Besides eliminating the un-important and spending time only on what really matter to the both of you, you may find that with some creativity you can get some extras at little or no extra cost.

Here are some wedding tips that can save you a lot of money and still let you have your romantic day.

  • Choose a date outside of the crowds. With spring and summer being popular wedding dates, having an early fall (still warm) or even winter date can be just as special and cut your budget drastically as venues typically have less demand and may be more willing to negotiate price. Even if you choose to have a summer date in mind, consider getting married on a Friday evening or early Sunday.
  • Choose your reception venue carefully. With the reception costing many couples about 50% of the wedding related expenses, choosing a venue that is budget friendly and romantic is key. some couple have found that have a beach wedding with a nearby reception area is both cost effective and special. For those not living near either coast, you may want to look at having a garden or park wedding (for those choosing a fall date, this can be incredibly beautiful with the leaves changing in the background).
  • With flowers, go with the season. Flowers are a huge part of many wedding ceremonies and for some couples the cost of these natural beauties exceeds their budget. By simply going with what is in season (usually there is still plenty to choose from), couples can have a beautiful day with draining their wallets.

Beyond the Wedding Day

Of course your wedding is just the beginning of your marriage. If the two of you have created a wedding that not only fulfilled your wishes, but also kept you out of debt, you’re off to a good start. As you two sort thorough your gifts you may find that some of your friends and family have sent a bit of money for your happy occasion. Instead of splurging that money, you may go ahead and decide to invest in your future together.

Go ahead and have that dream wedding (while staying on budget), just remember that it’s just the beginning of your lives together!

Photo Credit: avlxyz

Disclosure: Post includes information sourced from Genworth Financial

Mr. Money Mustache – Financial Freedom for Families

Mr Money Mustache blog review

I didn’t plan on doing a blog review of Mr. Money Mustache, but as we through the process of buying our next car, I found myself visiting his site more and more. Not only was I grabbing his top 10 lists and comparing the numbers his commuting posts, I was also exploring his site and the idea of early retirement.I’ve written about how we’re paying down student loans and our mortgage, but reading his blog has started some conversation about how fast we want to do it and the plan after our debt is paid off.

It’s given us some food for thought, so expect some future posts here and on Couple Money to be reflective of some changes we’ve made.

Mr Money Mustache blog review

My Favorite Posts of Mr. Money Mustache

For those curious to see what the fuss is about or for those looking at a post to start browsing around, I give you my top 5 MMM picks.

  •  Meet Mr. Money Mustache: I have got to start off by listing this introductory post. From the MMM pulls no punches and jumps in quickly with how the blog is about money (and at the same time, more than money).
  • Avoiding Ivy League Preschool Syndrome: As parents to a 9 month old, that post title got my attention. We’re trying to give our little girl what she needs now and saving and preparing for the future.
  • Top 10 Cars for Smart People: Read this post before you purchase your next vehicle! We were looking at different makes and models with cars based on data from other drivers and sites like Consumer Reports. MMM makes a great case for passing up on SUVs, even if they are more fuel efficient models out there.
  • Reader Case Study: Minimum Wage with a Baby on the Way: I think this a great example of MMM and the community offering some practical advice to a reader who want to improve his finances. Comments on the site are very passionate, but many times I find jewels of helpful advice.
  • Hypermiling: Expert driving to save 25% on gas: Yep, I’m using this post as a resource for the Fuel King/Queen Challenge. I’m hoping it will allow me to get one of the top stats for my car’s model on Fuelly.
There are plenty of great posts on the site, but I think the above 5 will give you a very clear picture of what the site is all about.

Thoughts on Mr. Money Mustache

Have you checked out Mr. Money Mustache? Have any posts stood out to you?