The wedding is over, you are home from your honeymoon and now it is time to settle into a new life together.
With all of the planning for a wedding, it can be easy to miss out on opportunities to talk about budget for living together. But the region’s financial planners have some tips for newlyweds and long-term partners on how to make smart money decisions.
Heather Ramirez, Branch Manager at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Woodstock, and Sara Berry, Retail Area Manager at F&M Bank, gave the following advice to newlyweds or others looking to pool their finances:
• Create a budget. Calculate monthly bills and other financial obligations. Know how much your joint income compares to your bills. You should also estimate additional bills if you plan to make a major purchase, such as buying a home. In addition to estimating the mortgage payment, estimate your utilities, taxes, and home insurance as well.
• Set a goal for how much you will deposit into a savings or other interest-bearing account per month / payment period.
After the marriage:
• If you have a credit card, try to pay it off in full each month to avoid interest. If you can’t, you’ll be paying more than the minimum payment. This will help you avoid a lot of interest fees while paying it off.
• Use the pickup app from your grocery store, which can turn the tide for budget-conscious shoppers. Make a list of what you need from the grocery store and stick to it. Ordering online eliminates impulse purchases in-store.
• Don’t forget to pay yourself. Set up a savings account to which part of your joint income will be transferred when you pay out. Have a savings account that is a safety net for unexpected expenses.
Two big financial mistakes people make before and after marriage are maxing out their credit cards and buying new vehicles, which immediately lose value after purchase and can also weigh on or exceed the household budget.
What to do instead:
• Get back to your budget whenever you think about adding a new monthly invoice or service to make sure it is not a financial burden. Keep an eye on your bank accounts and communicate openly with your significant other about your finances.
• Develop a relationship with your banker and the bank where you share your accounts. Bankers can offer advice and talk about financial mishaps.
F&M Bank offers several types of accounts, which can be individual or joint accounts, including free checks with rewards, free cashback checks, and high yield money market accounts.
They offer checking accounts with interest or cashback every month. The interest or cashback you earn each month can be deposited into an interest-bearing savings account with no minimum balance to help you save (requirements apply). This account is great for people who have shared their finances and those who choose to keep their finances separate.
Those looking to get married should try to enjoy the process and plan their financial plans step by step. If you are planning a wedding, buying a house, buying a car, planning a baby, or planning to retire, reach out to your banker to find the right product to help you succeed at every stage of life.