In about 2 months, Nitin and I will be celebrating our anniversary and I can’t believe it has been about 10 months already. It seems like it was just yesterday. And these last 10 months have been more than amazing. Again, at the risk of sounding corny, I am just going to say it.. I love being married and being married to Nitin.
But married life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. There are a lot of challenges that come your way and that’s how it is. It is not for the faint of heart. Just kidding! You must have heard people talk about how getting married makes you rich because the two of you are now living together and are sharing the costs for everything from rent to electricity bills and all, but it is not that simple.
To be honest, finances during the first year of marriage are pretty much screwed up, because there is so much going on and it is all very different from the way you used to manage your money earlier. Earlier you both had a system for managing your money, you knew exactly where your money goes and you could plan things for yourself.
Even if you have had a lot of talks with your other half regarding what your dreams and aspirations are for the future, what is their dream house (and that you will buy it when the finances allow)and all about wanting kids and all and have planned out a few things before hand. Maybe, you have even made plans for your married life, but when you are really married, it is all quite different and quite unpredictable.Here is everything that we have learned during this first year of our marriage:
MARRIAGE IS A TWO-PERSON JOB:
Wait, before you go “UUHh Obviously!“, let me just put it out there. A successful marriage requires two people to be a TEAM and to be a good team you both gotta have your communication on point. You should be open and clear about how you feel about things, even if it’s money.
A lot of couples try to keep their finances to themselves and split the bills and I am not saying that’s wrong, it’s just that Marriage doesn’t really work like that. You have to be a team and you need to communicate very clearly as to what your dreams are and how do you want to manage your money. Like for some people it works if the other one talked to them before spending a big amount on something that they don’t have planned.
This bring me to another very important things that we have learned, and that is to actually HAVE PLANS FOR THINGS. Talk to your spouse about:
- What kind of a house do you want to buy?Where do you want to settle down?
- What are your dreams and aspirations?
- Do you want kids? How many?
- How much savings do you think we should have?
- When do you want to retire?
Another important thing is that you gotta let go of the “I make more” kind of talks. You are married now and all the money that you both earn is now “your” Money. And when you are deciding on your plans and budget and how you want to manage your money, you both should have an equal say in the discussion, regardless of who earns more.
When you know that you are a TEAM and have a clear idea of your dreams/plan, here are the steps for you:
#Know How Much Money Do you HAVE:
Knowing how much money do you both have is very important and is something that you should talk about before you get married (or in the early months of being married). It will help you get a better understanding of where you stand financially. Make sure you don’t leave anything out, any student/car loans that you might have, any debt on your credit card, LEAVE NOTHING OUT. This step is absolutely important for you to be able to come up with a strong financial PLAN. We sorted this thing out quite early on in our marriage and I am glad we did.
#Make Decisions Together:
It is important that you talk to your spouse before making any big purchase. I don’t give a store all my money in exchange of things because I simply don’t want to come home and see my husband sitting with a new home theatre and a PS4. I mean there will always be things that both of you will want, but it is best that you prioritize these things and that you do it together. you don’t have to make all the decisions together though, like what if you are planning a surprise for your spouse on their birthday! You know what I mean, right?
#Make a Budget:
No you don’t need a very detailed budget that accounts for every penny, all you need is a simple budget that gives you the idea of the money you have, what your regular expenses are and when you can make any big purchases. And don’t make a very tight budget and give yourselves some freedom to spend too.
#Keep an Emergency ALLOWANCE:
This is extremely important because you never know when something might come up. Like we didn’t budget for the service on our car because we thought we have a free service but that wasn’t the case. This is a small example but you never know when your car might break down or you know in case of medical emergencies and what not.
It is important that you talk about money often so that you both know how you are doing in this respect and how the other person feels about it. We say Money is all about numbers but in marriages it can very well be connected to emotions and you need to understand how the other person feels about Money and what are your spending habits and all. It is perfectly okay to be a little materialistic (I know because I am) but you should let your partner know that. I let Nitin know that I need to control myself and he also needs to help me in this regard whenever we go to a Miniso store because whenever I go there, I feel like I need all those things and I just want to give them all my money and buy everything. And No, this doesn’t make me shallow, Nitin finds it cute!
Having said this, you should also learn to put the other person’s needs first. It is just healthier this way. Now I am not saying that you keep making sacrifices, it’s just that it is a lot better when you both think about other’s needs too and some times try and put them before yours!
Their friend is getting married? You’ll have to spend for the tickets and you shouldn’t get frustrated of an unexpected expense comes up at the last minute. And even if you do, it is important that you let the other person know that. it is important that you talk these things out because you will NEVER be able to plan everything!
It is never as easy as managing Individual finances is and it never will be, but the key is to have clear conversations regularly. It is important that you both know how close you are to achieving your goals that you both set for yourselves. At the same time, giving yourselves flexibility is also very important.
There you go! All the words of wisdom from two people who are still in their first year of marriage. We wish we could tell you that it will get easier, but we don’t know for sure! We will tell you when we do. But, we are sure some of these things can make a difference!
Till next time!