Once the rice has stopped flying and the threshold has been crossed, it's time to get down to finances. Newlyweds are often new to the idea of budgeting, but they've got to know what the bills are and how to pay them. A few simple tactics can keep you from overspending and heading down the path to debt.
Budgeting sheets are itemized lists that help you outline expenses and income in the new household budget. With them, you can record every dollar you spend, where it came from and what it was spent on. Budgeting sheets are available online for free download from various banks and financial publications. They are an important starting point that help make all other budgeting methods more successful.
The envelope system requires you to set aside money for each of your expected monthly expenses ahead of time so the money is there when it comes time to pay. For example, if you have a rent payment of $1,000 per month, an electric bill of $50 and a gas bill of $45, you would use three envelopes. One would be marked "rent," the next "electric" and the third "gas." As you earn money for the month, place the allotted amounts into each envelope and leave them untouched so that when the bills come in you are ready to pay. It's a basic, low cost and effective method that can ensure you never fall short.
Smart phone apps are an easy and portable way to carry your budget with you. They can help you set aside portions of your income for certain categories of expense and keep a real-time record of them. You can then watch as your budget app monitors your credit or debit card expenses. As your monthly tallies rise, your remaining cash falls. Once you reach your spending cap, the app will inform you that there's nothing left in reserve. It's up to you at that point if you want to spend past your preset limits. Budgeting apps are easy to use and convenient for busy newlyweds who don't have time to check their budget paperwork on a daily basis.
If you're having a hard time sticking with the budget plan, ask some close friends to help. Tell them what your goals and limits are and ask them to help keep you in line. Your friends can call you every few days for an update on your spending and compare it with your stated goals. If things have gone awry, you'll have to explain what happened; the embarrassment of explaining your lack of willpower may be enough to stop the overspending.
Build some spending cash into your budget to avoid the need for sneaking. The last thing newlyweds should do is keep secrets from one another. Things can get awkward between you and your spouse if your budget accounts for every dollar and you need some pocket money to spend. Avoid all that by setting aside a little spending cash to use as each of you pleases.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.