Once the festivities end and the wedding guests leave, the new couple starts to look towards the mundane tasks of figuring out things like rent, groceries, bills and more. If you are like me, coming from a South Asian household, most probably as a girl you never had to worry about these things before. Rather, all your money was spent on your shoes and hobbies. Well, that changes now. That is why today I am writing about; ‘How to talk about money after marriage’ with your spouse.
Now before you abandon reading this, I want to share why I am writing about money after marriage. You see, I actually attended a 4 year degree in Home Economics and was taught how to create and manage a budget. Also, I studied Economics in my Masters. You would think that I will be the perfect money manager. Wrong! I actually was lost on finance after marriage, and spent a whooping SAR 500 (about $200 USD) on my first grocery as a married girl. It was only when we came home that my husband asked me to cook chicken karhai, that I realized that I had not bought any chicken. Rather, I didn’t buy anything to cook. We both had actually spent all the money on junk food. That’s a home economics student for you. (can I LOL now?)
Since I don’t want that happening to you, let’s start talking ‘how to talk about money after marriage’:
1. Start Talking About Money During Engagement
While talking about money is not always the most romantic topic to discuss, it is essential. Don’t talk about just the numbers, but rather the financial dreams you may have. Also, ask your life partner to-be on his/her financial goals. This allows you both to actually discover each others spending habits and financial mindset. Believe me, this is essential. According to research, any where from 30-60% of couples fight because of money. (the numbers differ based on source) Also, it must be considered that hardly any quantitative research has been done in the Asian community to determine our true numbers.
2. Set Financial Goals As A Couple
Once married, have discussion of your dreams and what you both want to achieve financially. Also, discuss what percentage of your income you want to put towards categories like:
- Monthly Expenses
As a couple, discuss how you will work towards these goals. This is not the time to argue ‘mine’ or ‘yours’. To become one team, you need to have one set of finances. If one spouse chooses not to contribute to the financial strength of the household, don’t be surprised to not be involved in the financial decisions of the family.
3. Do Not Set Goals Based On Others
Just because your friend lives in a bigger house, drives a better car or takes vacations all the time, does not mean that it should be your goal as well. Yes, it is aspiring to look at others. However, as a new couple, focus on your own happiness.
Work on building your relationship, and not your credit card bill.
4. Suggested Budget
Here are some suggestions for adapting your budget:
- Pick a residence which works for you as a couple without breaking the bank. Maybe a smaller studio apartment closer to work allows you both shorter commute, and also the opportunity to add to your travel budget.
- Discuss the idea of taking a vacation together. Create your idea board and search for deals around them. You will be surprised at how much more enjoyable your trip will be.
- Consider working out together, or joining a gym. Working out allows you both to contribute towards your health. A healthy couple is a happy couple.
- Set a budget for food, and stick to it. A trick I used to follow was; If I can still cook something from what I have in the pantry, I can delay the grocery shopping. This works most of the time.
- Set an Annual savings amount. Keep it realistic! You can determine the amount by reviewing your 3 months expenses. Don’t be hard on yourself by exhausting yourself for savings. You can slowly work towards the saving habits that you aspire to have.
- Set your budget for entertainment. Being a young couple, you do want to enjoy the colors of life and do exciting things! So plan those instead of spending blindly. Maybe you both want to attend a concert, or eat out once a week. Or even you both like to go bowling or snorkeling. Whatever is your idea of entertainment, set a budget. This way you can regularly enjoy together instead of stressing over finance all the time.
5. Read Books On This Topic
It is amazing how much content is available now to help new couples get started on how to navigate the topic of money after marriage. A few of my favorites are:
6. Understand You Both Are Human
While it is ideal to follow a budget, understand that at the end of the day you both are young adults who want to first enjoy each other before thinking about finances. And that is ok.
Money after marriage should not cause both of you to stress and fight. Rather, it should be like a game of monopoly that you two can learn to play together. If some months you don’t follow the budget but find joy in your experiences, take that as a learning. Relish it. And move onto building more realistic financial goals.
Let me know how you as a new couple found your balance in discussing money after marriage?
If you enjoyed this post, you may like to read my post on Never Stop Building Your Relationship: A Chapter In Desi Marriage.
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