Posts Tagged ‘Young Married’

Newlyweds & Money: It’s About Teamwork

May 3, 2009

In her Kiplinger.com article, “6 Money Mistakes of Newlyweds,” Erin Burt shares mistake #3: That one partner shouldn’t give the other the financial reins.  This is so true.  Managing money in marriage is a shared undertaking.  Both partners have a vested interest in the final decisions.  When two partners marry they become one.  Their decision to marry means meshing their financial interests together.  Marriage partners need equal input into money decisions.  If one partner is better with details and budgeting it’s OK for them to create and maintain the budget.  The critical practice is that both partners have the freedom to discuss how money is spent.  It all comes down to communication.  How does money get managed in your marriage?

The other 5 money mistakes are: 1) Keeping money secrets; 2) Not having a budget; 3) Dragging debt down the aisle; 4) Sweating the small stuff; 5) Failing to plan for an emergency’

Online Bill Payments..What works?

March 28, 2009

I recently discovered that I did not make an online payment for 2 consecutive months.  While I have paid this bill online for a couple years, I did not make the time to go to the website and make the payment.  I used to get an email reminder to pay it but haven’t received one that I can remember.  This was a humbling lesson.  While I like to think I’ve got it all together, little slip ups like this remind me that managing money is a journey not a destination.  What about you?  How do you make sure all online payments get paid?

Winning with Coupons

March 4, 2009

My wife has taken couponing to the next level over the last 2 months.  She has taken the game seriously and is winning.  She shows me the receipts to prove it.  While cutting and organizing can take time, there are some unbelievable savings for those who commit to this practice.  Below are some nuggets of wisdom I have gained from my wife to share with you.

Begin clipping coupons.  If you take the local paper start there. If you have a larger paper nearby, get the Sunday edition and look for items that you eat.  Cleaning supplies can be had at large discounts as well.

Go to www.southernsavers.comYou will find printable coupons at this site.

Go to www.time2save.blogspot.comHere you will find women who teach couponing to local civic groups and churches.  While they are located in southeast, they might give you some guidance to resources available in your area.  Some tricks of the trade remain the same regardless of where you live. 

Stockpile.  This is simply buying large amounts of an item that you use regularly.  Items sold in stores go in 12 week pricing cycles.  If you’re diligent, you can find items rock bottom cheap and buy large amounts.  Items such as ketchup, cheese, and canned items don’t expire for a long time and can be kept up to 3 to 6 months.

Have a game plan before leaving the house.  Know what items you need and where you’re going to get them. 

Buy One Get One Free.  Our local BI-LO chain doubles coupons every day up to 60 cents.  The local Publix doubles every day up to 50 cents.  You can use 1 coupon per item.

Be Organized.  My wife uses a 3 ring binder that can be zipped up.  She uses clear plastic ‘baseball’ card sized pages to put the coupons in.  You can label sections with categories such as dairy, cereals, chips, drinks. etc.  While this can be time consuming, it can pay dividends if you’re committed to this practice for the long haul.

7 Tips – Getting Off The Credit Card Treadmill

February 19, 2009

Ever wondered if you’ll be free of those credit card payments?  Do those payments linger around like  a friend who has long worn out their welcome?  Below you will find 7 tips that will help you put an end to credit card debt.

1) Have an Emergency Fund.  One of the reasons folks use credit cards are for emergencies.  The car breaks down. The dryer stops working.  Having a minimum of $1000 in your emergency fund allows you to handle these expenses without going to the credit card. 

2) Stop Charging.  You simply won’t get ahead until you do this.  Implement number 1 and you can accomplish number 2. 

3) Pay More Than the Minimum.   Paying more allows you to do 2 things: 1) Pay the credit card off much faster; 2) Saves you hundreds of dollars in interest paid.  Below is an example of the momentum you can have by following this practice:

$5000.00 Visa Balance, 13% apy, paying the minimum payment $100.00. Result: Pay it off in 6 years, pay a total of $2, 123 in interest, total amount paid: $7,123.00!

Same as above except paying $200 month (100 extra) a month.  Result: Pay it of in 2 years, 5 months, $788,98 in interest, total amount paid, $5788.00! 

4) Buy Needs, Not Wants.  We need food, clothing, and shelter. If your current appliances and cars work, you don’t need the newest version.

5) Pay with cash.  Dave Ramsey says we pay 18% more when we purchase with plastic.  Watching real money leave your hand makes you a wiser shopper.

6) Don’t take them with you.  You can’t use what you don’t have. 

7) Cut them up.  Enough said.

Dentistry & Money: A Comparison

February 11, 2009

Have you ever connected dentistry and your finances?  Think about it for a minute.  Nobody likes to talk about their money problems. Nobody likes to face that dreaded dental exam.  If you think about the principles behind dentistry you can find some real connections to your finances.  Below are some common themes that connect dentistry and money.

Prevention.  We’ve all heard the phrase that an ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure.  Brushing those teeth regularly is equal to having an emergency fund.  The emergency fund protects you from events that can set you back financially.  Regularly funding your emergency is the equivalent of flossing to ward off those unexpected cavities that can develop over time. 

Protection.  Protecting your teeth is an investment.  You need those teeth to carry you through a lifetime of eating.  Making sure you have adequate insurance protects you and your family from risks.  Having adequate insurance on your health, cars, life, and home is a must in order to protect yourself from large liabilities. 

Periodic Exams.  Your teeth need a regular check up.  Regular check ups help you know the condition of your teeth and any problem areas that may arise.  A good financial plan must be reviewed regularly.  Some financial choices need monthly reviews.  Balancing your checkbook and writing out your monthly budget are 2 examples.  Reviewing your savings and investment accounts may need review every 6 months. 

In summary, your finances and your teeth need regular attention.  Neglect in either of these areas can result in decay and have consequences for you. I challenge you to be the model patient and implement the practices of prevention, protection, and periodic exams.  When was the last time you had a financial check up?

Wants vs. Needs

February 9, 2009

We  have a lot of choices about what we do with our money.  How much of what you buy every week is a need?  How much is a want?  What about your credit card purchases? What return value are you getting on these items?  In looking back over the choices that you made with money this past month did those choices benefit you long term?  We all have 3 basic needs: Food, Clothing, Shelter.  Transportation is probably a close 4th.  Let’s look at the number of choices you have in these 3 areas.

Food – What do you spend on groceries every month? Do you shop for bargains? Do you keep a sharp eye for items on sale?  Do you use coupons? While food is a basic need, there are many ways to shop wisely and keep costs down.  What do you spend a month on Eating Out?  Is this a need or a want? I say want.  How much money could you save if you only ate out 1/2 as much as you do now?

Clothing – There are lots of choices in regards to clothing.  Does what you buy have to be new? Consignment sales and yard sales can offer slightly used, good clothing at much lower prices.  My two brothers and I spent most of our early years in garage sale clothes and we don’t have any negative repercussions.  You can also get good sales as clothes are going out of season if you keep your eyes open.

Shelter – We all need a place to protect us from the elements.  As I write this my wife and I are building our first home.  The costs of this are coming apparent as we approach the last 6 weeks of this process.  We do want to stay ‘in budget.’  There are lots of choices inthe amount you can spend on your home.  Look at appliances.  TV, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Oven, Computers, Sound systems. The list could go on.  Before you replace that next appliance, ask yourself, “Is there anything wrong with the one I have?”  “Can I repair it cheaper than buying a new one?” “Can I pay cash for the new one?”  “Can I find a good one that is slightly used?” Can you say, Craigslist? 

We all have lots of choices in how we buy the things we need and want.  If you find yourself cash strapped and stretched with your money, it could be time for you to address needs vs. wants.  Distinguishing a need from a want is a valuable skill if you want to move ahead financially.

Weekend Review: Young Married Roundup

February 1, 2009

I read some great links this past week that I think will benefit young married couples.  Here they are:

www.milkyourmoney.com  shares “What Should You Do With Your Work Raise?”

www.biblemoneymatters.com writes about developing a budget

www.frugaldad.com  shares about 10 ways to stretch your college dollar

www.studenomic.com   shares the importance of young graduates having an emergency fund

www.freefrombroke.com  the Jan. 27 post shares about “9 Reasons You Need an Online High-Yield Savings Account.”

Have a great week!

His Money? Her Money? What Gives?

January 29, 2009

I’m interested in this ever complex issue of how couples manage their money.  When a couple marries they must decide how to manage the money.  Will they have combined accounts, separate accounts, a spending allowance? 

Bottom Line: It is Your Financial Future (what benefits one benefits the other).  Who spends what isn’t as important as whether you agree on a system that works.  Mutual agreement is the main issue.

Agreement on Goals: It’s important that you both discuss your short-term and long-term financial goals.  Maybe you both agree on eliminating debt but you differ on the timelines to accomplish these goals.  You need to be on the same page.  There are times when compromising is necessary. 

What is the Payoff?  How much arguing about money does it take to finally agree on your finances?  Is one of you or both being selfish?  Are you resentful over the debt your spouse brought into the marriage?  Have one or both of you made big purchases without discussing it with the other?  It doesn’t take long before the money fights begin to take their toll.  If you want marital peace, you must work together on your financial picture

It’s about Respect.  Making financial decisions independently can put stress on your marriage.  Asking the opinion of your spouse on an upcoming decision communicates that you value and respect their input.  Respect is a 2 way street.  If you give it, you will get it back. 

The power of Teamwork.  You and your spouse are a team.  While you may feel like you’re competing against each other at times, the fact remains that working together toward a goal makes marriage more fun. You may have heard the acronym: TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.  The more you work as a team on finances, the more peace you’ll find in your marriage.

Do you and your spouse have a good plan that works in your day to day finances?  Please share your comments so others can gain more from this post.  Thanks

Marriage Talk: A Shared Vision

January 23, 2009

What do you as a couple want to accomplish financially this year?  Save for the future?  Eliminate debt?  Start a part time job?  Being able to agree on your vision is a good first step toward getting what you want.

Power of Agreement.    At his website www.marriagebuilders.com  Dr. Harley has a link for The Policy of Joint Agreement.  To sum it up, he says that no couple should make a decision unless they both enthusiastically agree on it.  Whether it’s funding retirement or talking more like adults, you both must agree to move forward.  Whatever your vision is, you must agree on it to get traction toward your goal.  What areas of your finances would you both agree should be priority one?  Decide together on this and you are ready to move forward. 

Example:  We agree to get our budget in writing this month. 

Follow Through.  Having your priority defined is half of the battle.  The second half is following through on that priority.  What time or money is required to fulfill this priority? Discuss what changes this will require of each of you and make the changes. 

Previous Example:  Follow through by recording every purchase you and your spouse make for the next 30 days.

While this task can seem daunting, it will give you an accurate picture of where your money is going.  You don’t put a budget on paper before you first identify where the money is going.    At the end of the month get all of the receipts out and begin categorizing under headings like Housing, Groceries, Insurance and Eating Out, Clothing Utilities, etc.  Every dollar in your budget needs a designation and a destination.

Execute the Plan.  Before the first bill gets paid, create that budget on a spreadsheet or a software such as Quicken or Microsoft Money.  I use Microsoft Money and find it very user friendly.  After month 1 on your written budget sit down and review how it went.  Did the allocations work out alright?  Did any unexpected expenses arise?   How can you account for them in the future?  See my previous post on emergency funds.    

Evaluate and Adjust.  Mastering a monthly budget is about evaluating what works and what doesn’t.  The rise in the cost of items can cause you to allot for more in certain areas.  Grocery and gas costs are a couple items that have been impacted in our budget lately.  A good budget is a work in progress.  It takes time, attention and focus.

While I chose a written budget as an example for shared vision, you can address other areas such as date nights, clearer communication, or conflict resolution.  The ability to both agree is powerful in marriage.  It’s easy to fuss over differences.  A couple that can agree on something is on their way to a more enjoyable marriage.

Budget Busters: 3 Solutions

January 20, 2009

What is it about these things?  You have your budget set.  How much you spend on each expense is tucked away nicely in each category.  For some unknown reason you end up with zero dollars in your account with 5 days until payday.  Where does the money go?  Where did it get off to?  Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry at times.  So what’s the solution?  What are your budget busters?  Better yet, what can you do to remove them from your financial life?  I do believe you can overcome these budget busters with some specific actions.

Solution 1: Track All Expenses.  I went through a program at my church called Crown Ministries.  One of the first assignments was to record every purchase I made for 30 days.  I kept all receipts and recorded them in  a log book.  What an eye opener!  What amazed me was what I spent on eating out.  Doing this exercises will help you know any unaccounted spending in your budget.  GO ahead and get a small notebook and pencil and start following ehere every dollar goes.  You’re bound to identify some budget busters here.

Solution 2.  Budget for Non-Monthly expenses.  There are some expenses that I don’t pay every month.  Here are a few examples: newspaper subscription, laundry detergent (we buy this in bulk), printer ink cartridges, and dog grooming.  These expenses occur every other month.  What this means is I have to be careful to set money aside to cover these expenses even though I don’t make a payment every month.  You could even withdraw that money from your account and put it in an envelope until you make payment the next month.  Example: $40 for ink cartridge.  Put $20 in an envelope from one paycheck and combine the next month and you’ve got it covered. 

Solution 3.  Balance your checkbook every month. As you reconcile your checkbook and statement you may identify expenses that weren’t in your budget.  If you’re like me you’ll find several entries missing from your checkbook.  I make a debit card purchase and forget to write it in when I get home.  Balancing your checkbook every month is a good practice.  It will usually give you a clue to some changes you need to make.