Your honeymoon bags are unpacked and your tan is starting to fade. He's getting used to picking up Tampax at the grocery store, and you're getting used to picking up his toenail clippings from the bathroom floor. Hello, real life. It's time for the next challenge: combining finances. The Frisky: How Marriage Changes Things
Financial experts agree that because money-related issues cause the most friction among couples, the best thing a new couple can do is bare all when discussing money. We consulted Stacy Johnson, financial expert and author of Life or Debt, for some specific advice on how to let go of a lifetime of going dutch, and embrace creating a budget for two.
Become acquainted with your partner's financial personality.
You know basically everything about your guy: the details of his first time, how he likes to eat his fries (with mayo) and the fact that he enjoys reading Us Weekly more than you do. Now it's time to learn all about how he feels about saving, spending, frugality and debt, says Johnson. If you're a spender and your partner is a saver, it's not necessarily a relationship killer, but it could create problems in the future. In order to prevent it from causing some major friction down the road, you've got to talk about the ways you'll deal with it—on the front, not the back—end. The earlier you know about your partner's saving and spending style, the easier it will be to craft a budget with which you can both happily live. The Frisky: 5 Money Questions You Need to Ask Your Honey
Create a worksheet with your net income and expenses as a couple.
Ever heard the expression "get it in writing"? It’s particularly helpful when you're combining finances. It doesn't have to be elaborate—maybe yours is a detailed spreadsheet taped to the refrigerator door, or maybe it's a plan written on the back of your cocktail napkin. Either way, make sure you include the essentials such as mortgage/rent, insurance, utilities, car payments and debt, Johnson advises. Don't forget the non-essentials such as eating out, pet food, the bar tab and your bi-monthly spray tan. Add it up. How much money is coming in? How much is going out? Is there any left over at the end of the month? Having everything on paper will help you both be accountable to your individual responsibilities in adhering to a budget.