Budget Advice for the NearlyWeds
May 20, 2015
Recently, I was asked to offer some financial budgeting tips to a couple preparing for marriage. Below are some highlights . . .
Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). Translation: Money is a big deal and a HUGE thermometer for your heart. It reveals what you most value. Recent research has shown that money is the number one cause of divorce.
- Live within your means
In other words, DO NOT PURCHASE THINGS YOU CANNOT AFFORD! If you make $35,000 a year - set up a budget that does not exceed spending $35,000 a year. If that means eating bologna and cereal for 2 years, so be it. Just live within your means.
- Tithe first . . . off the GROSS
When compiling a budget, include the amount given as your tithe FIRST. And, yes, tithe off of the gross amount of income, not the net. God is faithful. He will never fail to provide.
- Collaborate on the budget
Work together on a budget that BOTH of you agree on. Be okay with decisions that are made about the budget BEFORE you start spending!
- Keep ONE checking account
The two will become one flesh - including money. When a couple becomes one, it means everything they have belongs to both spouses. It's not "his money" versus "her money." It is Y'ALLs money!
- Communicate regularly
Talk about where you are in the budget. Keep each other informed. Adjust when/if needed. Life happens. Surprises happen. Nobody wants to spend $800 to get new brakes on the family mini van. Communicate how surprises impact the overall budget.
- Identify spending tendencies
More than likely, one will tend to save more and the other will tend to spend more. One will be the "tight-wad" and the other will try to sneak an Amazon Kindle book without the other's notice on a regular basis (don't judge). These differences are good and God-given. KNOW THEM ABOUT THE OTHER. Let the differences bring the two of you into balance.
- Track expenses . . . even the small ones.
It is amazing what happens when you begin to track where every penny you spend goes. I recently did this with getting water at restaurants instead of soft drinks. Oh. My. Goodness. A month of monitoring revealed that several hundred dollars a year could be saved simply from drinking water when eating out.
- Read Proverbs and Dave Ramsey
In that order. Reading a Proverb every day is a game changer. For life. For marriage. For parenting. For job. For money. And, of course, Dave Ramsey has some remarkable resources available. God has some things to say about this and He has provided a vast array of solid resources. Be informed!
Now - what else would you add to help this couple?