Many couples have conflicting values regarding the management of finances, so a major problem for many newlyweds is financial management. If money matters are not clearly defined prior to marriage, issues are sure to develop. Moneycrashers.com gives great tips for newlyweds in this area. Considering I was a single parent for 20 years prior to our relationship, my husband had no problem with me managing our household finances. For the first few months it was a breeze. However, our storms arrived after I quit working full time 5 months into our marriage.
I return to work full time next month, but in the meantime, we have had to learn how to budget to temporarily support our home on one income. We are blessed enough to not have major debt, with our expenses being mainly mortgage, one car note, utilities, and household expenses. For us, budgeting was not a major problem. We just had to adjust and cut back on non essentials. Things we changed included:
- Cutting back on conveniences, i.e. expensive coffees, fast food meals, sodas– this tip helped a lot because I was purchasing a large coffee each morning, sweet tea every afternoon, and eating out daily for lunch. I also gave up sodas for infused water. Cost effective and healthier!
- Switching from bottled water to tap water– This was more for my husband and daughter with their outside activities. Bottled water is/was convenient. But we make sure to have a water bottle handy that we fill and chill before they leave home.
- Purchasing less expensive or store brand household/grocery items– I grew up in a home that was brand loyal, so this was a surprising stretch for me. Even though there are some brand name items I refuse to compromise (soap, detergent, tissue), I have saved a lot making the switch.
- Meal planning and taking lunch to work/school– The most challenging, but also the most rewarding. Working 8 hour shifts with an hour commute daily caused us to fix convenience meals. Our meals on workdays consisted of fried foods, boxed dinners, and canned vegetables. Meal planning allows creativity in meal choices and also allows us to change our one that is healthier. WeGotReal.com has great and realistic meal planning tips. Crock-Pot and one dish meals are also easy on the wallet and time savers. I am also cooking more with fresh vegetables.
Even though they are small changes, incorporating these practices make a difference in your wallet. AmericaSaves provides ways to save money on a tight budget.