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Five Common Money Mistakes Made by Couples

Whether you are a newlywed or have celebrated a few anniversaries, use these tips to avoid the most common money issues faced by couples.

  1. Know where your money goes and have a budget.
    Track your spending for two months to determine what you are spending money on. Include fixed expenses such as mortgage, rent and car payments as well as expenses that fluctuate, such as utility bills. After you determine your budget, you can also work on your savings and investment goals as well as avoiding any pitfalls. Budget Worksheet »
  2. Share financial responsibility.
    It's OK to give one person the bill paying duties, but both individuals should have knowledge of day-to-day finances and decision making for large purchases. Plus, information should be shared regarding bill due dates, account information and account passwords in case something happens to the designated bill payer. You may even want to have a day set aside each month where you discuss your budget together.
  3. Don't keep money secrets from each other.
    To avoid arguments, tell your spouse about any debt you have coming into the relationship along with any regular spending habits you have.
  4. Don't marry your debt.
    If you are newlyweds, make a plan to pay off any existing debt, but be sure to keep the debt in the original debtor's name. Adding the other spouse can hurt his/her credit score and make it harder to obtain credit for both of you. You will also need to determine what large purchases to make or avoid—such as the size of wedding you want, honeymoon, furniture and appliances.
  5. Plan ahead.
    It's important to save for future purchases and emergencies such as car repair or unexpected medical expenses. It's ideal to have about six months of expenses saved up to be ready for just about anything.

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