The first year of marriage can be a reality check for newly married couple, especially when it comes to finances. More couples are waiting until their 30s to get hitched and by the time they do, they may have already bought cars, homes and other major items with their own money and credit, and nobody else's permission. It's about growing up and becoming independent. But when you get married, you're not "independent" anymore.
So if you've got a decent income and you've been managing your finances quite well on your own for years, it's a difficult shift to make when you suddenly have to discuss major purchases with your new spouse. And you do need to discuss them, if only to establish what you each consider to be a "major" purchase.
Keep in mind that you might not think you spend an extraordinary amount of money on certain items you don't consider optional, but if your fiancé never knew what you were spending before, sometimes the dollar amounts can be a shocker. First and foremost, figure out what the dollar amount limit is by discussing it beforehand.
Once you're married, you usually have some new savings goals — for a home, for vacations, for children someday — and you don't have a prayer of achieving that if you don't discuss your current spending and how it plays into the future. Avoid fighting about it later and talk numbers now.
Here are three things that most couples need to sit down and discuss — with a calculator — once they've tied the knot:
Your Beauty Expenses
Some gentlemen think a $35 haircut is outrageous and prefer to go to the barber. They have no idea that every time their beautiful bride gets her hair cut and her color touched up, the tab runs at least $200, plus tips. Add to that regular maintenance waxing, occasional facials, manicures, and pedicures — for a lot of women, the beauty bill can reach (or exceed) $500 a month. That's $6,000 a year! We won't even get into what it costs if she's using Botox already.
You knew he and his boys had season tickets for hockey or football or baseball, but did you know how much he was spending annually on those tickets? Depending on how good the team is, it could be in the thousands of dollars. And in some cases, those season tickets are so hard to get that people put them in their wills! Two years of season tickets could be a down payment on a house.
Expensive hobbies are often overlooked when you're just dating, or even when you're living together. Having him out of the house for golf part of every weekend might seem like a little blessing, until you add up when he's spending on the game annually. Same goes for the ladies. Whether it's a personal trainer or an addiction to horseback riding that you've indulged since childhood, these are things that cost more than most hobbies.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.