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Budgets Help Reduce Newlyweds' Stresses
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- "For richer, for poorer" is usually in the vows, but many couples may not realize the potential hardship financial issues can have on their marriage.
"Finances are a common source of conflict for couples, but as with many other issues, good communication can help reduce the problems on the relationship," said Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
"Even before the wedding day, couples should discuss their spending habits, priorities and future budgets," Davis said. "They also should try to begin the marriage as debt free as possible."
Talking about finances and budgets may not seem like a romantic way to spend an evening, but couples who discuss money matters while engaged often experience less conflict after the wedding.
"Feelings about spending or saving and the financial condition of each person are very important to know," Davis said. "It's easier to decide who will pay the bills, how bills will be paid and how credit will be used before you have to actually do it as a couple."
Dr. Beverly Howell, Extension family economics and management specialist, said couples should use caution when buying on credit.
"It is always better to avoid using credit because credit often costs more," Howell said. "But credit can be a helpful tool if both partners learn to use it responsibly."
Newly-married couples face many temptations to use credit for items for their homes or each other, but buying needs to be tempered with the knowledge that some things can wait.
"Remember to be totally honest with your partner about how much you owe -- debt makes a very unpleasant surprise," Howell said. "Keeping honesty and communication about money matters in your marriage can help avoid many conflicts in the future."
Howell said good communication is also important with creditors.
"It may be difficult to begin a marriage debt free, but couples should make sure their credit record is not damaged by any increased expenses related to the wedding or honeymoon," Howell said. "There are so many distractions as a wedding date approaches, it is easy to forget to pay bills on time or make other adjustments in finances."
The wedding itself can cause bills to mount. Even if parents are helping pay for the wedding, avoid the tendency to overspend.
"There are many ways to keep costs down, including date and time selection, fewer attendants, conservative guest estimates, simple decorations and less food," Howell said.