Craig Dacy (@craigdacy) is a Financial Coach and blogger-extraordinaire at CraigDacy.com. He is on a mission to teach folks how to build wealth and live frugally one budget at a time.
According to debt.org, more than 7 out of 10 couples enter their marriage with debt. That means that most couples are behind financially as soon as they finish saying “I do.”
With so many big expenses involved with starting a life together, newlyweds need to find as many opportunities to save money as possible. Here are my top 4 money saving tips for newly married couples.
1.Return Your Gifts
I remember the day my wife and I went to create our registry. With nothing but smiles, the store clerk handed us a gift bag, a registry list, and the most fun toy I’ve played with in my adult life; the scanner.
If you’re anything like me, you had a little too much fun scanning things onto your registry. I ran through the aisles aiming those red cross hairs at any barcode that caught my eye.
The problem was, once the wedding was over, we ended up getting a lot of things we didn’t need. While the dartboard and video games seemed like a great idea at the time, they weren’t quite as important as a set of silverware or a shower curtain.
Go through your gifts and decide what items are essential and which ones are extra. Will you really use that quesadilla maker as often as you think you will? Take those things back and exchange them for the things you really need.
2.Date Nights In
It’s incredibly important to go on dates in your first year of marriage. This is a time for you and your spouse to connect on a deeper level. However, this isn’t an excuse to blow your budget.
Find frugal ways to spend a date night together. Since this time is truly about connecting, it doesn’t necessarily matter where you go. Some of our most memorable date nights were spent on the couch with a Redbox and an oven pizza. That $7 date was just as special to us as a dinner at a nice restaurant would be.
If you don’t want to spend your date nights inside (it’s important to get out, too), research fun things in your area that are cheap or free. You can go on a hike, visit a local landmark, or attend a low cost festival. There are tons of things you can do together without spending a fortune.
3.Rent for the First Year
It can be tempting to run out and buy your first home right after the wedding is over. When we got married, it seemed like everyone around us was saying, “Renting is just throwing your money away each month!”
There is incredible value in owning a home. It will be one of the best investments you’ll make. But that’s exactly what it is; an investment.
Homeownership comes with a lot of financial responsibilities that renting doesn’t. If the air conditioning goes out, homeowners are the ones that get the bill. If you’re a renter, all you have to do is call your landlord and ask them to fix it. Sudden expenses like these can put a strain on a young marriage.
We rented an apartment for a year before buying our first home. Temporarily renting bought us time to save money for a down payment.
4.Sell your Wedding Decorations
So much money and energy gets poured into our big day. Every detail is carefully crafted to make the wedding look perfect. After it’s over, most of the decorations end up in the garbage or at Goodwill. I see this as a lost opportunity.
Why not sell those items that you’ll never use again? Wedding-recycle.com is a website designed to help brides sell any leftover decorations. Brides can set their price and post anything from their wedding that they don’t want to hang onto. Wedding-recycle takes just a 4% fee and you keep the rest!
If you’re willing to part with it, selling your wedding dress can bring you the biggest return. Websites like Tradesy specialize in high end and designer items that can bring you a good return on your dress. After they take a 9% commission, you have the potential of walking away with a couple hundred dollars. The Knot also has its own classifieds section where brides post their unneeded items. If all else fails, Craigslist and eBay are always great options.
Living frugally your first year doesn’t have to be a chore. Have some fun trying to find new ways to cut your spending! I can’t help but smile as I remember those movie nights on our hand-me-down couch. This is all a part of your life together story, so enjoy it!
Your turn: What other ways could newlyweds save money in that first year?