Ways to Save Money

8 Major Money Moves You Need to Make Before Saying “I Do”

Updated August 6, 2016
by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor

Recently engaged? Congrats!

Between tasting cake and trying on dresses, being financially responsible is probably the last thing on your mind…

But, before walking down the aisle, it’s essential you and your fiancé get on the same page.

Specifically, here are eight financial steps to take after getting engaged to help get you there.

1. Have the Money Talk

Getting engaged
vgajic / Getty Images

Hopefully, since you’ve committed to spending your life together, you’ve already talked money with your honey. But if you haven’t, better late than never.

As I outlined in this post about moving in together, you should have a DTM (Define The Money).

“Schedule a time to talk so that your partner doesn’t feel blindsided and so that you can each do a little homework beforehand if need be,” suggests love and money expert Farnoosh Torabi.

Share important numbers like your income, debt and approximate credit scores.

Discuss how you’ll merge your finances once you’re married, and what (if anything) else will change money-wise.

2. Get Drunk and Look at Your Credit Scores

Getting engaged
Spanic / Getty Images

Once you’ve had the money talk, it’s time to verify your credit scores. Since this can be a sobering experience, we recommend having a few drinks beforehand.

You can check your scores for free on Credit Sesame — you don’t even need a credit card to sign up. You’ll also get a free credit report card to show you exactly where your credit shines… and where it could use some improvement.

If you discover one (or both) of your credit scores is less than ideal, then it’s time to create an action plan.

Will you follow this mom’s tips for paying off $64,000 of credit card debt in two years? Implement one of these inventive strategies? Automate your payments so you never miss another one?

Or, will you consider a credit-builder loan with a company like Self Lender?

3. Open a Joint Savings Account

Getting engaged
RomoloTavani / Getty Images

If you don’t already live together, you will soon. So it’s probably time to open a joint bank account.

Not only will this make it easier to pay your shared bills, but you can also use it to save up for your wedding expenses.

One of our favorite banks is Aspiration, because its Summit checking account has no minimums and no monthly fees.

Plus, it offers an interest rate that’s around 100 times what a normal bank offers.

By keeping your wedding savings in a separate, online-only account, you’ll be less likely to touch it. And by keeping it in an interest-earning account, it’ll grow even faster than you anticipated!

4. Earn Some Extra Dough

Getting engaged
AGrigorjeva / Getty Images

You know what’s super romantic? Not going into debt — or dipping into savings — to pay for your wedding.

If you need some extra money to pad your new joint account, here are a few ideas:

Earn Cash Back on Everything You Buy

Weddings are expensive, which is why I like to use a cash-back rewards site like MyPoints.

Once you sign up for a free account, it’ll give you 1.4% cash back on purchases at Target, 5.4% at Walmart — and even 2.7% back at MyWeddingFavors. There are more than 1,000 stores on its list, so you can purchase nearly everything using this method.

Plus, when you spend your first $20 through the portal, MyPoints will give you a free $10 gift card to Amazon.

Drive for Uber

Do you have a car that’s 2001 or newer? Like meeting new people?

Then becoming an Uber partner driver might be right up your alley. With this job, you can earn hundreds extra per week — on whatever schedule works best for you.

Watch Cooking Videos

Like MyPoints, Swagbucks will give you points (called SB) for doing all sorts of online activities — but our favorite option has to be watching cooking videos. And right now, the site will give you $5 just for signing up!

5. Plan Your (Frugal) Dream Wedding

Getting engaged
Image Source / Getty Images

Weddings can be insanely expensive (exhibits A and B), but they don’t have to be.

For starters, the stat about weddings costing $30,000 is inflated; you and I both know it’s possible to host a lovely event for much less than that.

Here are some posts to help you plan a beautiful wedding on a budget:

6. Start Making Snowflakes

Getting engaged
MagMos / Getty Images

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re serious about starting your marriage on the right financial foot. And paying back debt is probably one of your goals.

You may have heard of Dave Ramsey’s snowball method — but what about the snowflake method?

With this strategy, instead of making one lump payment each month, you make several smaller payments.

“Basically, any time you find yourself with extra cash, you should use it to make a payment on your credit card,” explains Mike Peterson at DebtGuru.

Why does this work?

“If you wait and save up to make a large, traditional credit card payment, that extra money might just slip through your fingers,” he continues.

But these micropayments (whether they’re $2 or $200) slowly chip away at your balance.

“If you do that again the next week, and the next, all of those small payments start to stack up,” he says.

Wondering where you can get small amounts of money to use as debt snowflakes? We’ve got a couple ideas:

SavvyConnect

This app wants to know things like how long you’re on FB everyday and they’ll pay you for every month you share your data. You’ll earn $5 per device for each month SavvyConnect is installed on one of your devices and you can earn up to a total of $180 per year.

Stash

Stash is an easy-to-use app that lets you start investing with only a few bucks. Even better, the company will give you $5 just for signing up.

7. Discuss Your Future Goals

Getting engaged
Pekin / Getty Images

To build your ideal future together, you have to figure out what it looks like first.

Although you’ve probably already covered most of the biggies, it won’t hurt to do a deeper dive on the following topics:

On Kids

If you plan to have kids, how will you raise them? Will you give them an allowance? Will you help them pay for college?

Raising kids who are money-smart — but not spoiled — can be challenging, but is well worth the effort.

With your partner, compare notes about what your parents did right (or wrong) and decide what your strategy will be.

On Retirement

When would you like to retire? Where? How aggressively do you want to save for it?

If you start investing when you’re young, you won’t be like the many Americans who can’t afford to stop working.

Make sure you and your partner are on the same page, then plan for the future accordingly.

On Spending

What are your priorities? Would you rather have a nice car, or frequent vacations? Is a big house important to you?

Money can cause a lot of tension in relationships — often due to differing views on how to spend it. Clarify your priorities before they become a problem.

8. Book a Bodacious Honeymoon

Getting engaged
pixdeluxe / Getty Images

Once all the madness is over, it’s time to get away. (Personally, I feel like this is one of the most exciting parts about getting married!)

Your honeymoon might seem like a long time away, but the earlier you start the booking process, the cheaper it will be.

Whether you want an urban adventure or a beachside escape, here are a few ways to make it more affordable:

Use Points and Miles

If you start early, you might even be able to fund your honeymoon entirely on miles and points.

Read this post to get started with frequent flyer miles, then check out these blogs and other resources.

Travel to a Cheap Destination

Not only would I recommend seeking alternative accommodation when you travel (Airbnb can save you lots!), I’d also suggest seeking an alternative destination.

Instead of Italy, visit Croatia; instead of Hawaii, head to Mexico. No matter what you want, there’s probably an alternate destination to serve your needs for half the price.

For some inspiration, check out this list of six destinations where dinner for two is less than $20.

Book Your Flights Carefully

A lot of factors determine how much you’ll pay for your plane tickets. Your best tool in the fight against sky-high ticket prices? Knowledge.

To get the best deal, here’s how far ahead you should book, when to buy and when to fly.

By following these eight steps before you say “I do,” you’ll give your new marriage the solid financial foundation it needs — hopefully allowing your money to last as long as your love does.

Your Turn: Are you engaged or married? What steps would you add to this list?  

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. Adding these links helps us keep the lights on in The Penny Hoarder HQ, which makes it a lot easier to play shuffleboard after a long day of deal-seeking!

by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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