Being frugal can be difficult when you're just starting out as a young couple. Newlyweds are filled with hopes, dreams and challenges. To help young couples get off on the right foot, readers share their advice.
COMMUNICATE: You have to be on the same page with finances, or it can cause huge problems for the rest of your marriage. Cook at home, pack lunches, stick to a list. Don't go for all the prepackaged convenience foods, and don't get suckered into spending a fortune at the grocery store. Stockpiling on loss leaders and setting up your menu for a week or a month at a time can save you a ton of money. -- K.J., Ohio
TAKE YOUR TIME: You have a lifetime together to get things. You don't need to buy them all during the first year of marriage. You will be amazed at the things you can do without. Make it a rule not to buy unless you truly need (not want) it and have the money for it. Get some savings built up. Make it a rule to pay yourself first, even if it is only $20 per pay period. If you are open with each other about finances, you can overcome any obstacles life may present to you. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination. -- Kim, Canada
PLAN: Never give your spouse any reason to doubt you in any way. Plan your major purchases, and do your research. Buy used, not new, cars; maintain them impeccably; and drive them till the doors fall off. This alone will save you thousands. -- Lisa, Texas
SYNERGY: Come to an agreement that if either one of you is going to spend a certain amount of money, you both have to agree upon it prior to the purchase. Have an emergency fund. If an emergency happens, having the funds to pay for it relieves a lot of stress. Practice "You don't have to live up to the Joneses." At times this will be difficult, but if you are both on the same page, it actually can be fun. -- via forums
SET PRIORITIES: I guess communication is key, because you need to set priorities. You need to determine what you value most in life. Creativity can be a good way to save money doing things. Learn to think creatively. -- Jean, Canada
MAKE POSITIVE CHOICES: Save, save, save for what you want. Don't give in to "buy now and pay later." If you do, you will pay forever! It gets down to choices about what you want to have, what you want to own, where you want to go, and how you want to spend your time. -- Barb, Pennsylvania
DON'T CHARGE: Avoid credit-card debt. This is a huge trap for newlyweds. It is so easy to start charging a little here and there, especially when you're just starting out. Save for purchases, and set a time frame -- maybe 30 days -- before making purchases. There are probably a lot of things you want to buy now to get settled, but if you wait, you may find you don't need a certain item so much. -- via forums
HAVE MAD MONEY: You need to be able to share your thoughts and ideas so you can develop a financial plan that works for both of you. It's important to have a little "mad money" that each of you can spend on something you want without feeling guilty about breaking the budget. -- Mary, Wyoming
TRACK SPENDING: Write down everything you spend. That will show you where to plug the leaks. -- Valerie, Washington
READ: Start reading relevant books to help you cut costs. Check them out at your local library. -- Pammy, Texas
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2010, United Feature Syndicate.
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