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Once the honeymoon is over, completing these five steps will help ensure a bright financial future for you and your spouse.
"I am getting married soon, but I also need to file for bankruptcy. Would it be wise to file before we are married or wait until after?"
Summer's on the horizon, which means more weddings, reunions, and assorted gatherings than you can possibly afford to attend. Time to learn how to say "no."
A recent poll reveals that most Americans think it's better to have an affordable wedding and save money for your new life together. Here are a few ways to keep your wedding costs in check.
Jean Chatzky answers Nicole's question about draining her savings to pay off debt before her wedding.
When it comes to weddings, you frequently hear how expensive it can be to have one, but no one ever discusses how much it costs to attend one.
Brides and grooms aren’t the only ones shelling out big bucks for their big day. As wedding season approaches and the invitations pile up, so does the financial stress.
When we were married one of my groomsman and best friends had not yet given us our wedding present. About 2 weeks after arriving home from our honeymoon, he and his girlfriend (now wife) came over for dinner and to drop off their gift. He was a teacher starting out, so I knew money was tight, so we weren't expecting anything. He was pretty excited about his gift and when he brought it in, it was a red cooler with a red water thermos inside.
The best part was that he "inferred" that he had picked it out special for us, and that it was a nice cooler and not "cheap".
We played along and thanked them, and as they left we looked at each other and started cracking up, for back in our storage closet was the same cooler and thermos that we had just received the day before as the special promotion for joining... a local bank in Maryland!
Is the gift regiftable? Never regift handmade or one-of-a-kind items. Signed books and monogrammed items are off-limits. Do you have to be told not to regift free promotional items?
How is the condition? Only new, unopened gifts in good condition should be considered for regifting. Never give partially used gift cards. Don’t give items that you have owned for a long time. A general rule of thumb: if you have to dust it off, it is not regiftable.
Is this going to work? Successful regifters use common sense. If you are going to regift, be sure you know who gave you the item, so you don’t return something to the original giver. Only regift items to people who are not likely to see the original giver.
Do you have good intentions? Don’t just give a gift to give a gift. Be sure that the recipient will appreciate the item. Remember, if you feel that an item is undesirable, the recipient probably will too. If you are regifting simply because you ran out of time, gift cards are simple to obtain and always well received.
How does it look? When it comes to gift-giving, go for show! While gift bags in good condition can be reused, wrapping paper is a one-time thing. Always spring for a new card or gift tag.
Have you considered your options? An unwanted gift could be a welcome donation to a charitable organization. It is also an option to suck it up and keep an unwanted gift—after all, it was a gift.
Any life change can be hard on a family budget, even if it is a happy event like the birth of a child. In fact, members of MMI's Advice Team regularly receive questions about family and finances. In case you have similar questions, I wanted to share few frequently asked questions and answers.
Dear Advice Team: We recently adopted a son. We are all doing very well, but my concern is that at the end of every month we are broke! I am just buying things for our son. My husband doesn’t seem to understand how much a little baby can cost. Help! -Julie, Colorado
Julie: The not-so-good news is that you can plan on spending many thousands of dollars each year to raise your child until they reach age 18; and this doesn’t include college. If the amount seems overwhelming, you take comfort in the fact that many new parents worry about money. However, most adjust quickly and find that it is definitely worth every penny! Developing short-term and long-term goals can help you to stay focused. Make sure that your will and insurance policies are updated to meet the needs of your new family. Finally, keep the lines of communication open. Communication can be the key to a financially successful family life.
Dear Advice Team: We just had our third daughter. On top of college costs, the idea of paying for three weddings is totally overwhelming. What is the best way to go about preparing for these upcoming costs? -Jeri, Arizona
Jeri: Cars, college, and weddings are just a few of the high-ticket items you may fund in the future. Fortunately, time is on your side. If you started saving $200 per month now in a money market account (5%), by the time your youngest child is age 18; you will have $69,840 and could avoid borrowing. Also, it is important to realize that having girls does not necessarily mean that have to shoulder the financial burden of their weddings. Today’s rules are not so hard and fast.
Dear Advice Team: We are pregnant with our first child. My wife and I enjoy nice things. I worry that our budget will not accommodate our lifestyle and the baby’s expenses. Do you have a sample budget we can use? -Sean, North Carolina
Sean: The costs of raising a child can vary greatly based on the choices you make so this is not a case where one budget fits all. Keep in mind that becoming parents usually means changes in the lifestyles of both parents. If you think about it, people who don’t have children waste a lot of money filling time and avoiding boredom. Rest assured: you’ll have no problem filling your schedules once the baby arrives.
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