Five ways to simplify your finances

As a bride-to-be, I never anticipated how many expenses would ensue or how many tasks would be left to do AFTER the wedding. Once a newlywed, simply getting my name changed required various unbudgeted expenses, not to mention countless hours of my time. Unexpected expenses can really offset your budget, so getting your finances (life) organized after months of wedding madness should be number one on your list of things to do as a newlywed. This is especially so you can be prepared for unforeseen expenditures, no matter how big or small.

Here are a few ways to get your money and bills in order so you can avoid any unexpected fees AND cut down the time spent on monthly to-dos.

  1. Decide how you are going to set up your bank accounts. My husband and I opened a joint checking account and closed our old accounts. Many couples find it easier to keep separate accounts for personal expenditures and gifts, in addition to a joint account for shared expenses. You and your spouse will need to figure out your spending habits and choose which option is most suitable for you.
  2. Sort out your expenses and see if they can be combined. You can save on combining your cell phone bills since plans usually have a base price you are required to pay even if you don’t reach the maximum number of minutes every month. If your provider offers it, you could even combine your cell phone, Internet, cable, and home phone bill--that’s 4 expenses in one! Your insurance plans are other costs you should look into combining.
  3. Sort out your credit cards too. Do you both have credit cards from the same department stores and/or credit card companies? Consider adding both names to one (probably the one with a better interest rate) and canceling the other card to minimize interest fees and the number of bills sent to your home every month.
  4. Determine who will pay the bills. If you think your spouse is paying the bill and he or she thinks you’re paying the bill, one will likely slip between the cracks. Decide who will be in charge of writing checks and/or monitoring online payments every month to avoid any late fees (and future arguments).
  5. Opt for online banking! Online banking is extremely convenient and organized. Automatic payments helps with paying bills on time, and saving on postage costs and reducing paper waste are two more benefits (check out my previous post on why I love online banking and billing).

Do you and your spouse have your own tips on how to keep your finances in order? If so, please share in the comments section.

Anna Kronzer is a former marketing specialist and program manager at MMI.

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