Everyday Cheapskate: A Couple's Guide to Common Money Myths
The wedding was complicated and expensive. But it's over, and now it's time to settle in and enjoy your new life together.
Lucky for you, I'm here to warn you about some common money myths that newlyweds have been known to bring with them into their marriage.
Myth: Double the income, half the expenses.
This is what I call newlywed fuzzy math: Merging your lives and incomes into one household is the equivalent of getting a raise. Don't believe that -- not for a second.
Counter: Start out living on only one income, and save the rest. This will require going against everything our culture insists you deserve, but it will allow you to move seamlessly into parenthood. When that day comes, you'll have an impressive savings account and options -- and a gallery of envious friends.
Myth: There's stuff we can't live without.
No, there isn't. But it will be easy to convince yourselves that you absolutely must have matching furniture, new cars and all kinds of gadgets and services to make your lives easier and keep up with your expectations, to say nothing of your friends.
Counter: Make a pact that you will never go into debt for "stuff." Period.
Myth: If we qualify, we can afford it.
Whether it's a new credit card or a new nothing-down, interest-only mortgage for a house that you know in your hearts you cannot afford, never allow your ability to qualify to be the determining factor. If you cannot pay the entire credit card balance in full each month, or if the mortgage plus the insurance, taxes and maintenance is more than 30 percent of your net income, you can't afford it. Getting in over your heads is the recipe for a marital disaster.