We asked the pros for clever money-saving strategies. Here's what they had to say.
1. Save for Tomorrow
Newlyweds often neglect long-term investments, such as an IRA
, because they're overwhelmed by short-term needs (a bedroom set, new tires, debt). But don't fall into that trap. Consider this: A person saving $5,000 a year (earning 10-percent compound interest) for 25 years will make $500,000.
2. Keep a Reverse Budget
If your goal is to save $500 a month, have the bank automatically take $250 out of each of your bimonthly paychecks and transfer it to a money market account. This allows you to satisfy your priorities first -- and use the rest of your money to live on.
3. Log Your Credit Cards
When you charge an item on your credit card, mark it down in the checkbook and delete the purchase from your balance (use an "A" for American Express instead of a check number). When you get the Amex statement, double-check that all of your charges coordinate with your log. Instead of charging things blindly, you'll see the money subtracted right from your funds, and you'll stop buying before the balance is zero.
4. Pay Next Month's Bills
Make a list of all of your recurring fixed monthly bills (loans, utilities, mortgage, rent) and, at the start of the month, write out a check to pay each one. Don't send them in until they're due, but still deduct them from your balance. This will give you a clear idea of how much money you have left to save and spend.
5. Plan for Splurges
Once a month, have a financial review with your mate. Review your finances from the previous month and look to see if any unusual payments might be on the horizon -- like recurring bills that aren't monthly (auto insurance) or discretionary expenses like a baby shower gift or new vacuum. Work all of these expenses into your budget so nothing takes you by surprise.
6. Choose Insurance WiselyHealth insurance
is a no-brainer: You need it. But now that you've merged lives, you can save moola if you merge health plans too. Review the plans offered by each of your employers and see if it's financially smart to do.
Nestperts Mari Adam, CFP; Stewart Welch, III, author of 10 Minute Guide to Personal Finance for Newlyweds; Sandra Bragar, CFP and CPA, CA; Jessica Smith, CFP
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