Let me just start by saying that I have seen couples get married at 40 years old and still get divorced five years later, and I have seen couples who got married at 18 who are still together after 20 odd years. Your age does not determine how successful a marriage will be. What determines how successful a marriage will be is how prepared you BOTH are for the commitment, how adaptable to change and sacrifice you BOTH are, and how hard you BOTH work to keep the spark alive. End of.
So, with this topic in mind I decided to start a series that’s all about being married at a young age. There’s not much positive writing out there for us young wives, so I think it is extremely overdue. Marriage is not easy, and you should definitely wait until you are absolutely sure about who you are marrying, but once you are sure you shouldn’t let your age be the thing standing in your way. I hope this series will be the encouragement you need if you are engaged or married at a young age to say “SCREW YOU!” to anyone who tells you that you’re too young.
Part 1: Budgeting & Family Finance
When my husband and I got married we found ourselves in a pretty stressful financial situation. Whilst we both had decent paying jobs, we also had a lot of very large expenses thrown at us all in one go. We had been living with my husband’s father, so when we moved into our current home we had to pay the deposit and all the expenses associated with moving straight out of our back pockets, with no deposit coming back from any previous homes. We also had the cost of the wedding and honeymoon (we were lucky enough to have our family help us out with this, but it was still expensive). On top of that we found out we were expecting our daughter very shortly after the wedding (um… HELLO?! How the frig are we meant to pay for a third person?!) AND we had to buy a new car. With all of this put together, we sort of felt like we were drowning in that first year.
The good news is we didn’t need a lot to make us happy. We had a look at our expenses and decided what was a priority for us to spend money on aside from our non-negotiable bills, which was food, fuel for the car and building our savings so that we could one day buy a house. Because we had decided early on that these were our priorities, our fridge was never empty, we always had a full tank of gas and our savings account was growing by a decent amount each month.
Luxuries were just that… luxuries. We would get eat out at a restaurant and buy new clothes if (and only IF) we could afford it; if we had a little extra left over at the end of the month. We found new cheapie or free ways to have fun. Approaching our finances in this way paid off, because we are now in a situation where we need to move to a bigger house and we are not particularly worried about paying for it. We are in a position where we can realistically see ourselves buying a house in about five years time, which is just a pipe-dream for many young people these days. We can even treat ourselves more frequently because we have figured out little ways to keep our expenses down whilst our incomes have been gradually creeping up.
In order to make sure we definitely could afford whatever we wanted to buy, I used (and still do use!) a budgeting spreadsheet. You can get the one I use for free here
You won’t have to scrimp and save forever!
It may feel that way in the beginning, but just remember that no matter how frustrating it is to be living on the ‘bare minimum’, it is only temporary. By prioritizing what you are going to spend your money on and accepting the fact that for the time being you may have to go without a few things, your financial situation WILL better itself and your savings account WILL grow.
The best advice I can offer you is to approach your budget and your finances together as a couple, to talk about it and decide TOGETHER what your priorities are. What are you aiming towards? What point do you both want to reach? Now that you are married your money is both of your responsibilities, even if one person earns more than the other. You now share your income and your debt, so you have to approach it together.
Now that we are a little more free with our finances, we are able to make larger purchases without feeling guilty, but we still make sure to include each other in the decision making process.
I would never go out and buy a fancy new camera for my YouTube channel
without talking to my husband about it first. When one of us wants to purchase something over the value of, say £20, we ALWAYS sit down together and explain why we need it, what benefit it will bring to us and why the cost is justified. This has not only meant that we get a second pair of eyes on whether or not a purchase is truly worth it, but it has also built this amazing sense of trust between us.
Our marriage is not perfect and money can be the cause of tension between us sometimes, but by working through it together rather than being rash and going out and buying something just to spite the other person, we have arrived at this wonderful mutual place where we do have a little bit of disposable income. So I would like to encourage you now, rather than having separate bank accounts and having one person who is ‘in charge of the finances’, do it together. Be a team. After all, that’s what marriage is all about. Two people coming together to form a badass unbreakable superteam!