Being aware of money, beyond the amount you get in your pay cheque every fortnight is crucial if you want to be the master of your own destiny, financially.
The usual things like setting up a system that works for you, to ensure that bills are budgeted for and paid on time, working out with your fiancé what will be joint money and what you will each keep as ‘your’ money, how much you need to save to get the big items, like a house, should be ‘given’ in couple’s life.
However, if we look beyond the physical aspects of money, we can start to tap into our attitudes about money. Have you secretly, now that you are getting married, sighed with relief that ‘he’ will be there to manage the finances, because, let’s be honest, you never had enough or you didn’t care enough? Has fulfilling your own ‘needs’ been paramount, over paying that pesky bill? Has that night out or buying that dress been more important than saving for your future.
Do you see your fiance as your ‘ticket to ride’ – oh, he will pay the bills, and make sure there is enough money in the account to do so. Yeah, I will just use my money to buy the things I want – his money is our money, my money is my money?
If you are serious about a strong financial future together then it is prudent to look honestly at these attitudes. What is it that you both really want in your future? House, new car, children – how are you going to provide in the best possible way for each of these? What will you need to sacrifice in order to save for the house deposit, to buy the new car? How will you provide for your time on maternity leave?
One of the best questions you can ask yourself when shopping is, ‘Is this item a ‘want’, or a ‘need’?’ Prepare to be surprised as you honestly consider each purchase. There are so many times the item will be a ‘want’ and not a ‘need’. Are you prepared to sacrifice something else in order to fulfil your ‘want’? Will you put this purchase on a credit card to worry about and justify to yourself later? In buying this item am I going to feel the tiniest bit guilty?
It is said that you need to have at least 6 months worth of savings in case you or your partner lose your job. To do this, most of us will have to really question our ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.
We live in a world of instant gratification, where the pressure to have the latest and greatest of everything is always present. But being really honest with yourself about your true material needs is so enlightening, and comes with more than a touch of empowerment.