Originally Posted by 30 Roses
Money is the #1 thing couples fight about.
It is hugely important to get on the same page-- preferably now, before you are married.
The less combined income you have at first, the more funds will need to be set aside for fixed expenses-- and the more important it is to find ways to identify and plug the leaks, so to speak, so that more money is available for the things that matter to both of you. I suggest you both keep a journal for a month to identify where the money actually goes. This can really be an eye-opener.
What a great topic of conversation: what things matter to both of you. Each of you, make a list of what you think matters to the other, and then exchange lists and see how close you were-- and talk about each of the things you listed, and what it would mean for the way you use your time and money.
For example, time spent with your and his family members may translate to time and money spent on traveling to see them.
It would be great to work out a tentative spending plan
(a.k.a. budget) to guide you in your first year of marriage. which can be adjusted as needed. But it's hard to make a budget until you figure out what things matter more and less. So discuss the values first.
I'll tell you an anecdote that dates back to when we were engaged. I needed a lamp for my apartment, which would eventually move with me to our apartment when we married (we didn't live together until we were married.) So he would need to like it, too. One day we took a ride to the mall to find a table lamp. Easy, right?
Not at all. Several hours later, during which I vetoed all his choices and he vetoed mine, we sat down to figure out what was going on.
Turned out I was following the script I grew up with (buy a cheap lamp, maybe spend $30, and replace it when we got tired of it or it broke.) He was following a different script (buy a good quality lamp that would last for many years to come.) No wonder we couldn't agree on a lamp! I decided I'd go with his idea and we zeroed in on fine Stiffel brass lamps. We quickly found one we both liked (it was over $250) and when they went to half-off in a couple of months, we bought a second, identical one. I'm looking right now at these lamps-- they're still in our living room, 20 years later, still look great. We're not tired of them.So figure out what money scripts you both grew up with. Who controlled the finances in your birth families? (Mother, father, both?) Who actually paid the bills? What money anxieties do you each bring to the table?
The time you spend on this will be well spent, trust me.