There is so much stress involved with a wedding, here are a few tips that can help you start off your marriage stress free.
Combine, combine, combine. There is no reason that you need to pay extra (sometimes double!) on the following:
Car Insurance. If you are with separate companies, call each one before the wedding and get quotes. Which company will provide you with the best coverage at the best rate? Most likely a company that offers longevity discounts (the company one of you may already be with) or a company that caters only to specific clientele (such as USAA).
Remember, your liability limits should be the same for every car in the house.
Whether or not you opt for “full coverage” (meaning Comprehensive and collision coverage to protect your vehicle against fire, theft, vandalism and collision with another vehicle or building/structure) is up to you.
If you have a loan or a lease on your vehicle, the lender will require to to carry both of these types of coverage.
If you use public transportation to travel to and from work, tell your insurance company that you use your vehicle for pleasure only.
If you drive less than 10,00 miles/year, let your insurance carrier know- most companies offer a short mileage discount!
Renters/homeowners/condo-unit owners’ insurance
Remember to combine your home insurance as well, especially if you have not lived together prior to your marriage. You’ve got all those get wedding presents! Insure them!
Cell phones/landline/internet coverage/cable.
If possible, change to the same carrier and get a “family plan” with unlimited mobile to mobile for your two numbers, at least! Most carriers offer a discount for the second cell phone.
Do you both have cell phones? Think about why you have a landline. If you’ve received less than 20 calls on your landline in the last month that were actually people you wanted to talk to (not phone solicitors or surveys), consider canceling your landline. You’ll have around $300/year, if not more.
Most companies that offer cell phone and internet coverage will provide you with a discount if you “bundle” your services. Ask your carrier!
Cable- If you have high speed internet service and a Netflix subscription, cancel your cable subscription. Between Hulu, CBS.com, and YouTube you really don’t need cable. And really… As a newlywed, you won’t be watching all that much television.
Finances: This is a major one!
Budget- Your financial intake should be more than your output. Make a list of all of your monthly bills and make sure that you include budget lines for groceries, gas, savings, and a date night! Join Mint.com if you are having trouble with your budget or don’t know where all your money is going. Stick to your budget. This is really hard. You can use a website like Mint.com to help you make a budget (they’ll even do a pie chart for you too)!
Combine bank accounts. If you do not want to do this, at the least put each other on your accounts as a co-signor (for emergencies!).
Saving money is important. If you get cash as a wedding gift- DON’T SPEND IT ALL. A lot of relatives and friends give you money so you can start your life together. Save some of it for your future!
Talk honestly about the debts you bring into the marriage and make a plan to get debt free! Debts include car payments, credit cards, student loans.
One person should be in charge of all of the bills and balancing the checkbook. YES- You must balance your checkbook! Be willing to trade duties and both of you should be aware of how much money you have as a couple, where your debts stand and the plan to save.
Make a list of all of the bills and when they are due each month. Put them on your family calendar (don’t have one? Get one! We use a desk blotter style calendar that we hang on the wall next to the computer) every month. If you are a digital family, use iCal or Outlook, and make a reminder 5 days prior to the due date.
Get life insurance! If you are young, it’s pretty cheap. If you get it from the same company as your auto insurance, you’ll get a discount on your car insurance, in most cases.
After the gifts are opened, and thank you cards are sent, gather up all of your old pots, pans, and whatever else was replaced with your wedding gifts and hold a yard/tag/garage sale. Someone will want your old towels, sheets, pots and pans. Use the money you earn to pad your savings account.
After Hubs and I got married our car insurance went down over $100/month between the two of us, our cell bills went down about $30/month. That little “extra” each month gave us a chance to put more money in our savings account!
We had to replace Mr. C’s 14 year old Pontiac last year. It was time. Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of friends talking about replacing their older cars that aren’t as fuel efficient or that are starting to need some pretty costly repairs.
We knew the time to replace the old, creaky Pontiac was coming, so to prepare for the new car I did the following step
We made a list of cars that met our qualifications: price, specific gas mileage, features (safety & comfort). With a price range in mind, we could make sure that we had enough saved for a down payment.
We made sure that we had room in our budget for a car payment. We paid my car off last year (an entire year early!! I rounded up payments each month to the closest $10 and when we had extra money from rebates or bonuses, I sent a few extra hundred dollars to the finance company- those things really do help!).
I had been saving money each paycheck for a down payment. It wasn’t a lot of money each month, but we’ve known for about a year that the Pontiac was on it’s last legs.
We filed our tax returns as soon as we were able- We wanted to use the majority of our refund toward the downpayment.
We looked online for vehicles that fit our qualifications, we used connections (that would also provide us discounts) through our credit union, insurance carrier, and through sources like UPromise to find vehicles within our price range.
We went into the dealerships pre-approved for a loan through our credit union.
We knew what was on our credit reports and our scores (Thanks to using CreditSesame), so we knew that we could leverage that if needed to try and get a better APR.
I checked with our insurance carrier prior to purchasing the new car to see what the insurance premiums would look like on several cars on our list. We needed the premiums to stay pretty much the same.
In the end we purchased a 2011 Prius from Toyota of El Cajon. The process was easy, fast (4 hours, but if you’ve bought a car, you know how long it takes), and our sales consultant, Jason Mongold, was awesome. He and his managers helped us find a car that met our criteria and budget, and they gave us a great amount for our trade-in.
Take your time and make sure you review all of your options when buying a car. Whether you buy new or used, from a dealership or private party, do your research!
Carfax Reports– learn all about the car you are about to buy (accidents, title status). Most dealerships that sell pre-owned cars will show you the CarFax report before you purchase.
KBB.com– Find out the value of your trade-in, and the value of the car you are about to purchase.
What are your tips and tricks for purchasing a car?