There are around 2.3 million couples that get married each year. When you get engaged, there is a flurry of activity and excitement to prepare for your wedding day and honeymoon. However, it’s important that you both take time to prepare beyond that and truly think about what your happily ever after will actually look like. Here are tips for preparing for married life.

Discuss Cha-Ching Beyond The Ring

That gorgeous ring and beautiful custom jewelry are one of the first investments you make for your marriage. But have you thought about the financial investments you’ll make as a couple for the rest of your lives? Discuss with your partner what each of your expectations are around money. Will you both work? Will you join your finances together or keep them in separate bank accounts?

THow much do you think should be saved each month for retirement and investments? How do each of you spend money? Answering these questions together now and making a financial plan can help you avoid money fights after you get married. Fights over money are one of the top reasons that many couples get divorced. By addressing these issues early, you’ll have a fantastic start to preparing for married life.

Avoid Overdoing Your Last Night Of Freedom

When you think about a bachelor party, the image that comes to mind includes a crazy night of partying, drinking, and splurging. Bachelor parties can get incredibly expensive. A bachelor party guest can spend up to $1500 on average to attend. Instead of splurging on a wild night on the town, think about finding ways to save money that can be better used preparing for married life.

Try to figure out ways you can have fun without having to spend large amounts of cash. Instead of a trip to Vegas, have a poker night with your friends at home. Have a house party instead of hanging out at a nightclub. Plan an outdoor adventure with your friends and camp under the stars. You’ll save yourself and all your friends a significant amount of cash, Plus, invited guests that wouldn’t have been able to afford to show up now have a much better opportunity to show up and celebrate with you.

Forego Frivolous Expenses

Not only are you planning your wedding but you’re financially preparing for married life as well. Now might be the time to forgo frivolous expenses like designer office wallpaper. There are numerous expenses coming up, so the two of you may want to sit down and create a budget to figure out how you’ll pay for everything. Take a hard look at everything you’re spending money on at this time and see where you can cut back. For example, cutting out that daily trip to the gourmet coffee shop can save you $1,000 in a year.

Before making any purchases, ask yourself if the item is absolutely essential right now. You can do this with your wedding and honeymoon expenses as well. Avoid racking up debt on your credit cards and pay for items with cash. Instead of going out to fancy romantic dinners, make them at home instead. Take the money you would have spent and either put it in savings or invest it to make more money you can use while preparing for married life.

Sit down together and write down everything you each spend money on each month. Then start cutting things you can go without, like that gym membership you never use. You can even start consolidating your stuff together and sell off unwanted items you won’t have room for once you’re married.

Save On The Honeymoon Splurge

The cost of your honeymoon can easily match what you pay for your wedding. Couples generally spend $4,500 on their honeymoon. Finding ways to save money instead of splurging can set you up better in preparing for married life. Consider making a honeymoon registry and let your friends and family make selections on things to give you an amazing experience. Examples you could include on the registry are room upgrades, activities, or dinner at a romantic restaurant.

You can save money on air charter by traveling in the offseason. Book flights as early as you can and look for package deals. Check online travel websites for deals on airfare, hotels, car rentals, and restaurants. Consider all-inclusive packages that combine the wedding ceremony and honeymoon together.

Another thing that you may want to consider is looking for things you can cut for your wedding ceremony to use towards your honeymoon again. The less you spend on your wedding and honeymoon, the more you’ll have for your life goals as a couple. You can use the money you save to buy a home, prepare for medical emergencies, or save for retirement.

Uniting Your Living Space

Right now the two of you may be living in separate apartments. Neither one of you will probably want to stay in them much longer. Maybe you have loud neighbors but you can’t drown them out because your place doesn’t have sound proof glass. You may desire to get a place where you can enjoy each other in peace and quiet.

The decision you’ll have to make is whether you’ll rent an apartment together or buy a home. If money is tight for the two of you, renting may be the better choice. One of the major benefits to renting over buying is that you won’t have to worry about hiring a roofing contractor to fix the roof over your head. All household repairs as well as property taxes and insurance are the landlord’s responsibility. This gives you the ability to save more while preparing for married life together.

If your financial situation is more settled, you may consider looking for a dream home together. The best place to start is to have a discussion about what you truly need and want. Do you want to move to another state or somewhere closer to your family? If you’re planning to have children, real estate in an excellent school district will be a high priority. You’ll also want to start setting aside a large amount of cash now to be able to make a down payment.

Prepping For Household Repairs

Once you have your new home, you’ll probably want to do some renovations to make it truly your own. Before you move in all your belongings, inspect your home and make a list of the things you would like to have fixed, such as a garage door that won’t open. The two main areas homeowners focus their attention on are the kitchen and the bathroom. Look for issues that could signify major repairs such as leaks or electrical problems. If you notice water damage, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a local plumber to resolve the problem.

One common problem that new homeowners typically deal with is roof repair. Have your roof professionally inspected for potential issues that may get serious later on. Make sure you have your roof inspected at least twice every year. It’s generally not a good idea to perform roofing repairs yourself unless you know what you’re doing. It can cost you much more to have a professional fix what you’ve done. Plus, you can void the warranty on any roofing materials you buy.

Consider Counseling

Getting married and learning how to live and make decisions together can be stressful. A strong marriage is based on communication and trust. Counseling can help couples learn how to communicate with one another and work through the big decisions they have to make. Learning how to live together in the same space takes time to adjust to. Minor quirks that seem to be no big deal while you’re dating can become the source of major arguments when you’re together all the time.

You both will have your own beliefs and emotional baggage that you’re carrying into your marital relationship. These can significantly affect the decisions you’ll be making together in your marital life. Learning how to resolve this emotional baggage can help you build a stronger relationship with the person you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with.

Consider counseling to learn how to resolve conflicts and discuss sensitive issues such as sex. Avoid discussing marital problems with family and friends. All too often, the advice you get may make the problems worse. A professional counselor can help you navigate the potential pitfalls as you’re preparing for married life together. They can give you strategies that will help you deepen your bond while you tackle the problem together.

End of Life Planning

It can be uncomfortable to discuss death while you’re planning your new life together, but it’s necessary. Neither of you knows what the future may hold, and it’s wise to prepare for the unexpected. What happens if one of you becomes disabled or dies in an accident? Having these discussions now will make sure that you’re ready for whatever life may throw your way.

There are certain documents you’ll want to complete as a couple to make the big decisions with end of life planning. The first thing you’ll want to have is a living will along with power of attorney. Power of attorney will give your spouse the ability to make medical and financial decisions for you if you become unable to do so for yourself. Discuss your wishes and get them in writing to have peace of mind in case something goes wrong.

You may also want to consider looking into income protection insurance. There are many different types of insurance to protect in various circumstances. Short term and long term disability insurance that can help you with income and medical expenses. Life insurance can help you cover funeral and burial costs. Compare policies and rates from different companies and make sure you understand what’s covered before signing any agreements.

Deal With Debt

Debt is a huge problem that many new couples face as they start preparing for marriage together. You may both be bringing individual debt into your marriage and now you’ll need to decide who will be responsible for what. Your spouse’s debt will affect what decisions you’ll be able to make once you get married, such as buying a house or qualifying for a business loan. Make a plan as to how you’ll take care of these debts so you can best move forward in preparing for married life together.

Try to negotiate with creditors to see if you can settle for far less than what you owe. Consider consolidating high-interest debt from student loans and credit cards. Get copies of your credit reports and review them to make sure the information is accurate. Work towards paying off smaller debt amounts and avoid taking on new debt with credit cards until your old debts are paid off. Talk with a financial advisor to get advice on the best debt management solutions as you’re preparing for married life.

Building Your Foundation As A Couple

Preparing for married life can be compared to dock building. It’s important to prioritize building a strong foundation that can withstand the crashing waves of life’s circumstances. Take time to check in on the health of your relationship and make any necessary repairs. Preparing for married life means making a commitment to be there for each other in both the good and the bad.

Make a commitment to work on your relationship every single day. Make time to laugh, play, and communicate with each other. Be prepared that there will be many ups and downs throughout your marriage, but you’ll get through them if you stick together and support each other.

There is much to think about as you begin preparing for married life. Focus on building what truly matters for both of you and enjoy every step of the journey. Use these tips to help you construct a strong foundation together as husband and wife. Don’t forget to love and enjoy each other along the way!

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