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Debt Management When You're Married

Aug 17, 2007
It's hard enough to handle your debts when you're single. Then you only have to worry about your own spending habits. Get married, especially if both parties have debts, and it can be much harder to handle your money problems.

No doubt you've heard the old saw about two living as cheaply as one. While that's not exactly true, two people can certainly live in the same place as one and that can be quite the savings, even though food and some other expenses are changed to a much lesser degree.

But marriage also brings the question of whether or not you're going to have children, which can greatly increase your expenses.

Money troubles produce tremendous strain on a marriage, so getting your finances under control is tremendously important. Finances are one of the biggest causes of marital arguments.

One of the first things you need to do is figure out your budget. You can do this on your own or hire a professional to help you. However, you need to be serious about this. Don't pretend you will do things you won't do, and be realistic about your necessities and priorities.

Sometimes you will have to make cuts that will be uncomfortable for one or both of you. You need to take a realistic look at all spending habits. Little things like buying coffee out versus making it at home can be a huge deal when you're on a tight budget.

Depending on just how much debt you're dealing with, major cuts may be necessary. If you're flat out living beyond your means, start with the little extras like eating lunch out and new wardrobes and figure out how far you need to cut back.

Look at your monthly expenses too. Rent, cable television, internet, electricity, gas and so forth should be reviewed for possible cuts. Some of these will be easier to cut than other. But be careful cutting things like cell phones or anything else where you may have a contract. You want to be sure that you are saving more than you are losing.

Figure out how you are going to pay off those debts. Focusing on one at a time works for many people. There are various theories as to which is the best way to handle debt payoff. Some prefer to take the lowest balance and pay it off first, while others prefer to target the highest interest rate.

Whatever you do, make sure you both are committed to making the changes you need to make. If one person is trying and the other is sabotaging, there's a problem that needs to be discussed. Keep working at it and you can get rid of those debts that make your life so much harder.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://credit-blog.findcreditonline.com/ about managing your credit and debts. She offers a variety of credit advice for various situations.
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