One of the most powerful tools you have to tackle and master your finances is not some fancy calculator or new app, but your spouse. You two are in this journey together and that means using this opportunity not just increase your net worth, but to actually becoming closer.
10 Things You Two Can Do to Build Your Net Worth
When I first started Couple Money, I shared some tips on building a financial plan together. Now older (and hopefully just a little bit wiser), I’ve adjusted my suggestions and added two more. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for a few years, there are ten things you two can do together that will build your net worth.
Create and share a list of all your debts and assets. This is a difficult step for most people because it can be scary to see where exactly you stand financially. Resist the urge to minimize or feel overwhelming guilt about the numbers. The point of this step is not to place blame, but to get a starting point. Owning up to mistakes can be productive, but only if you use it as motivation to change your money habits.
Work out long and short term goals. Now that you two have an idea of where you are, take some time to just talk about your goals and dreams, nothing else. This is the fun part – the two of you can work out what you’d like to do and where you would like to be next year, in five years, and beyond. Do you want to travel? Do you want to start a family? Have you thought about becoming business owners? Whatever it is, talk about it, in detail. The more you can see it, the more likely you two can work towards it.
Have joint accounts. If you haven’t already, have a joint checking and savings account for your bills and mutual goals (like a house down payment). Make sure the accounts are accessible to both of you. Whether or not one handles the day to day deposits and withdrawals, you are both accountable.
Create a spending plan together. This is the step where the two of you allocate your income to reach your goals. The easiest way we’ve found for getting there is by automating our payments and transfers. Use your bank or credit union’s bill pay system to handle all of your regular bills, debt payments, and savings.
Make paying off debt a priority. Think of your debts as dead weight, slowing you down on reaching your goals. Cut down drastically so you can eliminate your high interest debts (like credit cards) as quickly as possible. Begin with your smallest debts and move up to larger ones so you can get motivational boosts as you knock out each debt. Use debt snowflakes to speed up the process.
Build an emergency fund. Prepare for the unexpected and relieve some stress in your marriage by having a financial cushion such as an emergency fund. Try and save $1,000 or one month’s worth of expenses and go until you both are comfortable with your buffer.
Keep your essentials affordable by being conservative. One of biggest favors you can give yourselves is having a low overhead for your necessities. For us, that meant looking for places that we could afford with one income. That gave us some peace of mind and the second income was used to take care of debts and increase savings.
Drive used cars. If you have to own a car, take the time to find a dependable one within your budget and if at all possible, avoid car loans. If you already have one, make paying off your car loan early a short term goal.
Do a monthly review. With your system in place, schedule a time each month to check on your progress. Talk about what went well and what didn’t the past month and think of ways you can improve. The goal is communication, not arguing.
Celebrate each win. Finances isn’t just about the numbers. When you two reach a goal, like paying off that department store credit card or saving $1,000, take some time to acknowledge the occasion – take a weekend trip, have a party, or just dance. The point is that every accomplishment deserves recognition.
There you have it – a handy list of tips you two can use to grow your money faster.
Thoughts on Building Your Finances Together
I know of course that these tips are not the only thing you can do, so I’d love to get your feedback on how you have done it. How have you worked together to accomplish your financial goals? What helped you to reach them?
If you’re trying to manage your bills, one area where you may be able to save some significant money is by switching your cellphone provider. With many couples, paying for an unlimited family plan for 4 people can set them back about $180-$200/month. How would you like to cut that bill down in half, $100/month?
Starting next month, Republic Wireless is selling the Moto G (starting at $149) , a very capable smartphone. Customers can choose what cell phone plan works best for them, including:
Unlimited talk, text, and data on WiFi only – $5/month
Unlimited talk and text on WiFi and cellular, and unlimited data on WiFi – $10/month
Unlimited talk, text and data on WiFi, plus talk, text and data on 3G cellular – $25/month
The icing on the cake is that are no contracts or termination fees. With the Moto G coming out and the Moto X (which is 4G LTE compatible) that they offered this past fall, Republic Wireless is fast becoming an attractive options for families looking to drastically cut their cell phone bill without sacrificing service.
More Smartphone Choices
I’ve mention before that I believe Republic Wireless has some fantastic deals on cheap smartphone plans. When I signed up with them, they had the Motorola Defy XT. It’s a reliable phone (I still use it), but it was far from the top tier, fast as lightening phones that many people want and for some people, it was a deal breaker. I know this because when I mentioned the plan prices, people got excited and asked questions, but when I showed them the phone, they were less enthusiastic.
When the Moto X was released on their network, people were curious, but the hefty price tag with buying a new phone ($299) was a hurdle for some. Now with a $149 option for a good smartphone, I think more families should take another look at switching to Republic Wireless. The money saved can be pretty significant.
If you’re interested in using Republic Wireless and getting unlimited talk, text, and data, then sign up today.
How Republic Wireless Works
For those who haven’t heard of Republic Wireless and are curious about how they are able to offer such low prices for unlimited plans, their ‘secret’ is hybrid calling. Hybrid calling has your phone use Wi-Fi for calls, web, text, and all things mobile and if there isn’t Wi-Fi available your phone uses the cellular network. They are a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) of Sprint.
They offer seamlessly transition between wi-fi and celluar so you shouldn’t notice anything when you’re on a call if you move between one and the other. I’ve used my phone and have found it and the service works just as well as ‘conventional’ phone providers in my area.
Thoughts on Republic Wireless
I’d love to hear from you about good cellphone providers. Who do you use and why? For those who are on Republic Wireless already, what do you think of their services?
Photo Credit: Republic Wireless
Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate of Republic Wireless, however it was only after I had been customer for some time.