6 Money Tips for Married Couples

Edward Stern is a writer on earning your bachelors degree online.

MoneyMarriage is a union between two people who are in love and want to share the rest of their lives together, but boy does money enter into the equation in a big way. Money issues are the #1 reason for divorce in the United States, mostly because people don’t have enough of it. Money is a big deal for a married couple, especially ones with children and other family members to support.

Especially in today’s tough economy, it’s more important than ever to be thrifty and do what you can to save money. Saving money doesn’t mean drastic life changes or eating 10-cent ramen noodles with every meal; instead, just making a few easy cuts here and there can help you save big over the course of a year. Here are six money tips for married couples to help make some easy choices when it comes to money that will help you save, both on bills and on headaches.

  1. Buy store brand as much as possible: Whether it’s at Costco, Target, or Safeway, buy store brand over name brand as much as possible. It’ll save you a good chunk of change and you’ll be getting the same thing as the name brand, really. Big name brands bid on getting the rights to store brands so they can capture different parts of the market. They sell store brands for less and name brands for more to help off-set costs. For basic things like toilet paper, pasta, and bottled water, go with the discount name brand to spend less without sacrificing quality.
  2. Be creative when it comes to childcare: One of the largest expenditures for working parents annually is childcare costs. Putting a child through daycare and after-school care is expensive enough, but when you throw multiple children into the mix, it becomes a financial drain. Figure out creative ways to save on childcare. Ask relatives if they’d be willing to watch children, and compensate by taking them out to dinner every once in a while or treating them to a night out. Swap playdates with other parents, or if you work part time, find another mom with a different schedule from yours to swap shifts. Enroll older children in after-school sports at school.
  3. Cut the crap: In all likelihood, you are paying for things you don’t need or rarely lose. Get rid of them. Magazine subscriptions are a drain on finances, as are newspaper subscriptions; plus, you can view the same content online for free or for a cheaper rate. If you’re not using a gym membership, cancel it, or just go running and create a home gym. Do you really need premium cable? How many of those thousand channels do you watch?
  4. Explore the great outdoors: Family days at an amusement park or at the movies are certainly fun and a good way to spend time together, but they are costly. Instead, have fun at a public park tossing a football or go swimming at a public beach. Go on a day hike, or if it’s snowing have a big snowball fight and build snowmen all day, maybe splurging on a hot chocolate break at the nearest bakery. See what community events are being put on in your neighborhood and city. Family fun days don’t have to be expensive — there’s plenty to do for free.
  5. Get a programmable thermostat: Heating bills are a big cost, and rather than making your family bundle up while keeping the house freezing, install a programmable thermostat. Most people save up to 20 percent on their heating bills by doing so because you can program it to turn off when you’re out and about and to change temperatures in the morning and when you go to bed.
  6. Only buy what you can: After creating a budget stick to it, and only buy what you can afford now — that means no credit cards. You’ll just get yourself into debt and rack up costly interest, having to pay more than you would have before. Spend responsibly and within your means, avoiding credit cards to encourage those habits.

Save Money for Tough Times

My guest writer is Sharon Smith.

Save money for a rainy day

Start saving for the "rainy day"

There is a crunch in the American economy and times are hard now. How is it possible to survive in this financial crisis? It is about time that you start saving for the “rainy day”.

Every family has an individual lifestyle to maintain. Here are a few tips, which can help you to save money, without compromising on the living standards.

  1. Do not waste food. Serve leftovers the next day. This will help in resisting the temptations of eating out.
  2. Tired of wearing the same old clothes? Instead of buying new ones, swap your wardrobe with close friends. This will freshen up your wardrobe to an extent.
  3. In case of errands, plan an efficient route so that all your tasks are done and you save money on gas too.
  4. Looking for some entertainment? Swap DVDs with friends or rent a movie. You can also go for a bargain matinee show.
  5. Prioritize your debts, if any. Pay off bills promptly. This will help you to maintain a positive credit score. Not paying off debts on time would hamper your credit scores. In the long run, if you ever accumulate debt, it will become difficult for you to consolidate debt with a bad credit record.
  6. Try to increase your incomes by pursuing your hobbies, or renting your garage.

There are various ways of saving money. All you need is the knowledge about what and how you are spending on. Once you know that, you will know where to cut your expenses as well. Saving money requires determination as you need to change some old habits, and also reconsideration of your priorities. Once you start saving, it is going to act as a boost. You would want your savings to grow and thus would start saving more.

Photo Credit: argo_72

Rewards Checking at Deseret First Credit Union

Deseret First Credit Union
Regular readers of the Rickety blog know that I am a big fan of rewards checking accounts. They have a high interest rate, are FDIC or NCUA insured, and are very liquid. Lately I have been tracking accounts that pay 6% or more but today I will make an exception. One of the drawbacks of banks that offer rewards checking is that it is usually not straight-forward to get signed up, unless you live close enough to go to a branch in person.

For the convenience of having a bank or credit union that offers rewards checking and is also close to home I joined Deseret First Credit Union. The nearest branch is only eleven miles away, their rewards checking is at 5%, and of course it is a credit union, which I prefer. To be eligible to join, one has to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or be employed by the Church. To earn your 5% you have to do the usual monthly direct deposit or ACH, ten debit card transactions, and receive eStatements. You don’t have to access your account once a month as an additional requirement to earn your 5%.

In the Locations / Contact Us section is a list of over 2,000 basic transaction branches where you can use credit unions throughout the U.S. to make deposits, withdrawals, loan payments, etc. All you need is your account number and a government-issued photo identification. I haven’t heard about this service because my current credit union does not offer it.

As a bonus, the credit union does make humorous ads, though you might need to know a little about the LDS life-style to find them funny. The ad below is my favorite but also check out “The Weddings” and “Active“.

Updates

30 Mar 2009 Today I received this email:

…we would like to inform you that your Rewards Checking account rates will change as follows, beginning with the next monthly qualification cycle starting March 31, 2009:

$0 – $25,000.00 balance w/ minimum requirements    3.01% APY
$25,000.01  & higher balance w/ minimum requirements    0.70% APY
Balances w/o minimum requirements    0.20% APY

Unfortunately I will be drawing my account down to the minimum of $25. For 3% it is not worth the effort to get the required transactions. The account was no trouble to open and it will be even less trouble to pull out my money. There are a number of banks still at 5% and I will be looking at one of those.
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Teaching Children Financial Principles

Tithes and offerings.
Four questions showed up recently in a comment about a post on debt.

1. What advice would you give for teaching young children and teenagers these principles?

First we need to identify the principles mentioned in the post. They are:

  1. Debt is worse than the plague.
  2. Never pay credit card interest.
  3. Borrow only for home, health, and education.
  4. Pay tithes and offerings.
  5. Be charitable.
  6. Never co-sign for a loan.
  7. A bargain is not a bargain if you don’t need it.

Obviously some of these principles would be lost on young children. The easiest principles to teach them would be tithes and offerings. When offerings such as for the Fast are made this is being charitable to the poor or those in temporary need. Number seven on our list can be taught by allowing safe but unwise purchases so that children can learn by their own experience what is and isn’t a bargain.

In our home we kept a small box that contained change in a small can and dollars in an envelope. It also contained tithing slips and envelopes. When the children received their allowance my wife and I would help them figure their tithing and write out the slip. We had change on hand (in the small can) so that they could submit the correct amount. By the time they were teenagers they took care of their tithes and offerings by themselves.

When the children reached twelve or thirteen I would open a credit union account for them complete with checks and a Visa debit card. Around eighteen I would make sure they got a credit card. That way they could start building a credit rating without me having to co-sign for a car. The credit card had a $200 limit which was raised over time.

Was it successful? The children know how to handle credit cards without incurring debt. They automatically pay tithes and offerings. They are very good savers.

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