My husband and I married while we were both attending college. My husband graduated two years before I did and we got married at the end of my junior year.
While we were planning the wedding the two of us had much discuss, including what our goals and financial plans were after we tied the knot. At the time, I was working part-time and I was switching to an internship with a local company in their supply chain department while my husband was settling into his first post graduation job as a software developer.
Budgeting with One Income
One of the first things we decided as a couple was to reduce stress with our budget by keeping our necessary expenses under one income. Since my husband had a full time job, we used his income as the budget.
Keeping Rent Low
While that sounds easy, finding an apartment that fit my husband’s budget that was in a safe neighbor took some scouring. After hunting around we found a great little one bedroom apartment right across the street from the beach. It wasn’t big and the layout was awkward, but we really liked the location and utilizing the ocean wind meant we didn’t need air conditioning.
We got creative with the apartment – the stove was small so you can only cook with two burners at a time. We mastered one pot dinners quickly.
Know the Local Food and Drink Deals
We also learned all the happy hour specials in the area. (By the way if you’re in Norfolk, VA – try out Red Dog Saloon for their deals.)
Make Saving a Priority
Since my husband’s income was for family bills that meant my income was to be used to build our savings and to pay down debts. One of our goals was to pay off the car loan. It was a big drain on our monthly budget and getting rid of it meant we could upgrade our apartment budget.
We also went ahead and started saving up for a house down payment. We took our wedding gift money and set it aside in savings with Bank of America. However, it wasn’t earning any money and we were having some problems with our joint accounts. We decided to try out ING Direct to take advantage of their high interest savings account and eventually we also used their Electric Orange checking account.
We’ve been extremely happy with the service we’ve received and it’s nice to earn a bit more money with interest than if we stayed with the brick and mortar banking option.
Thoughts on Marriages and College Living
How many of you are attending college right now and are married? How do you keep your finances under control?