Everyone knows the saying “when it rains, it pours.” It is especially true for newly-engaged couples. Not only do they have to plan and execute their dream wedding, making compromises and sacrifices along the way, but they also have to make preparations for starting their life out together. For many couples, that means finding a new place to live and moving there together.
Planning a wedding is stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Moving is stressful, time consuming, and expensive as well. So how do newly engaged couples do it?
Communication is Key
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this age-old relationship advice, and it certainly won’t be the last. That doesn’t make it any less important. If you and your partner want to get through this hectic time of your lives together with your sanity intact, you have to communicate.
Set down a time where you can each write your goals for the first years of your marriage individually. Do you want to have kids right away or wait a bit? Are you anticipating a job change or some other life event that will impact your finances? Is where you are living now the place you want to spend the rest of your life?
Answering these questions separately then comparing your expectations is the first step you have to take when it comes to figuring out where you should move. If your finances are secure and you want to start a family sooner rather than later, buying a house is a great option. If you aren’t quite sure if you are ready to stick around in your area for the foreseeable future, renting a bigger place for the two of you to live in for the time being is a smarter option.
You can also use this time to discuss wedding expectations and make compromises there. However, don’t be surprised if this all expands to two or three conversations over time. If frustrations occur, don’t hesitate to step away for a little while and come back to the dialogue with a cool head.
Money and Budgeting
Finding the right balance between resources, expectations, and necessity is the next step. When budgeting for your wedding and new home, opt to spend less on the wedding. Depending on the market, you may have to have some more flexibility when it comes to finding a new home. On the other hand, you can easily scale back wedding expenses. According to CNN Money, the average cost of a wedding is about $30,000. However, you can work to spend less than that by opting to have the ceremony at home, scaling back the guest list, or opting to serve hors d’oeuvres rather than a full, sit down dinner.
Meanwhile, looking for a home may require additional expenses you can’t control. Once you find a house, hire a contractor to give you estimates on what it costs to complete any improvements or renovations needed prior to moving in. For instance, HomeAdvisor estimates the average price to remodel a kitchen runs around $9,649 to $28,615 while taking about nine days to complete. If you can, have these kinds of repairs done before the wedding so the place is ready for move-in as soon as possible.
Making a spending plan is a great way to track expenses and stay within your budget. Identify your joint income, including savings and assets. From there, you can track your existing expenses to find what kind of surplus you two can work with. That should give you a number you can work with when it comes to determining priorities and making sacrifices.
When two people become engaged, they have to do a lot in a little amount of time. Many couples find themselves having to plan a wedding while finding a home they can start their new life in. To do so, they have to communicate their expectations and desires from the start so everybody is on the same page and they can make compromises as needed. Once said expectations are decided, money is generally the next obstacle. Make a spending plan based on your current financial situation, and prepare to spend less on the wedding since the housing market is less predictable.
- Julie Morris