Debt: A four letter word that makes most people nervous and uncomfortable.
No matter what the amount is, it can have very negative effects on relationships, well-being, and overall quality of life. We chatted with COUNTRY Financial employee and recent newlywed, Alexandrea Davis to discuss the topic. She’s a media relations specialist, personal finance blogger, and money-saving queen.
Q: How did you and Jason get the money conversation started before getting married?
A: From the start of our relationship, it became apparent that I’m the frugal one. We openly discussed our spending styles and positions. We both had very different upbringings so we’ve definitely had to work to find an appreciation and value in one another’s perspectives on money. Jason does a solid job of tipping the scale in the way of improving our quality of life. He appreciates having nice things, whereas if it were up to me, we’d only shop at thrift stores and we’d live in a 400 square foot house off the grid. Our happiness though, is found in compromise.
Q: What are some ways you cut costs during wedding planning?
A: We scheduled our ceremony during an offseason and on a weekday rather than a Saturday. We chose a casual dinner afterwards at our favorite hometown pub and grill. We kept the guest list at 50 and preselected menu items to keep the price point in check. I shopped thrift stores for décor. We used a big-box office superstore for our printing needs. We found his designer suit on deep discount at a local department store, while I bought my dress online and it came with free shipping. But the biggest way we kept costs low was by sticking to our boundaries. We didn’t cave towards what others wanted for our wedding and we weren’t open to conforming to social expectations. This sparked many uncomfortable conversations along the way, so eventually we just kept our plans to ourselves.
Q: If you could change anything about the way you budgeted for your wedding, what would it be?
A: I think we could have done with even less… maybe even fewer people – our conversations with guests could have been longer and more intimate.
Q: Why is it important to you and Jason to fight debt?
A: I know what financial insecurity feels like and I refuse to ever feel that way again. We want to live our life in a way where we never have to borrow money or allow our possessions and the need for more to rule our lives.
Q: What are some debt-busting tips that you would share with newlyweds?
A: Have the money talk early on. Keep an open mind. Figure out how one another feels about debt and borrowing – do they have any outstanding debts? Are they fiscally responsible? Do they bounce checks, miss bill payments, know their credit score etc.? Learn about the things that shaped them into who they are as a consumers today. Determine if they’re the saver or spender, then determine which partner will be the best at keeping the household bills in order while still getting input from their spouse. Create and follow a budget.
Have some other debt-busting tips to share with us? Leave us a comment below!