Paycheck Planning

    “Paycheck Planning,” Ensign, July 1999, 69

    Paycheck Planning

    Many newly married couples face challenges when it comes to making the transition from my money and your money to our money. We have found the following ideas helpful in reaching unity in our approach to money management.

    • Listen to each other. Though money-management styles differ, each spouse has needs to be met. It’s important to recognize these differences and plan accordingly. Don’t waste time trying to change each other. It’s more productive to focus on areas where you agree.

    • Establish a place where all bills go when they arrive in the mail. Each payday, sit down together and create a plan for the upcoming pay period. Base your projections on current or past paychecks. Making plans for income that may come can be risky.

    • Set priorities to include the following:
      Tithing and fast offerings
      Rent or mortgage payments
      Utility bills
      Loan payments
      Other expenses

    • Write down each expense for the month. Some expenses, such as spending money, might be best handled with a weekly budget.

    • Add up all expenses and compare the total with your actual income. If expenses exceed income, make adjustments.

    • Post your agreed-upon budget where both can see it. Posted, the itemized budget serves as a checklist and reminder of your plan.

    • Couples dealing with irregular incomes will find it especially important to build up a savings program. Then if you have a low income one month, you can use money from savings to pay the bills. This allows you to live within your income, be it great or small.

    Sitting down together to plan our budget has increased our sense of unity and provided us with greater control over our income.—Robert and Dacia Williams, Skiatook, Oklahoma