If you got married this year…

wedding ringsIf you got married this year, or are going to get married this year, congratulations!

During the past months your mind may have been occupied with details of wedding, honeymoon, housing decisions, moving, or other events.  In the midst of those big events, it’s easy for some small-but-important details to be overlooked.  Remember to:

Notify Social Security and get a new Social Security card  if your name changed.  If you don’t, you’ll run into problems when it’s time to file your tax return!  (I speak from personal experience on this…)

Check your tax withholdings to be sure you are having the right income tax amount taken out of your paycheck.  Your filing status and total income will be different on this year’s tax return, and if you are having too much or too little taken out of your paychecks then problems can result.  The IRS Withholding Calculator is an easy tool to make sure you are on track.

Notify www.healthcare.gov   If you purchased health insurance in the new Marketplace, log in to your www.healthcare.gov account and let them know of the change in your marital status, household size, and income.  Changes in income and family size will affect the amount of “premium tax credit” which you receive toward your health insurance premiums.

Best wishes for “happily ever after.”  ~Barb

NOTE: the IRS has more info for newlyweds, including you tube videos and podcasts.

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan's goal as a Family Finance program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help people use their money according to THEIR priorities. She provides information and tools, and then encourages folks to focus on what they control: their own decisions about what to do with the money they have.

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Wedding Gifts

giftIt’s wedding season again!  This year, I don’t personally have any wedding invitations in store for this summer (that I know of), but it’s on my mind due to an article I saw today which mentioned weddings as teachable moments for financial skills.

Not surprising. We certainly encourage couples and families to use financial skills in planning weddings.  Making a financial plan and staying within limits are invaluable when planning a high-cost event.  Wedding guests can also benefit from financial planning.

But this article went down a path I had never explored:  ways wedding gifts can help couples build strong financial habits!  The author explained that she has adopted the practice of giving a good quality shredder as a wedding gift, sometimes accompanied by some cash and a book of financial tools and worksheets.  A shredder is a brilliant wedding gift, really.  She said it has been very much appreciated by many of the couples who have received it.

So I tried to think of other gifts that would be appreciated or enjoyed by couples and could also encourage good financial habits.  It was tough, actually.  I didn’t come up with many.  But here are a few:

  • Shredder (as mentioned above)
  • File cabinet
  • File container for emergency files (the files you would want to take with you if you needed to evacuate in a hurry).
  • Financial management software
  • Financial books or subscriptions
  • How-To books – how to fix things, how to garden  (which would save them money)
  • Cook books (cooking/eating at home usually saves money and promotes health)

None of these gifts is romantic.  Some of them, however, are actually items that couples might register for – the article mentioned that the author sometimes sees shredders on bridal registries!  Not everyone chooses a “practical” direction for their wedding gifts.  But most couples do appreciate practical gifts, so the items listed may be worth considering.

Can you think of other money-conscious gift ideas?

~ Barb

p.s. the article that prompted this came from Susan Sharkey of the National Endowment for Financial Education.  Their “Smart About Money” website is a fine source of financial information!

 

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan's goal as a Family Finance program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help people use their money according to THEIR priorities. She provides information and tools, and then encourages folks to focus on what they control: their own decisions about what to do with the money they have.

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Wedding guests must budget too!

MP900341738[1]Since June is considered the big month for weddings, I guess it’s not surprising that I attended a family wedding last weekend.  My bank account is grateful that I wasn’t in the position of paying for any part of the wedding; it was a lovely event, and I don’t really want to think about the total cost to the bride’s and groom’s families. 

Instead, my attention was drawn to the costs of being a wedding guest.  Most members of our family live several hours away, so many of us had two hotel nights, as well as gas and meals and gifts.  Some of my relatives had even a third hotel night, because they needed two days to travel to the event.  I am in no way grumbling about the cost.   It was a wonderful opportunity to really spend some time with family members, including aunts, uncles and cousins I don’t see  even once a year.  So it was absolutely worth the expense.

But I was struck by the recollection of certain past summers when I had many weddings to attend.  If I had, say, five weddings this summer that involved costs similar to this past weekend, then I would be feeling noticeable financial pain!

I often remind people to plan for periodic or occasional expenses, such as back-to-school, 6-month insurance premiums, and holidays.  Never once have I included “wedding season” as one of the costs to plan for, but perhaps I should!  Planning ahead involves anticipating and setting aside funds for a wide range of future needs (and wants) — including expenses that don’t show up on typical lists!

~Barb

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan's goal as a Family Finance program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help people use their money according to THEIR priorities. She provides information and tools, and then encourages folks to focus on what they control: their own decisions about what to do with the money they have.

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