It’s become increasingly important that couples discuss each other’s attitudes toward money before getting hitched. While your partner isn’t going to call it off over a credit score, it’s in your best interest to determine how you’ll handle your respective incomes and liabilities going forward
Committing to Joint Obligations
Your financial histories will impact your marriage even if you decide on his and hers credit cards rather than jointly held accounts. Eventually, you’ll probably want to qualify for a big-ticket item together, like a mortgage on a new home. If your spouse doesn’t regularly pay on a credit card in their name, their credit will plummet, making it harder for the two of you to qualify for a loan together in the future.
Likewise, things like unpaid taxes and judgments resulting from creditor lawsuits can wreck your financial future, leading to wage garnishments and tax liens. Decide how to monitor payments on any new cards you acquire after you marry, as well as how to deal with old debts.
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Eliminate Interest on Wedding Debts
You’re not alone if you ran up debt in the process of tying the knot. According to a recent survey, the average cost of a wedding in 2015 was more than $30,000.
Consider moving that debt to a balance transfer card if some or all of it is racked up on high interest credit cards. Look for one that offers an 18- or 21-month interest-free promotional period — they’re available if you have decent credit. Both Discover More and Citibank Platinum Select MasterCard have favorable balance transfer offers.
Spend the next 18 or 21 months eliminating as much debt as possible before interest charges kick in and read the fine print to make sure you understand when this will happen. There may be repercussions if you don’t pay off the entire balance before the promotional period ends. Some lenders charge backdated interest for any part of the balance left unpaid.
Earn a Little Cash for Your Purchases
Putting your new home together is going to involve some spending, so try to get the most mileage out of your money. Many credit cards offer cash back for charges. These extra dollars can add up as you outfit your kitchen or get blinds for the windows. You’ll earn money for using your card at supermarkets, gas stations and department stores if you sign up for the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card. If nothing else, the cash bonus can help whittle away at any interest charges or annual fees that might accrue — costs you would have to pay out of pocket for otherwise. Just don’t spend that cash back and negate those benefits.
Start Out With a Retail Card
Consider a retail card if you don’t have much credit history or don’t qualify for regular credit cards. Make sure the store is one where you shop at regularly and offers a wide variety of merchandise. Charge things you need anyway, not luxury items, then be sure to meticulously make your payments on time to start establishing solid credit scores. Some chains even offer reward certificates for certain purchases