By Jenna Brown
You made it! The vows have been exchanged, you paid the caterer and the photographer, you cut the cake and you’ve filed all of the proper paperwork. You’re officially married! Now what? If you already live together, your day to day life probably won’t look all that much different now that you’ve made things official. If you’re an old fashioned couple, however, you have one more step: moving in together.
Moving in together is one of those things that seems ridiculously simple...until you actually have to do it. Suddenly you’re merging two homes--filled with personal belongings, memories, etc. into a single dwelling. There are going to be some bumps in the road. Hopefully, though, if you follow our advice, you can keep the fighting to a minimum.
This one is kind of a pipe dream, given today’s economy, but if you can afford it, try to find a new home instead of having one person simply move in with the other. Finding a new space for both of you helps reiterate the fresh start you’re giving. It also eliminates any resentment one person might feel about having his or her space invaded by the other...and make no mistake, even though you’re totally in love, it’s going to feel weird having someone else’s stuff taking up space in a home that used to be just yours. And it will feel weirder if you are the one who is “invading.” It’s hard to turn off “guest mode.”
Tip #2: Combine Insurance and Benefits
It is in your best interest to combine insurance and benefits together. Family medical plans are typically cheaper than each spouse keeping his or her original benefits package. It’s also better to combine your auto insurance under one policy. Especially, if you only have one car and it's only under one of your names but you both drive it. According to Acceptanceinsurance.com, this type of policy is called a non-owner policy and it protects the person whose name isn’t on the title when he or she is running errands in the family car.
Tip #3: Plan Before You Move
You aren’t going to need two (or more) of everything. And, because you just got married you likely have to figure out where to put a lot of gifts. This is why, before you move in together, you should go through all of your and your partner’s stuff and figure out who is keeping what, who is storing what, etc. This way you can donate or sell the items you’re not keeping (which is a great way to offset the cost of your wedding, fyi) before you move and reduce the workload on moving day. Of course figuring out who keeps what is going to require some negotiation, but you’ll eventually figure it out!
Tip #4: Figure Out Your Financial Situation
Not everybody automatically combines their incomes after they get married. Believe it or not, more and more couples are deciding to keep their finances completely separated even after they get married. This might not feel super romantic, but it is a great way to deal with money issues--especially if one of you is carrying a lot of debt. These couples simply split everything right down the middle. Another option, if you’re not totally in love with the idea of intermingling your financials, is to set up a third account to which you both contribute. This account is the account from which you’ll pay for household and family expenses. You can each contribute a portion of your income (or an equal flat dollar amount) to the account and then keep the leftovers separate. This is a great way to make sure all of the bills get paid and not feel resentful if someone suddenly goes on a shopping spree without telling the other.
Tip #5: Make Sure You Have Alone Time
Many newlyweds get caught up in the idea of sharing everything all of the time. They love the idea of building a home that where everything belongs to both of them. It is important, though, that each of you have at least a little bit of space to call your own. Even if you don’t have enough rooms to give each of you your own “cave,” each of you having a corner that is just yours is still important.
Finally, expect that there are is going to be some tension while you acclimate to cohabitation. It’s okay to get annoyed and even to fight sometimes. Just keep trying to work together and you’ll get through it and create a very happy home!