Post # 1
Hi bees! I’m a newlywed (1 week today!) and I should be having the time of my life, right? Well, I’m having a problem. I had this expectation that when I was married, I would be financially secure. I thought I’d either have a house or be thisclose to getting one. The problem is, we’re nowhere near financially secure. We both graduated in December. I couldn’t find a real job, so I’m serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for one year, which started March 1. The pay is below minimum wage (I clear about $850 a month) and my husband is in a skilled trade. I believe he will eventually go on to make a good living, but right now he’s at $10 an hour. Basically what he could make working retail. Ugh. I just feel like, as newlyweds, we should be able to do these great things like plan trips, go out on fun dates, look at buying a house, make “big ticket” purchases, etc. We’re barely scraping by, although we do have a little over $4,000 in savings, but that’s been through very very hard work. I’m starting to actually consider leaving this position, but I couldn’t find anything else before, so why would I be able to now?
Also, for those who suggest I get an additional job – As a VISTA, we are expressly forbidden from holding outside employment. 🙁
Post # 3
- Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall
@QueenOfSerendip: As you’ve noticed, things don’t magically change once you get married! I think you should continue looking for a better job while continuing on as a VISTA, don’t leave just to look for a job.
Also, I worked retail and made $8.50 an hour, so you’re husband isn’t quite that low!
Post # 4
you may have a simple life right now, but things will get better. I have learned myself that no matter how much you have it never seems like quite enough. In the last 5 years our income has literally tripled (one of us has always been in school until now). We’re just now getting to a point where we can pay off all our debts rather aggressively. We’ll be married next year, still renting, still paying almost $2000 on debts (i don’t imagine we’ll be putting much of a dent in things while paying for the wedding).
Enjoy being a newlywed, enjoy what you do have – each other. Find ways to have fun without spending much. Go on picnic dates, go skating in the winter and for walks at a beach or near a lake or river in the summer, play minigolf – things that aren’t expensive. There are lots of budget friendly ways to have a good time. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have and things will be great 🙂
Post # 5
@QueenOfSerendip: Congratulations on the wedding!
I think it’s time for you to give yourself a reality check. It’s nice to have dreams but they are just that. Most newlyweds (of one week yet) are not financially secure, have a house or be this close to getting one.
It probably took our parents years to achieve that degree of comfort. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, use this time to enjoy working toward your goals as a couple.
Post # 6
@QueenOfSerendip: I wouldn’t consider buying a house necessarily being financial secure. I think the mortgage crisis demonstrated that. I get what you mean about wanting financial stability to come with relationship stability.
If your husband is in a skilled trade, I would assume that means that with time he will make more money, which is probably a smarter move than retail for him.
I don’t know anything about the AmeriCorps, but could you pursue a degree on the side? Perhaps a two year degree even could give you an edge as far as finding a job in the future without throwing you into a ton of debt (community colleges can be under $100 per credit hour and if you make such little money, you may get grants anyways).
Cut yourself some slack. You have money in savings, you are getting by. Can you change your living arrangements to a less expensive apartment or whatnot? Do you have debt that is eating up your take home pay?
Post # 7
Once you get married, really nothing changes. No fairy comes from the sky and says, “Congrats! You’re married! You can now do this, this and this!”
A lot of this has been branded into us a women, that the world becomes full of sunshine and rainbows after marriage, but the nitty gritty reality check is that it’s nowhere near that. Being married and having combined finances probably won’t make a home come any faster if you’re not making enough to afford one. You probably won’t get all those fun trips or days out you daydream of.
Your dreams aren’t wrong, nor are they impossible. It’s just going to take a little work to get to. After all, nothing worth having isn’t worth working for.
I suggest you continue to look for a job while at VISTA. Then, secure an interview when you find a better job, and leave only then. You don’t want to leave your only source of income (for you) for a maybe.
Things will look up, it’s just going to take a bit of elbow grease.
Post # 8
So is working for AmeriCorp paying off your student loans – if so you’re actually making much more than you may realize. I definately agree with other posters that it’s okay to look for another job but don’t quit AmeriCorps until you have gotten an official offer for another job.
As far as the woes of being poor – they’re pretty much the same married or not! You can still have great dates and even trips, you just have to be more creative and open minded. And I think that’s key. You should still enjoy things, just make sure they are within your means. And even though AmeriCorps says you can’t have another job, are there internships or other opportunities you could do that would make you more employable in a year when your AmeriCorps job is done?
Post # 9
Marriage is the start of a life together which means you are just heading down the road to financial security. It takes time to make a plan and put it into action.
My Darling Husband and I made a five year plan and gave it everything we had. We went from having barely enough to scrape by right after college to a comfortable life with him alone making a solid six figures. Again, it takes time and dedication and much sacrifice to get there. Don’t be frustrated (yet) as you have only just begun. Keep looking for opportunity and take it when it comes.
Post # 10
This is a very exciting time in your life. That doesn’t mean that as soon as you say “I do” everything falls neatly into place. Remember, all you did one week ago was just making you legally bound to one another. Marriage obviously doesn’t solve anything!
You two should enjoy this time for what it is! I agree with PPs, try to find inexpensive ways to enjoy one anothers company and go on fun, cheap dates. Keep working and hopefully you’ll work you way up and earn more money. If you feel as though you’re not happy with your job, then leave and move on. Hopefully you’ll be able to continue saving and will soon be able to afford a house or condo.
Post # 11
I know tons of newlyweds in a similar situation. Sadly, marriage does not flip a switch and make you more financially stable. What is different is that your financial decisions are now made together and are made with both of your futures in mind. Keep communicating with your husband about both of your career and financial goals. Everyone has to start somewhere, and no newlywed couple is going to be perfect when it comes to money.
Post # 12
@QueenOfSerendip: It would be nice if marriage made everything perfect. It isn’t like the movies where you just get a great house and 2.5 kids.
No matter what you make, a budget is really important. Like a PP said, you can start sourcing new jobs without leaving your current one yet. Life is what we make it and it’s not always easy to have the finer things in life.
Post # 13
@QueenOfSerendip: How old are you?
It sounds like you’re pretty much starting out in adult life so I’m not sure why you would expect to be “financially secure.” It sounds like you made the decision to marry now regardless of finances rather than wait for things to improve. I’m not critisizing your choice, just pointing out that this is the path you chose, right?
I’m always a little puzzled by twenty-somethings who seem to feel that their lifestyle should equal or exceed that of their parents. That graduating college, getting their first job and/or getting married means they should be living in a 3,000 sf house and driving the latest BMW and taking an annual vacation to someplace exotic. It rarely works like that and in many cases where it appears it has, the person/couple in question has had an enormous leg up from their parents.
So, my advise is to be patient. You’re exactly where most people are when starting out.
A lot of people spend their twenties and thirties (and sometimes beyond!) worried about where they are in relation to their peers and trying to compete. Don’t. Its a waste of time and energy. When I look back on that time in my life, I remember a lot of couples lording it over everyone else when they were the first to buy a house or bought some big honking house.
Yeah, pretty much all of them ended up divorced and in debt. Just saying.
Keep contributing to your savings and working toward your goals. The houses and vacations will come.
Post # 14
I’m with you on the crappiness of low-budget living. I went straight from college to grad school where my take-home pay was $650 per month. As long as there’s a roof (owned or rented) and food on the table you guys will be just fine. Things like fancy vacations and expensive date nights are not essential for the newlywed experience. In fact, some of your most cherished memories can come from moments of improvisation due to finances.
I have a story for you: My best friends parents are pretty damned rich these days. Expensive house in an expensive zip code, big bank account, the whole shebang. Thing is, when they got married they were just out of college and flat broke. Like, worried about how to buy food at the end of a pay cycle broke. Their first few Christmases were a struggle and they could not even afford ornaments for the tree, so she made them from whatever she could cobble together. To this day, in their fancy living room, those ornaments come out every Christmas and they talk about those stressful, difficult days and how it shaped their relationship. They don’t speak in terms of regret, but of how happy they are to have found one another so young and gone through those hardships together. It does get better.
Post # 15
Thank you everyone. Sorry – I didn’t mean to come off as materialistic and whiny. I guess it’s just hitting me that we’re going to have to work really hard to climb that ladder. I definitely appreciated the reminders not to compare myself to everyone else. These days, with Facebook and other social media, it’s kind of hard not to see those you graduated with doing much better. But, the bottom line is, we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. My husband and I really, truly love each other, and it’s nice to remind myself that it’s all that matters.
@ArtDecoDC: That was such a sweet story! I’m now inspired to create some DIY Christmas ornaments.
Post # 16
Congrats on your marriage!
And I mean this in the nicest possible way (I’m 34)- WELCOME TO ADULTHOOD!
Where you bust your ass to get the things you want, deal with disappointment, and make choices and sacrifices on a daily basis.
But I do have some fabulous handbags and trips under my belt to show for all of my hard work over the past 12 years! ; ) Chin up!