(Closed) How much income should we be making before getting married to be self-reliant?

posted 5 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1006 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Personally, I would plan to save way more per month but I am kind of a plan-for-a-bad-day type of person.  I am also in a relatively low-paying research position and my budgets are similar although I’m getting an amazing deal on rent right now.  I spend about 1600 per month (just me- SO and I budget separately) but I also pay auto insurance and car payments which together are a little more expensive than your passes.  I do my best to save 400-600 additional per month.  

Are you going to need more money for furnishings, curtains, pots & pans, etc?  Even if you have some furniture, you may not like it/it may not fit in a new place.  You may also need a deposit up front.  

Cell phones are expensive in Canada?  No way you can trim that down by being on a family plan or something?

Post # 4
7276 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Are you paying for your own wedding? If so you should plan on saving for that in your budget as well. I agree with PP about saving a little more each month if possible. Fiance and I are saving as fast as possible to save 6 months of living expenses just in case something happens. Also, it’s never too early to start saving for retirement! 

Post # 5
823 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Pirouette7:  if you can swing it, definitely more needed in savings. $100 a month isn’t very much, and if an emergency comes up or you need to pay for something unexpected, you’ll want to have as much as you can in savings. 

Post # 7
2297 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

check out koodo mobile for much cheaper cell phone rates (month to month, no fees or cancellation charges)

if you buy in bulk, you should not need 100 in groceries a week. My SO and I bought a 20 lb bag of flour, a 15 lb bag of basmati rice, bulk pasta, cooking oil, quinoa, sugar, oats, etc. it’s more up front, but we haven’t repurchased hardly any of those items in almost 4 months – HUGE savings. 

our weekly shopping trip is now meat, fruits and veg, milk, eggs, and only perishables. probably about 40 – 50 dollars a week for both of us, and we cook constantly. 

and this is silly – but we currently live in england and its SO COLD sometimes, but our heat bills are ridiculous – so next winter, i’m buying an electric blanket for 20 gbp and turning it on before bed, will save so much on heat!

also see if you can offset that money with money you can make elsewhere. i do this all the time because i want something new but can’t ‘afford’ it or it’s not in the budget. ie – i want a new cell phone, it’s going to cost 250 – so i’m selling an old coach purse i never wore, if i apply that money to the phone, it now costs 150 🙂 so can you sell furniture you won’t need at your new place? have a garage sale? sell your old textbooks? etc

Post # 8
845 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Pirouette7:  I’d say being secure means making 1.5-2x your monthly expenses (combined). Things happen and you never know what you’ll need. however, I don’t think getting married should depend on that–you’ll be with each other through richer and poorer right? Well, you’re poorer now and there will be better times financially but you should get married whenever you feel ready! 

Post # 9
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@lawbride88:  I was going to mention the same sort of thing. 

On this end of the world, the rule of thumb tends to be that your combined income should be at least 3 times your rental/mortgage payment. heck, you won’t even qualify for a rental if you aren’t making 3 times the rent.

I’ve been using this rule and it’s stood me in pretty good stead.


Post # 10
502 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@ms_protea:  Agreed. Mortgage & rental stress can set in when paying more than 30% of total net income (on an average income.)

Nothing was listed for utilities – electricity/gas/water – or is this included in your rent?


Post # 11
604 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

You may want to increase the transportation costs.  I don’t have a car and I take public transport but I always need to take a cab or rent a car share at some point during the month. Usually, because it’s late or I need to stock up on groceries. 



Post # 12
1828 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Vikstar:  Hydro=electricity in Ontario

Post # 13
3968 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Wouldn’t living together help you save money by splitting rent? I know you’re not saving a lot per month, but I don’t see how getting married will change your budgets much if you’re splitting some costs. 

Post # 14
8444 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Vikstar:  I think maybe ‘hydro’ is one of those bills?  Not sure if it’s the same as gas/electric or something.  Hopefully OP can clarify.

To OP, as other posters have said, you should be making approximately 3x your rent/mortgage.  While I have survived on less (we can’t all start out with great incomes), it is definitely not comfortable (can’t go out to eat all the time, can’t randomly splurge, etc).  That being said, some of my fondest memories with my husband (then boyfriend) were when we were totally broke but still happy we had each other.

Post # 15
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Pirouette7:  I know a lot of bees will tell you that you need to save more, and ideally, you should. However, Darling Husband and I currently live on $2200 a month, and we’re doing fine. We’re saving a little, not much, but as long as there’s promise of better paying jobs in your future, I think $2100 is OK. Don’t let finances (unless they’re majorly screwed up) keep you from getting engaged/living together/married!

Post # 16
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I think the word “should” is misleading. What works for one person may not work for you.  I have friends who have been completely self-sufficient on around $1000/month income. I have family who is always broke even though they make around $70,000 a year.  You have to decide how you like to live and what you are comfortable going without.  There are tons of married couples out there who aren’t self-sufficient, get food stamps/cash assistance from the government and live comfortably because of the welfare they receive. For me & SO, self-sufficient means being able to cover the bills – rent, food, utilities, internet/phone, car bills.  If we are making enough to cover that, I am comfortable. But, I also have a big savings account that I have built up so my “emergency” fund is a great safety net.

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