7 Hidden Costs of Getting Married

Congratulations! You’ve just finished paying for a wedding, which means you just spent the equivalent of a home down payment or a year of college on a single day. (Unless, of course, you followed this site’s sustainable wedding planning series.)

Now that the wedding’s all taken care of, your major expenses are over, right?

Not exactly. If you’re about to tie the knot, you better prepare now, or risk breaking your budget and causing uncomfortable financial arguments in your marriage’s first year.

Here are seven hidden costs of getting married:

1. The Name Change

Not every woman changes her name after marriage. But many still do, and many couples of all genders decide to hyphenate or combine their current last name.

Whether you’re becoming Mrs. Jones or both of you are becoming Mr. and Mrs. Wright-Jones, name changes are expensive. In addition to the cost of legally changing your name at the courthouse, you also need to change your drivers’ license, your passport, purchase new checks, etc.

2. Two Christmases

Really, this also counts for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or any other major holiday. You and your spouse are now obligated to visit twice the number of relatives at every holiday, which means you have to buy two sets of round-trip air tickets, pay for checked bags four separate times, buy twice as many Cinnabons, etc.

If you or your spouse’s parents are divorced, or if you have grandparents in yet a third location, the number of relatives you have to visit each year grows exponentially. There’s a reason why so much of Americans’ vacation dollars go towards what are termed “oblications.”

3. New Furniture

Yes, you probably got plenty of blenders and cocktail mixers at your wedding. You know what you didn’t get? A good bed, to replace the one you’ve been using in college. Or a matching dresser set. Or new curtains, or a dining room table, or all the other little things you’re going to need to furnish your new house.

(If you and your spouse plan to save money now by simply moving into one of your two apartments, or if you’ve already been cohabiting in a small apartment, congratulations: you’ve put off this expense for approximately three years. But it will come. Trust me.) Continue reading 7 Hidden Costs of Getting Married

Adopting Minimalist Principles to Save Money and Live Sustainability

One of the great things about living more sustainably is that you can also save money by adopting greener habits. One way to improve your ability to live sustainably, and to save money, is to adopt a few of the principles of minimalism.

What is Minimalism?

There are many different definitions of minimalism, but, for the most part, the main point of minimalism is to reduce the clutter in your life. This includes the material clutter of things, as well as the clutter in other areas of your life, such as continuous activities that make you seem “busy,” even though might really be accomplishing very little.

You don’t have to get rid of everything you own to follow minimalist principles. Two of the main principles of minimalism include:

  • Get rid of what you don’t need/want: Are you willing to get rid of the things you don’t need in life? Think about what’s really important to you, and get rid of the things and activities in your life that don’t meet your priorities.
  • Stop committing to things that don’t matter: Cluttering your life and your home with obligations that don’t matter to you can leave you feeling bogged down. Part of minimalism is changing the way you spend your resources so that you are no longer committing to the things that don’t matter to you.

Following these two principles can help you save money, as well as live more sustainably.

How Minimalism Can Help Your Pocketbook and the Environment

Just adopting some measure of minimalism in your life can make a difference in your financial situation and to the environment. First of all, when you get rid of what you don’t need or want, you clear up your living space. My husband used to think we need to buy a bigger house. But once we cleared out the unimportant clutter, the house seemed bigger, and now he’s happy with the size of home we have. Money saved — and a larger carbon footprint averted.

Additionally, the items we got rid of went as a donation to the local thrift store. We got a hefty tax deduction for the donation (in the United States), and the items were passed on in a way that prevented some folks from the need to buy new, thereby preserving resources.

The environment also benefits when you practice minimalist principles. Not only do you save money when you stop buying so much stuff, but you are also reducing the need for packaging, and the use of resources to create new products. When you aren’t always driving from here to there, frantically trying to fulfil commitments, you save gas money as well as reduce the pollution in the air.

Simple tastes in food can also help. You don’t have to go vegetarianism to adopt a more minimalist diet. Just choosing foods that are less processed (including meat) and more natural can help you enjoy better health (and save money on those costs) as well as help the environment. Natural choices in your food are generally easier on the environment, and choosing local food sources can also help.

You might be surprised at how much you can save, and how much more eco-friendly your existence can be, if you adopt a few principles of minimalism in your life.