Summertime — the perfect time for a beautiful wedding! You’re pledging mutual love and affection to your partner, surrounded by friends and family. You’re looking forward to a lifetime of adventure and happiness together.
And while you’re thinking about your wedding and probably doing last-minute planning and fittings and all that great stuff, I’d like to talk to you about a topic that no one else is talking to you about …
I want to talk about credit.
Yes, I know that credit scores are the last thing on your mind right now. But consider this: You’ve probably heard it said that money can be one of the biggest sources of conflict in a marriage. Well, your credit is part of that topic.
Good credit can make reaching many financial goals much easier, whereas bad credit can make things more challenging because you are far more limited in your choices and some necessities, like buying a house and car, may be constrained.
And here’s the part that’s most shocking to some brides and grooms: The simple decisions you make right now for your wedding could impact your credit … and that can impact your marriage for better or for worse.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut corners and go for a low-budget wedding. You might want it to be a perfect reflection of your joyous day. But here are some credit-related wedding tips to help you start your marriage on a good credit footing.
1. Avoid Lending Your Credit Card to Anyone
You might want your bridesmaids to run out and pick up more champagne, or you might want one of the groomsmen to get the limousine, but it’s not a good idea to lend your credit card out so they can do so. In fact, issuers generally consider this a violation of your card agreement, and that can leave you vulnerable when it comes to paying for any unauthorized charges that pop up while the card was out of your possession. The person you lend it to might be careful with it, but things happen beyond our control. (Plus, you might be ultra-busy and just forget to ask for your card back, or the person might think they gave it back to you but put it in someone else’s purse by mistake.) Your credit cards are a major part of your credit, so it’s a good idea to hold onto your card and be the only person who uses it.
2. Be Careful About Taking Out a Wedding Loan
Yes, I know you want an amazing wedding, but you will be paying off this personal loan at a time in your life when every dollar counts — and when every point on your credit score will determine how big of a mortgage you can get for your first house. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your scores, updated each month, for free on Credit.com.)
3. Save Your Receipts
After your wedding and honeymoon, when everything has calmed down, go through every receipt and check it against your credit card bill. Maybe the caterer was supposed to charge $1,234, but accidentally inverted some numbers when entering the charge. You might have signed the invoice for the right amount but your credit card was charged $2,134 instead! (It happens.) If you’re not in the habit of checking your statements, you might accidentally pay the additional amount without realizing it or you might miss paying the higher amount — and that leftover debt could unwittingly hurt your credit.
4. Refrain From Charging the Rest of Your Registry to Your Credit Card
Instead, it’s a good idea to just live with what you have for a while. You might realize that you don’t need that 20-person fondue set that you thought you would use all the time, or the 24-place gold-embedded fine china that you envisioned serving Sunday dinners from. You may find that your life takes a different turn than you were expecting prior to your wedding.
Your wedding will be a wonderful memory that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. But if you’re not careful, it can also cause a lot of financial strain early on in your marriage. Fortunately, a few simple choices can help your marriage get a good start.
[Offer: Your credit score may be low due to credit errors. You can tackle your credit reports to improve your credit score with help from Lexington Law. Learn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report