You ignore common sense at your own peril.

Most young couples return from their honeymoon to face a Kilimanjaro-high mountain of debts.
You budgeted for 150 but 372 people turned up. You now owe the caterer for the additional mouths. You only paid the deposit for the function venue. You paid half-down for the marquee/tent. The florist allowed you to have those additional arrangements for payment after the wedding. The photographer will only deliver the photos on full payment. The list goes on…

The anticipated windfall from guest presents did not materialise. Many of those who attended gave all sorts of household gifts – most of them unwanted (including 41 coffee mugs!!) – instead of cash. The $2190 received as cash will only cover a small fraction of your wedding debts!!

What to do?

Sit down with your spouse. Tally all the debts to ascertain the extent of your indebtedness. (No need to argue now!!) Assess each of your creditors. Agree on which debts to work on first. Engage all the creditors and apprise them of your situation. Seek to buy time. Negotiate for terms. Will they accept part payments? Where you can consolidate your debts, it is advisable to do so that way you only have one creditor to contend with as against 14 of them. Consolidation means finding someone willing to pay off all the debts on your behalf so that you end up owing them ONLY. It is essentially transferring all the debts to one creditor. This could usually be a bank.

If it means doing without some things – self-imposed austerity measures – then let it be so. Those first few months will be bad, but stay close. You are in this together.”Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5. Agree that this is just but a passing phase. Work hard and be faithful in paying off. Your determination to retire the debts should cause you to close ranks and be more united. Remember that it is your marriage that is at stake here!!

On the day when you make your final payment, it’s okay to celebrate but without going overboard. Let common sense prevail at all times. It is a great achievement!! Congratulate yourselves!!


Going forward, avoid being tangled up in debt ever again. (See 5. below) Stay in control. Here are a few hints:
1. Have ONE purse in your home. It is important to treat all salaries and earnings as OUR money. As soon as money comes home and is carried past that doorway it loses its identity and ceases to be his or hers. It becomes OURS.

TO BUDGET OR NOT TO BUDGET… that is the question

2. Use a monthly BUDGET. A budget is simply a plan of how you are going to spend what you earn. It goes without saying that you should not and must not spend more than what you earn!! Stay within. Every month. A budget forces you to prioritise – you pay for the important things first – e.g. bond repayment/rent, lights and water, transport/fuel, etc.

3. Each of you must be entirely transparent in the use of YOUR money. No secrecy whatsoever.

4. As resources permit, allow each other some pocket money for which neither needs to account for. This frees you to surprise each other with gifts/presents on birthdays and other special occasions.


5. Only buy on credit where it concerns large NECESSARY items for which you may not be able to save in the short term. Here I am talking about ¬†acquiring a house or buying a car or furniture. This loan must still be within your capacity (and budget) to service. A residential property appreciates in value over time and so it is always a good buy. A motor vehicle tends to depreciate the moment you drive it from the show room. So if there are alternate efficient means of getting you to and from work, then I’d say use those. A 54 inch flat screen TV is not a necessity. A microwave oven is not a necessity.


6. Make room in your budget for Savings. Even if it is not much, get into the habit of setting something aside every month. You will one day be glad that you did.

The person with the stronger financial management skills should naturally manage the finances. But at all times seek to AGREE. Make family decisions. Succeed as a family. Only death and not debt should do you part!!


Category: Newlyweds

About the Author

I am a banker by profession. I am married with three adult children - all girls! The two older ones are now married. I became a Christian in my first year of University in the late seventies and have never looked back since. It has been a great adventure, I'd say. I am a senior elder in my local church responsible for the Bible teaching programs. I enjoy that. My wife and I are involved in a Marriage Ministry called HAPPY HOME PROMOTIONS which started way back in 1987. Through this, we have addressed scores of Marriage Seminars and counselled many, many couples - married and premarriage. The ministry seeks to fight divorce in all its forms. I still enjoy the ocassional game of soccer, albeit at a S-L-O-W pace now. I am a keen photographer, a fisherman, a carpenter as well as a beekeeper.


  1. neb says:

    thanks for tht info keep up the great work stay blsd grit fmly

  2. ElderGee says:

    Comment appreciated Neb. Regards to Pepe.

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