5 Reasons We Don’t Keep Separate Finances After Marriage

My wife and I decided to combine our finances when we got married.

It simply made the most sense to us.

Some people argue couples should also keep their finances separate. We respectfully disagree.

Here’s why we decided against keeping our finances separate.

We Have the Same Financial Goals

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t marry someone who doesn’t have the same goals, financial or otherwise, as I do.

My wife and I just want to live a decent lifestyle while making sure we are prepared for the future. We don’t want to incur debt unless absolutely necessary. We want to be able to retire comfortably and are willing to save a decent chunk of money now to be able to do so.

If you and your future spouse don’t have similar goals when it comes to your finances, you’re likely going to get in a few money fights.

Even if your finances are separate, you’ll eventually have to face the music if your spouse isn’t on the same financial page as you.

We Don’t Want to Create Resentment

If we kept separate finances, we’d likely get tired of the income inequality between us.

What would happen if my wife becomes a major saver due to having a higher income? I might decide to spend all my money because I would know she has savings.

I might expect her to treat me to dinners and vacations because she has money available in her savings when my account balance shows $0. That wouldn’t be fair to her but it’d seem like a good alternative in my eyes.

We’re A Team – Our Money Should Act That Way

On a more basic level when you become married you become a team for life. If you’re a team for life why wouldn’t you want your money to act like a team as well to maximize its potential?

Often, separate finances means little communications about finances. Having separate finances could easily lead to duplicate effort or a non optimal use of each person’s money.

Separate Finances Makes It Easier To Hide Financial Problems

If you keep your finances completely separate, chances are you’ll never talk about your financial situations with each other. Even if you do, chances are that you’ll never see the complete picture of the financial situation your spouse is in. Why?

You kept your finances separate for a reason.

If you can’t co-mingle your finances and agree how to spend money together, you’d probably hide the part your of your finances your partner would argue with you about. After all, those fights are why you keep your finances separate right?

It Wouldn’t Work For Retirement

Retirement is even messier with separate finances. Unless we both had the same goals for retirement and we both saved a good chunk of our separate money for retirement, it just simply wouldn’t work.

We’d likely end up retiring at significantly different times. We’d retire with different sized nest eggs that would lead to different amounts of money to spend.

If we were able to deal with the financial fights, one person would probably end up supporting the other person, at least to a point. There would probably be at least a bit of resentment.

Wouldn’t you be upset if you saved aggressively for retirement and then gave most of your money to the other spouse so they can keep spending like they have their whole life? You’d never reap the full benefits of all of your hard work saving for retirement.

Separate finances just didn’t make sense for us.

So what do you do or plan to do? Do you have separate finances? Do you combine your finances? How does it work for you?

Following Routine Maintenance Schedules Can Save You Thousands

We just bought a lawnmower for our new house.

Our awesome manual reel lawnmower wasn’t made for the type of grass we have at our new house.

It left a ton of tall blades in our lawn. That wasn’t going to cut it.

The first thing I did with our new lawnmower, after opening the box, was look for the owner’s manual.

I wanted to ensure I set up my brand new lawnmower correctly so I wouldn’t cause any damage that would shorten the life of my lawnmower.

Why? Last time I owned a gas lawnmower it died. Repairing it would have cost more than it would cost to buy a new lawnmower.

The sad part is, I only had myself to blame.

What I Found In The Owner’s Manual

When I read through the Owner’s Manual I found some pretty important stuff including safety precautions, how to put my lawnmower together the correct way, how to adjust my lawn mower and a routine or preventative maintenance schedule.

Due to the fact that I work in a manufacturing environment, the first thing I did was read through the safety manual. My job puts a lot of focus on safety and you should do the same around your house.

You don’t want to hurt yourself and end up needing to use your short or long term disability insurance or, the worst case, you don’t want to have to use your life insurance.

Next I read how to put the lawnmower together and how to adjust the settings. While the safety and general instructions were important, the last thing I read was the most important to my finances.

That’s right, the routine or preventative maintenance schedule has the largest potential to have an impact on your finances.

Why Routine and Preventative Maintenance Is Important

Remember how I said I killed a lawnmower in the past? It’s because I didn’t read the preventative and routine maintenance schedule.

That indirectly caused me to buy two lawn mowers. First, I bought the awesome manual reel lawnmower because I no longer had a lawn mower that worked. Then, I bought our new lawnmower, because I don’t have the original gas lawnmower I bought.

So what is so important about maintenance? If you properly maintain your purchases, they’ll be less likely to break. That means less repair costs and less replacement costs.

How I Killed My First Lawnmower

I had no clue you’re supposed to change oil in a lawn mower after the first 5 hours, then again every 50 hours after that.

I had no clue I was supposed to add fuel stabilizer to lawnmower fuel and I should avoid using gas with any ethanol in it.

I had no clue there was an air filter on a lawnmower and that I needed to clean it.

Had I done these simple tasks and followed the rest of the preventative and routine maintenance, I’d say there is a 95% chance that original lawnmower would still be running today.

I would have saved myself hundreds of dollars. But wait… didn’t I say preforming routine and preventative can save me thousands of dollars? It can!

How Performing Routine and Preventative Maintenance Saves Thousands of Dollars

You don’t just perform maintenance on lawnmowers. You need to perform maintenance on a lot of high dollar purchases including houses, cars, boats, RVs, computers, air conditioners, motorcycles and a ton of other things, too.

If you don’t perform the maintenance, you probably won’t get the full potential life out of your purchases. While some items might only require repairs if you don’t perform maintenance, other items could die completely without warning.

Wouldn’t it suck if you didn’t ever change the oil in your car and have your engine seize up after only 10,000-20,000 miles. I hope you plan on getting a lot more miles than that out of your car. If you don’t, you must have a lot more money than I do.

Buyer Beware – Not All Maintenance Schedules Are Created Equal

As with any purchase or transaction, you need to be fully aware of the fact that companies might not be giving you the most advantageous information for you as a customer.

They’ll likely err on the side of caution when it comes to how often you should perform maintenance. After all, if you’re using their supplies and parts, they make money when you perform maintenance.

You can always do some research and talk to qualified technicians to see if the recommended preventative or routine maintenance schedules are accurate or if they are just there to make the company more money.

Do you read owner’s manuals and perform preventative or routine maintenance? Have you ever had something break due to the fact you didn’t perform maintenance? Share your stories below in the comments so we can all learn!

2017 Republic Wireless Review: Our Experience After 3 Years

Republic Wireless is a cell phone service provider that began offering service in 2011.

They’re changing the way people pay for and use their cell phone service. 

Why are they making such big waves?

Republic Wireless is stealing customers from the big four carriers left and right because they can save people a massive amount of money every month.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think anyone loves paying crazy high cell phone bills.

Personally, my wife and I both have our cell phones with Republic Wireless.

Included below are our personal experiences with Republic Wireless throughout the almost three years we’ve been subscribers.

Republic Wireless Plans And Their Prices

No matter which Republic Wireless plan you pick, you never have to sign a contract. Right away, that puts Republic Wireless ahead in my mind.

Save hundreds per year on your cell phone bill with Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless offers a variety of plans.

Their cheapest plan is only $15 a month and gives you unlimited cell service for texts and phone calls but no mobile data over cell towers.

Instead, you can use unlimited data over WiFi.

If you’d like to use data, you’ll have to upgrade to one of their packages with data, which start at just $20 per month for 1 GB of data.

Other plans include 2 GB of data for $30 per month, 4 GB of data for $45 per month and 6 GB of data for $60 per month.

If you’re a heavy data user, they have a 10 GB plan for $90 per month.

If you end up needing more data than your plan allows for in a given month, you can simply upgrade to the next higher plan for the rest of the month. 

Then, you can switch back to your old plan before your next billing cycle begins.

Of course, you still have to pay taxes and governmental fees. On our $20 plan, we pay just $3.57 in taxes and fees per month.

So how can Republic Wireless offer these insanely low rates? Keep reading to find out… Already excited to check out the plans for yourself?

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How Can Republic Wireless Offer Such Low Rates?

How can a cell phone provider offer these rock bottom prices, have great service and survive? I’m glad you asked, because switching to their service can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Republic Wireless uses wireless networks (WiFi) instead of cell networks whenever possible to make phone calls, send text messages and for all data consumption purposes.

By using free WiFi instead of a cell network, Republic Wireless is able to save a ton of money by not paying for cell network access. They pass these savings along to their consumers in the form of lower rates and I have to say, I’m quite impressed with their offerings.

These days, we’re almost always around a source of WiFi. I know we have WiFi at our home, at work and at many of the stores we shop at on a regular basis like the grocery store and Home Depot.

The only time I don’t have access to WiFi is if I’m travelling somewhere unfamiliar or I’m actually on the road.

Be A Part Of Their Thriving Community

Have you ever heard of a community of passionate AT&T or Verizon users that come together to help each other? I didn’t think so. The community at Republic Wireless’s site is quick to help you out if you ever have a question.

You can even learn how to optimize your Republic Wireless experience through the knowledgeable people already in the community. As you learn, you can add to the conversations if you’d like.

How Good Is Republic Wireless’s Service?

Republic Wireless uses the Sprint or T-Mobile network for all of your cell calls, text messages and data that don’t end up going over WiFi depending on which phone you use.

My phone uses the Sprint network, which is actually one of the better networks in terms of 4G LTE coverage in my area. My wife’s phone uses the T-Mobile network. We haven’t had any major problems with either one.

Make sure to check the coverage in your area on the Republic Wireless website. You can see coverage maps and enter your zip code to see what coverage they have in your area.

But what if you don’t have awesome Sprint or T-Mobile coverage everywhere you go? Is it a big problem?

I’m going to say it isn’t a game breaker with how Republic Wireless works. Due to the fact that they route everything over WiFi as a first priority, as long as you have access to WiFi you should be fine.

Over the past year, we’ve encountered just a few places where we didn’t have phone or data service through Republic Wireless. However, I can remember there were dead spots when I used to have AT&T, too.

You’ll run across these issues with any cell phone provider, but Republic Wireless’s calling and texting over WiFi offers another option for when you’re in a dead zone.  As soon as we connected to the store’s WiFi network, we were able make the call we needed.

When you consider how much cheaper Republic Wireless is than AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, I’m willing to accept an occasional area of spotty service for the hundreds of dollars I’ll save each year.

You Can Switch From WiFi To Cell Service Manually During A Call

If for whatever reason your WiFi call isn’t working smoothly (which we haven’t had any major problems with) there is a setting you can turn on that will allow you to switch a call manually from WiFi to cell service or from cell service to WiFi.

It’s called handover and we’ve rarely had to use it. All you have to do is tap the button.

Republic Wireless’s software is very good at picking a stable network for your phone calls, so we’ve rarely had to switch mid call. However, it’s a nice feature to have.

You might end up with a dropped call if the handover doesn’t go smoothly, but I’d say this is a rare occurrence based on our experience. We could count the amount of dropped calls we’ve had in the past year on one hand with a couple fingers to spare.

What’s The Catch?

Republic Wireless isn’t going to be able to offer the same exact service on all levels of their business that AT&T and Verizon can because they aren’t a behemoth company yet, even though they currently have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

There isn’t a phone number you can call for customer service, which is a bit annoying. However, they do have a well thought out ticket based online support. You usually get a response pretty fast, but sometimes you may have to wait a bit if they’re super busy.

The only other major downside is you can’t use any phone on Republic Wireless. That said, they do have an awesome selection of Android based phones to choose from.

They have the latest Samsung Galaxy phones, a wide range of Motorola phones and a cheap Huawei phone if you don’t care which phone you use. Check out their full lineup of phones here.

Don’t Worry! You Can Bring Your Phone Number With You!

The biggest worry my wife had about switching to Republic Wireless was keeping her phone number. Luckliy, in almost every case you can port (or take) your old cell phone number to Republic Wireless.

The setup is pretty simple and they have step by step instructions for you to follow. Make sure to check and see if your number can be ported over before you make a purchase with their online tool.

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14 Day Money Back Guarantee

If you’re on the fence about trying Republic Wireless, the 14 day money back guarantee should ease your mind. If you don’t like it, simply return it and get all of your money back, except for your initial shipping. Just make sure to follow the rules.

In order to get the money back guarantee, you must contact Republic Wireless within 14 days of delivery of your phone. You must be able to return the phone in an undamaged condition AND with all of the original packaging. Don’t throw anything away!

You can only return accessories if they are unopened and undamaged. So, don’t open any accessories if you’re not sure if you’re going to keep the phone yet.

All you have to do is wait for your free return shipping label and ship your phone back and they’ll process your request. It’s a pretty simple process! Make sure to check out the Republic Wireless website for full details.

Our Final Verdict On Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is a great way to save a ton of money on your cell phone service. Even after you buy the phones up front, you’ll save hundreds of dollars a year over a traditional cell phone plan.

The WiFi calling technology seems to be working pretty well for us and it will only get better going forward from here.

Yes, you might drop a call once in a blue moon or you might hit a spot that doesn’t have cell coverage, but the same exact things happen on the big networks like AT&T or Verizon, too.

Overall, I’m willing to take any of the minor inconveniences I’ve dealt with so far in exchange for savings hundreds of dollars a year. In fact, my wife and I have both made the switch to Republic Wireless and we’re saving a ton of money.

That said, Republic Wireless isn’t perfect for everyone.

If you’re not a huge technology nerd that has to have the latest Apple phone every 6 months and your area has decent Sprint, T-Mobile and/or WiFi coverage then I suggest you give them a shot. 

You don’t have anything to lose with their 14 day money back guarantee. Odds are you’ll like the service and save hundreds of dollars a year. How cool is that?!

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Ready to try out Republic Wireless and want to support this site? Sign up through this affiliate link for Republic Wireless! I’m very thankful for everyone who helps support Money Manifesto!

Do you have Republic Wireless? If not, are you considering switching? Have any questions that we can test out for you? Let me know in the comments or contact me!

I worked very hard on this review to help you decide if Republic Wireless is a good fit for you or not to help you save money. All views are 100% my own and 100% honest.

There are affiliate links within this post that will pay me a small commission if you sign up through them. It is the same price for you either way, but I thank you in advance if you sign up through one of my links.

Surprise Costs Of Building A Brand New Home

Building a home is an exciting adventure.

Like buying a resale home, it is a major purchase that requires serious thought and analysis prior to pulling the trigger.

Some people might be surprised by some of the hidden costs of purchasing or building a brand new home.

My wife and I recently went through the home building process ourselves, so we thought we’d share what we learned both through our research and experience.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Starting At Price Isn’t What You’ll Pay

The first thing we learned when we considered building a new home is that the starting price you see on brochures is not what you’ll pay. You’d think there would be an option to get a house for exactly the starting price, but it’s pretty difficult to come across.

For instance, our builder only allowed a small subset of floor plans to be built on the non-premium lots. Of course, our floor plan wasn’t included.

There were two additional lots you could build any floor plan on, but they were in the worst location possible. In the end, we ended up paying five figures for a lot with a better location. It was a lot of money, but it was totally worth it.

Then comes the customization of your home. The base price comes with base grade everything. That includes carpet in almost the entire home and many finishes you wouldn’t want in your home.

Our builder had only one base level counter top choice, a dark green/brown granite that we hated. Instead, we had to pay a couple thousand dollars to upgrade our counters to something we could live with for as long as we live in our home.

Just to give you an idea, here are just some of the things we paid to upgrade. Some were reasonably priced while others were expensive. However, redoing them after the fact would have been even more expensive.

  • Cabinets,
  • Countertops,
  • Flooring, including laying tile in a pattern,
  • Tray ceilings,
  • Expanded shower,
  • Attic storage,
  • Adding a sliding glass door,
  • Appliances (and the fridge wasn’t included at all),
  • Electrical outlets, switches and extra lights,
  • Plumbing a sink in our laundry room and
  • Door hardware

Closing Costs Aren’t Included

Like buying a resale home, you’ll have to pay closing costs. Sadly, the builder wasn’t willing to pay for all of our closing costs like some sellers do.

So, we had to pay thousands of dollars in closing costs in addition to purchasing our home. Thankfully, we were able to negotiate a few discounted closing costs using our builder’s contractors, such as the survey.

Costs Keep Piling Up After Closing

If you think you’re done spending money after you close on your brand new home, you’re sorely mistaken.

Remember how I said we only paid for upgrades that were reasonably priced or difficult to change after we moved in? That means we saved some upgrades to do ourselves after we moved in. They weren’t always cheap.

In our case, I went ahead and replaced all of our sink faucets to a style we liked. I also changed out the lights in all of the bedrooms to ceiling fans, since we do live in Florida.

Our builder only used bright white CFL bulbs in homes, so we switched all of our lighting out to soft white LED lights as well.

To make things even more expensive, there are some things your new home won’t come with. For us, our home didn’t come with a refrigerator which is one of the more expensive appliances.

Additionally, almost no new home comes with blinds or window coverings. Thankfully, we don’t have a house right behind us so we only had to add window coverings to a few rooms before we moved in.

Depending on where you live, some homes don’t even come with landscaping or grass. In our case, our home was landscaped, but we’ll have to add both a fence and gutters to our home in the coming months.

After you close, you’re going to have to get the utilities transferred to your name. Our builder gave us five days to do so.

You’ll likely have to pay each utility an activation fee and some will require deposits or charge installation fees. We had to turn on our water, sprinkler water, electricity, natural gas, cable and internet.

These costs will easily add thousands of dollars to the cost of moving into a brand new home.

Making Your Home Your Own

After we moved in and unpacked most of our belongings, we realized some of our stuff wouldn’t look right in our new home. Thankfully, all of our furniture fits where we wanted it to go.

That said, we still have many decorations and other items that will need to be changed out.

Additionally, we moved into a bigger home. That means we currently have some rooms that aren’t fully furnished how we’d like them. Those furnishings will cost us hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

We’re not in a rush, though, so we have time to find good deals as well as find pieces we really want.

As you can tell, building or buying a brand new home comes with some extra costs that may not come with a resale home. It usually comes with all of the same costs as a resale home, too.

What is important to realize is it takes a significant amount of research to figure out how much your new home will cost you in total once everything is said and done.

Make sure you spend that time before you sign the contract to build your new home to make sure you can really afford the journey you’re about to embark on.

We love living in our newly built home. I’m not the type of person that worries if someone lived in a home before I did or not.

What I do love is the fact that all of the major pieces of our home, such as the floor plan, flooring, wall colors and more permanent aspects are all how we want them.

I am willing to do the minor projects I mentioned above, but there are no major home renovations in our future. To me, that’s worth the price of building a brand new home.

Are you considering building a new home? What costs surprised you? Have you built a new home in the past? Share your experiences below so others can avoid forgetting about any major costs I may have missed.

 

Is Buying A New Honda Odyssey Cheaper Than Buying Used?

The first car I ever bought myself was a brand new car.

At the time, the car industry was having a rough time and offering substantial discounts on new cars.

Recent model used cars were difficult to find. Even when you did find them, they were barely cheaper than a new car.

I figured this was a fluke and bought a brand new car for what I thought would be the only time in my life.

I was wrong.

Why We’re Shopping For A New Car

My wife’s car is 10 years old and still has plenty of life left in it, but we recently added a new family member which has made us rethink our current vehicles. While both of our cars work great for quick trips around town, we no longer have a great car for road trips.

We could all fit, but it’d be a tight squeeze with all of the baby gear we have to take with us on vacations. If we wanted to bring the dog, we wouldn’t have enough room in our car.

Ultimately, we decided it’s probably time to purchase a minivan. After all, cars are for utility, not for looking cool.

Used Honda Odysseys Are More Expensive Than New Honda Odysseys

Fast forward to today and I’ve come across a very similar issue where new cars are cheaper. While we haven’t pulled the trigger on a car yet, we’re strongly considering the Honda Odyssey.

Based on the preliminary research we’ve done, buying a used Honda Odyssey would actually be more expensive in the long run than buying a brand new Honda Odyssey. Here’s how I calculated the numbers that led me to my conclusion.

How To See If A New Or Used Car Is Cheaper

Assuming you’re calculating the costs of buying a new vs used car of the same exact make and model car, here is an easy way to calculate which is cheaper.

First, find the total cost of buying the new car and the total cost of buying the used car.

Make sure to include all fees, taxes, charges and interest if you’re financing. Next, determine the total expected life of the car for your situation in both years and mileage. Now that you have this information, you can run the numbers.

To calculate the total cost of the new car, take the total new car price and subtract the expected value at the end of the vehicle’s life. In our example, the out the door cost of a 2016 Honda Odyssey EX-L was roughly $35,000.

To get the cost of the vehicle at the end of its life, go to KBB.com and pick your car but subtract the number of years you expect to own it.

For instance, we expect to own a new van for 9 years and 150,000 miles, so we quoted a 2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L with 150,000 miles which sells for $4,826 as a private seller. Then take the new price and subtract the end of life sale price to get the total cost.

The total cost of the new vehicle itself would be $30,174 in this case.

For the used vehicle, I found a 2014 Honda Odyssey EX-L for sale for roughly $29,500 out the door with 35,508 miles. The expected value at the end of life was calculated at $3,814. The total cost of the used vehicle itself would be $25,686 in this case.

Total Dollar Cost Isn’t The Number You Should Use

Clearly, in total cost, the used car is cheaper. However, when you consider the true determining factor, cost per mile, things may be different.

In this instance, we’d get 150,000 miles of life out of the new car for a total cost of 20.116 cents per mile. We’d only get 114,492 miles of life out of the used car for a total cost per mile of 22.434 cents per mile. In this case, the used car is more expensive.

Yes, there are other costs to consider such as fuel mileage, maintenance costs, insurance costs, etc. The list could go on for quite a while. However, in the big scheme of things it seems like buying a new car still might be cheaper in the long term over buying a used car.

Did you think a new car could be cheaper than a used car? Have you ever run the numbers and come to a similar conclusion?