Have you just burned through $31,213? That, according to The Knot, was the cost of an average American wedding, excluding honeymoon, in 2014. Just to make you feel better, the average spend on a wedding in Manhattan was $76,328. If you hosted your wedding in Manhattan, there's very little that's going to make you feel better.
Of course, you may have wealthy parents who covered the entire cost of your nuptials. But many newlyweds start off married life with depleted savings and perhaps some debt. And even those who don't are often entering unknown territory in which they're learning how to live with their new spouse's alien financial habits. If you think leaving the cap off the toothpaste tube is irritating, wait until you start to talk money. In fact, Dr. Phil reckons money is "the number one problem in marriages and the number one cause of divorce." He suggests sitting down early in a relationship to discuss attitudes and agree on boundaries.
Part of any such discussion is bound to include credit cards. Relatively few people are genuinely unable to handle plastic responsibly, and, if you or your new spouse is one of them, you're likely to have to make some big adjustments, possibly involving prepaid cards. But, assuming the two of you are reasonably good money managers, here are some ideas for plastic we found that may actively add to the quality of your new life together. It's also worth noting that these cards aren't exclusive to the newly married -- no matter your relationship status, they're still definitely worth a look.
Our editor's take:
Chase Slate stands out among balance-transfer credit cards because of the rare combination of no balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days and zero-percent intro APR, for 15 months, on both balance transfers and purchases.
If you have significant post-wedding balances on your existing plastic, a balance-transfer credit card can be quite handy. A zero-percent introductory APR can remove that burden for the duration of its interest-free period, allowing you to divert the money you save into reducing the balance more quickly.
The drawback with almost all balance-transfer deals is that they come with a balance-transfer fee, often 3 percent of each amount transferred. That's a small amount by comparison with the potential savings, but it does mean you have to go into more debt before you even begin to get out of it.
This is why Chase Slate® is special -- it's a card charging a $0 introductory balance transfer fee (as long as you make the transfer during the first 60 days your account is open; after that it's either $5 or 3 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater), while also offering an impressive 15-month zero-percent introductory APR on balance transfers and purchases (after that, a variable APR of 12.99, 17.99 or 22.99 percent applies, based on creditworthiness). Many consumers who don't pay close attention to balance-transfer offers end up owing more at the end of the introductory period than at its beginning. So it's important to keep close tabs on your finances while attempting to pay down a balance before that introductory APR ends.
Chase Slate recently unveiled monthly access to your FICO® score and Credit Dashboard. There's also no penalty APR, meaning a late payment won't raise your interest rate. All that, plus no annual fee, makes this a card worth consideration.
Our editor's take:
One of the longest zero-percent introductory APRs you can find - 21 months on both balance transfers and purchases.
Even if they manage to avoid debt, after all their wedding and honeymoon costs many couples begin married life with little or nothing in the way of savings. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop unavoidable (and sometimes unexpected) expenses from popping up. If your car needs new tires, your roof is in desperate need of repairs or your washing machine dies, you might just have to bite the bullet and borrow. The same applies if you're reading this before The Big Day, and are working out how to pay for some wedding-related expenses.
What you need is a credit card that offers a long, low introductory APR on purchases. How does 21 months with a zero-percent introductory APR sound? That's the deal that the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Citi is a CardRatings.com advertiser) offers on new purchases as well as balance transfers. After that, the APR will be 11.99-21.99 percent, based upon your creditworthiness, so be sure you can comfortably pay down the balance by the time the introductory rate expires. It also helps that this card charges no annual fee. You'll also be able to earn Citi Easy Deals(SM) Points for the purchases you make with your card, which you can redeem for online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and even local deals.
Our editor's take:
If you are looking for a no-hassle cash-back card, look no further than Citi's new offering. Earn cash back twice on every purchase - 1 percent when you buy, 1 percent when you pay for those purchases. No need to deal with rotating categories, spending caps, or annual fees.
No plastic provides rewards that are going to make a huge difference to your lifestyle. But the right cash-back credit card can quite quickly build up enough rewards to allow you an occasional guilt-free treat.
Unless you have the time and the inclination to jump through hoops to maximize your rewards earnings, you could check out the Citi® Double Cash Card. This is the only card that lets you earn cash back twice -- 1 percent cash back when you buy and 1 percent cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time (just make sure you always make at least the minimum payment due).
This card also charges no annual fee and features a zero-percent introductory APR, on purchases as well as balance transfers, for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99-22.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness.
Our editor's take:
Great travel card for those who aren't committed to any particular airline or hotel chain. Earn 2 miles per dollar, with no cap on earning potential, no expiration date on those miles, and no foreign transaction fees.
Whether you've yet to take your honeymoon or are already eager to plan your next getaway together, a travel rewards credit card can help you on your way. And right now Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a stand-out choice.
To start with, you get a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles, equal to $400 in travel purchases, once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. Earn an unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. The miles you earn don't expire and there's no limit to how many you can earn. When you're ready to redeem those miles, you're not bound to any particular airline or hotel chain, and you also won't run into blackout dates. So, suppose you spend $2,500 a month on the card and also earn than one-time bonus. You stand to get 100,000 miles, worth $1,000 on travel, during the first year.
The card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and offers a lineup of Visa Signature benefits including a complimentary concierge service and travel upgrades and special savings at selected hotels, resorts and spas. If travel's important to you, you might want to say "I do" when you're asked if you want to take this card.
Our editor's take:
Are you an aspiring at-home cook? With this card you'll earn 3 percent cash back on groceries at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, and pay no annual fee. Terms and limitations apply.
Do you have the remotest idea what most of those kitchen gadgets you received as wedding gifts actually do? Or how they work? Maybe it's time to find out, with some good old-fashioned home cooking. As an added bonus, that should get you much more alone time with your new spouse -- something newly married couples tend to know how to take advantage of.
If you're going to spend more on groceries than eating out, you should definitely look at the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. That's because you can earn 3 percent cash back on the first $6,000 per year in purchases at U.S. supermarkets -- and 1 percent after you bust that $6,000 cap. You'll also earn 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1 percent cash back on other purchases. If groceries, gas and department stores are some of your top categories, this card is worth considering, especially since it doesn't charge an annual fee. Right now, you can also get $100 (in the form of a statement credit) after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. Terms and restrictions apply.
By the way, if you spend a lot at supermarkets, gas stations and department stores, you should consider this card's big brother, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. This card comes with a $75 annual fee, but you can earn even richer rewards -- 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1 percent on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa® card
Our editor's take:
This simple rewards program helps cardholders make the most of their earnings by applying their cash-back rebates to their Wells Fargo mortgage.
If you're a homeowner, and want to pay down your mortgage faster while making some serious savings on interest charges, you've just got to take a look at the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa® card. But before you get too excited, you need to realize only certain Wells Fargo home mortgage products are eligible to be tied to this card, so check with Wells Fargo before applying.
This card is a great concept for those who qualify. Instead of frittering away your credit card rewards on treats and luxuries, the cash back you earn automatically goes toward paying down the principal (the amount you borrowed as opposed to interest) on your mortgage. That means you could be mortgage-free sooner than you'd planned, and save on interest charges in the meantime.
Paying down the principal by an extra $100 a month on a $100,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could see you reduce the term by more than eight years, and save more than $25,000 over the lifetime of the loan. Of course, you're very unlikely indeed to earn $100 a month in credit card rewards. The Wells Fargo card offers some great earning opportunities in the first six months you have it (5 percent rebate on gas, grocery, and drugstore net purchases), but its standard earning rate is 1 percent for every dollar spent on virtually all other net purchases, with no limit to the amount of rebates you can earn. Still, you get the idea: every little bit helps.
And that's what all credit cards are all about. They may not transform married (or single) life, but they can provide rewards, perks and privileges that can make it more fun and enjoyable.