Why getting married can save you money

Last week, I had a meeting around 6.00pm at Capital Hotel but I arrived at the venue a bit early and so I decided to wait in the cocktail bar and have a cold one. A cold coke.

Just across the table I sat, there were two men apparently having good time, each holding a glass of the hard stuff in hand. One had a yellow shirt and the other one green. From the tone of the one in yellow shirt, I could tell he had had one too many.

It seems his colleague was trying to encourage him to get married and save money. “Bambo kukwatira ndi mavuto, mkazi amakuyamwa ndalama (being married can be financially draining)” the yellow-shirted man said. “Inu munakwatirapo? (have you ever been married?),” The green-shirted guy asked, somehow revealing that his colleague was still single. “Kodi mavuto ali ndi inuwa, tifuniranji umboni wina? (with all the problems I see in you, do I need any proof of marriage financial woes?),” The yellow-shirted man responded and the two of them broke into loud laughter drawing everybody’s attention in the bar. I concluded that they were having fun.

When time for my meeting came, I walked down to the venue of the meeting still thinking about the two men in the bar. Does staying single really save you money? I strongly object. It’s actually financially beneficial for both men and women to get married. There are a lot of reasons for this.

Almost always, when you are married you’re both going to be bringing in an income. There will simply be more money coming in than before. Even if one of you is not employed, the other one can be doing business or taking care of chores you could not have managed if alone.

Further, you both benefit from staying in one house and share costs. You share rent, electricity, water, internet service, and so on—one bill for each of these things instead of two. Additionally, having both of you in one house means that bulk buying makes more sense. You can buy a carton of laundry soap instead of single tablets and you’ll be spending less.

What more? You have greater earnings stability. If you lost your job while single, there’s suddenly no income coming in—you literary can begin to panic. If you’re married, you have a partner that will still be bringing in income, a partner that has a real stake in your survival and continued success. While it’s an urgent situation, it’s not a panic situation. Even better is the emotional support that a spouse can bring during such times— “don’t worry honey, things will be OK” kind of talk. People can often use that emotional support as a springboard to achieve even greater success.

Perhaps one of the most important saving on money we take for granted, especially for men in Malawi, is that you can get sex free of charge from your wife. Just imagine how much you would have been losing if each sex act you get from your wife was being charged for? You can choose to buy sex from the streets but trust me it will be costly—along with this, the health and resultant financial loss in an HIV-infested world is even greater.

What about the money on children? Well, beside the fact that money invested in supporting your children is never a loss, the decision to have children is a complicated one and, in my opinion, is a very distinct one from the marriage question. Many of the concerns that men express about marriage tend to actually be concerns about becoming a father, and I think that becoming a father is a decision guys should never enter into lightly.

My opinion is that many people fear marriage for emotional reasons, but often find financial ones easier to state. But take me to task, modern marriages usually are financially beneficial to both people involved especially if both of you are professionals.

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