Smart Money Podcast: Delta Spending Habits and Marriage vs. Mortgage

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Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a discussion about how the delta variant of the coronavirus is changing the way people are managing their money.

Then we pivot to this week’s money question from Daphne. They emailed us asking whether to save for a home or a wedding:

"Hi, Nerds. Love the podcast. My question is inspired by the Netflix show 'Mortgage or Marriage.' I have a year left of my Ph.D. — in other words, a year left before I start actually making money — and my boyfriend and I are starting to plan our lives together. The conversation of whether to purchase property together or get married came up. Frustratingly, a wedding can cost as much, if not more, than a down payment, but the idea of having to plan to save for another major milestone seems daunting. Both of these things are years out, but as I've learned from the pod, it's better to start saving early. Thanks for your help.”

Check out this episode on any of these platforms:

As the uncertainty of the pandemic continues, think about how to shore up your financial resilience. This might mean increasing the amount you’re putting into your savings from each paycheck or cutting down on expenses like travel. To learn more about how to manage your expenses during hard times, check out our with Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary.

If you’re debating whether to put your savings toward a mortgage or a big wedding, realize there is no one-size-fits-all answer. What you do is a matter of your personal . A wedding might be the route to go if you want to hold an event for friends and family to get together after a year and a half of not seeing one another. On the other hand, home prices are likely to continue going up, so now might be a good time to enter the market if you have the savings.

No matter what your financial goals are, know like a wedding or buying a house. Working backward can help. Start by figuring out (or coming up with a good estimate of) the total amount you’ll need and when you’ll need it. Then you can determine how much you’ll need to save monthly to hit your goal within your time frame. Whether you’re or a house, unexpected expenses are likely to pop up, so add in a savings cushion to cover these costs.

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at . To hear previous episodes, go to the

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