What’s Love Got to Do With It?

“I am building a website, so that instead of people giving us wedding gifts they can donate money that we will use to help buy a house,” Haile says.

That grounding bodes well for their future. The couple wants to raise three kids, as well as save $40,000 by 2013 and eliminate their credit card debt so they can raise their credit scores from 698 and 678 to put themselves in a better borrowing position for purchasing over the next two years. Although Haile says she would like to retire by 45 and Patrick says 55 or 60 at the latest, they envision debt-free golden years, without worries of mortgage payments or student loan debt, and having $500,000 to $1 million in the bank.

The couple currently holds separate accounts and will open a joint account for their wedding, which they will use afterwards for paying household expenses. As for how they will manage bills down the road: “We plan to put our paychecks into one account, in which we will pay all our bills first,” says Patrick. “Then we will put some money aside for savings and vacations, and whatever remains, we will split [between] us for our individual leisure.” When they get tax returns they each stash about a third, pay some bills, and spend a little.

What’s their game plan? Right now Patrick is saving $800 a pay period to build that $40,000, and the couple already has $14,300 saved; he estimates they will reach their goal or have at least $35,000 by Jan.1, 2013. He will receive two bonuses of roughly $3,000 to $4,000 each year, which he will save, and he will work overtime shifts. If Haile gets a full-time job, she will be able to contribute as well. They may use some of that $40,000 for a down payment. “We can get a lot for our money in Dallas. We don’t want anything outlandish. We are looking for a mortgage in the $1,200 to $1,300 range,” Patrick says. They currently pay $950 on their one-bedroom apartment. They will put half their contest winnings into savings and the rest toward credit card bills.

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