Do you and your partner fight about money? If you want to avoid breaking up over finances, you’ll want to find a way to save. Scrimping and saving may not sound fun, but it can make a difference in your relationship and the amount you have in your savings account. And consider this, Do you need to take a lavish vacation that will leave you broke? Probably not. Read on for easy and simple ideas to stretch your finances and avoid suffering a breakup at the same time.
10 Ways Couples Can Save Money and Avoid Breaking Up
Save credit cards for emergencies
Credit cards aren’t the enemy. It’s how you use them that can get you into debt. Instead of using credit cards to pay for food, coffee, clothing, extravagant gifts, etc., save your money. Use them for emergencies, such as getting your car fixed and electrical and plumbing (if you own a home).
If you and your partner feel combining finances will make it easier to pay bills, etc., then combine finances. Make sure you discuss how much from your paychecks will be deposited into a checking and savings account. Make sure you let the other know when you’re taking money out so there are no surprises. You don’t want to overdraw funds.
In addition to combining finances, you may want to separate finances: his, mine and ours. This way if you need cash fast, one of you will have it. Also, it’s a good way to maintain some independence. While you and your partner are coupled up, you’re still individuals. And you never know what the future holds. If you break up, you’ll have money saved to support yourself.
Create a budget
Do you know how much income you and your partner bring in each month? Do you know what expenses you have? If not, it’s time to create a budget. You don’t have to use a fancy spreadsheet program; use paper and pen. List your income in one column and expenses in the other. If you’re expenses exceed your income, it’s time to say goodbye to a few things (see the next tip).
Cut unnecessary expenses
Look at your expenses and cut out what you don’t need. Perhaps you can let go of your weekly coffee fix at your favorite coffee shop. Maybe you can let go of subscriptions, especially if you’re not reading magazines or watching TV. Even if it’s temporary, see where you can slice and dice expenses.
Consolidate student loans
If it makes sense, consider consolidating student loans. Keep in mind that your debt-to-income ratio and credit score will be taken into consideration. You may or may not have to pay origination and other fees. Ask about prepayment penalties. You may or may not receive a lower percentage or longer repayment time.
Travel on a budget
Instead of taking a fancy European vacation, why not travel through Europe on a budget? You don’t have to stay in swanky hotels. You can stay in cheaper accommodations, such as hostels and motels. Or you could barter for housing. Example, in exchange for staying at someone’s home, you could help out with household chores. If you stay in a farm house, you could help with duties, such as feeding the chickens or raking hay. While it may not seem glamorous, the experience will be worthwhile. Think of the amazing stories you can share.
Sign up for rewards programs
Your bank most likely has rewards programs. If you use your debit card (watch the fees), you can earn points towards products and services you use on a monthly basis. You can also sign up for programs from retailers, grocery stories, airlines, and gas stations to save on purchases.
Buy used furniture and home decor
Not only will buying used furniture and home decor save you money, but it could make you money too. For example, you can often find great furniture and paintings at local estate sales. And if you know an Edwardian from Neo-gothic, you could score a great chair for as little as a $50 and turn around and sell it for hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars. In fact, you may discover your passion for antiquing and have a second career. Lastly, you can buy used furniture and home decor at second-hand stores and garage sales.
Eat at home
Before you and your partner go out to eat at your favorite restaurant, you may consider staying home and cooking your meals. You can trim your waistline and your costs by eating at home. With the money you save (don’t have to tip anyone), you can create an emergency fund or put the money toward another use.
Making simple changes can increase your finances faster than you may have thought possible. And saving money can strengthen your relationship and bring you and your partner closer together. For example, if you need a new mattress and box spring, look for sales and/or buy one during holidays, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. You may consider buying a queen-size mattress and box spring instead of a king-size. Why? Because you and your partner can cuddle — it will bring you closer together as a couple. You can take that to the bank!
Photo Credit: Fighting Couple over Bills and Tax by Candy Box Images