As you probably know, the cost of living alone or being on your own is way different from being in a relationship. Things add up. Whether you’re still in the dating phase, or you’re already in a serious relationship, being with someone else often increases how much you end up spending.
So, if you’re looking for ways to reduce your expenses, here are some money saving tips for couples. Whether you’ve been together for just a few months, are a newly married young couple or have been married for a many years now, these tips will help you spend less and save more of your hard earned cash.
That said, let’s get started.
- 21 Surprisingly Simple Budget Tips for Families
- 15 Easy Ways Save Money in Your 20s (and Mistakes to Avoid)
- 53 Best Frugal Living Tips that Actually Work
- How to Save Money Fast on a Low Income
1. Move Your Accounts to a Better Bank
Are you still paying monthly fees for your bank accounts? Maybe it’s time to go somewhere else.
When looking for a bank to park your hard-earned money, look for three things.
- No extraordinary fees. You don’t want to keep paying them monthly just to hold to your savings. Nor do you want to get charged every time you make some kind of transaction.
- Higher interest rates. Interest rates on savings and checking accounts are never going to be great. But, you shouldn’t be getting 0% or something very close to that. If you do, shop around elsewhere. The best banks offer better rates to entice their depositors.
- Bonuses and freebies. This is something that good banks will offer customers. For example, they’ll encourage you to go paperless by offering bonuses.
2. Go on Free of Cheap Dates
Dates don’t need to be expensive to be fun. In fact, the simpler the date, the more you’ll be able to focus on one another.
The good news is, there are lots of ways to enjoy no cost or cheap dates. You can enjoy free concerts or walk around new areas of the city to explore.
Free nights at the museum or taking a nice afternoon hike in nature are other great ways to enjoy a date without having to spend much money.
Here are some more no-cost date ideas you and your loved one can try.
3. Take Advantage of Free Customer Rewards Programs
Retailers today love rewards programs. It’s a way for them to make their customers happy. And, it lets them provide you with better service.
For this reason, almost all the companies you regularly use or subscribe to offer or will be happy to give you rewards for using their products.
While this is very prevalent for airlines, department stores, and big retailers, it’s also becoming a staple in online services. This includes Amazon Prime and Netflix which offer a lot of rewards for their users.
4. Move In Together
If both of you have been with each other for a while and feel you’re ready, why not move in together?
This is one of the best ways to cut expenses fast.
Housing is one of the biggest, if not the biggest monthly cost for almost everyone. Moving in together essentially cuts your rent in half immediately.
The best part is, it doesn’t stop there. The cost of your bills also goes down significantly. Plus, you only have to buy one piece of furniture or appliance instead of two the next time you need something.
5. Move to a Smaller Place
If you aren’t ready to move in with your partner, then it may be worth considering downsizing.
Moving into a smaller apartment or home significantly reduces the amount of rent or mortgage you need to pay.
In addition, smaller homes also mean fewer electricity costs. This is especially true during the summers and winters when the square footage of your home affects how much air conditioning and heating you need to use.
6. Or, Move to a Cheaper Part of Town
Another option to getting a smaller place is to move to a cheaper part of town. Of course, make sure that the area you move to is safe.
Moving from one end of town to a more affordable one will help cut down on rent a lot without giving up the space you want.
If you’re open to moving to other states, you might be able to save even more.
The cost of living in some states can easily be twice as much as others. For example, GoBankingRates.com estimates that you need to make $123,269 a year to live comfortably in San Francisco. Similarly, you need more than $90,000 to do so in Washington, DC and New York City.
in contrast, you can live comfortably in Las Vegas, Tucson, Detroit, Memphis, San Antonio and Indianapolis for way under $60,000 a year.
That’s a huge difference when it comes to cost of living. And, imagine how much money you save.
Also, while we’re on the topic of income, you may want to consider states with no income taxes. Living there will let you stretch your earnings even further.
These states include Texas, Nevada, South Dakota, Florida, Washington, Wyoming, and Alaska.
7. Rent Out Your Extra Room Or Get a Roommate to Split the Rent
Another way to cut down on housing expenses is to split your rent with your friends. Or, rent out unused rooms.
Either way, you end up paying less to live in the same place you do now.
Housing is often the largest monthly cost that will eat up your savings. So, thinking of the ways to reduce its cost really goes a long way.
8. Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions
Cancel all those subscriptions you don’t really need. Things like cable, gym membership and print or online magazines can add up.
If you don’t need or use them, ditch the subscription. This will free up some cash that’s going out your pocket.
9. Stop Watching Television
I know this is a big ask, especially if you have regular shows you tune in to. But, speaking from experience, you’ll be happy that you did.
I don’t watch TV anymore. And, it’s done wonders for me. My costs did go down, as I now don’t own a TV. It also reduces the electricity used up by television. And, advertisements don’t entice you to buy new stuff.
If you subscribe to cable or have services like HBO or Netflix, those go away too.
But, the biggest benefit of getting rid of my TV was the extra time it freed up. You don’t realize how much time you spend watching shows because they’re so entertaining. Half an hour can easily stretch to two or three hours because you can keep switching to another channel to find shows you’d like to watch.
Just imagine, two hours of TV time daily translates to 14 hours a week where you could be more productive or use it to spend quality time with your kids or loved ones.
If completely cutting TV shows out of your life isn’t an option, try reducing the time by half. This will give you a lot of time to enjoy your favorite shows. And, use the rest for more productive things.
10. Read Instead
One of the best alternatives to watching television is to read. Reading lets you keep learning. This is something that all the successful people in the world do a lot of, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
If you find that you have a hard time reading, try audio books instead. Unlike reading, you’ll be able to enjoy these during your morning commute or while you’re doing cardio.
You can likewise listen to podcasts about business or personal finance which will help you save more money because they help you become more financially savvy.
11. Make Your Own Gifts Instead of Buying Them
Gifts can get expensive if you have a lot of people to give to. This is especially true around the holidays.
If you like doing arts and crafts or DIY stuff, why not make your own gifts instead of buying them. They’ll mean more to your friends because they know you put hard work into the gifts.
Gift giving is fun. But, it can sting if you’re short on cash or you’re trying to save for something. By making your own gifts, you’ll be able to cut the costs and give more meaningful things.
12. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need Anymore
We all have a lot of extra stuff we don’t need or use anymore. But, we often just leave them lying around.
If you don’t believe me, try looking at your closet, attic or garage. I’ll bet you’ll see a lot of things you’ve forgotten about.
This is something I realized when I cleaned out my wardrobe. While I couldn’t change what I could wear to work, I was able to simplify the rest of my clothing options.
Nowadays, I pretty much wear the same things when I’m not at work. That is a colored tee, jeans, and sneakers.
Because it saves a lot of time and eliminates having to make a choice. It also simplifies what I need to buy when I need new clothes.
My colored shirts go in a round-robin fashion. That is, they’re arranged in random order after doing laundry. New laundry goes to the bottom of the pile.
So, picking out a shirt to wear simply means picking up the one on the top of the pile.
It’s not quite Steve Jobs where everything is the same every day. But, it does save a lot of time for more important things.
13. Ditch Your Landline If You Don’t Use It
If you’re like me and most other people, you probably don’t use your home’s landline a lot anymore. Instead, your cellphone is your go-to device for making and receiving calls.
If that’s the case, why not get rid of the landline. This cuts down one more recurring monthly cost.
And, since we’re on the topic of phones, do an audit of your current cellphone plan as well.
See if you really need all the minutes and data your plan provides. If not, you may want to downgrade to a cheaper plan to save a few more bucks.
14. Take Advantages of All the Benefits Your Company Offers
Knowing all your work benefits really goes a long way. This is because many companies offer a lot of things that you may be missing out on.
Of course, your company may not offer as many cool things like Google and Facebook offer their employees, like free chef-prepared meals daily, laundry services, long vacation, sick, paternity and maternity leaves among others.
But, it probably still has a few nice things you can take advantage of. Among the most important include health insurance, 401k matching, child care, dental care, vacation, sick days, stock options, housing, transportation, and discounts.
Some also offer student loan assistance, free gym/fitness memberships, flexible hours, telecommuting or work at home jobs if you prefer staying home so you can spend more time with your kids.
Honestly, I was surprised at how many benefits my company offered that I wasn’t using.
So, the lesson here is, make sure to visit your HR department and ask. They’re among the most helpful people in any workplace. And, what’s cool is, they’re willing to sit down with you and explain everything one by one.
Money Saving Tips For Couples When Buying Things
- Use Cash Only. Paying with cash reminds you that you’re spending money. It also stings a bit more than just handing your credit card to the cashier whenever you pay for something.
- Note Down Days When Sales Happen Throughout the Year. Keep a sales calendar. This is a simple calendar where you note down the times of the year when sales are most likely to happen. Having a sales calendar lets you easily flip to the current or upcoming months to see what you can save on. To kick you off, start with shopping right after the holidays. It’s always cheaper after the rush. Black Friday, Cyber Monday also make that list.
- Know What You’re Going to Buy Before Heading to the Store. Making a list and being prepared before getting to the store lets you focus on what’s important. It also prevents you from wandering around and getting drawn to things you don’t need. With a plan, you eliminate the risk of impulse buys which can cost you more money.
- Buy Generic Brands When It Makes Sense. Nowadays, generic products aren’t cheap knock-offs anymore. You actually get good non-brand name products. Buying them when it makes sense help you save a lot of money. Depending on what the item is, you could easily save between 25 to 200% of the brand name’s cost.
- Buy Used for Certain Items. This applies to some things and not to others. Buying used lets you get the same item in relatively good condition at a significantly cheaper price.
Ways to Save Money on Food
- Bring Your Own Lunch to Work. I’ll admit it takes a bit more work to prepare food to bring to work. But, it’s well worth the extra savings. While you do need to get things ready the night before and wake up earlier, bringing your own lunch to work lets you eat healthier and cut down on food expenses. Because I like to work on my blog during lunch break, eating in also saves a lot of time. You don’t have to walk to the restaurant, wait for the order and come back to the office.
- Get Creative With Your Leftovers. Always reuse leftovers. While it may seem impossible at first, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to use them for your next meal. It’s all about creativity. If you aren’t sure what to do, try looking for leftover recipes on the internet. A simple search will help you find quick recipes you can make from last night’s leftovers.
- Don’t Leave Home Without Eating Breakfast. Eat breakfast before you leave home. This ensures that you don’t stop anywhere else for coffee or to buy a sandwich or bagel. Similarly, making a habit of breakfast ensures that your tummy is full. So, you don’t start looking for food at 10:00 am or end up stuffing yourself come lunch time.
- Make a List Before Going Grocery Shopping. Grocery shopping takes a bit of getting used to. The trick I learned is to make a game out of it. Just think of the Price is Right. This makes it easier to remember what items you need and where to buy them for the cheapest unit cost. After a while, you’ll know the things you should buy because they are your necessities. And, items that you don’t really need. By then, you’ll be ready to make a list before getting to store. This way you only buy the things you really need.
- Always Compare Grocery Store Prices. If you keep track of the items you buy and how much they cost, you’ll quickly realize that some stores carry higher prices. Additionally, there will be stores with mixed prices. That is, some of their items cost more, while other items are cheaper than other stores. Comparing the prices of the items your regularly buy will help you know which items to buy at which stores. This will help save you money. Often, all it takes is just 2 to 3 stores to cover all your needs at the best available prices.
- Stick to Water. Juices, soda, and other drinks are very tempting because they taste better than water and are often cold and refreshing. But, they also cost more. When you’re saving money, just stick to water, specifically tap water. For some reason, bottled water has become somewhat of a norm. The thing is, you don’t need to pay for water.
- Don’t Get Tempted By Fast Food. Fast food is another thing that can make you spend more money. In general, fast food is cheaper than eating out at sit down places. But, they still cost more than eating at home and making your own food. Also, in some odd way, fast food entices you to eat more than you normally would. So you end up spending a bit more. Finally, there are the long term health consequences. This can really break the bank if your fast food habit affects your health 15 to 20 years down the road.
- Use a Crock Pot. This is one of the best time and money-saving inventions in the kitchen. Crockpots and Instant Pots let you cut down on foods costs especially if you’re cooking for a big group. What’s great about them is you can also cook a big meal ahead of time and divide it into separate make-ahead dishes. Finally, all you need to do is dump all the ingredients and set it to simmer. When you come back, it’s ready to eat.
- Freeze Your Food. Freezing your food is something I recently learned to do. This really helps because you can buy in bulk which is much cheaper.
- Start Your Own Edible Garden. Instead of buying herbs and veggies, why not plant your own. Edible gardens are great because they let you grow whatever crops you want. This means you can cut the cost of produce to almost zero.
How to Save Money at Home for Couples
- Get a Programmable Thermostat. Programmable thermostats go a long way to help automate your home’s temperature. This helps cut down on your electric bills.
- Change Your Bulbs to More Efficient Ones. LED and CFL bulbs not only last longer but are also more cost-efficient than standard light bulbs or fluorescent ones. And, they light up your home just like normal incandescent bulbs do.
- Turn Off All Lights and Appliances When You’re Not Using Them. Doing this ensures that you don’t waste electricity when it’s not needed or when you’re not home. It also promotes safety since there’s less risk of sparks or overheating by any appliances.
- Buy High Quality for Home Appliances You Use a Lot. This may sound counterintuitive at first. But, spending more for a high-quality appliance that you’ll be using a lot saves you money in the long run. High-quality products are durable and withstand more use. So, you’ll be able to use them for the next 10 to 20 years without having to buy a new one to replace it.
Ways to Save Money on Transportation
- Walk or Bike When Traveling to Nearby Places. If you’re going to somewhere nearby, walk or use your bike instead of driving your car. This lets you exercise and save money at the same time.
- Is It Cheaper to Commute or Own A Car? Having a car is definitely more convenient. No waiting for the bus or train. And, you can control your own travel schedule. That said, owning a car is much more expensive than commuting. Paying for the car, filling it with gas, parking, repairs, insurance, and maintenance can really add up. So, if commuting makes sense, try it instead.
- Choose Your Car Wisely. Some cities require having a car best public transportation isn’t efficient. If that’s the case, choose your car carefully. If you can get a solid used car, that’s the way to go. In either case, think practical when choosing what car to get. Instead of a more expensive, better looking, flashy car, go for the reliable one with better mileage instead. This will save you on the initial cost, gas expenses and repairs later on.
- Don’t Overspeed. Besides the risk of getting caught and having to pay for the ticket, it also wastes more gas.
- Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated. Each car comes with its own recommended tire pressure. When your tires are properly inflated it, the vehicle run more efficiently. This lets you cut down on gas consumption. On the other hand, keeping tires inflated below their suggested pressure can increase your gas mileage by 5% or more.
- Cut Down on Vacations or Save During Your Trips. Vacations can be expensive. For the most part, it’s the airfare and accommodations that take up the bulk of your spending. So, if you can cut down the cost of travel like driving instead of flying, you’ll be able to save money while still having a good time. Similarly, going during off seasons lets you get much better rates as well.
Money Saving Tips for Couples – Debt and Credit Card Bills
- Negotiate for Better Rates. Credit card companies make money when you don’t pay the entire balance that’s due. To help limit the fees associated with this, it a good idea to negotiate for lower interest rates. This will result in lower interest costs when you aren’t able to completely pay down what’s due for the month. If they don’t agree, shop around for another card that will give you a better rate. You can then transfer the balance to a different card, so you pay less interest on that balance.
- Put a Post-it Note of Your Debt on Your Fridge Door. Making a very visible reminder of all your debt can be disheartening. But, it also helps keep you focused. This ensures that you know what needs to be done. Placing it on the fridge door or somewhere you visit every day helps remind you that you should keep working to pay down that loan, even a little at a time, till it’s gone.
- Pay Your Student Loans. Student loans never disappear, even if you declare bankruptcy. So, it’s best to pay them off as quickly as possible. This reduces the amount of interest you need to pay throughout the life of the loan. If you ignore it, the interest of these loans will just keep adding up making the total amount you need to repay balloon in size as time passes.
- Re-Finance Your Student Loans. If you have student loans that were taken out during higher interest rate periods, see if you can have them refinanced at lower rates. This lets you reduce the amount of interest you need to pay on the loans over time.
- Pay Off Debt Using the Snowball Method. With the Debt Snowball Method, you pay off your smallest debt first, with the goal of getting rid of it. Then, move on to the next smallest debt. This gives you small wins that will help snowball into being able to pay off the larger debt later on. It also cuts down the amount of interest payments you need to make.