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15 Money-Saving Strategies for Couples

15 Money-Saving Strategies for Couples

If you and your partner have big plans coming up, whether it’s a vacation, marriage, new house or even a child, finding ways to pinch pennies can sometimes be difficult. However, there are some simple ideas to stretch dollars and cut corners in order to help you meet your financial goals. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are 15 money-saving tips to get you started.

1. Go on Dates That Cost Next to Nothing

While going out to classy restaurants, concerts and sports games can make for amazing dates, they can also run your bank account dry. If you’re trying to save money, coming up with inexpensive date ideas is key. Having a dinner and movie night in, going to see a local band at a free event, or even going for a hike are fun and cheap.

2. Sign Up For Free Customer Rewards Programs

Taking advantage of free rewards programs can help you cut corners easily. Many media services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Redbox offer free trials that can help you receive free movie rentals or get you waived shipping fees. Other types of rewards programs, which are through supermarkets or gas stations, can help you save money every time you shop.

3. If the Time Is Right, Move In Together

If you don’t already live together and are considering it, sharing a living space can save a huge amount of money. Not only do rent and utilities become easier to manage when you split the cost, but many other expenses like food and gas become cheaper as well.

4. When Furnishing A New Place, Buy Used

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buy used

    If you’re moving into an apartment and need furniture, buying new tables and chairs and everything in between can add up fast. Instead, bargain hunt at thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets. With a little TLC and a coat of spray paint, a coffee table or lamp can look like new. Or even better.

    5. Consolidate Whenever Possible

    To make the most of your money, consolidate expenses with your partner whenever possible. Easy things to consolidate include cell phone bills, magazine subscriptions and digital subscriptions.

    6. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

    cleaning supplies

      Spending money on items you don’t necessarily enjoy purchasing, like cleaning supplies, can be a bummer, especially when those expenses start to pile up. Instead, buy natural ingredients and make your own.

      7. Get Rid of Unnecessary Subscriptions

      Magazine subscriptions, cable bills and online media subscriptions are often the biggest culprits when it comes to hidden expenses.

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      8. Make the Most of Grocery Shopping

      Buying groceries is a huge drain on money, unless you do it right. Buy necessities (toilet paper, baking items and frozen food) on sale and in bulk. Also, before shopping, make an airtight grocery list so you don’t purchase anything unnecessary.

      9. Take Cheaper Vacations

      When possible, make your own meals and snacks instead of ordering out when you vacation. Also, look into camping instead of pricey hotels, or try to find a Groupon or other discount available.

      10. Combine Your Finances

      combine finances

        If you and your partner live together and share expenses, creating a joint account can help you create a budget for the items and expenses that you pay together, and save money in the process.

        11. Have Frequent Discussions About Your Goals

        When making any savings plan, it’s key to account for what your future goals are and what you’re actually saving for. By gauging what you want to have and what you want to accomplish in the future, you can adjust your savings plan as needed.

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        12. Adjust Your Insurance Policy

        If you pay high monthly insurance bills, you understand how much of a drain this can put on your finances. You’re not the only couple feeling this, as 1.7 million people declared bankruptcy in 2013 because of medical debt alone. To help ease this load, look for ways to adjust your insurance plan so that it’s more affordable.

        13. If You Have A Credit Card, Don’t Use It

        credit card

          If your goal is to pinch pennies and save money, stop spending with your credit card. While it may seem like a harmless way to boost your credit score, using this piece of plastic and becoming a little to trigger happy with it, can come with serious financial consequences.

          14. Make A Debt Plan

          If you and your significant other are currently in debt, making a plan to help you overcome it efficiently is all too important. By assessing your debts together, you can more comprehensively determine the best repayment plan to reduce expensive interest and get out of debt quicker.

          15. Re-Finance Your Student Loans

          Going to college wasn’t cheap, and you’re likely left with the student loans to prove it. If you and your significant other both have a plethora of student loans, do your best to consolidate.

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          Saving money can often feel like an impossible challenge. However, by making simple changes to how you and your partner spend and save, you can grow your savings at a faster rate.

          Images by jarmolukPublicDomainArchive

          Featured photo credit: Michael Pollak via flickr.com

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          Kayla Matthews

          Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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          Last Updated on August 20, 2019

          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

          Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

          In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

          5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

          Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

          1. Be Clear About the Objectives

          Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

          It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

          Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

          2. Keep Them Realistic

          It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

          It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

          3. Account for Inflation

          Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

          Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

          For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

          4. Short Term vs Long Term

          Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

          As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

          More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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          5. To Each to His Own

          The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

          It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

          By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

          11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

          Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

          • Ensuring healthy savings
          • Making smart investments

          You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

          Ensuring Healthy Savings

          Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

          This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

          1. Track Expenses

          The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

          Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

          2. Pay Yourself First

          Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

          Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

          The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

          Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

          3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

          Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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          Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

          At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

          Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

          You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

          4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

          Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

          If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

          Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

          All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

          5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

          In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

          Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

          Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

          If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

          If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

          So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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          6. Talk About It

          Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

          Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

          7. Maintain a Journal

          For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

          So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

          Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

          When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

          At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

          Making Smart Investments

          Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

          8. Consult a Financial Advisor

          Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

          Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

          9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

          Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

          Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

          Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

          It is here where that classification will help.

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          So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

          10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

          Einstein once remarked about compounding,

          Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

          So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

          Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

          11. Measure, Measure, Measure

          All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

          If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

          If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

          Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

          The Bottom Line

          This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

          As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

          More About Personal Finance Management

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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