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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 September 2, 2020

          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

          Personal 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. 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 to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

          4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

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

          1. Be Clear About the Objectives

          Any goal 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’s for. It could be anything, including your child’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 that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

          2. Keep Goals 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 beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

          It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as 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.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

          Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

          For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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          4. Short Term Vs Long Term

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

          As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a 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.

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

          How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

          Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-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.

          Ensuring Healthy Savings

          Self-realization is the best form of realization, 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 spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

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

          If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

          2. Pay Yourself First

          Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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          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 manage all the expenses from the rest.

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

          Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

          3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

          Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

          Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

          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. 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 counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

          • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
          • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
          • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

          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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          5. 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.

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

          6. Maintain a Journal

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

          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.

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

          Making Smart Investments

          Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

          1. Consult a Financial Advisor

          Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s 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.

          2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

          Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

          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[2].

          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 compared to equity instruments.

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          3. 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.”

          Use compound interest when setting financial goals

            Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

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

            4. 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 and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

            If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

            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

            Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

            and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

            More Tips on Financial Goals

            Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

            Reference

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