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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

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          Last Updated on January 2, 2019

          How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

          How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

          Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

          Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

          Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

          This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

          Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

          What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

          Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

          When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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          How It Leads to Financial Improvement

          It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

          Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

          Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

          It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

          Types of Personal Finance Software

          When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

          Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

          For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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          Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

          When to Use Personal Finance Software

          So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

          Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

          1. You Have Multiple Accounts

          There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

          If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

          Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

          2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

          Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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          There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

          With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

          3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

          Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

          Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

          Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

          4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

          Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

          You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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          How to Get Started

          From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

          Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

          It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

          When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

          Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

          Final Thoughts

          Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

          In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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