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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 July 10, 2020

          The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

          The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

          Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

          Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

          Identifying All of Your Debts

          The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

          Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

          1. Own Your Debt

          Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

          Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

          2. Make a Debt Tracker

          It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

          Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

          3. Get Your Debt Number

          Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

          Prioritizing Your Debts

          All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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          1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

          Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

          There are three main types of bad debt:

          • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
          • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
          • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

          Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

          • Student Loan Debt
          • Mortgage Loan
          • Business Loans

          2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

          Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

          Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

          If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

          3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

          Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

          Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

          Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

          1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

          “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

          It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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          Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

          Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

          2. Hide Your Credit Cards

          If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

          Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

          3. Automate Everything

          Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

          4. Plan Ahead

          Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

          For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

          5. Live Cheaply

          The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

          • Live with roommates
          • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
          • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
          • Take public transit or bike to work

          Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

          The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

          If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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          1. Maintain a High Credit Score

          Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

          • Never miss a payment
          • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
          • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
          • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
          • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

          2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

          Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

          Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

          If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

          How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

          Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

          1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

          Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

          Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

          2. Earn More Money

          There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

          Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

          Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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          Talk to Your Boss

          Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

          Start a Side Hustle

          This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

          Build an Online Business

          There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

          3. Celebrate Your Wins

          As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

          While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

          4. Set New Financial Goals

          Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

          Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

          These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

          Conclusion

          Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

          Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

          More Tips on Getting out of Debt

          Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

          Reference

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