Taking bad financial decisions in your 20’s and 30’s can have a huge impact on your long-term goals. And when you’re in a relationship, budgeting and saving money can go for a toss.
But you needn’t fret about getting into a relationship just because you have goals to meet. Saving money while being in a relationship isn’t difficult and if you go about it the right way, you and your partner are bound to succeed!
Here are some tips that will help.
#1 Talk about Finances
If you’ve just started going out as a couple, talk about sharing expenses with your partner. This also applies if you’re moving in together. If you’re a guy reading this, don’t worry about ruining the relationship by talking about finances; a sensible girl will know you’re doing the right thing!
Start by putting all your financial information on the table. You and your partner need to know about debts owed, monetary obligations, various bank accounts and property owned, and sources of income. Disclosing all information is necessary as it will help you both build trust.
#2 Create Goals
In case the two of you really like each other, are serious about your relationship, and have talked about taking it to the next level, you may as well discuss your dreams and goals so that you can work on them together.
You and your partner will have some common goals and quite a few separate ones as well. List all of them down- including getting married, owning a house, having kids, building an art collection, or going on a world tour! Share the list with each other so you both can learn what is important to the other.
Discuss with your partner and prioritize all the goals. Some of the goals may be short-term while others will be long-term. Perhaps you and your partner have already saved a bit to reach individual goals. Note down how much both of you have achieved and plan the road ahead. Set a time frame for all your goals so you’ll know how and how much you need to save.
#3 Say No to Debts
Aim to stay out of debt and if you are in debt, target paying off all debts as soon as you can. If you intend to buy something expensive think of saving up enough cash instead of taking a loan right away.
Use credit cards only for emergencies if possible. If using credit cards for everyday purchases, avoid using more credit than you can pay back at the end of each month. Credit card interest can build up quickly and you don’t want to pay bills that you can easily avoid.
#4 Budget Everything
Budgeting is important not only when it comes to buying groceries and other household items, but also for realizing long-term goals.
Start with simply keeping track of all the expenses you make in a month. Note down your spending habits as well as those of your partner. Identify what your individual weaknesses are when it comes to spending money on things. Perhaps you can’t resist sales on clothing and your partner can’t stop buying new gadgets. Discuss spending habits with your partner and see what you can do to cut unnecessary costs.
After a month or two, compare the total expenses with the total income and see if you’ve been able to live according to your means. Tally the figures individually and as a couple. Perhaps either one of you needs to spend carefully or the two of you need to work as a team to get your expenditures under control.
An easy way to budget is to get started with the envelope system. Mark separate envelopes as rent, electricity bill, food, etc. and put in an amount of money that you think will cover that particular expense. Have a separate envelope for daily or weekly entertainment and stop indulging in these extras when you run out of money in that envelope.
If your expenses are under control, think of ways to maximize your savings. You can have an envelope for the same or open a joint account and deposit your savings in there. Decide beforehand how much you both can contribute towards savings.
#5 Spend Wisely
This may seem to be easier said than done, but spending wisely isn’t rocket science. Think of it more as a lifestyle change and you and your partner are sure to spend money the right way.
For starters, if you think having fun together only equals eating out or catching the latest flick in a theater, possibly the two of you haven’t considered other options. Activities like cooking a meal at home together, taking a walk in the park, going to a free concert or on a long drive, playing a board game, etc. can be just as fun.
Neither of you have to force your favored activities on the other. Find something that both of you enjoy. You could also take turns in choosing activities for example, if you want to go to the museum and your partner doesn’t, promise him/her that you’ll tag along wherever they want to go next time.
For couples planning to get married soon, there are plenty of ways to have a dream wedding without breaking the bank. Don’t go into debt just for the sake of a lavish party though; exchanging your vows is more important than having a huge 3-tier cake, extra champagne, and a hundred guests.
Often, cutting costs doesn’t mean living frugally; it just needs some smart thinking! Shop responsibly if you find that your grocery and food bills are too high. Be conscious about saving water and energy, and your water and electricity bills are sure to reduce. Walk whenever possible instead of taking your car to save on gas.
Financial problems can be the cause of many a quarrels among couples. The key to having a healthy relationship is discussing the important stuff beforehand. And with the tips given here, you and your partner are sure to save and head towards a bright future!
When you were a young couple, what were the most effective ways to save money? Or if you are a young couple now, what are you doing to save?
About the author: Rose Martin is an editor at Gold Smart. She is specializing in personal investments and business. When she’s not working, she enjoys cooking, sipping a cold beer and spending time with family.