Love is great, but you also need money to survive and build a home. If you and your partner don’t manage your finances well, it could spell trouble. A financial survey found that roughly 70% of couples fight about money more than any other topic. Money is a top reason for discord, according research published in the journal Family Relations. So if you want to preserve the harmony in your relationship, you can start by getting your finances in order.
One way to shield against the financial hiccups you’re sure to encounter as a couple is to save cash for a rainy day. Once you take steps to build wealth as a team, you’ll start to see your finances get healthier. Here are five tips for saving more money as a couple.
1. Make a household budget
Establishing an individual budget is important, but it is just as important to make a household budget. Finances can get complicated when money is combined, so it will be in your best interest to have a clear plan. A spending plan will show you how much money is coming in and going out of the household. Decide on a system that works for you, whether it’s using an Excel spreadsheet or online software such as Mint.
2. Take advantage of couples discounts
Couples are often eligible for discounted services, such as massages and vacations. Don’t leave these deals on the table. For example, you can find great vacation discounts for couples through websites such as Expedia and Orbitz. Also conduct a search on websites such as Groupon and Living Social for more deals. In addition, you may be able get couples discounts on health, auto, and life insurance.
3. Meet regularly
Don’t just set a budget and forget about it. Sit down with your partner and go over your budget on a monthly basis. A study conducted at the University of North Carolina found that communication is vital in order for a couple to successfully navigate a financial storm. The study asserts open communication and teamwork can help strengthen your bond.
Also make time to discuss any financial hardships either of you are having. Furthermore, discuss significant financial purchases that may be coming up. You may decide not to make certain purchases or find ways to reduce the cost.
4. Share financial secrets
Once you’ve established a regular routine, set aside a time to air out your dirty financial laundry (if you have any). Hopefully you won’t need to have this meeting, but if you do have financial secrets, know that you’re not alone. A survey published by life insurance agency Haven Life found that roughly 1 in 5 Americans is hiding debt from their partners. Now is the time to come clean about secret purchases or large debts that you’ve been hiding.
Agree to not get angry with each other or start an argument. Try to remain calm as you have an open and honest financial discussion. Sharing your financial secret is the first step toward healing your finances. If you have a problem with spending too much, you can get help together as you both work through the problem as a team. Addressing a bad financial habit will help you not only save money but also set an example for your children if you have any.
5. Learn to compromise at the grocery store
Your partner may have several brand-name favorites that are busting your grocery budget. Come to an agreement that you will purchase generic items whenever possible. This one change can shave hundreds of dollars from your grocery bill. A recent Consumer Reports supermarket survey shows store brands are just as good as their brand-name counterparts when it comes to taste and price:
“Store brands, also known as private-label goods, are a proven way to economize. How much can you save buying a supermarket’s own label? Our studies over the years have been remarkably consistent. The average is around 25% versus comparable national brands. Equally important, our testing has consistently revealed that many store brands are at least as good as their better-known counterparts.”
If your partner can’t live without a specific product, agree that each of you can purchase one or two brand-name favorites, but that the rest should be off-brand.