We explore the ways that you can save as a couple, whatever stage your relationship is at.
Research by leading relationships charity, Relate, has shown that money worries are top of the list of relationship strains experienced by couples in the UK today, with over a quarter of UK adults (26%) blaming financial pressures for placing a strain on their relationships.
One possible reason for this is that talking about money is seen as a taboo in the UK, with 30% of people in a recent survey saying they found the issue of finances ‘the most’ embarrassing thing to talk about – putting it above sex.
However, by making the effort to talk about money, particularly with your partner, it’s possible to take the pressure off, share any questions and concerns and make important savings that all add up over time.
Here, we round-up ideas big and small that can help you save, regardless of whether you’re new cohabitees, newly married or long-term partners…
Make it a priority to talk money
It doesn’t matter how long you have been together, the more you talk about money, the easier it is to get a handle on your outgoings and savings. Because of this, it’s worth sitting down as a couple at least once a year for a money conference. This is your chance to make sure you’re not paying for services that you no longer need and to check that your savings accounts are still offering competitive interest rates (and switch them if they aren’t).
You should also use this as an opportunity to review your financial goals. Discuss what you want to achieve within a year, five years and so on. Then consider how you’re going to get there as a couple, whether it’s considering different types of ISAs, moving up the property ladder or starting a personal pension plan. It makes it a lot easier to skip a meal out when you know the money is going towards something you’re both looking ahead to.
Get your new home admin sorted
When you go from living on your own or in a shared house to living with your partner, you’ll probably both have subscriptions to things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, broadband and so on, so be sure to cancel any duplicates.
It takes time to get direct debits to things like your electricity, gas and water bills, but by setting up direct debits to these utilities, you can save up to £85 a year, according to Moneysavingexpert.com.
Finally, there are potential savings to be made on things like multi-car insurance policies, so it’s worth getting some quotes to see what discounts are on offer.
If you both spend £5 a day at Pret A Manger on the 260 or so working days in the year, that will cost you £2,600 as a couple by the end of the year, so a simple way to save is to make packed lunches.
One of the easiest ways to save money as a couple is to batch cook on Sunday night. To make it fun, you can take it in turns and score each other on taste, inventiveness and comments from colleagues.
Marriage tax allowance
Not much changes in your everyday finances once you are married, although it is possible to receive some tax benefits under the Marriage Tax Allowance if one of you isn’t a high-rate tax payer.
You might be eligible for this if one of you earns less than the Personal Allowance, so you have an income of less than £12,500, while your partner is a basic rate taxpayer with income between £12,501 and £50,000.
The food shop
With food the third-largest household expense after housing and transport, according to the Money Advice Service, try being smarter with how you shop. 60% of us say that shopping with a list reduces the chance of distraction buys, so use a smart app such as Out of Milk which allows you to create and manage one weekly food list as a couple (link it with your voice assistant to create quick lists on the go). This will help avoid last-minute emergency takeaways or trips to more expensive smaller stores for extra items you forgot.
Do dates differently
Research by the Marriage Foundation suggests that married couples who go on ‘date nights’ are more likely to stay together, so it’s worth investing the time to do them.
If you want to save while you do, always opt for a mid-week date. Most restaurants, bars and theatres incentivise you to go out in the week because that’s when they’re quietest, so it’s well worth checking out what mid-week deals are available at venues near you.
Talk about your retirement goals
t’s just as important to discuss your ideal retirement as it is to discuss your goals as a newly married couple.
This includes when you would like to retire (how old will you both ideally be?), where you would like to retire (by the sea, where you live now, in a motor home, abroad etc) and what that retirement looks like (one, two, three, four holidays a year). The sooner you’re aware of the other person’s goal, the more time you have to work towards it and a retirement pot that supports it.
We’re all allowed to earn a certain amount of interest on our savings before we pay tax, but this differs depending on the size of your salary. If you’re part of a couple where your earnings place you into different tax brackets, you could put the savings into the name of the person with the larger tax-free allowance.
Looking for a new way to invest to help you save sooner, more and for longer? Have a look at Vitality Investments.