5 tips on how to save as a couple

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When you add another person into the mix, managing your money can get more complex. Are you going to split expenses? Which ones? Will you split them 50-50? Do you have to split them 50-50?

And discussing expenses is just skimming the surface. Couples who share their lives together are likely to have lots of other financial decisions to tackle together too. Your financial and savings goals may not be just your own any more.

Every couple will have their own approach to managing their money. Some may choose to open a joint bank account, while others will decide to keep their money separate. Here are five tips that can help you get started when you’re figuring out how to save together.

1. Talk openly about your finances

We all feel differently about money. You may have been brought up being told to ‘watch the pennies’, while your other half may like to live in the moment. Although you may not agree completely, an open and honest conversation about how you’re going to approach your finances can help remove some of the stress.

When you do sit down to talk, commit to being transparent about all of your finances – not just the good parts. It may feel like a tricky topic to bring up, but having a real picture of your financial circumstances could help you plan better for shared future goals, like saving for a holiday, buying a house or having children.

2. Decide how you’ll share expenses

Once you’ve established where you each stand financially, it’s likely to be a good idea to talk about how you’ll split any shared expenses. This may include things like:

  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Bills
  • Food shopping
  • Travel or car costs
  • Insurance
  • How much you should save

It could be that you choose to split all these things down the middle. This may sound reasonable, but, if you don’t earn the same amount of money or have the same financial commitments, 50-50 may not be your solution.

If that’s the case, consider if you'd be comfortable for the higher earner to pay more towards shared costs based on a number that makes sense for you both. Or perhaps you decide that while your partner pays off some debt, you help them stay in budget by eating out less for a while – a move that could even help you build your savings.

Of course, you may decide to keep your money for expenses totally separate, and remain responsible for your own outgoings. There’s no right or wrong way to do things. Two sets of couples with similar financial situations may decide to do things differently – and that’s OK. What matters is discussing expenses and agreeing on how each of you will contribute.

You may find it useful to draw up a budget so you can see how much you can each afford to save. Working out how much you’ll have leftover to put towards your shared goals each month could help you reach them faster.

3. Discuss your short and long-term plans

There are things you may be planning to do together in the short-term – like going on holiday, or buying a new sofa. And there are also longer term things to consider:

  • If you don’t own a house, do you plan to one day?
  • Do you want to have children?
  • When do you want to retire? Are you saving for retirement yet?

Talking about the big things like this can help you figure out the steps you need to take together to achieve your goals. If you need to save more to buy the car you want, for example, you may decide to cut back somewhere else. Allocating every pound you have each month a specific purpose – zero-sum budgeting – can be a good way to see how much you can both afford to save.

4. Figure out what you’d do in an emergency

Life can sometimes throw us a few financial curveballs. If you’ve experienced one (or two) you probably know that it’s no fun fumbling to come up with money to cover unexpected costs while things are hitting the fan.

So it might not hurt to think about how you’ll handle out-of-the-blue expenses as a couple before they come up. For example, what happens if the roof starts leaking? Who pays if your car needs repairing? What actually qualifies as an emergency?

However you’ve decided to save together, establishing an emergency fund that you can turn to in a crisis could help you avoid tricky situations – and an unwanted argument.

5. Share the responsibility

Some couples will find talking about money frustrating, so it can help to understand what you’re both best at, and share the responsibilities that way. For example, one of you may be more skilled at handling investments, while the other is more disciplined when it comes to budgeting.

Understanding where each of your strengths lies when it comes to money, and tackling your savings goals together head-on, could help set a positive and supportive tone to your relationship for years to come.

The content in this article is for information only and is not advice. All content in this article was accurate on the date of publication shown above.


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