Money & Career

5 easy ways couples can save money

By: Christa Connell

© Photography Author: Canadian Living Credits: © Photography

Money & Career

5 easy ways couples can save money

By: Christa Connell
Saving money is easy for some, but can be more difficult for others – and when you're in a relationship, blending two styles of saving (or not saving) can be tough. It's important to develop a good plan of attack to cut costs where you can. Saving money can be done with something as simple as a bit of bargain shopping or can be as involved as setting up a savings plan for the future. The key is to get started early and to be consistent.

For some expert insight into simple ways couples can make better money-saving decisions, we spoke with Tina Tehranchian, a Toronto-based certified financial planner.

1. Know your money spending weaknesses
Everyone's triggers are different. Some people can't resist clothing and shoes, while others need to have the newest gadgets. Once you and your partner are aware of what your weaknesses are it's wise to avoid them if possible.

"Triggers are very important, and we all know our weaknesses," says Tehranchian. "So only go to your favourite boutique if you truly need a clothing item, because otherwise you'll end up buying things because you want them, not because you need them."

As a couple, help each other avoid temptations and keep each other from making unnecessary purchases that can add up quickly.

2. Limit eating out
This is a common expense for many couples, and it can be very easy to get carried away on food expenses.

"You can have just as much fun, especially if you're a young couple, cooking and eating at home or getting together with friends over a bottle of wine at home rather than going out to a bar," advises Tehranchian.

Even if you make moderate changes to your behaviour – not avoiding restaurants altogether, but simply reducing the number of times you go out and entertaining more at home – you'll notice a big difference, she says. Tehranchian also reminds couples that it's smart to buy in bulk and to compare prices as much as possible when shopping for groceries.3. Take another look at your phone bill
The family phone bill can be a notorious drain on your funds. However, the more proactive you are about keeping up with your provider and knowing what your needs are, the better chance you'll have at saving some cash.

"One of the easiest ways to save is to check in with whoever your provider is regularly, because they come up with new plans to boost customer loyalty and to be more competitive. Unless you ask, you'll never be told about the bargains that they have," explains Tehranchian.

"At least once every year make sure you call your phone company and see, based on your needs, what sort of a better package they can offer you," she suggests.

Also take a look at available technology to help cut down on costs. Skype is an excellent tool for long distance calling and there are several smartphone apps available that can help you cut down on the cost of calls as well.

4. Be smart about credit cards
As a couple, make sure you are both on the same page about your credit card habits. Interest charges can easily add up and could sink you as a couple if you're not proactive about payments.

"You have to be on top of it to make sure you are only spending as much as you can pay off at the end of the month," warns Tehranchian. "If you use your credit cards prudently you can take advantage of the loyalty points and use them for different things that are important to you."

5. Set a goal for your savings
Life speeds along quickly, and before you know it you'll be raising a family or planning for retirement. However far away that may seem it's prudent to plan for the future sooner rather than later.

"You have to pay yourself first, which is why it's so important to start financial planning no matter how young you are or how early in the relationship it is," says Tehranchian. "Sit down and look at your long-term goals. They will be more achievable if you start planning in your twenties and thirties rather than leaving it to your forties and fifties."

It's important to start saving early. Making a few changes to your daily spending habits today can really add up for a couple in the long term. Even if you and your partner have different spending habits, it's important to get on the same page and agree on where you're willing to cut back.

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5 easy ways couples can save money