While couples benefit from economies of scale when it comes to their finances, costs can add up quickly when you’re in a relationship. However, achieving your financial goals as a couple is still possible, by making simple swaps. By drinking less alcohol and making the most of the great outdoors, you can accelerate your savings to achieve those financial milestones together, as a team.
Assess your hobbies as a couple
Hobbies are well worth the money you spend on them. They’re fantastic for your mental health and overall contribute to creating your identity outside your 9–5 which is important for everyone.
However, you will have hobbies you enjoy privately in your own time, and hobbies you enjoy with your partner.
You may not have thought that you and your partner share any hobbies, but if you two go for walks together every weekend, or play on your games console each evening, then you share a hobby.
Both examples above are relatively cheap hobbies, especially walks.
However, your hobby as a couple may be a bit more costly. Such as going out for dinner multiple times a week, or shopping. While trying out new restaurants is always fun, it is an expensive hobby as a couple, especially if it is done so often that it doesn’t feel like a special treat anymore.
Therefore, one way you can save money as a couple is through assessing your hobbies as a couple and identifying which ones are costing you the most money.
Not all of your expensive hobbies need to be scrapped, for example, if you both love surfing, that can be an expensive hobby, but it is infinitely fun and hard to really replace for much cheaper. Your every-other-day takeaways and meals out however can be replaced.
Do not just scrap them without replacing them. It is still important to spend time together as a couple even if you are trying to save money. Ways you can replace your costly hobbies:
- Meals out- Cook at home
- Takeout- Ready meals
- Drinks out- Homemade cocktail nights
- Shopping- Creative hobby
Learn to cook
As the average person spends about £22 a head on a meal out, by swapping one night out for one night in per month, Brits could save more than £250 per person — or £500 per couple — each year.
That figure above is not the money saved if you never eat out, but eat out one time less each month. If you go out once a week, make that once a month and that is £1,500 a year as a couple. Essentially, the less you eat out, the savings will be astronomical. Alternatively, if you frequent pricey restaurants with a £50 average price per head, going somewhere with an average of £28 a head will provide you with the same savings.
However, this does not need to be a sad tin of beans in place of a gourmet meal. If you learn how to cook, you can essentially recreate that restaurant experience at home.
Lay the table, light candles, and play some music.
The best way to learn is by using a cookbook to have a repertoire of recipes that appeal to you. Then in order to become familiar with the practice of cooking, watch cooking shows on TV or YouTube to pick up small tidbits of information that will help you feel more comfortable in the kitchen.
Make the most of the outdoors
The joy that can be found in the great outdoors never ceases to amaze me.
I like to always say, that when you leave the house, you spend money.
The one exception to my own rule has got to be a country walk.
Sometimes you just want to leave your four walls, and you may have gained the habit of going shopping or going to the coffee shop to do that. However, you can still maintain that relief of leaving your personal space by going for a walk in nature.
You can both bring a hot drink in a reusable cup or flask to make a treat out of it.
Alternatively, you can go to local beauty spots such as the beach or riverbanks to have the actual beauty as entertainment.
Small, hour or less walks are great ways to break up your day without spending any money.
However, if as a couple, you learn to fall in love with hiking and long walks at the weekend you should inevitably spend less overall. This is because, if every Sunday you put your walking boots on and walk to a nearby mountain or trail with a packed lunch and go on a 4-hour hike or walk you simply won’t encounter the opportunity to spend money. You will walk for hours and hours without seeing a shop which is the perfect way to curb your spending.
If you want to spend less money, put yourself in a position where it is almost impossible to spend money.
That is one whole day a week where you don’t spend any money which is incredibly valuable.
Be transparent about your financial goals
If you want to achieve financial independence, but your partner wants to drive the newest car each year, neither of you will truly achieve your goals because you will be inadvertently working against each other.
Therefore, it is really important that as a couple you sit down together and write down your financial goals for the year, or the week even.
That way, going for walks together or cooking at home will be viewed by both of you as actively working towards your financial goals.
It is also important to discuss the potential for sharing a bank account or maintaining separate accounts. Both have their benefits, and should simply be decided by what aligns with the severity of your relationship and by whichever method serves to achieve your financial goals both as a couple and individually.
Don’t keep alcohol in your home
This is a simple, actionable tip.
I personally know family friends that as a couple, drink a bottle of wine together each night. Say that bottle of wine costs £6 (which probably costs a lot more) that is £42 a week alone.
Even if it just spending £15 on beer at the supermarket to keep the fridge stocked up, drinking alcohol at home is a surefire way to drink away your savings.
Obviously, drinking at home is cheaper than going to a bar or restaurant. However, drinking once a month at a bar is cheaper than having a fully stocked alcohol fridge or bar cart that gets drunk every week.
Instead of keeping your house stocked full of alcohol, actually, walk to the corner shop when you fancy a drink. Firstly, laziness alone will stop a decent amount of purchases. Secondly, it means that because the alcohol isn’t looking up at you every time you open the fridge, you should find that you actually fancy it less.
Sometimes you just fancy a nice cold drink that isn’t water, or something fizzy. For those times keep delicious soft drinks in the house because those are far less expensive than the hard stuff.
Whenever I add alcohol to my shopping list while at the Supermarket it literally doubles my food bill, avoid doing this too often and as a couple, you should save lots of money.
Do your food shop together
If you make your weekly meal plan together and do your food shop together, you will get everything you both want and need for the week in one shop. This should prevent corner shop visits for just one thing that leads to £10 out of nowhere.
Equally, by making your meal plan together, you should choose meals that you both love and want to eat that week, which should hopefully stop suggestions of takeaways.
Save money on utilities in your home by spending as much time in the same room as possible.
It obviously helps to turn lights off every time you leave a room and turn plugs off at the socket etc. But by doing things in the same room, it will be only one set of lights, possibly even only one heater.
If you can, try to work from home together, watch things on your phone in the same room together, and generally do your own thing, but in the same room together. This will seriously cut costs down.
Sometimes when you go into really frugal households, there are rooms that are essentially stone-cold, because they are heated rarely, when the room will be used for prolonged periods of time.
Reducing household bills is a surefire way to accelerate your savings.
The main thing that can be done within your relationship is to communicate so that your financial goals as a couple are aligned. Without this, most of the other tips may be futile, as your partner may be inadvertently working against your goals- turning off plugs at the socket is pointless if your partner is buying new clothes every week. Nonetheless, when your goals as a couple are aligned, there will be additional motivation to prevent you from giving up or caving in.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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