A new survey by TotallyMoney.com ( http://petecampbell.com/img/tm-infographic-usd.jpg ) has revealed that singles are, on average, $4.1k a year better off than those of us with a better half. In fact, 52% of committed male respondents believed they’d be better off going it alone. Women, meanwhile, felt more financially secure with another half – 61% of coupled up women felt they’d be better off in a relationship.
It looks like it really pays to be a lonely heart but, if you’re happily shacked up, how can you make your loved-up lifestyle cost less?
1 Eat like (healthy) singletons
Remember when you were single and you’d have a Pot Noodle and half a packet of Digestives for your daily nourishment? Eating as a couple costs more because enjoying a meal together is fun. But don’t get carried away. Plan one indulgent meal a week, for the rest of the week set a maximum budget for your meals and make sure you use up your leftovers at lunchtime!
2 Talk about your credit cards
If you share a credit account, make sure you’re on the same page with it to avoid any unexpected fees, nasty arguments or accidental charges. Agree on how you’re going to treat your credit cards and in what circumstances you can use them.
3 Try the “his, mine, ours” approach
However you arrange your accounts, the “his (or her), mine, ours” approach is a good idea. Use this simple breakdown to decide categorically how much money belongs to each partner and how much is your joint responsibility. This will stop anyone taking more out of joint accounts than has been agreed and give both of you a personal allowance to use as you choose.
4 Move in, or don’t
If you want to take it slow, no problem. If you want to live together, go for it. But don’t waste time and money on “in between” living. If you haven’t showered at home in 3 months, it’s time re-evaluate how you’re both spending your money.
5 Schedule a monthly money meeting
Money probably isn’t your favourite thing to talk to your better half about, but it’s really useful and financially clever to catch up about your finances once a month. Scheduling in an hour to talk about money issues will help you stay on track with savings, on top of bills and financially harmonious!
6 Get married
Yes, really. The UK Government’s transferable tax allowance for married couples could save you up to £200 a year from April 2015 if you both earn less than £48,000. Of course, if you’re dreaming of a white wedding bonanza, this will be false economy.
7 Play to your strengths
Is one of you an eagle eyed bargain hunter while the other’s a savvy saver? Put your bargain-mad other half in charge of everyday budgets while you take care of smart, well-reasoned investments and savings.
8 Freeze leftover wine for coq au vin
There are lots of everyday ways to save money together too! If you never quite finish the dregs of that bottle, freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays and use your wine ice for fancy cooking later. This stops wine wastage and prevents you buying whole bottles of cooking plonk too!
9 Find your “date night” balance
How often do you have date night? Or are you more spontaneous than that? Keeping things fresh is great but it’s smarter to think about how much disposable budget you have for entertainment. One you’ve worked out your “fun budget” then plan your activities accordingly; whether that means one big date night a month (and lots at home by the fire) or one small, fun outing a week.
10 Have date night at home
Tasty supermarket meal deals and Netflix make dinner and a movie incredibly affordable at home. And there are lots of other great home date night ideas to try!
11 Ban gifts
We all like to feel spoiled sometimes but banning bought gifts will save you tonnes of money as a couple in the long run. Instead make a rule that any treats have to be thoughtful acts, sexual favours, handmade gifts or created for free.
12 One teabag for two
Doing things together can often halve the price. If you’re putting on a brew, make it in a teapot with just one teabag left in for a little longer. Hey presto! You’ve cut your tea expenditure by 50%.
13 Leftover lunches
Cooking for two always means lots of leftovers. Invest in some decent tupperware and make sure nothing gets wasted instead of spending crazy money on supermarket sandwiches at work.
14 Holiday at home
Instead of splashing out on swanky overseas holidays, why not stay in the UK? Using airbnb is a great way to find cool properties to getaway to for less. Alternatively, take time off and stay right where you are, relaxing, unwinding and exploring in your own area.
15 Hit the supermarket together
Shopping alone can mean your partner goes out and buys alternative items or spends money on things you’d have happily compromised on. Make a weekly meal plan, then go out shopping together to make sure you both have what you want and nobody overspends!
16 Look out for coupons and vouchers
There are tonnes of online deals and discounts out there for everything from couples massages to dinner for two. Keep your eyes peeled and pick up a great date on the cheap!
17 Drink less
A bottle of wine with dinner may be your favourite way to unwind together, but it will also add to the cost of coupledom! Treat yourself once a week, but drink less alcohol to save more money – especially when you’re eating out.
18 Look for no corkage charge restaurants
Of course, sometimes wine is essential! If you are going out and a bottle of red would make the perfect accompaniment, have your date night at a local restaurant without a corkage charge to cut down on costs.
19 Go car booting
If you’re on the lookout for furniture for your joint pad, head out on the scavenge together. Car boots and charity shops are great places to find unique furnishings that cost next-to-nothing and you can renovate together. Fun and frugal!
20 Start a penny jar
It may sound like small potatoes, but a penny jar by the front door can fill up astoundingly quickly, especially with two people’s pockets to empty.
21 Look after each other
Foot rubs, fringe trims, buzz cuts – there are all sorts of helpful things you can do to look after each other which will save you money on things like massages and haircuts.
22 Quit bad habits together
Whether you both smoke or both eat too much fancy cheese, most couples have their own little foibles. Cutting out any harmful and expensive habits will give you more money to spend on the good stuff.
23 Shower together
Experience suggests that bathing together usually results in somebody with a tap lodged in their spine, but showering together isn’t just fun, it’ll also reduce your water and gas bills. Presuming you don’t take too long in there, of course.
24 Share a car
Do you really both need a car? Sharing can help you spend more quality time, encourage you to walk more and save you hundreds on petrol and insurance.
25 Spend more time in bed
Cuddling, talking about the Big Stuff, talking about the silly stuff, giggling, other things – all of these bed-based activities are entirely free and exclusive to couples. Why go out and spend when you know you’ll have just as much fun for free at home?