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How to spend less money as a couple?

Who does not love a good bargain? Not me for sure: I spend hours if not days working on my ‘Black Friday’ plan of attack! What inevitably happens at the end of it, is that I get a bargain on something I didn’t really need in the first place, which means I spend more money, not less. And the question on ‘how to spend less money’ should not only be asked around festive season. It is something you need to build in your everyday thinking, especially if you are in a relationship.

In this post we will discuss different steps you can take to build ‘how to spend less money’-mentality in everyday life of a modern-day couple.

1. Establish your baseline

We cannot stress enough that you can only spend ‘less’ when you know what the starting point is. So before asking ‘how to spend less money’, make sure you answer ‘how much do we spend today’. If expense tracking tools like Monshare is not for you, there are plenty of free budgeting templates online (e.g. check our free budget template here).

2. Identify any overlaps in your spending as a couple

If you have only recently moved in together, you might not have aligned all your expenses just yet. Lots of services you both buy will be considerably cheaper if you join your accounts. Start by looking at your subscriptions: family subscriptions on Spotify, Netflix and other online services are cheaper than two independent subscriptions.
Insurance is another category to look into: is it possible that both of you are paying for independent health insurance? Home insurance? Travel insurance? You get the gist, joint insurances are often cheaper than independent ones.
In principle, look at all your transactions for the last 3 months and identify any types of services that overlap. Maybe you are both paying for Prime subscription? Or are both Booking.com customers? Making purchases like that via the same account will get you access to better discounts and loyalty programs.

3. Identify your repeated purchases and explore subscriptions

There is a lot to be said about how to spend less money, but still buy the things you like. The first step there is to look at repeated purchases and explore options for subscriptions. For example:
you can even daily things like soap and shampoo as a subscription from Amazon and save up to 10%;
there are plenty of veggie, meat or meal boxes, which will be cheaper than buying the items separately;
Flexibility is a luxury and does cost money. Now when you live together, are you in a position to plan for 12 months ahead? If so, getting an annual subscription on your internet, mobile phone etc. might save you quite some money.

4. Get a cashback credit card with a low limit

There are plenty of credit cards that offer some cash back every time you do a purchase. We highly recommend you getting one and use it instead of your debit card. Though do note, that will only result in spending less if you are in position to repay the whole amount back from your debit every month. It’s definitely not something we recommend to anyone with compulsive shopping habits.

5. Search common deal aggregators before you buy

Probably about 80% of your daily purchases is covered by some sort of deal on the internet, if you have time to search for it. If you truly want to know how to spend less money, we recommend you invest a bit of time in exploring options on Topcashback or similar websites before doing a purchase. And get yourself an extension like honey: it will automatically search for discounts every time you do a purchase online. While it won’t cover 100% of discounts it will definitely give you a bit of saving ‘for free’.
And don’t forget about comparison websites: just because you always book your travel with booking.com, does not mean that their competitors won’t be able to offer you a better deal and help you spend less money.

6. Make spending inconvenient

The famous book of Charles Duhigg talks about mechanics behind habits and how to break them. If your habit is to shop online… like a lot… the first thing you need to do is to make it difficult for you to spend. For example:

  • Have only a small amount on your debit card, so that you would need to initiate a transfer every time you want to buy something. This way you will see the amount and will think twice if you actually want to complete the purchase.
  • Log yourself out from amazon or any other shopping website you have. One-click shopping is just way too simple and quick for you to truly consider if you need what you are buying.
  • Leave your credit cards somewhere hidden in a wallet in a bag. Then before you can actually buy something you will need to go and get the bag, open it, open the wallet… few more steps and seconds for you to think.
  • Plan all your purchases for one time of the day. Say you are ‘allowed’ to add whatever you want to buy to the basket at any point of time, but you can only buy it next morning. Again, gives you a bit of time to process.

It is unlikely to be enough to get you to stop shopping altogether, but will decrease compulsive and unnecessary spending considerably.

7. Make a list and stick to it

This is valid especially for Black Friday. Remember, you are only spending less, if you would have bought this product without a discount as well.

We hope you find our guide on how to spend less money useful. Do let us know if you have other tricks you’d like to share with our community.

Yours truly, MonOlga.

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