So You Want to Save Money Together?
Managing money can often times be a difficult thing to do effectively. On the surface, it may seem rather easy to do; perhaps if an individual is new to the "real" world or if they lack substantial frequent income. For most individuals though, budgeting and managing money is a vital aspect of maintaining your finances, your relationship, and your sanity.
Handling money while in a relationship can be tough to do, however with effective communication with your partner; it is very possible and perhaps even fun to do. Some newly married couples find finances to be a significant road block on the way to purchasing a home and getting the most out of life. In fact, simply examining the news on any given day will likely allow you to see into the lives of many individuals and couples doing little in terms of budgeting and saving money; and rather splurging and spending every penny of their paycheck.
It is because of those "extreme" individuals and couples that finding feedback on how to effectively manage money can be so important. No one wants to end up dumpster diving and living on the street, however even the richest among us can end up in the slums if they do not manage their money correctly.
1). Effective Money Management is Dependent on Effective Communcation
Unlike the single's amongst us, couples have an advantage of being able to talk directly with someone who should care about their well being. This care should empty out into many facets of life, including the financial sector. In fairy tale stories we often do not see the hard ships real human characters would experience with the "mundane" aspects of life, such as financial planning and so on. We are instead fed characters who fall madly in love and manage to avoid working full-time jobs and having to substantially care about finances. Of course, a film on these aspects of life would make mundane cinema in most cases (unless of course the film was a comedy with Zack Galifanakis).
Moving on, communication in a relationship is the key to all of the hidden secrets (and not so hidden ones) in all aspects of life. Communication can lead to finding a better place to go for vacation, a better sex life, and even lead to a more effective usage of money.
2). Your Spending Should Reflect Your Interest in Maintaining Money
Consider your money in the same way you consider your significant other. When we are in happy and healthy relationships, we tend to want to cultivate and maintain those relationships so they may grow into something better. In the same respect, spending money should be something we do only when necessary and on occasion when we just want to get something, because fun is essential with any relationship type. You will notice the many opportunities and periods of comfort that will arise from saving a little extra money from every paycheck instead of spending it all. Many people arive at a depressing point in their life when they realize they do not have enough money at a particular point in time. At that moment they find themselves screwed financially, and they will reflect on needless spending and not saving as much of the reason for their financial depression.
3). Take Interest in the Household Financial Process
I have personally witnessed on a few occasions relationships which have a very active and dominant partner, while the other is unfortunately very passive and submissive. These are not strictly terms we can find used in the bedroom, but rather they easily carry over into finances. Frequently, one partner in the relationship will be almost exclusively responsible for finances (budgeting, spending, and so forth). This is not healthy and is not a good way to get the best out of your money. This is particularly unsettling when both individuals are contributing to the household income.
It is recommend that both partners, when possible, sit down and work on finances together. For many relationships, this will also be beneficial as it will allow you to spend time with your significant other when you may otherwise be doing nothing with them on your time away from work. Just because finances take time, energy, and commitment does not mean you should dump them on your partner. These are not dishes or laundry!
4). "The Designated Spender" and "The Designated Saver"
This is an idea of sorts I seemingly came up with based on my own relationship. If you have two paychecks coming into your home, and both individuals are particularly committed to the extent where you are or would be willing to share a bank account; then this thought may well apply to you.
I have essentially designated my girlfriend's paycheck (the lesser of ours) as "the designated spending money", whereas my paycheck is "the designated savings" paycheck. This may sound somewhat funny on the outside, but think of the reality! If you are able to minimize spending from one partners paycheck, then the savings can add up significantly. Granted, there are occasions in which I have to spend from my paycheck; however we have been able to save up over $6,000 dollars in the past 2 years using this method. As college aged students whom are financially responsible, this is a pretty amazing feat.
5). Consider Where Your Household Income Is Going and How to Decrease It
I was discussing with someone earlier on how the prices of every day items have seemingly skyrocketed, and can majorly effective the bottom line of savings if they are not accounted for. For example, many individuals may find themselves flocking to a grocery store and picking up regular items for the week. It is important to consider if you could be saving money simply by switching to another store (I use dollar stores myself almost exclusively for grocery shopping). A month of food for my girlfriend and myself using the "dollar store method" has inadvertently led to less than $100 dollars worth of food a month. Of course, we are not so lame as to not occasionally go out and spend a little extra on something we are craving; however the savings we have accumulated over time using this method have warrented us a reason to be able to go out as we do.
While this is just an example of shopping at a grocery store, it is important that you track where you are spending money and considering alternatives. You may not realize how much money you are wasting when alternatives exist which can save you a ton!