Finance

How to meet your savings goal as a couple

If you’ve ever tried saving money, you know it’s tough. But saving money as a couple? That’s a whole other monster. Here are some simple tips you can do together to help meet your savings goal.

Have a clear goal

Start by setting a specific goal. If you’re saving to buy a house, do your research. Are you looking to buy a three bedroom place in the suburbs, or a smaller apartment closer to the city? Do you really need a study if both of you never work from home?

Research the area, the current housing prices and work out the exact dollar amount you’ll need and make a deadline. Make sure your savings goals are realistic based on your salaries and necessary spending, and set up direct debit to a joint bank account. The important thing is that you’re both on the same page.

Cut your spending

Starting to save when it’s not a habit is hard, so figure out the easiest ways you can save money early on. Go over your current spending with a fine tooth comb, and figure out what you can cut. If you’ve got a pay TV subscription, can you sign up to Netflix instead, or go without completely? Check your internet bill and see if you can go to a cheaper plan, and buy your staple grocery items in bulk.

Also talk over your personal spending. How much money do you each want to spend on ‘fun stuff’? You don’t have to give up everything, just what you can live without. If one of you has a bad credit history, don’t let that interfere with your goals. It may just require an adjustment to your budget.

Dollar, dollar bill y’all

Now that you’re saving, how can you make more money? Start with a big clean-up of your house and find all the old clothes, books, video games and furniture that you’re happy to part with. Check out if there are any markets in your area, which can often get you more dough than a garage sale. If you’ve only got a few odds and ends, eBay or Gumtree can turn them into cash. If you’ve skills that you can outsource, have a go at freelancing.

Be honest

Without losing total faith in you, you guys are going to fall off the wagon. One or both you will accidentally over spend, or something unavoidable will come up. And that’s okay! Just be open about it, and get back to saving. Check in regularly to see how your savings are coming along.

If you’re not meeting your goals, readjust what you save, or reconsider the goal. If your savings are going well, remember to celebrate it (maybe stay away from that bottle of Dom and opt for the Champagne that’s on sale).

Get creative

Yes, you’re going to have to say no to a lot of things. Dinner with friends at fancy restaurants might need to be substituted with brunch or a pizza party at your place. When things like Christmas come up, let people know that you’d prefer not to exchange gifts, or set a small limit. But there is no need to become hermits.

Get creative with date ideas. Sign up to mailing lists for cheap date ideas. And make sure you budget for a fun night out every so often, because if you try to save every penny, you might end up throwing in the towel.