Getting married earns you a whole list of financial benefits, from estate protection and a more favorable joint tax bracket to lower insurance premiums and greater charitable contribution deductions.
But by picking up a few frugal habits, couples can multiply their savings enough for even modest incomes to provide a lifetime of financial security.
Here’s a look at the behaviors of the thrifty that married couples should adopt today to ensure a long and prosperous tomorrow.
Make Money a Frequent Topic of Conversation
Any marriage counselor will tell you that communication is the key to success — and this is never truer than with household finances. Money troubles tank more relationships than just about any other cause, and open dialogue is the best preventative.
“Talk it through,” said Marly Garman, creator of the lifestyle and financial site SimplyLivingHappy. “Get on the same page about spending priorities and budgets. The more you can agree on what money is well spent and worthwhile, the easier it will be to make your financial goals a reality sooner.”
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Pursue a Wealth of Knowledge
Anyone interested in monetary mastery should adopt the frugal habit of ongoing financial education. The difference for married couples is that they can make it fun.
“Enhance financial literacy as a couple by starting a financial book club,” recommended financial advisor Skyler Fernandes, founder and general partner at Venture University.
“Select a book together, read it individually and then discuss how you can apply the principles to your joint finances. It’s a unique way to invest in your financial education while strengthening your partnership.”
Budget for Saving
Frugal people meticulously keep track of their income, expenses and savings and live according to a strict spending plan. If you follow their lead, your marriage will come much closer to financial bliss than if you wing it as you go.
“Budgeting is key to making sure that you have enough money to cover current expenses as well as future ones,” said Samantha Landau, consumer expert at shopping rewards site TopCashback. “By understanding how much you currently spend compared to your current income and what your goals are, you can identify areas that you need to either contribute more or less to.”
She recommends the tried-and-true 50/30/20 method to stay on track financially.
“With this particular budgeting technique, you’ll want to spend 50% of your after-tax income on necessities, i.e., rent, utilities, food, etc., 30% on personal expenses, i.e., dining out, activities, etc., and 20% on financial obligations, i.e., debt repayment, savings, etc.
“Of course, you can tailor it to your lifestyle and alter the percentages as needed. For example, you may find that you are spending more on subscription services that you don’t use. In this case, you can cancel some of the accounts and put that money toward a different goal.”
Budget for Splurges
The 50/30/20 method is a good foundation, and it does allocate cash for personal expenses, but married couples can write fun into their finances by carving out room for a little bit of even the most reckless spending every now and then.
“Flip the script on budgeting for occasional splurges,” said Fernandes. “Instead of feeling guilty about an occasional indulgence, plan for it. Allocate a small portion of your budget specifically for guilt-free splurges, whether it’s a fancy dinner or a spontaneous weekend getaway. It keeps the budget realistic and enjoyable.”
Make Wishes Come True — In a Jar
If wishing for expensive things worked, eight-year-old kids would all get ponies for their birthdays. Frugal people know they’ll never be able to will their entire wishlists into existence, but they might be able to manifest a few of the big ones without going broke by bottling them up.
“Instead of impulsively buying big-ticket items, create a wishlist jar,” said Fernandes. “Whenever you both desire something significant, write it down on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. Agree to revisit the jar quarterly or annually and prioritize purchases based on your financial goals. It adds a layer of intentionality to your spending.”
Spend as Little as Possible To Enjoy Each Other’s Company
Date nights can help keep the fire alive in your marriage — just don’t let them burn down your budget.
“Challenge yourselves to search for free date-night activities in your area, like a free museum night or movie night at home,” said Garman.
Limit and Spread Out For-Pay Services
Frugal people DIY whatever they can to avoid paying for services they can handle themselves — and when they can’t, they put as much distance between appointments as possible.
“From lawn care to cleaning, haircuts, nail or spa treatments and more, there are likely a dozen services you could opt to do yourselves or go longer between visits,” said Garman. “The key is to make a joint commitment on which services you will eliminate or cut back on.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 7 Frugal Habits To Help Married Couples Meet Their Financial Goals