Your wedding and honeymoon might have involved quite a bit of spending, but once the vows have been said, your status as a married couple gives you new opportunities to save.
And as a newlywed, cutting costs on expenses gives you more cash to set aside for the future, such as in a retirement or vacation fund. Here’s how to do it.
Slim down expenses
Look for ways to bundle, refinance or cut out expenses altogether.
- Combine auto insurance policies. Even if one of you has a history of speeding tickets, you’ll likely save under a single policy.
- Bundle insurance types. You can qualify for multi-line discounts if your home and cars are insured by the same company.
- Update tax withholdings. There’s a good chance you’ll be in a new tax bracket once married, if you file jointly. Update your W-4 at work so you don’t owe taxes at the end of the year — but there’s no need to give the government an interest-free loan, either.
- Be a cheap date. Date night can keep a marriage healthy, but there’s less need to impress once you’ve wed. Choose free and low-cost activities, and splurge on a fancy meal or event only occasionally.
- Consolidate your property. If you’re just now combining households, get rid of excess furniture, electronics and other items that can fetch extra cash. If you really want to cut back, consider ditching one of your vehicles.
- Save on credit card interest. If one spouse has notably better credit, and therefore access to low-interest or interest-free balance transfer credit cards, move higher-interest balances to those accounts.
- Refinance your student loans. Some private lenders allow married couples to refinance into one new loan with a better interest rate, giving them a single monthly payment. Purefy is one such company that bases couples’ eligibility on the higher of the two spouses’ credit scores.
- Choose one health insurance policy. If you’re both offered health insurance through work, look carefully at which policy is the better deal for married couples. Considerations such as employer contribution, network size and premium and deductible amounts should steer your choice.
Put your savings toward goals
Use the money you save to prepare for the future.
- Get on the same page. If you hope to reach financial goals together, you’ll need to discuss your saving behaviors. Have regular, open money conversations that focus on where you are and where you want to be.
- Create a budget that works for you both. Pinpoint how much of your household income will go to savings. The 50-30-20 budget, for example, earmarks 20% for savings and debt repayment.
- Set concrete individual and joint savings goals. Knowing you want to save for retirement is important, but how much, by when, and where will you put the money? Make goals as specific as possible.
- Create a joint savings account, or several. There are arguments for and against combining all of your finances, but at the very least, open a joint savings account. Decide how you’ll spend the money — vacation? home down payment? — and how much each of you will contribute monthly.
- Contribute to an emergency fund. Your savings can take a major hit if you’re faced with an unexpected medical bill or home repair. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start building one now.
Elizabeth Renter is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ElizabethRenter.
Updated Sept. 8, 2017.