You can find money saving tips all over the place these days. Chances are you have friends and relatives that are more than happy to give you financial advice (and other advice too!). The problem with much of the financial tips and advice out there is they all assume you have money to start with, and for some people, this is not the case. Some people are struggling just to live paycheck to paycheck. Whether you struggle due to the poor economy, too many bills, small paychecks, or a combination of reasons there is one thing for certain: something has to give eventually.
Couples can be especially vulnerable to money problems. This can happen for many reasons: different views on saving and spending habits, only one person is working, or one person makes more than the other. Whatever the case may be, couples need to realize they have advantages that they need to be utilizing. The biggest advantage is that they are a team and can help each other with saving money, all they have to do is work together.
*Household budget. Sit down with your partner and create a household budget. A budget is the first step to gaining some financial ground. Make a list of all of the household bills, personal expenses (hygiene products, teeth whitenings, etc.), and miscellaneous expenses (new clothes, salon trips, club memberships, etc.). Then figure out how much is going out on a monthly basis. That number is your base amount; from there you both can start figuring out what expenses can be eliminated, or at least cut down.
*Goals. After you have completed your budget, talk about your goals as individuals. It can help a great deal to get a better understanding of what each one of you is working towards. Try to set some goals you both can agree on, this will make saving money in certain areas much easier to accomplish. If one of you is not working, then add that as a goal. Jobs are scarce in some areas, so you may have to get creative and make your own job. You may end up having to work as a freelancer from home to bring in some extra money.
*Saving strategies. Then next step is to come up with ways to save money as a couple and as individuals. For example, if you both go out to eat three times a week, then agree to cut back to once or twice a month. If one of you goes to the gym several times a week, then agree to cut back to twice a week or perhaps agree to workout together, at home. Instead of buying name brand products, try the store brands for awhile and see how you can save that way.
*Support each other. You can make all the great plans you want, but if you do not help and support each other, it is all for nothing. Remember that you are a team and need to keep each other in line, in gentle and positive ways. It will not do either of you any good to get angry and put the other one down for over spending. Try shopping together, clip coupons together and remind each other to turn off lights in empty rooms at home. You are governing each other, you are gently reminding each other of your money saving goals.
*Communication. One of the single most important things in a healthy relationship is open communication. This also applies to the financial areas, it will not do any good to create a good plan for saving money if one or both of you are secretly spending money. The worst way to financially sabotage a relationship is keeping spending habits a secret. If you have a weakness for shoes, then tell your partner; that way he or she can help you make wiser decisions.
Couples face financial problems for a number of reasons and must understand that they can eliminate some of those reasons by working together. The best advantage couples have in the war on finances is each other. Allow your financial goals to bring you closer instead of driving a wedge between you.