So I’ve been a little sneaky with the title. If you are reading this, you are the saver in the relationship and probably frustrated that your other half doesn’t see your point of view.
I know, because the same thing happened to me.
I am a card-carrying #moneynerd. Every penny is accounted for and I plan to retire in my 40s. My partner is a lover of fine foods and 5-star hotels and is not concerned with retiring early.
My partner thinks all my clothes have holes in (most of them do) and that I should buy new ones. I would rather keep the money and invest it so I don’t have to work.
Over the course of our four-year relationship, we have had approximately 3,567 arguments about money.
We constantly bashed heads on whether we should go out for dinner, which hotels we should stay in on holiday, whether staying in an Airbnb was gross or a great way to save money.
You name it, we’ve argued about it.
Slowly but surely, we’ve compromised. We still don’t always see eye-to-eye but we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and each other.
Here are the top 10 things I have learned about keeping the peace in a relationship while still managing to save money where it counts.
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One very easy way to save money without impacting your lifestyle is to save money on fixed costs.
By fixed costs, I mean expenses that must be paid each month and are necessary for you to live.
One of the biggest expenses if you are a homeowner, is your mortgage. How much you pay each month is determined by how much you owe on the load, but also how much interest you pay.
A small reduction in the interest rate on your mortgage loan could mean BIG savings. And nothing will have changed, you’ll live in the same house, with the same mortgage terms, you will just be paying less money each month on the loan interest – winner!
In the UK, you can use sites as MoneySavingExpert to check whether you could get a better rate. If you are on your lender’s standard variable rate there could definitely be a chance to get a lower rate.
If you are in the US, I found a refinance calculator on Zillow that you could have a play around with.
Unsure which rate you are currently on? Just ring your lender and ask them. Double check that there aren’t any early exit fees before you refinance.
Also in the same vein as refinancing your mortgage, is researching whether you can get a better deal on bills and insurance.
Just google ‘electricity provider’ + comparison, or ‘health insurance’ + comparison and start having a plan around with the calculators.
Switching utility providers (especially in the UK) is really not a big deal and is pretty painless.
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by telling you to cut cable, every single ‘save money’ article ever says that.
If you spend a load of money on channels you don’t really watch, have a look at cheaper alternatives such as Hulu, Netflix, Mubi or using the movies and series on Amazon Prime if you already pay for it.
The easiest way to curb overspending is to limit the amount of cash you have available to you.
If you have joint finances, then you can agree together how much you will save each month. You can then transfer the savings or debt pay off straight out of your account a few days after your paycheck hits.
That way you are saving first and anything left in your account after bills and expenses is for ‘fun’ spending.
The best way to figure out how much you can save is to track your spending. If you are the saver and don’t already do this, then you can use my post below to start seeing where your money goes.
If you want a snapshot of where your finances are right now, you can use my net worth spreadsheet to see exactly what you own vs what you owe.
This is an adaption of an idea I came across in a Frugalwoods article.
The idea is that you keep a ‘want’ list. Everything you want, you write down in a notebook. And then you wait a month.
If you still want that thing after a month, buy it. You might find though that after a month has passed, the urgency to buy that thing has gone.
This could be a great thing to do as a couple.
You can put your ‘wants’ up on a board that you can both see. These can be shared ‘wants’ and individual wants.
The key would be to do this without being shamed. No snarky comments allowed on what the other person wants to buy!
You may find that your more spendy partner lists lots of things that they don’t end up buying.
Or they decide that your shared goals are more important and they would rather save for that instead.
I’ve learned from personal experience that trying to point out where my other half was ‘going wrong’ with his money was a very quick way to make him tell me to ‘F off’.
No one likes to be told what they are doing wrong and what they should be doing instead.
If on the other hand, they see your savings start to grow, or your happiness increase as your student loan debt goes down, they might decide they want some of that for themselves.
It has to be a personal choice whether they reduce their spending or start to save more. You cannot talk them into it or force them to do it.
My partner and I have totally separate finances.
We have a credit card which we put all joint expenses on. The card is in my name and gets paid out from my current (checking) account.
All bills and the mortgage also come out of my account as I like to regularly check that we aren’t paying too much. I’m also a control freak, there, I admit it.
I then work out what he owes me each month and he transfers the money.
This works for us as we like to use an American Express credit card to collect airmiles. (You can use my referral link if you think that might work for you too).
Otherwise, you could open a joint account which you both pay money into for housing costs, bills, groceries, holidays, savings etc and then keep the rest in your own accounts for whatever you want.
The point of this is that you keep some money completely separate from each other so that you can buy what you want. Without any comments from the other person.
I read about this concept in a Forbes article which you can read here.
The idea is that you can both buy things up to a certain limit without the other partner’s approval.
Anything over a certain amount, $100 for example, has to be discussed with the other person before a purchase is made.
As my partner and I keep our finances completely separate, this wouldn’t be necessary for us.
But if you have joint accounts this could a really useful tool to curb any major overspending.
Learning to compromise is one of the most important things you can do.
By compromising with a spender, you may end up spending a little bit more. But on the other hand, your spendy partner is spending a bit less.
Although this might look like it all nets out the same in monetary terms, it provides balance in the relationship.
It makes both of you feel like you are being heard in the relationship and have equally valid points of view.
Perhaps then your spendy partner will hesitate before buying new trainers, and you won’t be so restrictive and enjoy the present a little more.
Having shared goals is such a great way to focus on saving and reduce ‘frivolous’ spending.
Quite often, the person in the relationship who is spender, is more of a ‘now’ focused person, whereas the the saver is a ‘future’ focused person.
The ‘now’ focused person spends all of their money and they want to enjoy life in the present, without worrying about the future.
The ‘future’ focused person believes in reducing spending now, in order to secure the future.
If you have a really good conversation about what you want your lives to look like now, and in the future, you can agree how you will use your money to achieve those life goals.
Don’t do what I did and have an utter meltdown over your partner buying a £4 pizza cutter.
If you comment on everything single thing they buy, regardless of the price or significance, you are going to seriously piss them off.
Large expensive items will derail your ability to save together, the odd household utensil won’t.
The way we think about and treat money is tangled up in so many things.
How our parents acted around money, whether money was an issue when we were growing up. Our personality and self-esteem levels are wrapped up in it as well.
Trying to change each other will never work. It’s all too deeply ingrained in who we are.
And getting frustrated that the other person can’t see your point of view won’t work either.
Whether you are a spender or a saver, you’ve formed these thoughts and views over the course of your entire life. That is a very long time and changing thoughts and habits won’t happen overnight.
There is a positive side to it though.
Although your spendy partner may have very different ways of treating money, what can you learn from them?
Perhaps he has a great enjoyment of life and loves a bit of “carpe diem”. Maybe you need a bit more of that in your life but are scared to let go.
Maybe you feel guilty about treating yourself, so when you see your partner buying himself things, it makes you feel uncomfortable?
Who knows, I am not going to go deep into a psychology rabbit hole here, I’m just saying, is there a deeper reason why you are so opposed to the way they treat money?
Once you accept that neither of you is right or wrong, you can begin to work together achieve your shared goals.
There are definitely ways to save money when you have a spendy partner. But sometimes just focusing on the money isn’t the answer.
Also, it can sometimes be a good thing to be with someone who is the opposite to you when it comes to money.
I’ve helped my partner consolidate debt and pay it off, he’s helped me to loosen up and stop being such a control freak tight-wad 😉