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5 Tips for How to Save Money: For Couples

Updated: Feb 9

Updated post: 11/28/23

Original post: 5/3/22



Our lives move fast with different priorities competing for our time and mind space. We spend most of our days with our minds cruising along on autopilot while surrounded by technology and a society that encourages us to spend impulsively.


Despite our best intentions, we have a tough time saving without employing strategies to save toward a goal without thinking and creating barriers to make it harder to spend impulsively.


These five tips can help you do just that.


How couples can save money together



















Tip #1 Set your savings goals together

The best way to have this conversation is on a Money Date. Schedule some uninterrupted time together, preferably on a weekend morning. Take this time to establish savings goals together while discussing your money beliefs, values, and current financial health.


When folks plan to save, they are twice as likely to do so successfully. Conversely, failing to talk about personal finances with your partner could contribute to a failed relationship.


 

Money Marriage U Save: A course for couples who want to spend a little time learning to save a lot of money together. Subscribe to the Modern Husbands Newsletter to receive helpful tips twice a month and receive Money Marriage U Save as a gift.



 

As you work through the conversation, strive to listen like you are an investigative journalist who wants to understand your partner fully. Simply waiting for your turn to speak isn’t going to cut it. Talking about money can be especially hard for those who have experienced financial trauma. Money is continuously the most significant cause of stress and strongly predicts depression, general psychological distress, mental disorders, and suicidal thoughts and behavior.


Financial stress can be so severe that it can cause physical pain and lasting physical damage to your body. You may need specific resources or personal guidance from a professional to work through the conversation if this is the case for you or your partner.


Financial Therapy Association

An option for couples who need specialized and independent help is to consult with a Certified Financial Therapist within the Financial Therapy Association (FTA). The FTA is an organization comprised of professionals dedicated to the integration of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, relational, and financial aspects of well-being.






Tip #2 Save for emergencies first


It is hard to be happy when we are not financially healthy. To be financially healthy, we must:


  • have the capacity to absorb a financial shock

  • have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances

  • be on track to meet our financial goals

  • have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow us to enjoy our lives


Saving money is tough to do for much of America. At times we make the mistake of overspending because we’ve acted impulsively. Whereas we could have been on the receiving end of systemic issues, bad luck, or chronically low wages at other times.



I realize that saving is easier when you make more, mainly when you live below your means. However, 60% of households at or below poverty and another 70% percent of households who live just above the poverty line find ways to save.


Many experts recommend a minimum of 3 to 6 months of expenses set aside in a savings account. A healthy savings account reduces financial stress and the anxiety that can come with it. Research has found that saving makes us happier and improves our overall well-being. Saving money leads to financial health, which can enhance the happiness of your marriage.


Read How to save and invest together for more detailed strategies to save and invest successfully with your spouse.


Tip #3 Change your environment

People who are best at self-control are those who are hardly using it. People who put themselves into positions requiring more self-control fail to reach their goals and become exhausted by trying. If you want to be a saver, you need to create an environment that makes willpower less necessary, and you need to build your universe to be a saver. An overwhelming amount of research points to creating an environment that makes good habits easy. Do you want to work out more frequently? Live closer to the gym. Do you want to be happier? It helps to live near a close friend. Do you want to save? Design your environment to make bad choices harder and good options automatic or easier to make. Here are a couple of examples:


Make Bad Habits Hard and Invisible


Remove spending apps from your phone. Remove autofill financial information on websites and social media.


Make Good Habits Apparent and Easy


Schedule one-time autosaves or auto transfers to savings for windfalls such as extra paychecks or tax refunds. Make transferring money from your checking to your saving easy, allowing you to save impulsively.


Tip #4 Make it automatic

The most effective way to save is to make it automatic and pay yourself first. This is simple to do. I will walk you through the step-by-step process.

What to do with a financial institution:


  • Schedule one-time autosaves or auto transfers to savings for windfalls such as extra paychecks or tax refunds.

  • Set up at least one savings account at a different financial institution than where you primarily bank. Make sure it offers the best low/no fee and interest options.

  • Sign up for “round up” services with your financial institution if they are free. If they are not offered, consider these services from third parties.

What to do with your employer:


  • Set up a direct deposit to save a portion of your paycheck automatically.


Below is an example direct deposit form. You fill this out when you initially get a job, and you can change this at any time.


Example direct deposit form to split deposit
Example direct deposit form to split deposit

​By this time, you should already have an account at multiple institutions. Before connecting with your HR person at work, have your account numbers and routing numbers handy. When completing the form, direct your spending money for that pay period into checking and what you plan to save into your saving account at a different financial institution.


Tips to save the right amount:


Retrieve your savings goal. You should have already established your savings goal with your spouse on your Money Date.


Do the math. Save enough per pay period to reach your savings goal.


Communicate. You and your partner need to discuss who will be saving, how much, and to what account.


Do not over save. If you do, you’ll need to dip into savings more frequently and run the risk of checking account overdraft fees.


 

Open a secure account with the highest savings interest rates in the nation.

 

Tip #5 Give yourself some grace

It’s essential to keep in mind that you will need to use your savings from time to time. The feeling of loss that hurts more than the gains you make by saving is natural, and this is loss aversion. That feeling is our fast brain, our irrational brain. Said another way, if your savings goal is $10,000 and you reach it, you will feel a sense of victory. If your savings goal is $10,000, you have $15,000 saved and need to use $5,000 to pay for an emergency, you will feel a sense of loss. That’s irrational; that is our irrational brain. As lousy as many feel, it will still feel better to have the savings to cover the emergency than to not have any savings. So give yourself some grace! There are weeks or even months that we can’t save, or we need to dip into our savings to manage an emergency. But saving is not a destination; it is a lifetime habit.

 

Learn More


Couples who learn more, save more, and spend more on what is important to them.


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Citations

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