Discussions about money are often uncomfortable between significant others, easily stemming into serious relationship problems when handled incorrectly.
Whether you’re still in the dating scene and have practically memorized the old reach-for-the-check dance or are blissfully wed but haven’t had the money talk, it’s important for you and your better half to have a solid understanding of where your finances stand, especially if you or your significant other (or both of you) have a large amount of debt.
On the other hand, recognizing where the relationship stands before getting carried away is also essential — after all, explaining your entire retirement portfolio on a first date generally doesn’t make the best first impression.
When it comes to savings strategies within your relationship, financial success depends on understanding which stage it’s in. Essentially, there are two main distinctions: Just dating and committed relationship.
Dating: According to a Match.com survey, 28 percent of dating couples feel it’s important to have the “money chat” two to three months into dating. By this point, you and your significant other have had a few dates, all of which might have left you wondering who should cover the check at the end of each date night.
Committed: Being in a committed relationship can be a bit tricky when it comes to money. Expectations vary, as do personal living arrangements — some couples spend more time together than others, allowing for a deeper understanding of each other’s financial quirks.
3 Strategies to Save Money in Your Relationship, Whether Dating or Committed
To help you get a sense of the money saving strategies that could help your relationship, here are a few examples of what works in different relationships.
1. Savings Strategies on a Date
Dating: The 3:1 ratio is what what the guys at Ask Men recommend when dating. “This rule of thumb simply means that for every three dates you pay for, she should pay for one. Or in today’s world, whoever makes the most money pays for three, the other pays for the next,” said Ask Men contributor Matthew Lynch.
The 3:1 approach helps balance the spending — and consequently savings — between you and the person you’re seeing.
Committed: A regulated 3-to-1 schedule can work when a relationship is first starting out, but keeping count in that way can become awkward after some time. In my long-term relationship of about eight years, I’ve learned to gauge how much money my significant other has spent on our coffee runs and date nights.
If he paid for dinner the entire week and our coffee the past few times, I’ll make it up somewhere down the line with a weekend get-away trip. In the end, it works out.
Additionally, committed couples can take turns when it comes to major holidays. Jordan of Fun Cheap or Free” said this savings strategy saved her marriage.
“We trade off. Every year we trade V-day and our anniversary. My hubby takes Valentine’s Day this year, so I will be in charge of our anniversary in April. It’s been a marriage saver because A) there’s no awkward elephant in the room of ‘is he planning the date this year … or should I?’ and B) we aren’t trying to surprise each other at the same time. Plus, it gives my poor hubby a break!”