Money is tight for everyone right now, and newlyweds are no exception. If you're looking for ways to save money, you've come to the right place. Read on for some tips that will help you keep your finances in check.
We've split these into two categories: big money-saving moves and small money-saving moves (in that order).
The items on this list require some sacrifice but have the potential to save you the most money by just doing one or two.
This may not be the most glamorous solution but it can save you a lot of money. If you’re able to have free rent and utilities for even just a few months, you can use that extra money to pay off debt or save up for a down payment on a house.
We actually lived with Britt's parents for eight months about a year into our marriage. We have a great relationship with her family, but it was definitely not without its challenges.
If you have parents willing to allow you to move in with them, be sure to set clear boundaries and expectations, such as:
If you and your spouse each have a car, it may make more financial sense to sell one of the cars and share the other. You can always use public transportation, ride-sharing services, or bike when possible to save even more money.
This might make sense as a temporary measure to see if it works for your marriage. If so, you've just saved thousands of dollars. If not, that's okay too. You tried it for a month and saved the money during that time.
Keep in mind a few costs that will go down when you share a car: insurance, gas/fuel, maintenance, oil changes. It's not just about the price of the car!
Instead of selling your car, you may just want to downgrade it. A smaller, cheaper car will still get you from Point A to Point B but will cost less in fuel, insurance, and maintenance.
You could look for cars that are a little older, have a little more mileage, or are smaller/more fuel-efficient than what you currently have.
You'll save money on the sale or trade-in of your car, and the ongoing savings will help as well.
If you have the ability to pick up and move for a year or two, why not do it? It could save you a ton of money, especially if you're living in an expensive city.
You can always come back when you're ready to start your family or settle down in one place. But in the meantime, take advantage of cheaper rent, utilities, and groceries.
This article from Business Insider has a list of the 25 cheapest cities in the United States.
If you're able to live further away from work, you could save a lot of money on housing costs. Typically, the further away you are, the cheaper the rent or mortgage will be.
Of course, this comes with a trade-off: you'll have a longer commute. But if you can handle it, the savings could be worth it.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to sit down and figure out where your money is going each month. Track all of your expenses for a few months so you have a good idea of where your money is going.
Then, create a budget that allocates your income to different categories, such as housing, food, transportation, entertainment, debt payments, and savings.
Once you have a budget, stick to it as best you can. This may require making some tough choices, but it will be worth it in the end.
Click here to download our sample budget for newlyweds.
If you're struggling to make ends meet, it may be time to pick up a few extra hours at work or ask for a raise. This can be a tough conversation to have, but it's worth it if it means you can stay afloat financially.
If you're asking for a raise or promotion, be prepared to give your employer clear reasons why you deserve it. This could include things like:
If you're really struggling to make ends meet, it may be time for a change. This could mean getting a new job or changing career fields altogether.
A new job may come with a higher salary, better benefits, and more opportunities for advancement. If you're considering a complete career change, do your research first to make sure it's a good fit for you.
If you're looking for a way to bring in some extra cash, a side hustle is a great option. There are plenty of ways to make money on the side, so you can easily find something that fits your interests and skills.
A side hustle doesn't need to take up hours and hours of your week, but a little extra cash might give you the breathing room you need. Again, we never said it would be comfortable. You may need to sacrifice for a few months.
Here are a few ideas:
Here are 24 side hustle ideas from Shopify.
Roommates don’t have to go away when you get married. While it might not be an overly practical solution for the rest of your life, you could split the cost of your home or rental with another couple.
We had a few couples in our church rent a house together and they've all been able to save a lot of money.
Again, this is likely not a great long-term solution, but lower living costs for you and your spouse might be worth it in the short term.
If none of those big money-saving moves make sense for you, here are some smaller ones. These are a bit more manageable but may require you to do a few of them to make an impact.
If you and your spouse pay for any subscription services each month see if there are any that you can cut or pause for a few months. You may not need all of them, or you may be able to just save some money for a few months.
$10 here and $15 there might not feel like much, but they can add up. Before you know it, you're paying a few hundred dollars on subscriptions every month.
Here is a list of potential subscription services you might have:
Eating out all the time can get expensive, so try to cook at home as much as possible. This doesn't mean you have to be a gourmet chef, but simple meals that you make yourself will save you money in the long run.
If you're paying for a premium phone or internet plan, see if there is a way to downgrade to a cheaper option. You may not need all the bells and whistles that come with the more expensive plans.
For example, when we lived in Phoenix, we had 1GB internet. When we moved to Madison, we thought we'd need the same thing. The cost for 1GB was around $150/mo while the cost for 400MB (the next step down) was around $90/mo. We opted to go for the cheaper option to save some money and we've had no issues with our internet speed at all.
In the summer, AC can get expensive. In the winter, heat can get expensive. See if there is a way to limit your usage of these things to save some money each month.
Most energy providers have lots of resources for making your living spaces more energy efficient so you can save money.
This might be one of our favorite items on this list. A lot of grocery stores have "fuel points" now. If you shop at a store that offers this, you can save money on gas each month.
For example, our local Metro Market (a Kroger sub-brand) offers 10 cents off per gallon for every 100 fuel points you earn. So, if we spend $100 at the store in a month, we get 100 fuel points. We even share fuel points with Britt's parents so everyone's groceries go toward the same thing.
Then, once a month, we all head to the gas station and fill up with the discount. Usually, it's up to $1 off per gallon!
Just because you're saving money, doesn't mean you can't have fun. There are plenty of free activities that you can do for entertainment.
Check your local city calendar of events and see what they might have coming up. Most places have free parades, events in the park, music festivals, etc.
Your church might also have events you could attend.
If you or your spouse is a student, military member, educator, or first responder, there are usually discounts available for you at restaurants, retailers, etc.
Britt is a nurse which allows us to get lots of discounts just by showing her badge.
I know it can be a bit awkward to ask, but saving a few dollars here and there can add up.
If you have the storage for it, buying groceries and toiletries in bulk can save you money in the long run. Maybe you can load up on a specific kind of pasta you always eat, or maybe you can get a year's supply of paper towels.
Places like Costco or Sam's Club are great stores to buy in bulk. You may even be able to call the brand or manufacturer directly and see if they have bulk discounts or direct sale discounts.
Lastly, depending on where you live, you may be able to buy from a farm or purveyor directly. Here in Wisconsin, we can typically purchase meats, cheeses, and dairy directly from a farm for a lower rate.
This is just a general money-saving tip, but it's important nonetheless. Make sure you're not wasting electricity by leaving lights or electronics on when you're not using them.
It may seem like a small thing, but it can really add up over time! (Also, did anyone else hear their dad yelling at them to turn off the lights? Just me?)
A "no spend" day or week is when you don't spend any money on anything that isn't essential.
This could mean eating all the food you have in your house, not going out to eat or to the movies, and generally just staying in.
It can be a great way to save some extra cash each month.
Eating out can get expensive, especially if you're doing it multiple times a week. A great way to save money is to invite friends over for dinner instead.
You can take turns cooking for each other, or everyone can make a dish to share. It's a great way to catch up with friends and save some money at the same time.
Meal prepping is another great way to save money on food. If you can cook all your meals for the week on Sunday, you'll be less likely to eat out during the week.
And, if you have leftovers, make sure to eat them! Don't let perfectly good food go to waste.
Service-based expenses are those pesky little fees that can really add up over time.
Bank fees, late payments, direct deposit, parking fees, etc. can all add up and eat into your budget. See if there's a way to avoid these fees or make them more manageable.
For example, a few months ago, we noticed a $10 "bank service charge" on a small savings account. I called the bank and they dropped it for us. Had we not noticed this or just rolled with it, we would have spent $120 over the course of the year.
Here are a few other examples of service-based expenses:
This one is the most preventative on this list, but one way to save money is to take good care of the home you have. This could mean regularly changing your air filter, fixing any leaks or cracks, and generally just keeping up with maintenance.
By taking care of your home, you can avoid larger repair bills down the road. You may also make your home more energy-efficient which can help you cut down on bills right now.
See if you can carpool with your spouse or another friend (for info on boundaries of friends with the opposite gender, click here). This will help you save on gas and wear and tear on your car.
You can also look into taking public transportation if it's available in your area. This can be a great way to save money and avoid the hassle of driving in traffic every day.
(indoor gym, 401k match, daycare, discounts, further education, boat rentals/free activities, therapy)
Do you and your spouse work for companies that offer benefits? If so, make sure you're taking advantage of them! These benefits can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars in value each year and many companies offer benefits beyond what you might expect.
For example, in addition to things like health insurance and retirement savings, Britt's job actually offers to pay $4,000 toward adoption costs should we need it.
Here are a few other benefits your employer might offer:
Some of these benefits can be extremely valuable, so make sure you know what your employer offers.
If you need to buy clothing, furniture, or other household items, consider shopping secondhand. There are tons of great places to find gently used items, and you can often get them for a fraction of the price of new items.
If you're looking for a unique gift that will still help you save money, try doing a service-based gift or homemade gift.
For example, maybe your father-in-law has been wanting to clean his garage out. For his birthday, you could offer to take care of it for him. Or maybe you'll offer a few nights of babysitting for your sister for Christmas. These types of gifts can be really thoughtful and personal without costing a lot.
Some of the best gifts I've given my family have been ones that were thoughtful but didn't cost a lot.
If you're reading this post, you're obviously wanting to save some money. That can feel super overwhelming and a little frustrating. It might even be causing some tension in your relationship.
First, take a deep breath.
I want you to remember this: any financial challenges are "right now" problems They don't have to be forever problems. The sacrifices you're making to save money will pay off and, eventually, those "right now" problems will go away.
If you take nothing else away from this post, take this... any money you save, any wealth you grow, and physical assets you acquire don't belong to you.
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. - Deuteronomy 8:18a.
Britt and I have tithed our income since the first day of our marriage. The bi-weekly reminder of obience and trust has been vital to our relationship.
We'd encourage you to do this as well.
Anything you'd add to this list? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!