Just got married? Now is the perfect time to start your financial life together on a solid foundation. You can save money together, pay off any debts, and prepare to do any of those “next things.” (Buy a house? Have kids? These things take money!) Here are some easy ways for you newlyweds to save money!
1. Treat gift cards like money in your savings account.
There’s no reason to use up all those wonderful gift cards right away. Check for expiration dates. Most of the ones you received as wedding gifts won’t have an expiration date. Save them (we kept ours for months in our lockbox) until you have a big need. I was so glad I saved my gift cards when it was time to buy our first house and we needed curtains!
2. Have dates at home.
Enjoy the kid-free days and make your home special by using those candles, cloth napkins, and tablecloth you received as wedding gifts.
3. Set yourselves challenges, such as one month of eating on a dollar a day.
4. Try to not buy clothes for the first year if you bought lots of new stuff for the rehearsal/wedding week/honeymoon.
You have plenty of variety already to enjoy!
5. Rent a smaller place than you can afford so you can save for a down payment on a house.
Bigger isn’t always better! Yes, you feel a little scrunched right now–but newlyweds like to be close, right?
6. Turn off your TV.
Those advertisers sell you more items than you think they do. (And, if you’re like me, watching some glamorous lady in a certain type of skirt or top may make you think you need to buy one in that same style.) If you really want to help cut bills, get rid of TV altogether. You won’t have a cable bill anymore, and you can even sell your TV for some ready cash.
7. Find frugal ways to celebrate special occasions.
If you got a buy one, get one free coupon in the mail–there’s your next special going-out place!
8. Explore your town together.
Look for free parks, hiking trails, gnome trails (yes, they are a thing), free-days-at-the-museum–finding free entertainment becomes its own entertainment.
9. Make finding deals a game.
Both of you can download the grocery store app and get the 99 cent bottle of laundry detergent. Getting deals on household items doesn’t have to be one spouse’s job; it can be a game!
10. Grow a small garden.
If your apartment has a balcony or patio that gets some sun, plant some lettuce and tomatoes in pots. (Lettuce is incredibly easy to grow and tastes so much better when you grow it yourself!) If the pretty pots you want are out of your price range, use an old cooking pot or plastic container from the Dollar Tree and spray paint it.
11. Make each other gifts and cards.
It’s Valentine’s Day and everyone else is buying a ten dollar card and fifty dollar gift for his significant other? No biggie. Your handwritten card (which you spent a good hour on early in the morning before she woke up) and homemade chocolate-covered strawberries are way more valuable. (Although they’re cheaper!)
12. Take advantage of the local library.
Books, ebooks, DVDs, magazines, even computer access. Your local library is set up to help everyone have access to the world of knowledge! Don’t let your taxes go to waste; get a library card and read some books. (For free!)
13. Write a list before you go shopping.
Or tell Alexa to make the list for you. If you have a list, you’ll be less likely to make impulse buys. You’ll also be less likely to go back to the store again later this week, reducing opportunities for more impulse buys.
14. Sell extra items.
Don’t hang onto things you “might use one day;” sell them instead. If you don’t feel like doing a garage sale, Facebook marketplace has become a great place to sell your extra stuff. (We just used it to clear our closets recently.) Craigslist has been around longer, and is still an option. Unfortunately, though, it has become overrun with scammers lately.
15. Cook at home.
You can try a romantic night of cooking a meal together if you both love to cook. My husband hates cooking, so this never works for us. Instead, he is happy to set the table and get clutter out of the way while I stir up something yummy. We save a ton of money by not eating out often, even though we often invite others to join us for meals. Which brings me to the next money-saving idea:
16. Invite your friends to eat with you at your home instead of at a restaurant.
Seriously, you can feed a large family at your home sometimes for less money that it would have cost to feed just you and your spouse at a restaurant. Here’s a quick list of budget-friendly meals to feed friends. Your friends all have food allergies? We have you covered there, too.
17. Walk or bicycle when you can.
This can be hard if you’re in a spread-out city like Houston. But gas eats up a large part of our budget. If you can walk to the bank, bike to your work, etc., try doing that as much as possible for the next month. Then compare your gas expenses with those of the previous month and give each other a high five. This is a major area where you can save money!
18. Save money by cutting each other’s hair.
I know. This is scary. I was terrified the first time my husband asked me to cut his hair. Yes, sometimes he looks like he came out of a butcher shop instead of a barber shop. But we’ve saved hundreds of dollars in the past couple of years–and I’m getting better. I get my sister to cut my hair, but my husband pitches in for the occasional straight-across-the-back trim.
19. See if you can reduce your cell phone bill.
I use Straight Talk for my cell phone. The other day, I realized that I could save $10 a month just by switching to a plan with less data. I rarely use much data, anyway, since I’m often in wifi, so changing plans was a no-brainer. If your phone is eating up too much of your paycheck, consider a less sophisticated phone–or just using less data per month.
20. Lower your thermostat in the winter and set it higher in summer.
Wear a cozy sweater and cuddle each other to stay warm this winter! You’ll be surprised how much money you can save just by lowering your thermostat just a few degrees. The same goes for summertime chilling–you don’t need to keep your house at freezer-temperature. If your house is warmer, it won’t be such a shock every time you walk outside, encouraging you to exercise outdoors more often.
21. Talk to each other about budgeting.
Budgeting conversations can be stressful, especially for newlyweds who are just learning to live together and consult each other about every decision. But they can’t be avoided. Financial problems cause so many divorces. Don’t let your marriage become one of those sad statistics, when the conflicts could have been avoided by having open, honest, and REGULAR conversations.
Enjoy your year(s) of being newlyweds! It’s one of the best times of your life! Happy frugal living!