The following is a guest post by Alban. Alban is a personal finance writer.
Anecdotal evidence often seems to suggest that being in a couple is more expensive than being single; there are the gifts, the dinners the drinks, the outfits bought to impress the other person. However, while these expenses may be valid, many of them are courting expenses, rather than coupling expenses and when you look at the genuine long term relationship, there are many frugal benefits.
# 1 – One home
When you are a part of a couple you are able to pay for just one home mortgage or one rental payment, instead of spread two of those costs across two properties, neither of which are lived in full time. Plus, while you may think that two people in one house would mean double water and power bills, you will find that you often use the same lights in the same rooms at the same time. Plus you’re saving on the costs of cooking as cooking for two uses the same power as cooking for one, but you’re running just one stove, fridge, microwave and range hood.
# 2 – Shared entertainment
As a couple you don’t need to seek out expensive forms of entertainment. Instead of going out to the movies and paying for tickets, parking, popcorn and drinks you can stay at home and watch or rent a movie. You can keep warm under a blanket on the couch together instead of turning the heater on and snack made at home or bought at the supermarket are much cheaper than movie snacks.
You’ll also be more inclined to eat in together as you no longer have to go out on ‘a date’ to dinner to spend time together. Home cooked meals are not only more affordable, but are also often better for you, and can serve as lunches the next day.
Plus, since you’re not going out ‘courting’ at clubs, paying entrance fees and hundreds of dollars for drinks, you’re saving even more.
# 3 – Tax benefits
You can also reap tax benefits by filing a joint tax return as a couple because you may be eligible for a lower tax rate than someone who is unmarried and filing as an individual. Depending on where you live, there are specific tax laws designed to offer greater benefits to married couples on their tax returns, and retirement plans.
For example, you can use your spouse’s income to fund contributions to your IRA if you file a joint tax return as a married couple. This allows a spouse with a taxable income to make a contribution to the IRA of their spouse who is not working, and the couple receives the benefits. All contributions to an IRA are deductible from your income, for example if you earn $50,000 a year and contribute $2,000 to your IRA you are only taxed on an income of $48,000.
# 4 – Insurance
There are many opportunities for couples to save on insurance, for example when you are married you can enjoy reduced premiums of your car insurance, all you have to do is call your insurance company and notify them of the change in your circumstances. Plus, as a couple you can apply for joint health insurance and pay just one premium which will be less than your two individual premiums.
# 5 – Merging and sharing
When you merge two lives into one couple, you can make some frugal savings by selling items which you now double up on. As a couple you can decide on whose fridge you will use, whether you need to keep both TVs and which couch is in a better condition. You can then sell these doubled up items to family or friends, or simply list them on an online auction site. Even smaller items such as two toasters or two blenders can make for frugal savings.
At the same time you are merging two lifestyles as well as so you can save by sharing items you would normally have bought two of. For example you can share household items such as toothpaste or even buy in bulk because you know you’ll avoid the waste as part of a couple. If you really want to make frugal savings you could even consider cutting down to one car as a couple as you can now carpool to work and you’ll also be going to many social events together too.
RJ’s Note: I went straight from living at home to living with my wife, so I can’t compare the two. If anyone lived on their own and then moved in with their signifcant other, I would be interested in hearing if per person expenses increased or decreased.