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How Does Being in a Relationship Change your Finances?

In a relationship? Here’s how shared finances could impact your spending habits.

March 31, 2022

Love can make you do crazy things, like spend more. Or hopefully, save more. 

Whether you’re dating, married or anywhere in between, there can be subtle differences in spending based on your relationship status. Here, we’ll tackle some trends couples may encounter in their spending habits, especially regarding shared finances. 

Date nights

If date nights are a staple of your relationship, you might want to check your pocketbook. In a recent survey of 1,281 US adults, the average person spent $697 a year on dates.

While every date night is different, it could be worth checking in on this spending category and perhaps finding a way to create date nights that don’t cost a dime. Instead of the standard dinner and a movie, consider:

  • A hike

  • Geocaching 

  • Sunset picnic

  • Volunteering

  • Browsing art galleries

Tax benefits

While shared finances can bring their own issues when it comes to tax season, combining finances after marriage grants you the following financial benefits:

  • Jobless IRA contributions. If one of you is unemployed, you can still contribute towards an IRA, something that isn’t possible for singles to do sans employment income. 

  • Higher charitable contribution deduction. If you’re filing taxes jointly, you can take up to a $600 deduction.

  • Two for one filing. If you dread the tax season, look on the bright side. At least you’re filing with your spouse, and the two of you can share the responsibility, making the stress a little lighter on your end. 

Wedding debt

If you spared no expense on your wedding day, you might still be paying for it. 33% of married couples report going into debt over wedding costs, and making those payments back may be a burden on your joint finances. 

There are many finance questions before marriage, but one of the most pressing may be budgeting and planning your wedding. Before you say I do, consider breaking down the budget to avoid high-interest debt after the big day. 

Bundling purchases

While you don’t magically start eating less or needing less space to live in when you’re in a relationship, living together or sharing other costs such as groceries and utilities can come with some savings. 

If you live with a partner, splitting the cost of necessities may put a lighter burden on your monthly budget. Things like home furnishings or groceries typically need to be purchased no matter your living situation but you could be saving if you split the costs with a partner. 

Potential for points

If you’re combining finances with a partner, you have the potential to wrack up credit card points or promotions faster. 

With some credit cards, you can add authorized users to your account, meaning either you or your partner could add one another to a travel rewards or cashback savings card. 

You could also consolidate points on a single card if you plan a trip together. Just make sure you’re both paying down the card’s balance accordingly to avoid fees and interest.  

Healthcare savings

If you and your partner are both employed with healthcare benefits, you may be able to save a few bucks each month. Consider shopping both employers’ healthcare policies. Enrolling both of you in the more affordable plan could help you both save money each month. 

This benefit isn’t just for married couples. Reach out to your HR department to see how your employer defines a partner or spouse. Even if you aren’t married, your partner may qualify as a domestic partner or something else through other fine print. 

A partner in spending or saving

Whether we like it or not, money is a big part of relationships. One in five couples cite “money” as the most significant challenge in their relationship, and a little less than half of couples say they argue about money on occasion.

Whether you’re working through how to combine finances after marriage or just figuring out your partner’s spending habits, money can be a tricky topic for the two of you to navigate. If you can find a way to talk about money in a way that works for both you and your partner, you’ll find you have a support system when it comes to reaching financial goals. 

Like an accountability buddy at the gym, if you and your partner can support each other’s spending and savings goals, you may be more likely to reach them. That could mean a cheerleader on the sidelines encouraging you to pay down credit card debt or a support system that encourages you to put more aside for retirement. 

While it’s unlikely you’ll agree on everything when it comes to spending and saving, having someone to bounce budgeting ideas off of or encourage you to reach your financial goals can benefit both of you. 

Paying off credit card debt, no matter your relationship status 

Being in a relationship can certainly impact your spending and savings habits. It may help you open up more to talking about finances and having those tough conversations about debt. Your partner might help you be accountable to start paying down debt, like credit card debt. 

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, paying down credit card debt is an important part of your financial wellness. That’s where Tally† comes in. Tally can help you pay down credit card debt quickly and efficiently with the help of a lower-interest line of credit. 

The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.