Money is often considered an aphrodesiac. And everyone likes to go out and have a good time now and then. But saving money and padding your account can also show your partner that you are a resposible person. And a fat bank account is often more impressive than spending money frivolously. Below are five ways to save money in a way that pads that account but also keeps the passion burning.
Be disciplined: budgets are sexy
There is a pervasive cultural norm out there that dictates that going out to eat on a consistent basis is standard behavior for couples. These are the same people who have you buying gifts on Valentine’s Day, shopping for expensive jewelry, and taking nice trips to far-off places. Many of you will be surprised to discover then that if you opt to cook dinner and stay in to watch some Netflix your significant other will not kick you to the curb. It’s entirely possible to show your partner that you care without spending unnecessary cash; it just takes creativity and a little bit of advance planning.
If you inform your partner that you’ve created a budget to tighten your belt, a budget that has a nice section in there for time with them, cooking dinner with premium ingredients four nights a week instead of going out twice a week, your new budgeting plans will sound less stingy and more sexy. My girlfriend’s proclivity for savvy financial planning is a long- term turn on; there’s nothing more attractive than somebody who knows the real value of a dollar.
Be decisive: forward thinking gets you discounts and saves you money
It’s easy to think of money as a renewable resource. You earn it, save a little, spend a lot, and then earn some more to replenish your coffers. When you get a promotion it’s as if you’ve struck oil, more and more fuel available to burn. That’s not how you should be looking it.
Consider that there is a finite amount of money you are going to make in your lifetime. Whether it’s $10 million or $10 billion, there is some limit to how much you will be earning before it’s all said and done. Every dollar you spend is another “brick” taken away from your grand total, and it you can never get it back. Looking at things this way, it’s clear that every purchase you make big or small is significant in some way. Depending on the state of your relationship, your partner is also consciously or subconsciously counting the amount of bricks you have left to put toward your life together. That’s where forward thinking comes in.
There are certain items that you know you will need to purchase over the next three, six, or twelve months. Many make the mistake of waiting until just before the time of immediate need to purchase these goods or services, and thus miss out on a plethora of discounts. There are a variety of different sites out there that post discounts and deals of every shape in size in a variety of different industries. Do yourself a favor and write out a list of the different items you will need over the next year (if you can plan out that far in advance) and keep them in a nice spreadsheet. When you see a deal come along that is unlikely to be trumped by any significant margin (and is probably more likely to disappear), then you should pounce. This might mean you wreck your budget in one month and spend little in another, but at the end of the day your net gain will be much higher and you’ll have more bricks with which to build your future.
Be inquisitive: just because it’s expensive, doesn’t mean it makes a good gift
Here we introduce the novel concept of asking your partner what it is they really want. I know I know, the point of gift giving is surprising them so you have to buy something really expensive to ensure they’ll like it so even if they don’t they have to pretend like they do. No, that doesn’t make any sense; do yourself a favor and just ask. There are obviously more subtle ways of prying from your significant other what it is that would make their life better, and if you’ve got a good idea then go for it. But please for the love of your wallet, don’t buy something just because you’re concerned and think that’s what they’re supposed to want and what you’re supposed to purchase.
Two categories of purchase that are always guaranteed to please are (1) things that involve them seeing more of you (2) practical things that they’ll touch every day and will remind them of you. No, that doesn’t mean lots of rings and jewelry all the time, though for some that is exactly what they’re looking for. This holds especially true for those in long distance relationships where the urge to buy your partner things as a form of pseudo-replacement can be bank account crushing at times. Clothing is nice if they’re going to wear it frequently. Hundreds of dollars spent on a dress or shirt for a few wears is probably suboptimal; spend that money on a plane ticket to go visit them.
Be knowledgeable: doing the research for one benefits both of you
A budget is only the tip of the iceberg when it come to financial saavy and should be a stepping stone in what should be a life-long financial process. More than likely by now you’ve been exposed to a variety of different savings and investment vehicles, but you might not know how to take advantage of them. Using that an excuse to not do anything with your money is a poor path. The next time you hear about a 401k match but don’t know what it is, find out. I guarantee if you come home and say “honey let me tell you about this new way I found for us to make/save more money” they’ll be one happy camper.
There are a plethora of online sources for financial education available to you, as well as a variety of different publications to get you started. I’d suggest finding a few good sources and then for a short time every day until it becomes a part of your routine as much as brushing your teeth.
Be happy: always keep the end goal in mind whenever you touch your money
Why are we trying to make money in the first place? To buy a new house? To help loved ones? Improve your quality of life? We all have our reasons, but it’s important not to forget the overarching goal of this endeavor. Money can’t buy happiness; what it can buy is financial flexibility which can be leveraged in a variety of different situations to allow you to do things that make you and your partner happy.
Your partner won’t love or appreciate you because you make more money (if they do then you need to reevaluate who you’re in a relationship with); they’ll love and appreciate you for showing the characteristics and taking the actions that generally result in monetary gain. Developing a budget results in a financial boon yes, but it’s the character traits and thought process that caused you to develop the budget and implement it that’s really important. And for the most part, these traits, which include inquisitivenss, discipline, knowledge, and big picture thinking are exactly what turns a partner on.