Home-Making Tips for Couples

by Sean Bryant on October 9, 2017

When my hunny and I began to set up our new home, I quickly discovered the process isn’t just about finding the perfect statement curtains or deciding which kitchen gadgets are imperative to our lifestyle. There are many budget-based logistics that come along with home-making. We had to take into consideration how we wanted to establish a budget for rent and household necessities, paying for utilities and what to invest in now to save money later. We also realized that we needed to set aside time to stop and listen to one another’s point of view and ideas, rather than bicker our way through decision making. Here’s a guide to make the home-making process less stressful with your partner.

Budget

It’s expensive to move. Period. Whether it’s first and last month’s rent or a down payment, you’re bound to spend a considerable amount on a new place. You’ll also be purchasing new household tools, home amenities and finding furniture to fit your space when you transition into your new home. It’s important to utilize finance management tools, such as Mint, to track your spending. The Mint app will help you set up budgets that set you up for long-term success, taking into account your current spending trends and how you can change them. This is especially helpful if you will be setting up your home over the course of a few months, making gradual purchases and additions. The app can track multiple credit cards and bank accounts, which helps you in assessing where you and your partner can make spending cuts to save some cash. Even after you’ve utilized the app to manage the initial moving costs, it can be used for continual tracking of your finances.

Utilities

The town or city you move to likely has one central company that provides the basic utilities such as electric, water, gas and sewer. While you may not have a choice which company provides these utility, you can cut down on your bill in significant ways with some simple tricks. For instance, use energy-efficient light bulbs such as GEs Hybrid Halogen CFL 15W, which provide the instant illumination of a halogen bulb and the efficiency of CFL technology. You can also wash your clothes with cold water rather than hot, which decreased the cost of each load by nearly 90 percent. Get in the habit of turning off all the lights, coffee maker or any other electric that isn’t in use.

In the 21st century internet is just as essential as any utility, and this one you can shop around for. Check all your option from big corporations like Comcast and CenturyLink to independent, locally owned providers. While the larger companies might provide bundles on internet and cable television, it might be best to forego such luxuries until life has settled down. Make sure you shop around on the websites of these internet providers for new customer deals, so you can save some initial money when signing up for their services. I learned that in order to get these new customer deals, I had to explicitly mention that I saw it on the internet provider’s website, as they didn’t bring it up naturally in our conversation.

Invest Now, Save Later

There are certain items or services you should invest in that will save you money in the long run. My beau had previously experienced break-ins in his last place, so we felt strongly about setting up our home with a solid security system. We were shopping around for alarms and security services, but realized the best way we could get peace of mind is if we had surveillance cameras. Invest in a set of surveillance cameras that will help you keep an eye on your property and serve as a theft deterrent. Lorex security camera systems allow you to access footage remotely from your phone, so you can keep an eye on your house anytime and anywhere. In the long run, this system will pay for itself, as you won’t have to replace any stolen items or deal with the rise of insurance premiums after making a theft-based claim.

Planning With Your Partner

In the process of setting up our home, my partner and I realized that the constant decision-making and setting of norms couldn’t just happen on the fly. It is best to set aside some time to sit down and have clear communication about the home-making plans. Money is a touchy subject, so if you are hoping to implement any new budgeting plans or other money-saving strategies, approach your partner tactfully about how you’d like them to participate and contribute. In the planning process, you two should utilize your smartphones so you have the same apps with a shared account for budgeting, utilities, security camera footage, to-do lists and general scheduling. If you two have the same tools, you can both carry the load of responsibility and also be on the same page, even when you’re unable to touch base in person. Ultimately, the better the communication, the less headaches you’ll encounter during the home-making process.

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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created OneSmartDollar.com in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.

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