There are plenty of perks to being a couple — splitting household expenses, sharing a cell phone plan, qualifying for BOGO dinner promotions at your favorite chain restaurants — but there are more savings to enjoy if you dig a little deeper. Now put your goody two shoes away and let’s look at how couples save money by gaming the system.
Send your partner a kickback referral
Before a recent cross-country adventure, I wanted to buy a proper wilderness backpack and some other accessories from outdoor outfitter. They had an email referral promotion wherein the recipient receives $20 off their first order. In return you receive $20 off a future purchase. I sent the referral to my boyfriend and had him establish a profile through which to buy half my items. I then paid with my credit card. Then, after receiving my $20 off, I bought the rest of the items.
Add your partner to an existing credit card
If you want to earn rewards faster, add your partner to an existing credit card account. The more you both spend, the quicker you’ll rack up travel or cash-back points. Some cards even have immediate incentives for adding another user such as a discount certificate for a future purchase.
Share subscriptions and cell phone plans
Once you decide as a couple to move in together, it’s time to cut unnecessary single expenses. Start by combining auto insurance and cell plans to reduce your monthly bill. You can also share the same loyalty cards. Sharing movie, grocery, and office-supply reward programs will let you cash in quicker. But that’s not all: “Couples can choose to share passwords on accounts such as Netflix and Amazon Prime so they only have to pay half for each service,” says finance expert Stacy Caprio. “One person can also add the other to their phone bill if the second line is a lower-discounted cost to save money. And if that person gets reimbursed for their phone bill by their work, that’s even more savings.”
Open up the same perk-positive credit card separately
Each partner should always open their own credit card for the opening bonus, whether it’s cash, hotels or flight points. “Being on the same card together only gives you half the points,” explains popular travel blogger Jamie Harper. “We usually each open a different card and use our own expenses to get to the minimum amount to earn the opening bonus. You can use the same technique with opening new bank accounts or store cards too.”
Book lodging for one guest instead of two
If a lodging institution up-charges for double occupancy — not common among hotels, but this frequently happens with rentals on micro-subletting sites like Airbnb and HomeAway — book for one person instead of two. Many times there’s nobody around to monitor the number of guests staying. As a result, you can often get away with two for one; however, anymore than that, pony up the fee. If you’re claiming one guest but show up with three, you should expect to pay the homeowner’s fee, ideally splitting it evenly between your guests.
Pretend you’re married
It’s no secret that newlyweds often receive free glasses of champagne and desserts from hotels and restaurants. They can even receive travel upgrades if an associate is feeling generous. I’m not saying that putting on a pair of rings and masquerading as newlyweds is particularly moral — but it does result in significant savings for those who play their cards right.
Photo Credit: Ocean.ie
The last 2 ideas are really unethical.
Len Penzo says
I agree, Paula … but in the pantheon of unethical practices, they’re pretty minor. This is, after all, an article on how to game the system.
MMM Len rather disappointed in this article. The first four ideas are certainly nothing new and inventive and, as the previous poster stated, the last two are unethical.
Len Penzo says
Fair enough, Liz. Please keep in mind, however, that just because something is obvious and/or old hat to you, it doesn’t mean that it is that way for everyone else.
Jeeze people. Tough crowd here. There is ‘unethical’ and then there is unethical. I thought the article was fun and informative.
Karen Kinnane says
What if the unpaid “guest” at the air bnb place has an accident? The home owner would be covered, the paid guest would be covered, but I imagine (don’t know, maybe someone else does?) the illegal squat person might be out of luck. It is also nasty to treat the landlord this way, using extra water, extra utilities, and otherwise cheating the owner. Air bnb hosts aren’t “the system”, they’re often individuals or couples trying to make ends meet by hosting. This suggestion was tacky.
This article is just what I was looking for! God Bless you man. Have a great day.
Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy your blog, Len. Anyways, fantastic blog!