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.
With that in mind, put your goody two shoes away for these tips on how you and your partner can game the system and score as money-saving MVPs.
Send your partner a kickback referral
Before a recent cross-country adventure, I wanted to buy a proper wilderness backpack, a few comfortable tees, and some other accessories from outdoor outfitter Cotopaxi. They have a pretty good promotion wherein if you refer customers to them via email, the recipient receives $20 off their first order and you receive $20 off a future purchase. To take the most advantage of this deal, I sent the referral to my boyfriend, had him establish a profile through which to buy half my items, and then I 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, consider adding your partner to an existing credit card account. The more you both spend with the card, the quicker you’ll rack up travel or cash-back points. Some cards even have immediate incentives for adding another user to the card such as a discount certificate for a future purchase.
Share subscriptions and cell phone plans
One you decide as a couple to move in together, it’s probably time to cut out unnecessary single expenses and combine auto insurance and cell plans to reduce your monthly bill. You can also share the same loyalty cards, like movie, grocery, and office-supply reward programs, so you can 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 Fiscal Nerd’s 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 Jamie Harper, author of the popular travel blog FlyByTheSeatOfOurPants.com. “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, so you can often get away with two for one. Anymore than that, however, 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
Newlyweds are often celebrated with free glasses of champagne and desserts; 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