Five ways having a partner saves you money
Never mind romance and companionship, being in a relationship can save you cash too!
Valentine's Day is around the corner and already the shops are stuffed full with hearts and flowers, so what better time to take stock of your relationship and ask yourself whether you’re really making the most of your partner?
No we’re not talking about whether they’re handy with their DIY skills, good at fixing the car or helping round the house, but ways to get more financial mileage from your relationship.
Tell your insurer about them
Spilling the beans on your relationship can cut the cost of your motor premium.
An investigation by the consumer group Which? found over 60% of insurers vary premium prices according to whether you’re married or not. It's not as crazy as it sounds, as insurance quotes are based on risk. And the thinking goes that men are more likely to drive more sensibly if they have their nearest and dearest in the car with them. So if you’re married or living together some insurers apply the ‘family factor’ which can mean a discount.
Having done some number crunching myself I’ve found insurers including the AA, MoreThan and LV= tend to charge higher policy prices for singletons than their married counterparts. One AA policy produced a whopping £40 discount just for being married. The insurer defends this, saying it gets more claims from single people than married people so policy prices reflect this.
As with any financial product you should shop around as there are some companies where quotes don’t seem to vary according to your living arrangements, including both Churchill and Sheila’s Wheels which came up with the same price for singles, married, divorced or co-habiting couples.
To see whether you've got the best car insurance deal, have a go on lovemoney.com's car insurance quote engine! And be sure to follow the moneysaving tips detailed in 25 ways to cut your car insurance.
Swap names on accounts
There’s usually a ‘lead’ name or main account holder on bills and insurance policies like breakdown cover. And playing around with who goes ‘first’ on the policy can make a difference to whether you get cover.
When my husband was refused renewal on our breakdown cover after a spate of call outs I applied for cover in my name citing him as the second policyholder. This small change meant we got the thumbs up for another year, with new cards in the post and even a £10 saving as I’d used a price comparison site to broker the deal.
Use their tax allowance
Cosy coupledom means you can effectively double your tax breaks if you both maximise your ISA allowance for any savings. Don’t bother and you risk handing over a 20% cut of any interest earned to the taxman.
While you can’t have ‘joint’ ISAs, you can both independently stash away up to £10,680 (of which £5,340 can be cash) within the current tax year. This limit goes up to £11,280 (and £5,640 for cash) from April 6th. So if one of you has maxed out your allowance, why not get your partner to stick some money in theirs to save tax?
A word of warning though. While this is all very well to protect ‘joint’ savings, if one of you has zilch to save on a regular basis while the other is doing some serious saving across both ISAs you could risk waving goodbye to the money if you split up.
It's not just couples that may not be getting the most out of their ISA allowance. Make sure your money isn't wallowing in one of these awful cash ISAs!
Get them to ‘introduce’ you
‘Introduce a friend’ incentives are big business and offered by lots of companies with some deals open to family members.
Another example is the Next catalogue. Persuade your partner to get one too and when they place an order of £50 or more you’ll both get £20 on your account. If you already shop there, it’s an easy way to make £40. Or if you join the same gym then Living Well Health Clubs will give you a free pair of posh trainers, smoothie maker or slow cooker as a thank you.
It's worth checking before signing up that you’re not better off with a ‘joint’ membership if it’s a gym, or applying to another bank rather than just going after any ‘free’ cash or gifts.
Share their suitcase
Let’s be honest, by the time you’re sharing wardrobe space things are intimate enough to share a suitcase when you go on holiday.
And with baggage bills of up to £40 each way with Ryanair (for pre-booked luggage) you can easily save £80 per trip packing your togs in a shared case. But do make sure one of you is organised enough to pre-book this online - waiting until you check-in at the airport will cost more.
If you’re travelling with easyJet baggage charges depend on your destination. So if you’re flying to Paris you could save £19 pooling your luggage and around £32 on a trip to Marrakech.
These are Sue's five ways to make the most out of your relationship. But what are the ways being in a couple saves you money? Or is it more financially beneficial to be single? Let us know your thoughts via the comment box below!