When I was younger, I took pride in knowing I had a unique set of skills — but knowing how to save money wasn't one of them.
But of course, the idea of having my own bank account, filled with luscious dollar bills, was exhilarating.
You would think finally earning my own cold, hard cash would make me want to keep that money in my account, but instead, I blew through it.
With each weekly check came new clothes, a handful of DVDs and extra pocket money thrown away on the weekends.
But that was then.
Thankfully, I've learned how to save and essentially spend no money. Between rent, student loans and just trying to be a regular human, budgeting and saving plays a much bigger role in my life.
Now, I currently live a debaucherous single life, but I know, one day, I'm going to want to start a family. That involves not only supporting myself, but also using whatever savings I have to aid my husband, my kids, our dog Charlie and our live-in housekeeper, Zoila.
Don't judge me, I have fantasies. And along with those fantasies, I've also started to develop strategies as to how I'm going to approach saving for the future with my SO.
My first step? Talking to Michelle Crosby, relationship expert and CEO/co-founder of Wevorce, a site that helps couples complete their own divorces.
(I know, why am I going to a divorce expert when this is all about love and saving money together for the future? Because you don't KNOW what love will truly cost you until it's OVER, people. That's why.)
Here, Crosby shares some must-know advice for saving dollars with bad:
Know Each Other's Incomes And Money Beliefs
First off, you should be prepared for anything to happen to your income.
While my current salary is enough at age 24, who knows what to expect as I get older. It's important to take your own work situation into account, as well as what your SO does, in order to have a greater understanding of your budget and what costs you'll have to cut to afford a bright future together.
Crosby also believes that, when aiming to save, establishing your respective beliefs on finances early on is a crucial initial step.
We each have our own unique financial philosophy, and these beliefs and practices won't always be compatible with a partner's. For instance, one may be a 'saver,' the other, a 'spender,' each comfortable with their own view of what is 'normal.' This is the time for dreaming and for reality checks. Learning how you each think and feel about money will give you a place to start. Then, you can look toward the future and start saving for it.
In other words, once you know what amount of money you're both pulling in and how you've spending it, then it's time to start honing in on what's important and what you can ultimately do without.
Set Up A Budget And Agree On Compromises
Ordering Seamless every night after coming home from recurring happy hours? Yeah, that probably shouldn't be a frequent thing anymore.
According to Crosby, it's best to start changing your habits early and develop a schedule of compromise with your SO when it comes to how you spend your money. Yep, this is the time to start getting creative.
It's easy to have fun without spending a lot. Watch for restaurant coupons, buy-one-get-one-free specials or share appetizers during a happy hour. Opt to stay in instead: Jazz up simple take out with candles, wine and a scrumptious dessert. Gourmet popcorn and your favorite movie can make movie night special. Find out what is happening locally: farmer's markets, festivals, street fairs and the like. There are usually plenty of opportunities to enjoy life yet save money.
Put Down That Credit Card
If, like me, you're already throwing your money at bill collectors left and right and rolling around uncomfortably in debt, don't add to that any more than you have to.
Just because you have a credit card, doesn't mean you actually have to use it. There's no way you're going to save for the future if you keep on swiping.
Plus, any extensive damage you do to your credit will eventually affect your SO, too.
If you make smart money choices now, you and your SO won't be paying for it later. You'll be BASKING in the rewards of your money-conscious ways.
Strategizing financially for your future together can only help you in the long-run, especially if you're looking to have a happy and healthy relationship with your SO.
Remember, you're not that single party gal (or guy) anymore. So, it's time to be considerate and think about what you can do with your money today to have a wealthier relationship with bae tomorrow.