Don't give up your date night, make it a business opportunity.

4 Simple Money-Making Tips for Couples

The power of focusing on making money rather than saving it

There’s no shortage of advice out there for couples that are struggling financially. Most of this advice centers on how to save money. Take for instance this article on the blog Nerdwallet, “4 Simple Money-Saving Tips for Couples”.

Author Kurt Smith stresses the importance of having the same goals as a couple, especially financially. “Having some extra cash on hand,” writes Smith, “will help you work toward goals such as paying off student loans, saving up for a wedding or a down payment on a house, or starting a family.”

However, as most articles such as his do, Smith focuses on ways to save money rather than to make it as a couple. And, as usual, that means scrimping on things you love and enjoy.

The four things you should give up?

  1. Date nights
  2. Eating out
  3. Gifts
  4. Vacations

As Michael Hilzik rightly writes for the “LA Times” about this kind of advice, “The whole package reflects a long-discredited and all-too-common meme put forth by personal finance gurus to the effect that the little ‘luxuries that get us through the day, from our morning jolt of java to an evening drink with friends at a local wine and tapas bar’ represent squandered money. It’s cheap moralizing: We could all be millionaires, if we lived like monks.”

My rich dad taught me a valuable lesson about how to approach money and expenses. He said that most people say, “I can’t afford that.” To him that was a demoralizing and dehumanizing way of living that diminished the human spirit. Rather, he taught me to ask, “How can I afford that?” One way of thinking closed you off to possibilities; the other way of thinking created great possibility.

Rather than think of ways to save money, couples would be much better served thinking of how to make more money. So here are four simple money-making tips for couples.

1. Refocus date night

Smith talks about how date night can easily add up to $100 after an evening of food and fun. “Keep date night a tradition, but decide on a spending limit that supports your goals and then get creative. You can have a “no technology night” where you turn off all devices, or a Netflix marathon, or cook up some food and play board games at your kitchen table,” he writes.

I believe nothing brings a couple together better than a purpose. Too often date night is spent talking about nothing of importance. While that can be fun sometimes, maybe consider turning date night into a time to increase your financial education together, to dream up and plan a business, or to begin your investing career.

Not only will you have fun, but you’ll also be growing together in financial intelligence.

2. Give your dining meaning

Smith uses the old cliché of not going out to eat to save money. While it’s true that you can save money by making food at home, perhaps you’d be better served looking at dining out as an investment. How? By using it as a way to get some time with mentors and people who can help you grow both personally and financially.

Most high-level people won’t bite on the “can we grab a cup of coffee” invite, but a nice meal just might get them to spend an hour or two with you. Interested in real estate investing, take a successful investor out for a nice dinner. Want to start a SaaS company? Invite a successful founder out. The key is to have the questions you want answered prepared and ready. Maximize the time and your investment. Use this advice to improve your investment or business.

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3. Invest to enjoy the fine things

Smith writes, “While you’re looking to reach specific financial goals, make a pact that you won’t buy each other lavish birthday, anniversary or holiday presents. Couples often spend hundreds of dollars on these special-occasion gifts. By putting that amount into a savings account toward your financial goals, you’re both still receiving a gift.”

Rather than forgo gifts as a way of saving money, use them as motivation to make money. Want to buy something nice for your partner? Ask, “How can I afford it?” Then make a financial plan to obtain a cash-flowing asset that will cover the cost of the gift. The upside of this is that not only will you have the gift for someone that you love dearly, but you’ll also have an asset that will continue to make you money for years to come.

4. Make your vacation a write off

Finally, Smith writes, “Instead of planning your annual getaway, consider having a staycation this year. You and your partner can take the same week off from work and do fun things around town together.”

If you love traveling you don’t have to stop just to save money. Rather, learn how to use tax law to your advantage. In many places, you can write off your travel expenses if they are related to investments or businesses. For instance, I have a friend who always stops and inspects his properties when he travels to cities where he has investment property. By doing so, he can write off much of his travel costs. If he doesn’t own property where he travels, he takes some time to meet with brokers to look at potential investments.

Of course, make sure to check with your CPA, but you’ll find many ways you can turn a vacation into a tax-saving opportunity.

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Original publish date: October 04, 2016

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