Wouldn’t it be great to have a Certified Financial Planner™ for a best friend?
Just think of all the advice you could get about how you might stay on track financially—and how to make your money work harder for you.
Since most people don’t have that kind of access, allow us to make a few introductions: We picked the brains of six CFP®s from LearnVest Planning Services to find out what advice they’d share with the people they love most—from smart ways to help stick to savings goals to how to navigate finances with a significant other.
1. Use Gift Cards for Guilt-Free Spending
For small costs that can quickly add up over time—like that daily Starbucks habit or iTunes purchases—consider buying yourself a gift card and load it with a set, budgeted amount at the start of each month. Then go ahead and enjoy those lattes, scones or apps until your card runs out.
“This makes it easy to keep track of small, daily expenditures,” says Natalie Taylor, CFP®. “Plus, it feels more special and guilt-free when you’re paying with a gift card.”
2. Ease Into Merging Your Money
If you’re just starting to share in financial decisions with a significant other, Stephany Kirkpatrick, CFP®, suggests keeping a “slush fund” bank account into which you each set aside money every month to use for one or two joint expenses.
“You can use this to pay for date nights, a vacation or a bigger purchase you want to make together,” Kirkpatrick suggests. “It helps take away the burden of wondering who is going to pay for certain things—and it’s a great way to get your feet wet when it comes to joint finances.”
After a few months, you can graduate to contributing enough to the account to cover larger household bills if you live together, and before you both know it, the concept of combining your finances probably won’t be as overwhelming.