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Couples should do it together on Valentine's Day (to save money)

Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis
Money Saving Expert
14 February 2012

It's Valentine's Day, and as couples save if they do it together, what better opportunity to throw out a few MoneySaving tips for those in relationships?

1. Savings together may be a mistake

Cash Isas aren't taxed, so the first place to put your cash is in the top paying one – filling up BOTH partners' allowances each tax year (which starts again on 6 April). 

With normal savings, you pay tax on the interest at the same rate of your income tax, so 20%, 40% or 50%.

If you're married or civil partners and one of you pays tax at a higher rate than the other, and you trust each other, make sure all the savings are in the name of the lower-rate taxpayer. This way you'll pay much less tax on the interest, saving you money.

If you've money in a joint account, half is deemed to be from one partner, half from the other. So each half of the interest is taxed at each person's tax rate. So you could be giving too much away if one of you is a higher-rate payer but the other isn't. If you're not married or civil partners, but living together, there's usually no problem in moving savings between you.

There's a minor issue of inheritance tax if one of you dies within seven years of making the 'gift', but for most people it's not an issue, although generally the older you get the more likely it is you may be affected by this.     2. Travel insurance together is a winner

An annual travel insurance policy covers you for all trips away in a year for a one-off fee (see the Cheap Travel Insurance guide).

The cheapest annual policies beat the cheapest standalone if you go away more than twice a year – even including weekend breaks.

If you normally book via travel agents it's also possible an annual policy is cheaper than just a week's cover from them. If you get annual insurance then it's far cheaper to get a joint policy. The cheapest, reasonable, annual worldwide policy is £25 each, so that's £50 for two, but a joint policy is £35.

However, if you get an annual couple's or family policy, this may only cover you if you travel together. But many insurers will extend it to cover specific separate travel on occasion, so you should call and let them know first. 

3. Beware of becoming credit linked

When you apply for new credit, the information held on your credit reference files is used by companies to score you as to whether you're likely to be a profitable customer, and thus whether they should lend to you. Normally it's judged on just the applicant's information. But there are times you can be 'credit linked' so they can refer to someone else's credit history too. Credit linking doesn't come from holding hands, snogging or even marriage – you can only be credit linked by getting a joint product, specifically a mortgage or a bank account (joint credit cards don't exist).  So be wary of applying for joint products if one of you has a poor credit history.

4. MoneySavers do cashback together

Both the Capital One Mastercard and the Amex Platinum (with a £25 annual fee) currently offer a huge 5% introductory cashback for new cardholders for the first three months (max £100).

Provided you set up a direct debit to repay the card IN FULL at the end of the month to avoid the 19.9% and 18.5% representative APR interest, you can easily be quids in. Yet couples in a trusting relationship can boost this with a little trick. If one of you applies for one of these cards making the other the 2nd cardholder (note, it's not a joint card), you can both use it to get the intro 5% cashback for three months.

Then, the other applies for the same card and you do it all over again.

5. Ensure you've a financial factsheet 

Too many couples say to me "my husband/wife looks after the money, I know nothing".  This is bad news. First, two heads are better than one, but also because if one gets busy at work, gets ill or even dies (sorry to mention that on Valentine's Day) then it's a nightmare for the other to take over.

Use family money and have budget meetings so both partners can do it together.  As a bare minimum, the partner who looks after the cash should always have a financial factsheet listing all debts, mortgages, savings, insurance and energy payment details, as well as other bills, so at least the info is written somewhere. Keep it safe, and don't put passwords on it.

Valentine's Day tips

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