7 Money-Saving Tricks You Can Learn From Same-Sex Couples

By Mikey Rox on 19 January 2015 0 comments

By and large, LGBT couples are the same as heterosexual couples in most facets of our relationships. We express affection, argue, celebrate, and support each other just as our straight counterparts do. Yet there's one area where same-sex and heterosexual partnerships tend to differ, sometimes significantly — and that's our finances. Being part of a same-sex couple affords certain money-saving advantages that historically have been harder for hetero couples.

But straight couples can take advantage of these money-saving opportunities, too. Thus, to help you make the most of your relationship — and reap the financial benefits that gay couples are seizing — here are seven common ways to save that you can learn from same-sex couples.

1. Share Clothing, Accessories, and Grooming Products

Ask any gay man who's dating another gay man of similar size and style, and he'll tell that you that one of the best days of his life was when he and his boyfriend moved in together and each of their wardrobes instantly doubled. (The same applies for lesbian couples, of course.) Because when you're a dude and you're living with another dude, you automatically get to borrow whatever they have that you like. Seriously — Best. Day. Ever. (This applies to straight-guy roommates as well, by the way — even if they won't admit it.) Straight couples, however, can't pull off this feat without raising at least a few eyebrows.

Of course, not all of us can fit into our same-sex partner's clothes, and we don't always share a similar sense of style, so if we lose out on that windfall, chances are we can still swap accessories like watches, ties, and outerwear — a practice that can save us hundreds of dollars a year.

Let's not forget about grooming products, either. What my husband and I have in common that a husband and wife don't is that we can use the same shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, hair product, and cologne on a daily basis. Think about that, ladies and gentlemen: You probably have a bathroom full of "his" and "hers" products that likely dip into the thousand-dollars-per-year territory. But do you really think that that "men's body wash" is specifically designed just for male body parts? Sadly, only the label is, which is why you should think about taking a page from our playbook in this regard, and start consolidating where you can.

2. Take Advantage of "Buy One, Get One" Sales

When Victoria's Secret has a BOGO sale, who benefits? Only the person wearing the bra in the relationship. Mathematically speaking, that's two bras for one person at half their original price. If you're part of a lesbian couple, on the other hand, each lady can get one bra for themselves using this deal. It's hard to argue with those numbers.

Personally, I love scooping up BOGO deals on shoes with my husband. We each get a pair we like, and split the total cost of the discounted bill, which renders it cheaper for each of us than if we were to absorb the total cost all alone.

Again, this isn't a situation specific to same-sex couples, but rather one of which we're more mindful because the sale often applies to gender-specific items that heterosexual couples brush off as not pertinent to their other half — mostly because they're not in the mindset of doing so. Things like bras, I understand, but you should absolutely start thinking as a savings duo in other, more gender-neutral areas, like t-shirts or certain types of shoes.

3. Use the Same Loyalty Card for Similar Services

My husband and I typically go to the same place to get our haircut, workout, and get an oil change, among other services. And to ensure that we're maximizing our reward-earning potential via the establishments' loyalty programs, we have one account that we share so we rack up points quicker. If you and your S.O. are patronizing different establishments, thereby reducing your overall savings (sometimes by A LOT), this is another area where you two should connect and see where it makes sense to join forces.

4. Scale Back Life's Expensive Milestones

Considering the history of how same-sex relationships in America, the majority of gay people — until very recently — gave up on the idea of a traditional wedding. On one hand, it was unfortunate that we couldn't experience that rite of passage like our straight counterparts, but on the other, we saved tens of thousands of dollars that, in hindsight, is much better spent on anything else besides expensive flowers and a cake.

Certainly I'm being facetious here, but you get the point. Just because you're a straight couple doesn't mean you have to subscribe to what our society considers the "norm." If you don't like the idea of spending a small fortune on a one-day party, don't. Find someone who thinks similarly with whom to spend the rest of your life, skip the formalities, and send all your other goin'-to-the-chapel straight friends a Christmas card taken from the bow of your boat as you enjoy the sunset in Fiji. Can I get an "Amen?"

5. Put Kids on Hold Until You're Financially Stable

Biologically speaking, it's incredibly easy for gay couples to not have kids — but that doesn't mean that we don't want them. It also doesn't mean that I'm advising against you having them. Kids, as I understand, are a blessing to many families — but they'll also bleed you dry if you're not prepared. Things happen unexpectedly — I get it — but if you can help it, the best financial decision that you can make for your intended family is to wait until you're financially stable. That may mean that you shouldn't have kids until your late 20s or 30s, but wouldn't you rather enjoy your life with your children, instead of struggling to make ends meet for the next two decades?

6. Rely Less on Outside Sources in Future Planning

It wasn't long ago that gays experienced all sorts of financial restrictions based on our sexual orientation. Because we weren't allowed to get married until relatively recently (and some gay people still can't in certain states), we weren't privy to many tax incentives, inheritance rights, and other financial benefits for which straight couples qualified. So, homosexual couples have had to adapt financially to protect ourselves and make do without help from outside sources. It's a useful skill from which straight couples can also benefit.

Though it's hard, try relying less on what your job or the government says you're afforded or has promised you. (If the Social Security debacle isn't a wake-up call, I don't know what is.) Thus, the only money that's really yours is the money you already have. Anything else is phantom cash that you may never see unless you start thinking differently. Save and plan accordingly.

7. Be a Dual Income Household

Though times are rapidly changing, historically women worked outside the household less often than men. That meant hetero couples often had only one income — and that gays often had dual incomes. Depending upon the nuances of your own personal household situation and preferences, having two parents working outside the home may not be realistic. But that doesn't mean your household can't have two incomes, since it's possible to earn money while working from home, for example. A second income can make all the difference in your financial futures, so explore ways to bring in extra money.

In what other ways do same-sex couples maximize their finances? Please share in comments!

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