When the time comes to cohabitate with your mate, you’ll quickly save money in some obvious ways. For one, you’ll eliminate one monthly rent or mortgage payment. For another, when you consolidate the stuff you both own, you might realize a windfall from selling a surplus car or couch (the proceeds from which could come in handy to cover the various expenses of moving. But there are also a host of ongoing expenditures, both big and small, that may decrease when you and your better half begin your new living arrangement. Based on ValuePenguin research, here are seven potential ways to save by sharing a home.
1. Cell Phone Bill
Adding an extra line to one or the other of your accounts or creating a new family plan could well reduce your combined monthly smartphone spending. Of course, you’ll need to consider the terms of any existing contracts with one or both of your carriers to avoid paying any penalty for an early exit.
2. Gym Membership
If both of you like to work out, you can easily save some change with a joint gym membership. Joining a midtown Manhattan YMCA, for example, costs $99 for a single adult and $174 for a "family" of two adults and any dependent children, for a potential annual savings of $288.
3. Monthly Fees and Subscriptions
One fewer household will mean one less cable and internet connection to pay for, along with single bills for electricity and other utilities. Cohabiting can also offer an opportunity to consolidate or eliminate subscriptions, whether for newspapers and magazines, streaming services (such as Netflix or Spotify) or e-commerce services (including Amazon Prime).
Assuming your food preferences align with your mate’s, buying food for two should allow you to realize some economies of scale, in both grocery bills and energy costs. For example, shopping for two makes it more practical to shop in bulk at big-box retailers — including Costco, where you and your partner could share a single annual membership. (Another tip: No time to cook from scratch? A household of two can take advantage of Blue Apron and other meal-kit services, few of which cater to solo eaters, and all of which offer time-pressed households a more economical option than eating out or ordering in comparable meals from a restaurant.)
If your new home has allowed you to transition from two cars to one, you’ll of course realize savings in car payment and insurance. Depending upon your respective commutes, you might be able to carpool and save on public-transport fares. Even if you retain two vehicles, or buy a second car, you may realize savings by consolidating your auto insurance; most major insurers offer discounts for customers listing multiple vehicles in one household on a policy. If you use public transportation, you might be able to share a monthly or weekly pass, and realize savings over the individual passes you may have purchased when you lived apart.
6. Health Insurance
Is your health insurance plan better than your partner's? Given that you're now living under one roof, explore having him or her join your plan. Your partner could even then ask his or her own employer to direct some of the money they’ll be saving to a raise or other perks, although you should be prepared for a probable "no." Speaking of insurance, be wary of combining your and your partner’s existing renter’s policies, if you have them. The risk of sharing liability with someone you aren’t married to may not be worth the potential reward of immediate savings;
7. Credit Cards
Do you or your loved one have a card with great benefits that kick in at a certain level of spending? Together, you and yours could realize card rewards that were unattainable when you each lived solo. A few card issuers require a card's second user to be a relative or spouse, but many big banks will allow you to piggyback onto the card of a boyfriend or girlfriend by applying for a second card on their account.
Naturally, any or all of the financial arrangements you make together are best accompanied by clear agreement on what expenses you will share and which, if any, you’ll continue to handle individually. The shared expenditures may make it prudent to set up a budget to avoid financial conflicts, and to help ensure that the savings you realize from living together don’t get frittered away on other spending.
This story originally appeared on ValuePenguin.