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14 Feb 2017

10 shrewd money-saving tips for couples

On Valentine's Day, where true love is celebrated around the world, our money experts present a list of 10 money-saving tips for couples.

Find out more:50 ways to save money - our all-inclusive list for couples and singles.

The tax benefits of being married

While getting married or entering a civil partnership to reduce your tax bill is far from romantic, many couples will end up paying less tax as a result of tying the knot.

1. Marriage allowance

If one half of a couple earns less than their personal tax allowance in any tax year (£11,000 in 2016/17), they can transfer unused allowance to their partner so they have less income tax to pay.

This only applies if their partner is a basic-rate taxpayer, meaning they have an annual income of less than £43,000 in this tax year.

The most they can transfer in this tax year is £1,100, which will save their partner £220 in income tax. Our guide on marriage allowance explains more.

2. Married couple's allowance

If one or both halves of a couple were born before 5 April 1935, they may be entitled to this tax break, instead of marriage allowance.

Married couple's allowance is means-tested based on your earnings. Check our guide to see whether you're eligible.

3. Increased capital gains tax allowance

If you're married or in a civil partnership, your annual capital gains tax allowance doubles. That means married couples and civil partners who own assets jointly will have an allowance of £22,200 in 2016/17.

Our video guide explains how capital gains tax is calculated.

4. Bereavement allowance

If you're between 45-years old and state-pension age when your spouse or civil partner dies, you could be entitled to bereavement allowance.

Your entitlement depends on your age and your deceased partner's National Insurance contributions. See our guide to find out whether you're eligible.

5. Inheritance tax

When one half of a married couple or civil partnership dies, the surviving spouse can inherit their assets free of inheritance tax (IHT).

They'll also inherit their spouse's unused IHT allowance, meaning they could potentially have an IHT allowance which is twice as big when they pass on assets. This is currently £650,000.

Spouses and civil partners will also automatically inherit their deceased partner's Isa allowance. Read more in our guide to inheritance Isas.

Couples can save money on their mortgage

Many first-time buyers find it easier to step on the property ladder by buying jointly with a partner. Not only can you split the cost of paying the mortgage, but buying as a twosome can result in lower repayments altogether.

6. Lower mortgage repayments

If you buy a property jointly with a partner or anyone else, you should find it easier to contribute a larger mortgage deposit, which could enable you to qualify for a lower mortgage rate.

See our guide on finding the best mortgage deals for more tips on securing a lower rate.

7. More options through the Help to Buy Isa

A Help to Buy Isa could prove more beneficial for couples buying a property together than for those who are saving for a property on their own.

For starters, the government bonus is paid per person, rather than per property. Couples could therefore earn a maximum government bonus of £6,000 (whereas single buyers can only claim £3,000).

Also, only one half of a couple has to be a first-time buyer to be eligible for a Help to Buy Isa, meaning non first-time buyers buying with a partner could still potentially benefit from this scheme.

Everyday money-saving tips for couples

8. Earn more in interest with current accounts if you stay in credit

High-interest current accounts offer market-leading interest rates on cash savings, albeit only on small balances, and most banks will only let individuals open one account each.

However, Nationwide, Santander, TSB are among the providers who will allow people to open two accounts, provided one is a joint account.

This means those in a couple could potentially earn far more interest from current account savings than those who are single.

Our guide on using multiple high-interest current accounts explains how to make the most of this loophole.

9. Save money on your car insurance

If your partner has a good motoring history, it could pay to add them as a named driver on your car insurance. We've seen countless examples of premiums being reduced for those who do this.

What's more, previous Which? research has suggested that some companies offer lower premiums to married people, regardless of whether the spouse is named on the policy.

See our guide on finding cheap car insurance for more tips on reducing your premium.

10. Cheap train tickets

If you regularly ride the rails with your partner, it's likely to be worth investing in a Two Together Railcard.

This rail card costs £30 for one year, and will reduce your fare by 33%. Both cardholders must travel together in order to qualify for the discount.

For more clever ways to reduce your rail fare, see our top 10 tips for finding cheap train tickets.