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How Marriage Saved Us Almost $6,000 a Year

By Simone Baribeau

NEW YORK (MainStreet)--My husband Ryan is nothing if not pragmatic. "Don't get rid of it," he said, pointing to an old clunker of a 13-inch television that I considered chucking when we shacked up. "You'll need it if living together doesn't work out." I agreed. It wouldn't make sense to throw it away, only to split and have to buy a new one in a few months.

So, the television - along with half of our combined furniture - went into long-term storage.

Less than two years later, we were married. One of our first orders of business as newly hitched realists was to look for ways tying the knot could save us some dough. It turned out, with a little digging, we were able to save almost $6,000 a year, with virtually no change to our daily lives.

Here's how.

1. Health insurance

The first place we looked to cut costs was health insurance. As a freelance writer, I had been shelling out the after-tax equivalent of about $420 a month for coverage. Ryan, a government oceanographer, added me to his policy, which set him back only $247.50 monthly. The difference amounted to $2,070 a year, about a 41% savings. We were off to a good start.

2. Other employer benefits

We set about taking advantage of any of his other work benefits. No luck with boosting his retirement plan. He had already maxed out the company match, so using our combined income to increase his contributions wouldn't result in his employer kicking in more money. We fared slightly better with life insurance. He bought a small policy for me through his job, although whether that results in a net savings or cost depends how long it takes me to kick the bucket. I'm hoping for a loss there, but I'm treating it as a wash.

3. Car insurance

Since we could now prove we were no longer wild singles spending our weekends drag racing on the beach, we called GEICO to see if we could get a deal on car insurance. Forget 15 minutes saving 15%. Combining our policies lowered our premiums $533 annually, more than 26% in savings.