Alternatively, this post could be introduced by saying:
An IT guy gives advice on how to make life easier (not only for couples).
Not all here is definitely for everyone. Think of it as a range – pick and choose what makes sense for you.
An absolute must for starters. You probably already use shared calendars, but if you don’t, it’s time to get started.
In practice, you each have your own personal calendar plus one together. In the shared one, you then write down events relating to the whole couple/family – trips, visits or even little things like the delivery dates of your purchases (so that at least one of you is home at the time).
Tip: if one of us plans anything without the other being present, we put a question mark after the event name, to mark an unconfirmed event that the other does not necessarily know about, hence not being confirmed by both parties.
The longer you live together, the more your friends intermingle. So why not apply that sharing to your contacts too?
Create a new contacts directory and share it with the other person. Of course, you don’t have to share all of your contacts.
- Bigger chance of actual contact infos (one of you will know that Mr XY has a new number – suddenly both of you benefit)
- neither of you will forget your friends’ birthdays (if you save birthday dates to your contacts… which you should :)
- having a contact of a friend with whom the other went for coffee/beer is useful (dead phone etc.)
- not to mention it’s easier to throw secret birthday parties – if that’s your style
The original version of this post wanted to recommend shared tasks (sounds a bit repetitive now, doesn’t it?), but after our experience we’ve come to the conclusion that - at least for us - it doesn’t work.
In a time of covid (and our own isolation), we couldn’t resist the charm of delivering groceries from our local delivery services.
Since then, by far the easiest form of shopping list has been the cart itself on the web/app of said services. Running out of toilet paper? Put it in the cart - it will wait there for the ordering to happen.
That way everyone can neatly participate in the contents of the bags that arrive. (Not counting the person who completes the purchase and is therefore also the “shopping censor” who has unlimited power to throw things out of the cart before ordering :)
It’s starting to get hot. If you’re already functioning together as a household, why not share other accounts?
Do you absolutely need 2 club/membership cards for Ikea, Bill’s, Tesco, pharmacies…?
- Do you collect points?
- We do. Both of us.
You’ll also appreciate this when one is buying and the other is returning. You’ll have everything in one place.
If you choose to share accounts, you will need to share their passwords too. This is not the only thing password manager, e.g. Bitwarden is great for.
A password manager is an absolute necessity in everyone’s digital life. I’m not exaggerating – if you don’t use one yet, start today!
If you trust each other in the couple enough (and I believe you do, otherwise it would be a shitty relationship), Bitwarden also offers Emergency access. In short, one of you gets badly hurt or worse and the other gets access to your passwords after a set period of time.
Believe me, it’s very handy. I’ve been through it myself (albeit in a different context).
Before you rebel – no, I’m not encouraging you to share inboxes. That’s where I personally draw the imaginary red line.
But what in the case of the account sharing and more?
There are services for email aliases (e.g. Simplelogin) or in other words “masked email addresses”.
I’d like to go into this topic more in depth some next time, Dedicated SimpleLogin article already available; but briefly:
- You create an alias, for example with Simplelogin (which is a brand new email address).
- You pair it with one (or more!) target mailboxes
- You use the alias instead of your real email for the service
- When the alias receives an email (e.g. order confirmation), it will be forwarded to the paired addresses (i.e. both of you)
Bonus: if someone hacks the service or sells your email to spammers, you don’t have to worry about it because you just deactivate the alias – and nothing spammy ever reaches your inbox.
Is it possible to blend two people digitally into one even more? Rhetorical question..
My wife and I think a joint account is another must. Separating personal and family money is great.
Set up a bank account, add the other as a dispositor. There are also banks that can maintain explicit joint accounts.
Use the joint to pay the common – rent or mortgage, utilities, internet, food… To make sure you have for all that, set up direct standing orders from your personal accounts (right after payday). Keep your personal accounts for your own purchases. Well, just make up your own system.
What to do with the surplus in your account? Or how to collectively provide for your retirement, which is unlikely to be any significant?
There are plenty of investment platforms to choose from. But Portu pleasantly surprised me – it offers sending money from joint accounts, where the name of the registered person (with Portu) and the name of the account from which the money is sent do not necessarily need to match.
So much for the digital little things that make our family life easier. Feel free to be inspired.
I’d love to hear your tricks - show them off in the comments below or let me know privately!