Long-Distance Relationships Can Be Expensive. Here Are 4 Ways to Save Money

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KEY POINTS

  • If your sweetie can be reached by car, prepare to pony up the dough to keep your car gassed up and in good working order.
  • If you'll be flying often, consider adding an airline credit card to your wallet to earn miles for future flights.
  • The best high-yield savings accounts pay upwards of 4% APY and can make it easier to create a "travel" bucket in your account so you can easily keep track of savings goals.

A thousand miles seems pretty far, but they've got planes and trains and cars…

As the saying goes, "Love conquers all." While this is a romantic notion, it fails to account for all the very real expenses you might incur in the course of a relationship with someone in another state, another region, another country, or even on another continent. While there are degrees of long-distance relationships, if you're hoping to travel to see your partner in person even occasionally, it'll cost you money in various ways.

If your partner is within driving distance, you'll be looking at costs for gas, auto maintenance, new tires, and general wear and tear on your vehicle. If they're not, get ready to pay for plane tickets, baggage fees, and possibly even a passport, depending on where your sweetie is located. And in any case, you might end up running through your vacation time at work to keep the romance alive.

Despite the challenges and costs, 2021 data from dating app OkCupid showed that 2 million app users were open to long-distance dating (and adjusted their location preference settings accordingly). Here are a few tips and tricks to spend less while indulging your hopeless romantic side.

1. Save, save, and save some more

First things first, if you're hoping to travel for love, it's best to approach it with a plan and with a good high-yield savings account. The great thing about a savings account is that it gives you access to your cash anytime you need it. Some online-only banks are currently paying upwards of 4% APY on the cash stashed in savings accounts, meaning the money you add will grow over time.

Our Picks for the Best High-Yield Savings Accounts of 2024

APY
4.25%
Rate info Circle with letter I in it. 4.25% annual percentage yield as of July 14, 2024
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$0.01
APY
5.10%
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Some accounts also let you create "buckets" or other separations within the account, so you can designate money for travel costs and set savings goals for yourself. If you're hoping to save up enough to cover an overseas plane ticket in the near future, having the motivation and the right place to keep the cash can help a lot.

2. Rely on the right credit card

Credit cards can be an incredible financial tool in a variety of situations, and long-distance love is no exception. Making regular driving trips out of state? Consider applying for a card that offers gas rewards to help defray your fuel costs. If you're looking at a lot of plane trips, there are airline credit cards to help you accrue miles for future flights.

The best general travel rewards credit cards offer ways to earn points toward other travel expenses, too. Plus, many offer robust travel projections and can be used in other countries without incurring foreign transaction fees. The right credit card can make all the difference for the financial side of a long-distance relationship.

3. Take good care of your car

If your partner is only driving-distance away, you may think you're getting off lucky when it comes to expenses. I am here to dispel that misconception, as your costs will merely be different. The best thing you can do is to keep your car in the best shape possible. This means staying on top of regular maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations.

It also means having a look at your current auto insurance policy and seeing if it still meets your needs if you're putting more miles on your car. Some auto insurers offer roadside assistance, but you might also think about signing up for a AAA membership if you think you'll use the additional benefits AAA offers, such as savings on hotel stays.

4. Lean on flexible and remote work if you can

Finally, it's worth noting that if your work is flexible, it will be easier and likely cheaper to fit a long-distance relationship into your finances. How so? If you work remotely, you might be able to work during some of the time you're away from home visiting your partner. This might be especially important if you're a freelancer or own a computer-based small business, as you don't get paid vacation time the way a W-2 employee often does. If you've fallen for someone in another time zone, it's a great opportunity to lean into being a newfangled digital nomad.

It's hard to be far away from someone you love. But it is possible to make the most of the time you get together and also save some money along the way. It's not romantic, but keeping your finances top of mind can help you afford that long-distance love affair.

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