Planning the perfect wedding can be such an exciting experience, but, if there’s one thing that can take the wind out of an engaged couple’s sails, it’s budget woes. Today, then, we wanted to offer cash-conscious couples some quick tips for saving up for the Big Day. Read on, and get ready see that savings account grow.
1. Set Short-Term Goals
A wedding is a big-ticket item—and there’s nothing quite as overwhelming as realizing you only have ten months to save, say, six figures. Instead of looking at the final number you need to have saved, then, set manageable short-term goals. Aim to put $100 each week in your savings account, or $10 a day—whatever the number is, the goal here is to chop that big wedding budget into smaller, more manageable chunks rather than setting yourself up for failure by working with a single large number.
2. Sales vs. Saving
You know that awesome sundress that’s on sale for $60 when it normally costs $100? So you purchase it and think, Wow—I just saved $40. Well, we say not quite. We happen to think that you’re only actually saving that $40 if you purchase the dress and then put $40 in your savings account. Practice this line of thinking as you prepare for your wedding. Your grocery store clerk circles a number at the bottom of your receipt and says “You saved $12.94 shopping with us today.” Go home and transfer $12.94 into your savings account. The point is that there’s a difference between purchasing something on sale and actually saving money—and you can account for this difference by making a practice of transferring the amount you “saved” into your savings account (or wedding fund) every time you purchase something on sale.
3. The “Sleep On It” Rule
Ready to purchase that awesome pair of boots you put in your Anthro shopping cart? Stop yourself and wait a full 24 hours before making that decision. (Removing your saved credit card info from your computer can also help with impulse shopping.) Remember—you only have one opportunity to throw the wedding of your dreams. Are those boots really worth cutting into that floral budget for?
4. The Power of the Bonus Jar
We all have one—that mason jar or coffee can where we throw those loose dollar bills and coins. Chances are, you throw some pennies in the thing every few weeks or so when cleaning out your wallet and then forget about it. But, we happen to think that jar o’ coins can serve a pretty sweet purpose when it comes to your wedding. Most couples have some sort of “bonus” item or some type of upgrade they wish they could have as part of their wedding decor—maybe it’s a massive floral chandelier over the dance floor or a macrame backdrop at your altar—but these added items are often the first thing to get cut when budget realities set in.
We recommend, then, choosing a wedding wish-list item and funding its purchase with that coin jar you’ve been keeping for years. Think about ways you can add to that coin jar far more often than you normally do—maybe you tip the valet guy $4 instead of your usual $5 and add that extra $1 you saved to the jar; maybe you skip the latte one morning each week and add that $5 bill to the jar instead; maybe you simply pick up that quarter in the parking lot that you’d normally just step over. The key is to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to add small amounts of money to your jar. If you’re diligent, you’ll end up with a decent amount of money to help fund that item of your Pinterest wedding dreams.
If you have a bad habit of online shopping (raises hand), one of the best things you can do when saving for a wedding is to unsubscribe from retailers’ emails. So many of our purchases are made as a result of getting a “You don’t want to miss this sale!” or “Free shipping today only!” notice in our inbox. Unsubscribing from these marketing messages, then, is one of the quickest ways to help curb that online shopping habit.
6. It Never Hurts to Ask
No matter what the purchase, learn to ask for a discount. The worst someone can say is no—and you might be surprised at how often you actually learn about a discount that a retailer doesn’t advertise. Tons of retailers and theatres offer discounts for AAA members, students, university faculty or staff, military members and first responders. You never know what savings opportunities are available unless you ask.
7. Cash is King
With interest on credit cards and overdraft fees on checking accounts, using plastic for purchases can often end up costing you far more than the original amount of the purchase. We recommend keeping cash on hand for emergencies and big-ticket wedding items. If you want to be really diligent about saving, you can also use the cash-in-envelope budgeting method, where you set aside cash in envelopes each month labeled “Money for eating out” or “Coffee money” or “Shopping money.” Once the cash is gone for the month, it’s gone.
Overall, saving for a wedding is about all about being aware and diligent. Keep in mind that the memories from your dream wedding will last forever—whereas that skirt you think you just have to have will probably end up in the donation pile within a few years. If you stay on top of your finances and learn to sacrifice a few added niceties (like that daily latte) for just the short amount of time you’re engaged, you’ll end up coming out of your wedding with far less credit-card debt—and a few added wedding design items you never dreamed you could afford.
Photo courtesy By Amy Lynn