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10 Ways to Keep Your Wedding Expenses Manageable

10 Ways to Keep Your Wedding Expenses Manageable

The average wedding costs $31,213. This can be burdensome even if your parents are helping you, but many savvy older or LGBT couples end up paying for everything without any assistance. With this in mind, it is important to look for ways to reduce your expenses without giving up on your dream wedding. Fortunately, utilizing even just one or two of the following tips can make your wedding much more budget friendly.

1. Cut Back on Your Guest List

There is often a lot of pressure to invite a large list of people, including some friends of the family who you might not even know. Instead of giving into this pressure, sit down and make a list of the friends and family who truly mean a lot to you. Keep in mind that the typical cost of catering for each person is approximately $68, and this does not include extras such as party favors. In other words, if you invite 100 people, you can expect to spend $6,800 on food alone. However, if you can cut your guest list to 50 people, your catering expenses will be slashed in half.

2. Get Married on a Sunday or at a Rural Venue

Many venues offer discounted pricing if you choose a Sunday or weekday for your ceremony and reception. It is also common to get a better price from a rural location that is far off the beaten path. A prime example of both of these price-saving methods is showcased by a popular Michigan rural barn venue that charges up to $2,800 on Saturdays but offers a reduced Sunday rate of no more than $2,100. Discounts of this nature are common throughout the wedding venue industry, but they are never guaranteed. Make sure that you carefully review pricing options before you get your heart set on a specific venue.

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3. Carefully Shop for a Low Rate Personal Loan

No one wants to start their marriage with a mountain of debt, and this is another solid reason to minimize your wedding expenses. However, if you need some financial assistance to take care of everything, it is wise to take the time to carefully shop for the best possible loan option. An online personal loan rate comparison tool can help you save time while still acquiring the lowest APR for your credit level.

4. Skip the Designer Wear

Many people feel compelled to wear a dress or tuxedo that was created by a well-known designer, but the reality is that this is not the best place to spend a large percentage of your wedding budget. After all, the odds are high that the clothing you choose will never be worn again, and there is a huge variety of budget-friendly wedding outfits that come with a much smaller price tag. As long as you look and feel great in your dress or tux, the label that no one else will even see really shouldn’t matter.

5. Go Trendy on a Budget

If you assume that being in line with the latest wedding trends will cost too much money, then you may want to reassess what is actually trendy right now. In fact, pizza buffets for dinner have never been more popular, and many couples are opting for donuts instead of a traditional cake. These options could be even more beneficial if you simply cannot cut your guest list down. Feeding everyone pizza, salad, and breadsticks from a local or chain establishment can easily cut your per person catering costs from an average of $68 all the way down to less than $5 each.

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6. Pick One Must-Have and Structure Your Budget Cuts Accordingly

Most couples have one must-have component for their wedding. This might be a pricey venue that you both fell in love with or the best possible wedding photographer you can afford. Either way, narrowing your must-haves down to one major item will make it easier to cut expenses in other categories. Keep in mind that photos are one of the few things that will actually last forever, so this is a commonly chosen top must-have.

7. Take a DIY Approach to Decorations

Wedding décor can be very expensive, but thanks to Pinterest, it is now easier than ever to take a DIY approach. One crafty couple was able to have a wedding with 150 people for only $18,335 even though they didn’t cut corners with their catering, photography, or wedding dress. Instead, they made their own decorations, which kept the décor budget to a mere $600.

If you choose to go the DIY route, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. First, take the time to research your DIY options to ensure that the price of the supplies isn’t more than buying something similar that is premade. Secondly, you may be able to find really low prices on popular items such as mason jars by checking wedding message boards and Craigslist.

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8. Use an Alternative Registry to Pay for Your Honeymoon

Do you already have everything you need in your home? If so, there is no reason to have a traditional wedding shower or to register for household items. Instead, you can turn to an alternative registry such as Honeyfund or Honeymoon Wishes. These sites make it possible for you to list specific experiences you would like to have on your honeymoon. Your guests can then select an experience and make an online payment or give you a check that covers the applicable costs. In other words, you will be receiving cash instead of gifts, but your guests will get to feel like they have actually purchased you something.

9. Allow Family and Friends to Offer Their Services in Lieu of a Gift

Do you have talented friends or family members who can make DIY crafts? Perhaps you know someone who is a registered officiant or a DJ? Enabling these people to offer their services in lieu of a gift is a great way to bring your wedding expenses down. However, keep in mind what a comparable wedding professional would charge for the service in question, and make sure that you give a tip or a small gift as a thank you.

10. Keep Your Wedding Party Small

Your wedding party can be as big or as small as you want it to be, which means that you do not need to stick with the average of five bridesmaids and groomsmen. Cutting your wedding party down to two or four people who will be standing up with you will not only make planning and photos easier, but it will also reduce your related expenses. Even though your wedding party is most likely paying for their own outfits and any travel costs, you still need to give each of them a gift for their participation. It will also typically take longer to do photos with a large wedding party, which could require you to pay for more time with your photographer.

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Now that you have some helpful tips for reducing the cost of your wedding, it is time to ensure that your personality is allowed to shine through. For example, if you and your soon-to-be spouse love Star Wars or cosplay, there are many ways to geek out on your big day. You should also consider creating a wedding map for your guests if everything is not happening at the same location.

Featured photo credit: barrdaydon via pixabay.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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