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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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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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