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5 Tips For Having A Low Cost But Still Magical Wedding

5 Tips For Having A Low Cost But Still Magical Wedding

Your wedding is likely to be one of the most memorable days of your life. The moment you and your partner tie the knot is going to feel magical no matter what your wedding looks like, but most people would prefer their magical moment to happen in a beautiful place, in a well-planned ceremony, and witnessed by family and friends.

Unfortunately, sometimes the cost of that magic can be astronomical. Wedding costs have soared in recent years, and the average price tag for a wedding is now over $30,000. That gorgeous, elaborate dream wedding you’ve planned all your life may be a little extravagantly priced for your budget, but there are a number of ways to budget your own wedding without sacrificing that magic.

1. Keep your guest list short and sweet

Roughly 50 percent of your costs will go to the reception, and the vast majority of that cost will be in the form of food and alcohol for your guests, as well as tables, seating, table tags, any wedding favors and venues large enough to accommodate everyone. Needless to say, the size of the guest list determines the cost of your wedding. There’s simply no way to get around the fact that the more you invite, the more costs you will incur.

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The best way to keep a wedding affordable is to keep the guest list as trim as you’re willing to keep it. Rather than a 250-person event, strive for a smaller wedding of 100 or less. This will allow you to look at smaller locations, and might even afford you the option of using someone’s spacious backyard or home as a venue, which can save on venue costs and slash your expenses even further.

2. Thrift and borrow decorations

Renting linens for a night can cost several hundred dollars. Borrowing linens from your parents costs nothing. Buying linens used can cost less than $50 for a full set if your local thrift shop has them around.

Using thrifted table decorations, DIY centerpieces and curtains your friend still has left over from her birthday bash will cut down on renting and shopping for these extra costs. Borrowing things like speakers and browsing Craigslist for wedding decorations can also turn up decently priced surprises to chip away at the expenses on your budget list. Everything adds up, which means anything you can knock off the total price counts.

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3. Find an unusual wedding locale

A city park may have little to no fees to rent the space for your wedding, and may give you the beautiful manicured landscape and outdoor ceremony you’ve always wanted. Canadian company, Wonderstruck Events Vancouver, suggests a small guest list will give you more options on budget venues.

For example, a local art museum that you know looks stunning in the right light can be persuaded to close for a night for a cheaper cost than a traditional venue, and without the associated difficulties like minimum head counts, expectation of tips and bloated costs that come with the wedding industry. Look for out-of-the-way places to hold your wedding.

4. Ask for labor among family and friends

If you have a friend trying to start his DJ career, ask him to DJ as his wedding gift to you. If you have a cousin with a camera and an eye for style, ask if she will be your wedding photographer for the day for a nominal payment (or as her gift, as well!). Does your mom have a skill in the kitchen? See if she’ll help feed your wedding party for the reception.

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Ask your brother who works in a bar to make mixed drinks for guests, ask your other cousin who’s in Orchestra if he and a few friends could record a piece for your wedding. Even a wedding planner can be outsourced to a family member or friend eager to help out in exchange for not having to spend cash on a gift.

5. Plan according to the season

Everyone knows June and July are the most expensive months to get married. The cheapest months to get married tend to fall in the winter and fall, including January, March, April and November. These cooler months tend to come with even cooler nights; one quick way to save on costs and avoid a chilly affair is to plan a mid-day wedding, which is often in less demand and therefore cheaper to book.

In addition, using foods and flowers that are in-season and locally grown can save boatloads in costs. Flowers alone can wrack up hundreds, up to thousands of dollars, especially for a wedding that uses out of season or exotic plants, or supplies flowers for the entire bridal party.

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Using food that’s in season and locally grown, whether it’s catered or home-made, will also keep costs from racking up. For example, the cost of strawberries in a strawberry dessert could be $4 or $5 a pound in the summer, but in the cooler winter months when it’s in season you can find locally grown-strawberries in many regions for $2 or less per pound.

Your wedding doesn’t have to be dull on a budget. You can have a glamorous dream wedding that leaves you breathless without leaving your wallet empty afterwards. Enjoy your wedding planning!

Featured photo credit: lindsey child via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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