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10 Time And Money Saving Tips For Weddings That I Wish I Knew Earlier

10 Time And Money Saving Tips For Weddings That I Wish I Knew Earlier

So you’re getting married. Congratulations! Are you planning your wedding and looking for some time and money savings tips? You’ve come to the right place. Consider this truth-telling time so that you can avoid some of the more common pitfalls. Planning your special day can and should be such a fun experience that you’d repeat if you could. Since you don’t want to say, “If I had it to do over again I’d…,” consider the following:

1. People Will Remember Two Things about Your Wedding: The Food and the Feeling

Years from now (or sooner), no one but you and your spouse are going to remember what your invitations, flowers, wedding favors, or cake looked like. So why blow a lot of money on them? In all of the weddings that I have talked with people about, not once has someone said, “Girl, I will never forget their invitation.” People WILL remember and talk about the food and how they felt attending your event. They may not remember exactly what they ate, but they’ll remember whether or not they enjoyed it. They may not remember specific details about the day, but they will remember if they had a great time and if everyone seemed happy. If you keep these two things in the forefront and make them a priority when planning your day, the decisions you make can enable you to save time and money.

2.  Beautiful Invitations Eventually End Up in the Garbage Too
Wedding Invitations

    So don’t spend a lot of time obsessing over them or paying a lot of money. If you saw the movie “Bridesmaids,” you probably remember the scene when the main character Annie Walker received an invitation to her best friend’s Paris themed bridal shower. It was a fancy pink striped box that held a candle, statue representing the bride and groom, the printed invitation, and best of all a small box that when opened had a butterfly that flew out and “kissed” her. That invitation package clearly cost some bucks. Of course most invitations aren’t that elaborate, but the point is people are spending a lot of money on something that will eventually end up in the garbage. At least in Annie’s case there was a pretty box to save, and a candle to burn.

    Today’s invitations not only set the tone for the wedding, but allow couples to show off their unique style. It should be a fun process, but not one that breaks the bank because no matter how lovely, most of your guests will eventually dispose of it. That’s good money in the trash.

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    Luckily, there are so many options available that can literally save you hundreds of dollars. From kits that can be purchased at arts and crafts stores, to online retailers like Ann’s Bridal Bargains, there’s something lovely for every budget. Designed your own? Keep costs down by using a discount printing service like Vista Print. Want to design your own, but don’t know where to go? Use a site like Fiverr to get your dream design for less. Want to save even more money? Do away with the paper entirely and send electronic invitations. Sites like Evites provide a number of free and paid options. Better yet, use a site that offers multiple services because…

    3.  A Good Wedding Website Can Help You Save Time and Money
    Wedding Mapper

      They can be super easy to set up and personalized to reflect your individual style. More importantly they can keep you organized by storing everything in one place – which will be a real time saver. Even better? There are a lot of FREE options! A good site will allow you to accept and track wedding RSVPs, display a map to your ceremony site, reception venue, and/or lodging, store vendor information, create a seating chart, maintain a ledger of costs and payments, track gifts and thank you notes, and provide a central location for contact. Sites like Wedding Mapper provide this for free. For couples who want additional amenities, paid upgrades are available. Having it all in one place can save money on aspirin too because there will be fewer headaches. You’ll both know where everything is and you can review it at a glance. To make sure it remains a timesaver, don’t go overboard with the personalization. You know, the telling of your story with pictures, videos, stories and anecdotes. It’s cute, but what people really want from your wedding website is practical information such as directions, and where your registry is located.

      4. There are So Many Ways to Get the Dress for Less
      Beautiful Wedding Dress

        Did you know that the average cost of a wedding dress is $1300? That’s a lot of money for something you’ll be wearing once. I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it’s true! Whether you plan to go the traditional route or not, there’s no reason to pay that much, as you can have your perfect dress for so much less. For instance, you can rent a dress for as little as $75 from sites like Rent the Runway. One challenge with rentals is that you can’t alter them, so consider other awesome options like buying a pre-owned dress. Brick and mortar consignment stores that specialize in wedding gowns, as well as online shops like Preownedweddingdresses.com offer a great selection and an even greater savings. Retail stores like Black House White Market and J. Crew have gotten into the wedding dress game, offering great styles at fantastic prices. Many brides have their dream dress made overseas for as low as $200! Intrigued? The book, “Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget,” by Denise Fields describes how to do just that, along with tons of other money saving wedding tips. If you can bear to part with your dress after the wedding you can recoup some of the cost by selling or consigning it for another bride to wear and love. I purchased my dress (pictured above) from a consignment store for $250 and I LOVED it.

        5. Avoid Bridal Magazines & Television Shows
        Bridal Magazine

          The first time I actually looked at a bridal magazine was after I purchased my dress, shoes and accessories. I was thrilled with my choices as they were “me.” I hadn’t decided on the hair 100% and thought I might find inspiration in a few magazines. All I can say is that I was over the moon happy that I had already purchased everything because the magazines did what they were designed to do – make me ooh, ahh, salivate and desire, regardless of the ridiculous prices. There was even a moment, a tiny one but still, where I doubted my dress and wished for one in the magazine. Don’t go down that rabbit hole. Magazines and shows about dream weddings will clue you into things that you would otherwise never, EVER, have thought about “needing” or wanting – promoting a false idea of what a wedding is supposed to be or should have. More choice is not necessarily better in this case. Pearl encrusted bridal bouquet holder. Beautiful?  Oh, yes. Ridiculous and completely unnecessary? Absolutely!

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          6. Beautiful, Money Saving Wedding Flowers are Possible and Make a Lot of “Cents”
          Money Saving Wedding Flowes

            Wedding flowers cost an average of $1200. Say what?! Someone please explain why so much money is spent on wedding flowers. To keep costs down while still having beautiful flowers, consider the following. Buy flowers that are currently in bloom, otherwise you’ll pay a premium for your dream flower that’s out of season. If you’re using a florist, don’t tell them that you’re purchasing for a wedding, at least until your final price is locked in. It’s like roses on Valentine’s Day. The price will go up.

            If you’re willing to design the arrangement yourself, consider using an online flower wholesaler like Fifty Flowers. Wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco are also great choices for pretty flowers for less. Or you can do what we did and showcase the flowers as accents as opposed to the primary décor or centerpiece. My husband and I scouted three locations, two supermarkets and a farmer’s market, that had beautiful and inexpensive flowers.  We chose three so there were options if one had a bad day. The day before the wedding we bought what we liked and spent $100, including the $5 DIY bridal bouquet. It’s amazing what a few bottles, vases, and ribbon will do! Pictured above is one of the flower accents used during the outdoor cocktail hour.  Not only did we save a ton of money, we saved time as well because we limited our choices to what was available and on hand.

            7.  Wedding Décor Can be Totally Sharp, Classy, AND Inexpensive
            Money Saving Wedding Decor

              Many couples use flower arrangements as their table centerpieces which can add a lot to your budget’s bottom line. You can slash your budget significantly by being creative and using an almost infinite number of options for your centerpieces and décor. How? Three words: Coupons, Ebay, and borrowing. Craigslist counts too. For the DYIer, arts and crafts stores like Michael’s provides inspiration, as well as 50% off coupons. White string lights which are practically a holiday time staple and are probably sitting in your basement, or can be borrowed from family and friends, can create a magical dreamscape. Tea light candles, even flameless ones, in decorative holders add romantic drama and can be had by the dozens for twenty to fifty dollars on eBay. Still want flowers? Use them as accents as shown in the photo above. Not only will you save money, but your guests will be able to see each other over this lovely centerpiece.

              8. You are Not Limited to a Specific Caterer
              Money Saving Wedding Buffet

                Since the food (and drink) is one of the things that will stand out in your guests’ memory, you want to get this one right. It’s not about your budget, per se because done well, hamburgers and hot dogs can be great wedding food. All things being equal however, if your goal is to provide a fancy-ish catered meal and it comes down to choosing between “lesser quality” food options so you can, let’s say buy the fancier decorations, spend the money on the food.  It will feel worth it when people ask when they can expect to be invited back for your next event.  As far as I know, no one has ever asked for a repeat invite because of pretty decorations. With that said, these money saving wedding tips can help you have the menu that you want and eat it too.

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                Yes, you can definitely save money on food by holding your reception during less popular times (think Friday night or Sunday brunch). It is also true that buffets are generally less expensive than sit-down meals. However, the biggest food money saver occurs when you hold your reception at a venue that allows you to cater with whomever you wish.  Doing this one thing will allow you to control everything from your price point to all of your food choices. Finding a venue that will allow you to do this may take a little work, but the savings can be immense. When working with a caterer, do not tell them that you are planning a wedding menu until your menu and price has been locked in. As with the flowers example above, wedding packages may very well be priced higher than other options.

                My husband and I saved a ton of money by using a company that specialized in college dining services. Many college food service operations are contracted out to specialized companies that may also have catering arms. Your memories of college dining hall food may not be fond, but you may be surprised at how well they do fancy. Set up a tasting to see. It could very well be the biggest cost saver of your wedding.  Other tips include renting table cloths, china, tables and chairs from party companies because it may be less expensive than through the caterer. Also, sometimes buying the table cloths is even cheaper than renting and you can sell them and recoup some of the cost!

                9. Your Wedding Cake Doesn’t Have to be Large Enough to Serve Everyone
                Money Saving Wedding Cake

                  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a cake! The wedding industry certainly knows how to get us to buy into whatever they are selling. The cake is no exception. To hear them tell it we need a specially engraved cake knife and server, as well as a floral bouquet for the knife. That’s right. Flowers. For the knife. That cuts your cake. Seriously? Novelty options such as cupcakes, small pies, ice cream sundaes, Viennese tables and more can be marvelous options which on the face of it sound like they would be less expensive than a fancy cake. Just make sure that they are. If you need to have a wedding cake, consider a small one, appropriate for the two of you to enjoy and have your yummy, yet less expensive sheet cake in the back ready to be sliced and served. Believe me, no one is going to wonder or care how all of those square slices came from a small round cake. Tip: Order a cake for half the number of guests attending and serve half slices. If you’ve ever been to a wedding you’re sure to have seen all of leftovers from partially eaten slices that were then just thrown away. By now people are up and mingling.

                  10. You Could Spend Forever Selecting the Perfect Wedding Favor
                  MOney Saving Wedding Godiva Favors

                    For once, the issue here isn’t as much about money as it is about time. There are so many cute wedding favor ideas (that your guests will actually enjoy) that you could devote hours, no days poring over all of the options. The best way to insure that your party favor doesn’t set you back a lot of money is to be open to the possibilities. People who are locked into an idea, and inflexible regarding what they will accept,  incur the greatest cost. Sites like TheWeddingShop.theKnot.com have everything from personalized chocolate covered pretzels, to olive oil, chap stick, mints in decorative tins and more for prices that will make you smile. If you can live without personalization you could save even more. For instance, we bought milk chocolate heart-shaped lollipops (pictured above) that were on sale on the Godiva website for $2 each with free shipping. Some folks “oohed” because it was Godiva, but for us it was more like, “Yummy. Awesome price. Order it. Done!” Make a pact for how much time you will spend making your favor decision and stick to it. That’ll be one less thing on your to do list.

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                    11. There’s Such a Thing as an Ipod DJ!
                    Money Saving Wedding Ipod DJ

                      Live Band or DJ? Neither, since the average price of a live band is $3,000 and a reception DJ is $1000, thank-you-very-much. Thanks to rentable Ipod DJ equipment you can have great wedding music for $500 or less. Locate a rental company that carries this type of equipment. The rental cost could be as low as $65 a day. Rent some speakers appropriate for the size of the venue. You could even bypass the Ipod DJ equipment totally by renting speakers that allow you to connect your Ipod directly to them. Either way, plug in your iPod and you’re good to go! Okay, so it’s not quite that simple. You have some choices to make. Will you develop your own playlist or pay a DJ to record a dance set for you? With some time you can pretty easily develop your own pre-ceremony, ceremony, cocktail and dinner hour playlists. The dance playlist can be a little trickier as you want to include songs that will appeal to everyone as well as have the right mix of fast and slow songs. If you’re confident in your abilities then what you spend in time you will definitely save in money. As far as the duties that a DJ usually handles such as introducing the bridal party and the speeches, etc., and pushing the play button on your electronic DJ, ask and assign someone in your wedding party to handle those responsibilities.

                      These are just some of the many money saving wedding tips to be had. With a little time and research you’ll find substantial savings on other aspects of your wedding such as your photographer (no, don’t use uncle Bill), transportation (are limos necessary?), ceremony programs, printed menus, embossed place settings (remember, these get thrown away like invitations), keeping the guest list small, and more. How do you plan to save? Mazel Tov!

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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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