If you’ve created your wedding budget and your savings plan, you might have noticed that a big chunk of your wedding budget is likely being funded by you and your partner’s paychecks. In today’s article, I’m offering simple but effective tips to help you stay on track with your monthly wedding contributions by saving money for your wedding automatically. Let’s dive right in. [Read more…] about Saving Money For Your Wedding Automatically
I’ve written a lot about how to pay for your wedding – including how to create a budget, whether or not to incur debt, tracking expenses, etc. Well, today I’m writing a case study about how Luis and I paid for our wedding – including our actual numbers. In this article, you’ll learn the exact steps we took to figure out how to pay for our wedding and the strategies behind our decisions. [Read more…] about How We Paid for Our Wedding: A Case Study
If you’ve read my posts about how to choose a wedding date and how to create a wedding budget you’ve probably noticed that there’s a pretty strong link between those two decisions: wedding date and wedding budget.
For example, the sooner the wedding date, the less time you have to save money for it (i.e. a sooner wedding date yields a smaller budget). The later your wedding, the more time you have to save up for the wedding (i.e. a later wedding date yields larger budget).
If you’re in the beginning stages of wedding planning, this can be a tough decision!
It’s kind of like the-chicken-or-the-egg scenario, right? Should you choose a date and let that determine your budget? Or should you set your budget first and set the date based on that? Today, I’ll help you decide.
The Trade-Off: Wedding Date and Wedding Budget
What this really comes down to is a trade-off between your date and your budget. So which is more important to you – budget or date? In general, here are the trade-offs between these two:
- If you want to get married sooner, and you don’t mind having a smaller budget (and consequently, a smaller wedding), then choose your wedding date first. Once you have a general idea of when you want to get married, you’ll be able to figure out how much money you’ll be able to save by then.
- If you want to have a big wedding (and need a bigger budget) and if you don’t mind delaying the wedding in order to have the kind of wedding you want, then start by deciding on the budget first. Come up with your ideal budget, and plan to delay the wedding for as long as you need to save up enough to meet budget.
Nothing is final at this point! You’re just brainstorming possible dates and budgets. Consider as many scenarios and options as you need until you find the right combo.
Still Don’t Know Where to Start?
If you can’t decide whether the date or the budget is more important to you – I have a quick tip for you. Do this super easy exercise:
- Start with a one-year timeline. Pretend for a moment that your wedding is exactly one year from today. Write this down.
- Figure out how much you and your partner will be able to save each month; multiply that figure by 12 months. Write that number down.
- Think. If your budget is too small, choose a later date and figure out your budget based on the longer timeline.
Follow these steps until you find a date and a budget that you and your partner are comfortable with. Fair warning: this might take several rounds!
Increase & Maximize Your Budget WITHOUT Delaying Your Wedding
I’d like to point out that there are some ways to get a bigger budget without delaying your wedding:
- Wedding Debt: It’s not ideal, and you have to be careful – but taking on some wedding debt can be an effective strategy.
- Choose a Strategic Wedding Date: Getting married during the off-peak wedding season on a weekday can save you thousands! Plus, getting married on a weekday is a sneaky way of keeping your guest list under control, which will also save you money. (This decision saved us $2,000 on our venue alone.)
- Negotiate Everything: This strategy is especially effective if you get married during the off-peak season on a weekday, because you’ll have more leverage in the negotiation process with wedding vendors. We negotiated absolutely EVERYTHING and we saved nearly $15,000.
How We Did It
Luis and I had opposing ideas about our budget and our date.
I wanted to get married within six months and have a smaller wedding for about 50 guests; Luis wanted a wedding for 300 guests and didn’t mind waiting 3-4 years to have a big wedding.
After several rounds of brainstorming, we came to a compromise. We decided to save up for two years maximum and we agreed to take on some wedding debt so that we could get married sooner. But even with the wedding debt, our budget was still lower than we wanted, but we found ways to save – and it all worked out!
Do the exercise above and discuss it with your partner. Choosing a date and a coming up with a budget are both very big decisions, so be patient and communicate with your partner to come up with a decision that you’re both happy with. Best of luck 🙂
Whether you’ve created a wedding budget, or you’re saving up for the wedding, or you’re already making purchases for the wedding – you’ll need to track your wedding expenses somehow, right? That’s what today’s article is all about – how to track your wedding expenses. Let’s dive right in.
Five Tips to Track Your Wedding Finances
1. Have a designated budget tracker.
Have one designated person for all money-related things, that way there’s no second-guessing or confusion about who’s responsible for paying and tracking the spending. So you’ll never have to wonder, “Which bill was I supposed to pay? Did I record that payment in our spreadsheet? Um, did we accidentally pay that bill twice?”
I should clarify something before I go any further. Even though one of you is in charge of tracking the budget, it’s still important to work as a team. For example, I was in charge of tracking our wedding expenses and scheduling all the payments, but I still gave budget updates during our weekly wedding planning meetings and we ALWAYS made money decisions together.
2. Have a separate “wedding-only” bank account
If you don’t already have a joint bank account this would be a good time to open one so that you can have a separate bank account specifically for wedding funds. Even if you already have a joint bank account, you might consider opening up a separate bank account for this. This helps keep the wedding money separate from your regular spending accounts – and helps you easily track how much you have available for the wedding.
3. Use a single “wedding-only” credit card
Use a single credit card to pay for all of your wedding-related expenses. Charging all wedding expenses to a single card makes it much easier to track your wedding budget. You can either use an existing credit card or open up a new joint credit card – either way, just commit to charging wedding expenses to a single credit card.
4. Consolidate Your Spreadsheets
Keep track of your wedding budget, expenses, and upcoming payments in one spreadsheet. Having a single spreadsheet for all of your wedding-related transactions is great because you’re able to see everything on one page.
By the way, I’d recommend creating a shared spreadsheet in Google Drive. Google Drive is amazing because you can share it with your partner so that you both have access to the spreadsheet, you can access it from anywhere, and it’s easy to use.
Did you notice a pattern in the first four tips? Let’s recap: (1) designate ONE person to track the wedding funds, (2) have ONE wedding-only bank account, (3) use ONE wedding-only credit card, and (4) use ONE spreadsheet to track everything. The pattern here is to simplify.
Instead of having to check multiple bank accounts or tracking expenses across several credits, and having to update tons of spreadsheets – simplify your wedding finances. This will save you lots of time, stress, and energy.
What Needs to Be Tracked?
When it comes to keeping track of your wedding money – there are a lot of moving parts and it can be easy to complicate things for yourself. But let me simplify it for ya!
When you really get down to it, there are only three things that need to be tracked: (1) money coming in, (2) money spent, and (3) money to be paid later.
Simple, right? I’m going to break down each of these categories below.
1. Money Coming In
This first category is all about how much money you’re contributing to the wedding. This could be coming from your monthly paycheck, contributions from your families, or loans.
When tracking contributions, it’s helpful to project future contributions too. For example, if your wedding is in a year, you can list each month leading up to the wedding with the amounts that you plan to deposit each month. That way you’ll know how much money you’ll have in the account at any given point (of course, things may change, but this is REALLY helpful for planning purposes.)
2. Money Spent
Track all of your wedding expenses against your wedding budget. You’ll want to track each of the following:
- Estimated expenses: Record estimates for items that you plan to pay for (like the venue, food, beverage, decor, attire, etc.).
- Actual expenses: Track the actual amount you paid *or have agreed to pay) for a wedding product or service. If you have a contract in hand, for example, you can enter the amount (including tax and tip!) in the “actuals” column.
After each purchase, you’ll want to update your budget to see what’s left to purchase and how much you have left to fund those purchases. You might find that you need to make some adjustments to your estimated expenses after each purchase.
3. Money To Be Paid Later
If you don’t already know, many of the “big” vendors will expect you to pay a deposit upfront to confirm the booking and go into contract with them. And then you’re expected to pay the remaining balance later. So you’ll want to keep track of these future payments also – include the due date and amount so that you know exactly when to pay the bill and to make sure that you’ll have enough funds by then. Keep track of bills in your spreadsheet too.
Be flexible and open to change because … truth bomb: there will be plenty of budget adjustments. That’s just the nature of budgeting!
Once you have a solid wedding budget, your immediate next steps should be to set estimates for some of your expenses so that you have a better idea of what you can afford in each category.
This takes a bit of research because prices will vary widely based on what you want and where you’re located.
But I want you to keep up the momentum! So here’s a super rough breakdown for you – it’s very basic, but it’ll give you a better idea of how to move forward quickly.
In a recent post, I wrote about how to come up with your wedding budget. I mentioned that my partner and I ended up taking on wedding debt to pay for some of our wedding expenses. Today, I’m writing all about why we made that decision and how it all worked out for us.
Let me start off by saying that I’m a personal finance nerd and I avoid debt as much as I can. Needless to say, I thought long and hard before I finally agreed to take on wedding debt.