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 the money somehow, right? That’s what today’s article is all about – how to track wedding money. 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 simply 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 for 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 budget. You’ll want to track each of the following:
- Estimated expenses: Record estimates for items that you plan to pay for (like 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!