Let me tell you what this blog post is not. It is not all the typical budget tips everybody and their mom suggests to save money on your wedding. It’s not a compilation of a google search of all the things people usually suggest to save cash on weddings. Instead, it’s the unexpected shifts and tactical tweaks you can make that will have a big impact on your overall budget. If you’re looking for more typical stuff, really this isn’t that.
Wedding Budget Hack #1: Balance Who You Follow
Do you scroll through Instagram or Pinterest for ideas for your wedding? If so, here’s my challenge, for every wedding related account you follow, also follow one money smart or money conscious account. Here are some options: @budgetsavvybride @daveramsey @clevergirlfinance @thefinancebar
Just as those perfect wedding pictures are planting ideas in your mind, these money smart posts and ideas will spark ideas for financial freedom. Work to balance what you are putting into your brain as you plan. If you truly desire to stay within budget and to spend less, you can achieve it. But if the desire to have a certain vision becomes greater than the desire to stay in budget, well then you can’t do it. Filter any inputs that don’t align with what you really want.
Wedding Budget Hack #2: Don’t Pay Interest
More and more couples are borrowing money to fund their weddings. Personal loans are now marketed specifically to couples to help them achieve their wedding vision. These loans have an interest rate somewhere in the range of 7-18%. The average credit card charges 20% interest. But you could use your own money without paying any interest! If you want to save money, avoiding debt is straightforward way to save between 7-20%. Not to mention what you save because … well you just don’t have it.
Wedding Budget Hack #3: Sleep on It
Sleep on it, for a few nights y’all. Don’t be pressured to book now. Walk away from every meeting and every shopping cart for at least 24, but preferably more than 72 hours. If after the waiting period you still think it’s right, then buy it or book it. This gives you the time to cool-off from the excitement of the service or product you want for your wedding. If you’ve been persuaded by a salesperson or a marketing ad, the time allows you to regroup and refocus. If this wasn’t something you really wanted, when you walk away, the urge to get it will go too.
Wedding Budget Hack #4: Keep Beer in Your Fridge
My grandfather, Henry A. Calamari, used to say, “never stretch your finances so much that you can’t offer a beer or a coke to a guest”. This is such great advice for planning a wedding. When you create your budget, make sure there is wiggle room. Keep it reasonable and proportionate to your overall life budget. Don’t stretch your entire life budget thin so that you can have a bigger wedding budget.
Plan a wedding where you can treat your guests to the things you really love. My grandfather liked beer, so he offered it to his guests! I’ve seen couples opt for burgers, breakfast food, tacos, and even pizza as entrees for their wedding. Not only was this food that they really loved, but it was also less expensive than many typical wedding menu items. By foregoing the items that aren’t in the budget, you’ll have the cash to spoil your guests where it counts.
Wedding Budget Hack #5: Find a New Source of Income
I’m sure you’ve read somewhere by now that you need to have a budget and stick to it. Let me add to that. Once you have your total budget number, look for ways to get that money. I’m not asking you to focus on saving money. I’m asking you to open your eyes to the opportunities to earn extra money. Think about whether you have a few hours per week that you could use to make extra money specifically for your wedding fund? Not only will the extra cash help, but you also won’t be able to spend money while you’re working…
Spending time on this will have a lasting financial impact long past your wedding day. There are plenty of ideas for how to bring in money on the side, but I love this article by Dave Ramsey. I’ve found it a whole lot easier to make $100 than save $100 on something I really want. If you are short on time, and you’ve already shut off your TV, look into timeboxing. Getting a handle on how you allocate your time will not only positively affect your budget, it will safeguard your marriage.
Wedding Budget Hack #6: Choose DIY Wisely
Doing it Yourself has become synonymous with saving money on weddings. But take it from someone who sees finished DIY projects weekend after weekend, some of them are soooo not worth it.
I’ve seen DIY centerpieces that could have been outsourced at a fraction of the cost. I’ve picked up 100 DIY favors at the end of the night, that I begged guests to take with them. I’ve seen clients trash the décor they thought they’d resell after their wedding.
I’ve also seen the opposite, DIY which was a cost savings. I’ve seen an artist use her own art for centerpieces, a baker make her own favors that people couldn’t stop eating, and a thrifty client that successfully rents out the décor she used for her wedding more than 2 years ago. The second group took a skill they already have and used it to save money on their wedding. They chose a DIY project with the highest return on investment.
Before you embark on a DIY project or attempt to do a wedding professional’s job on your own, make sure it meets at least one of these qualifications.
The amount of time you spend making or doing this is not worth more than the cost to buy it. If you make $40 per hour and spend 5 hours on a DIY project. Well than you need to have saved at least $200 ($40 x 5) by making it yourself. If not, then go ahead and outsource the project and use your time to make more money doing the thing you are good at!
Admit that you don’t care that you are losing money on it because you really love doing it! And accept that doing it yourself is costing you more money, and you are happy about it.
Wedding Budget Hack #7: Be Organized and Prepared
Most of the financial mistakes couples make while planning a wedding revolve around lack of planning. Its just like anything y’all, if I don’t plan what I’m gonna eat for lunch tomorrow, I’m going to eat out and spend more. If I don’t plan my vacation, I’m going to waste time and money on things I really don’t want to do. If you don’t plan out your wedding, you’re going to pay more, get less of what you want, and waste your own time as well as the time of all those who help bring your wedding vision together.
The best 2 tools to be organized and prepared for your wedding is to create a comprehensive wedding project timeline and separate wedding day timeline. Check out our recent blog post called Wedding Day Timeline in 10 Easy Steps or watch the YouTube video. Look for our future post on the project timeline.
You can have the biggest wedding binder and the most organized electronic folders, but without a tool to communicate that info in an efficient way, it’s not getting past your owns eyes, ears, and brain.
Wedding Budget Hack #8: Pick 1 Less Experienced Professional
Have you’ve heard that if you find and up and coming wedding professional for your wedding, you’ll get the most bang for your buck? Of course, any new professional in any industry is going to be less expensive than a seasoned pro. But you can never get the level of experience and expertise from the newer professional that you’d get from the seasoned one. Such is life.
Here’s the thing, utilizing one new pro can work. Utilizing all new pros can be very hard on the couple and likely the wedding itself. If you want to save money in this way, take a look at your wedding vision and your budget. Decide which element you are less concerned with. Is it catering, music, décor, photography? Keep in mind that in exchange for the cost savings, you will take on some risk related to performance and professionalism. For which element could you live with a less than professional outcome? Ask yourself, can I emotionally afford to hire this less experienced person for my wedding day to perform this service.
Wedding Budget Hack #9: Be an Informed Consumer
This is probably one of the biggest ways you can save money on your wedding. It’s also the way to have amazing wedding pros AND be their favorite client! Set aside some time to gain a good understanding of the services these professionals provide. That will help you determine whether the value you place on the service matches the price the professional has set.
Now, you may be thinking, well why does that matter, I mean I can’t make them change the price. True, you can’t. And I’m certainly NOT telling you to ask for discounts. That devalues your professionals and may affect the level of service they provide.
While this won’t change the professionals’ price, it will change how you understand the service and your expectations for what it costs. Then you are in a much better place to choose a pro that fits both your needs and your budget. The goal is NOT to have it ALL, but instead to have only the things that you really value and want. And you don’t know what this is unless you do the research.
Now as an informed consumer, you can ask for things that make sense from your pros, you can negotiate packages, you can choose pros that match your needs and budget. Plus you don’t come across as that person who is expecting an experienced pro to reduce cost just because you don’t value their service. That’s the worst!
Wedding Budget Hack #10: Track Expenses Religiously
Nothing controls expenses quite like watching them. Find a budget spreadsheet or app that works for you and commit to using it. Set aside a weekly date with your computer to review purchases and bookings and add them to your budget tracker. Most people just hate doing this, and ya know what can I say, I don’t like doing it either. Yet, it is the most powerful tool to reach financial goals.
Thank you for reading this post and for your interest in planning a wedding on a budget. I hope you found this info valuable and that it will help you plan the wedding of your dreams, free of a financial nightmare! Check back for more posts on make the best day of your life, the beginning of your best life!