Wedding season has been in full swing this year with the media abuzz, invitations to showers, ceremonies and receptions flowing, and a level of stress impending due to the amount of money that is being spent on these joyous occasions.
Wedding season spending is enough to stress anyone out. However, your spending doesn’t need to be out of control if you follow these 6 steps to organize and prioritize:
1) Make a list. List out each wedding you’ve been invited to and all of the events (showers, bachelorettes, bachelor parties, etc.) associated with it and potential costs for each. Be sure to include travel, hotel accommodations, dress or tux rentals or purchases, gifts, hair and makeup (if needed) and any other expenses you may incur along the way.
2) Prioritize. Once you have a dollar amount attached to each event and wedding, ask yourself which events mean the most to you to be a part of. The big day likely trumps all, but you may find yourself choosing a more intimate bridal shower or group gathering to celebrate with your friend on a smaller scale. Pick the one you feel most comfortable attending while being aware of your budget.
3) Start Saving. With decisions made on which events mean the most to you, you should have a final cost estimate for each wedding. The best way to not break the bank with each event is to start saving today. Take a look at the time frame you have until each wedding and set yourself up on a systematic savings plan to get you to where you need to be (or at least close). Whether it’s $50 every two weeks, or $150 – by putting the money away now, you’ll have it on hand as each wedding occurs and won’t feel the strain nearly as much as if you were dishing out all of the cash at one time.
4) Plan ahead. For travel, book early and utilize a website such as kayak.com or airfarewatchdog.com for price alerts on flights. Also keep in mind that Tuesdays are typically the cheapest days for airfare shopping.
5) Get creative for gifts. This advice is tried and true. If you’re artistic, crafty or have a special skill that can be shared such as photography, cooking, or even car maintenance, offer up your services or create something unique for your friend. This will not only minimize the amount of cash flow strain, but will likely mean much more.
6) Be honest. Not only with yourself, but with your friends who are getting married. If something just isn’t in your budget, let your friends know. If you’re missing in attendance, they’ll know it’s not because you don’t want to be there. Offer to spend some one on one time with them instead, or help to stuff and send out invitations. Weddings are an opportunity to share in the excitement of the big day together and not about the amount of money that comes out of your wallet.