Help! My mailbox is filled with wedding invites, and I’m trying to budget.
Let’s be real: attending other people’s weddings can get pricey quick. The worst part is that it usually comes in waves. I remember a few years back wondering why I hadn’t gotten any invitations yet. Low and behold, this year I received three for the same month. Be careful what you wish for.
This week we’re featuring two bloggers who tackle this adulthood struggle in their own ways.
First up is Erin Lowry, otherwise known as the Broke Millennial. Her blog is jam-packed with real-talk about handling money as a “Millennial,” and her work has been featured on Forbes and Kiplinger.Help! My mailbox is filled with wedding invites, and I’m trying to #budget. Click To Tweet
The Price Tag of Attending Other People’s Weddings
“Hey – guess who got engaged today,” Peach asked.
My stomach dropped. Our combined dance card felt dangerously full already with seven weddings populating our calendars from May to November.
“Who?” I choked out.
Peach smirked, clearly messing with me.
“Not nice,” I retorted, while wishing I could cradle my travel savings account and whisper in soothing tones, “I won’t totally deplete you.”
Lately, weddings seem to dominate both conversations and my bank account. The onslaught started about four years ago when I’d just hit 23. That’s not to say I’d been wedding free for the first 23 years of my life, but I didn’t have to pick up the tab as card-carrying member of the Bank of Mom and Dad.
Planning for the inevitable
Suddenly, entering my mid-twenties ushered me into a phase of life in which everyone around me seemed ready to get legally yoked to another human being. I was also a big girl with big girl paychecks – not to be confused with big paychecks – who no longer had an active account at the Bank of Mom and Dad.
After a year of five wedding invitations, and no end in sight, I decided it was time to stop trying to squeeze variable line item into my budget and instead give “Other People’s Weddings” its own savings account. It’s part of the reason I routinely joke that I’m saving for a wedding, just not my own.
Previously, the “Other People’s Weddings” fund served as my travel savings account, but considering most of my vacation had been co-opted by true love, the logic followed to just transition the account too.
The account gets funded by 25% of each freelance paycheck I earn. To clarify, that means I’m exclusively using side hustle money to pay for travel and focus my daytime job salary on other financial goals. Part of the reason I freelance is to subsidize non-essentials (in the sense of survival) like travel. I aim to have $2,000 to $4,000 available at any given time (depending on how many flights, hotels, presents and bachelorette parties I’ve recently attended).
On a few occasions, Peach and I have leveraged a wedding destination into a longer vacation. When my best friend got married in Dallas, Peach and I rented a car and road tripped with another friend to Austin the day after the wedding.
Finish reading directly on BrokeMillennial.com to see how Erin copes with adding a significant other into the mix, and her secret to keeping her budget in check.
Our second feature comes from Kelly Fisher, but you may know her as @BrainyChickFinance. If this name doesn’t ring a (wedding) bell, you’ll be hearing from her soon. Her work has been featured by CNN Money, among many others.
If you clicked through to finish reading Erin’s blog, you’ll notice Kelly takes a different approach to the inevitable onslaught of wedding invites that might be hiding in your mailbox. Read on.
5 ways to attend a wedding on a budget
It is that time of year where people are getting engaged and the invitations are starting to fill your mailbox. Score! You know you will rock your best dance moves when they say “I do”. You, even, share your excitement for the happy couple on facebook or like an Instagram photo, but in the back of your mind you are hesitant to go. You definitely want to attend – but how can you afford it when you are on a budget?
Here are 5 ways to attend a wedding on a budget
Budget for a gift
While many people are using honeyfund instead of gifts, it is still customary to give a gift of some kind. At the beginning of each year, set aside $50-$100 for gifts that might pop up. Potentially and if applicable, re-gift gift cards that might not be of interest to you. Better yet, if you know the couple loves to shop somewhere, get a gift card at a discounted price at Raise.com
Join friends for gifts for bridal and engagement parties
Parties can get pricey, especially if you are apart of the bridal party. If there is a gift or party idea that the bride or groom are wishing for, ask if someone wants to go in on it with you. A $100 gift certificate for a massage is more manageable if friends share the overall expense – one or two people, and you are only at less than $50.
Buy an outfit that you can re-wear
This year, I have 3 weddings to attend – ah! If you feel the need for a new dress to fit the occasion, pick one that will work at different type of weddings (classy, backyard, etc). This might seem hard to do, but leverage store sales plus coupons to get something that will work for you. Typically, pick something that fits you and your style – sometimes classic is best. Remember, you can always change up the look with different accessories or shoes.
Share hotel rooms
If the wedding is far away from home, carpool with friends or family to cut on the expenses. If the wedding is out of town, see if you can share a hotel room with another attendee. A room with double beds means half the cost of a normal hotel room. Plus, its not like you will be spending your time in there anyways!
Set alerts for cheap flights
If the wedding is out of town and you need to travel and have enough advance, set price alerts on flight discount sites, like Kayak.com or Expedia. Check regional flights, like Southwest, for cheap ticket sales. Don’t feel like you have to buy your ticket as soon as the invitation arrives – see what discounts are out there. Additionally, you can save money by using miles from a frequent flyer credit card if you have enough saved up.
The price of weddings is always on the rise, but don’t let the celebration ruin your budget! These 5 tips will help keep your budget in line and you ready for a day to celebrate.
No matter which method you choose this wedding season, make sure you keep an eye on your bank account. After all, you’ve gotta save up for your own wedding at some point, right? And let’s just say, you’ll have your revenge.