Tightening Your Purse Strings to Save for Your Wedding

by Emily Grace

Many couples today are facing the reality that they will be paying for their wedding themselves, and are able to garner little help financially from family.  Saving money is something that doesn’t come naturally for me.  As a single girl living in Manhattan I understand the importance of pinching the penny and saving as much as possible, and this is so much more important when you’re trying to plan a wedding (thank goodness I’m only having to save for me right now).

Let’s first talk numbers.  Weddings are expensive!  Just accept that fact.  Studies show that the national average for a wedding is around $30,000 and that number will be several thousand dollars more if you’re planning to get married in the New York area.  Good news… you CAN do it for cheaper, but don’t expect to have the 300-person fairytale wedding on a $5,000 budget.  It’s just not going to happen.

Now that you have sticker shock, I present a hefty challenge.  Try to save 20% of your income for wedding expenses.  I suggest setting up an additional bank account to put wedding savings into so you a) are able to keep track of spending and stay on budget and b) are not dipping into personal savings for wedding expenses that will leave you in a tough situation post-wedding.  This is an important day in you’re life, but there are many other important things that you will need to take care of in the future.

So, you probably think I’m a little nutty by suggesting 20% of your paycheck going into a wedding budget, but there are ways to cut back and make it happen.  Simple lifestyle changes like brown bag lunches at work, cooking meals at home, brewing your own coffee (Starbucks really adds up y’all), renting a movie instead of date night out at a theater, inviting friends over and have a BYOB/potluck night rather than expensive evenings out at a club or bar.  Maybe you’re already putting these tips into practice.  How about turning off lights when you leave a room, turning off the television to enjoy reading or planning your wedding, saving electricity also results in big savings.  I love being generous and buying things for people when I see something they’d like, perhaps making something special or writing a personal note would be a better option during these months of planning and saving.  If you’re looking for more tips, check out the article 100 Tips for Saving Money.  If you can’t put away 20% of each paycheck, figure out a number that will work for you both.

What’s the best part about enacting these money saving practices?  You can take these thrifty habits into your new marriage—making it easier to save for other big ticket items like a new home, vacations, or even college funds.

I should start taking some of my own advice because Lord knows it’s going to take me quite some time to get the hang of this saving thing if I’m ever going to get married.  How do you plan on saving for your wedding?

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