Andrew Goldman has been writing for over 20 years and investing for the past 10 years. He currently writes about personal finance and investing for Wealthsimple. Andrew's past work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine and Wired. Television appearances include NBC's Today show as well as Fox News. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Texas. He and his wife Robin live in Westport, Connecticut with their two boys and a Bedlington terrier. In his spare time, he hosts “The Originals" podcast.
Saving for a wedding is really not a heck of a lot different than saving for any big purchase—be it a new car, a big trip, or a home of your own. It takes a good bit of discipline to accomplish the first and most important principle of saving for anything: managing to spend a little less than you earn.
A little straight talk before we get to the brass tacks of saving for that wedding of yours. There are two super important questions you should ask yourself before you endeavor to start a wedding account:
Are you or your future spouse carrying significant credit card debt?
If the answer is yes, you should devote all of your joint savings to eliminating it before you begin to save for anything else. Doubt that debt can ruin your life? Read this chilling account of a real couple who spent themselves into a 24/7 debt nightmare, a living hell that began with unwise credit decisions made years before their wedding. If you have a choice between tying the knot at city hall and a wedding you can’t afford, skip the big wedding. A recent poll stated that 35% of relationship trouble began over money issues. Don’t front-load your relationship with something as destructive as debt.
Do you have an emergency fund?
What happens if you or your spouse fall ill or lose your job? Do you have three to six months of expenses somewhere safe to cover the period you won't be earning money? If the answer is no, you might consider creating onebefore moving on to the wedding. Many credit nightmares begin with an unforeseen event that forces a person to finance their life on credit cards. An emergency fund is the best wedding gift you can give to one another.
How to save up for a wedding
Do you have what it takes to save for a wedding? Of course you do! A little financial discipline will take you far.
1. Take a step back
Saving for a wedding requires you to pause, step back, and study your monthly purchases all at one time. Take a good hard look at both your checking account and credit card statements. And go even deeper by inspecting your grocery store receipts. Look at that handwritten bill of sale from the general store (19th-century readers only). The point is: get a big-and small picture sense of how you spend your money so you can start immediately implementing some money-saving habits.
2. Select expenses you can cut back on
A close look at your statements will likely identify lots of stuff you don't need, automatically renewing subscriptions you don't really use anymore, visits to establishments that might not have seemed expensive at the time, but really add up. Inevitably, you’ll start seeing patterns in your spending and those patterns will reveal lots of ways to save money, starting right now. Congratulations, you’re a financial analyst! Take a good look at your bank account and get rid of anything that doesn't bring you pure joy! Looking for some inspiration? You've come to the right place.
Cut the cable cord.
Pretend all Starbucks floors are made of hot lava and brew your coffee at home.
Learn to love generic brand over expensive designer brands. Are you kidding me with the Gucci shirt!
Renegotiate credit card interest rates, cell phone contracts. You'd be surprised how much companies will be willing to bend to keep your business.
3. Open a dedicated wedding savings account.
Once you’ve become a savings Jedi, you’ll want to make sure that you segregate your wedding savings in a separate account so that you don’t accidentally blow your wedding money on a spur of the moment $1,000 tasting menu.
Be smart when planning your wedding
You know what’s a heck of lot easier than saving for a super deluxe, off the hook expensive wedding? Saving for a super fun, off-the-hook reasonable wedding. According to theknot.com, the average cost of a wedding in the US is over $33,000. Gulp, right? The good news is there’s a whole corner of the internet devoted to Scrooging out on wedding expenses. This site’s Wedding Budget Tips provides scads of cost savings recommendations such as:
Book a venue in an off-season month.
Get a firm grasp on how much, if any, your families can contribute.
Locate a venue that will allow you to BYOB.
How much will you need to put away to finance your wedding?
Here’s a revolutionary concept: why not pay for the entire wedding in cash? Imagine how much better you’d feel the morning after the big day knowing that you and your spouse won’t have to spend the next years working to service the debt used to pay for the twelve Grey Gooses Uncle Steve sucked down.
It’s easy to plot for a cash wedding. Just compute the total estimated cost of the wedding, count how many months are left until the big day and divide the cost by the number of months. Then, when the big day comes, party your butt off knowing that you won’t wake up in the morning with the worst feeling known to man—the dreaded debt hangover.
Whether you're saving for a wedding, a home, or just need some help investing for your future, Wealthsimple can help. Every Wealthsimple client gets state of the art technology, low fees and the kind of personalized, friendly service you might have not thought imaginable from a low-priced investment service.