Do Not Let Your Friends’ Weddings Derail Your Financial Health
If you are anything like me, your friends are a very important part of your life. I am very blessed in that I have a large group of friends from high school. I also attended an out-of-state university, so I also have many friends who live elsewhere. It is great to have this large network of friends, but with it can come a large financial burden that most people don’t plan for in their post-college budget. Many of my friends have either gotten married or gotten engaged recently, so I have received quite a few wedding invitations of late.
Weddings are great! I love going to weddings, but prior to attending the wedding for my first marrying friend, I did not realize how expensive they were, even more so for my female peers, e.g., the cost of buying a new dress, new shoes, getting hair and nails done. Oh, and don’t forget about the bachelor/bachelorette parties! With more and more people pre-partying in destination resorts over multiple days, the costs can add up quickly, and this is all before you even attend the wedding!
But what if you have multiple weddings to attend? What if they are out of state? With all these expenses, weddings can blow up your budget if you do not plan accordingly. Here are some ways you can plan for and control your costs so that you can partake in all the wedding festivities.
Plan and Control Your Costs of Friends’ Weddings
As with any event that will significantly impact your finances, you need to make sure you are budgeting for it. The good thing with weddings is that you typically know well in advance, so you have plenty of time to plan. If it is a close friend, start planning when they get engaged. You should sit down, look at your budget, and figure how much you can afford to save each month. Then, make a list of all the things that you either need to buy or make arrangements for so there are no surprises. If it is going to be tight, look for ways to cut costs.
Use what you have or what your friends have
I like getting new clothes just as much as the next person, but do you really need new clothing and shoes for every wedding? Before you go shopping, look in your closet and see if you have something you can wear that maybe hasn’t seen the sun for quite some time or may even still have the tags on it. If you can’t find something, ask a friend! Not having to spend money on new clothes can save a significant amount of money and will allow you to spend more in other categories. If the wedding is out of state, see if you can share travel costs. Lodging is typically an expensive part of a wedding. If you can cut this cost by staying with a friend, you can use the savings to enjoy other wedding festivities.
Get creative with the gift
So you have an outfit, you have lodging, and you had a great time at the pre-parties. But what about the gift? Many people feel like they have to spend a certain amount on a gift or that they need to put a certain amount of money in the card; you don’t want your friend to think you are cheap, right? Well, there are plenty of ways that you can provide a gift without breaking the bank. Maybe the happy couple just purchased a new home that needs some painting. You could offer to help paint or help with some other home project. You might be great at do-it-yourself crafts or projects, so you can create or repurpose something for them. You could even invite them over for a nice home-cooked meal and make their favorite dish. Although you may feel gifting pressure, your friend(s) invited you to share in their special day, not because they wanted one more gift.
Don’t be afraid to say NO
Most people find it very hard to say no, especially to someone they are close to, but that little word could be the difference between a stress-free celebration with friends and eating ramen for the next three months while paying off the credit card debt you accrued from the wedding. Maybe it is saying no to the four-day bachelorette party in Vegas. Maybe it is cutting the bachelorette party short for yourself. It may even be saying no altogether if you flat out cannot afford to go. Do not be afraid to say NO. It may be hard to say no to a close friend, but it is easier and less stressful than trying to pay for something you cannot afford.
Time to Celebrate
Follow these tips, and you will be on the right path to enjoying your friends’ weddings and protecting your financial health at the same time. Your wallet will thank you later.