Building Out the Budget

House bank with a deposit going in
image via stock.xchng | photography by iprole

When deciding what type of wedding we wanted to have in our pre-gaged state, we knew we didn’t want this big, huge formal wedding but we did want more than just a courthouse ceremony and dinner afterwards.

We wanted a party.

I love throwing a good party and, thankfully, Mr. RT shares my enthusiasm for these sorts of things, so a celebration is not something we’ll willingly forgo. Whereas the usual party funds can be eked out over a couple of months, I’m thinking even a low-key wedding is going to cost more than our usual party budget and, this time, I’m definitely not doing my own catering!

Which brings us back to saving up over time, a benefit we have due to our longer-than-the-usual long engagement.

Confession: I’ve never been good at saving. I never really learned how!

Money was tight, growing up, and what came in almost always immediately went out. Whereas my brother grew up in the same home and was absolutely rabid about his piggy bank (we used to call him Alex P. Keaton-in training), I just never got the memo and, as an adult, not much has changed.

Still, I have learned that if I have a specific goal in mind I do much better than trying to save for some nebulous whatever.

And during the second half of 2011 I managed to get a good start to my savings plan.

But aside from the budgeted savings, what else can be done to help supplement that starter budget built by monthly savings alone?

I’ve known grooms who have taken fast food jobs at night in order to afford a nice honeymoon for after the wedding, but getting a part-time job might not be a) the easiest thing these days and b) most effective with everything else I’ve got going on.

Are you crafty? Do friends rave about things you make? Maybe an etsy store is a way for you to put your talents to good use. I have plans for one of my own plus other projects that may well net some additional wedding funds over the length of our engagement.

Maybe you’ve got a lot of items in your closets and garage and it’s time for a garage sale or an eBay blitz? Or register for items that you can use for the wedding as well as later (though I understand some etiquette mavens frown on that).

You could check and see if your bank offers a rounding-up savings plan–you know the ones, right? Every time you use your debit card (which is every grocery and gas and whatever trip, for me), they’ll round up your transaction to the nearest whole dollar and put that “spare change” into your savings account. Some banks even match those coins for a certain introductory period. It’s a high-tech version of saving your change in a pickle jar–though there’s something to be said for that, too!

And speaking of debit cards: does your debit or credit card have any points options available? And can you exchange those points for gift cards? Might as well put those points to good use, right?

But the real goal is to have a wedding that suits your style and budget without having to open a wedding credit card or get a loan to cover expenses. What’s NOT the best way to start out a life together? More debt!

How are you planning to supplement your initial budget?

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