There are endless ways to save and pay for all the big expenses in life including your wedding, a house, student loans, credit card debt, and saving for retirement. As with most things you save for, the earlier you start the better; and in some scenarios compounding interest can grow your savings exponentially! Instead of choosing between paying for your wedding or a down payment on a house with your new spouse, here are some ideas so you can budget for your wedding and the major events and purchases in life!
- Research – Just like housing, the cost of weddings varies greatly across the United States. According to The Knot 2019, Real Weddings Study* the average cost of a wedding in 2019 was $33,900: with the major U.S. cities’ prices coming in all over the board. Columbus, with an average of $23,500 is much more budget-friendly than Manhattan coming in with an average of a whopping $83,000! Knowing the average costs in the area you decide to exchange your nuptials in will greatly impact how you create your budget.
- Budget – Taking into consideration the locale, creating a realistic wedding budget is key! The venue is generally the costliest wedding expense, so big savings on the venue is going to be the most impactful on your budget. Thinking outside of the box on your venue can be a fun exercise. Is there an inexpensive place such as a local park or family property where you and your partner have special memories? Or maybe your first date was at a restaurant that can also accommodate smaller wedding receptions? Walking down memory lane to find a venue with sentimental value can result in big savings!
- Timeline – Looking at when you want to get married can also impact your budget in several ways. Are you getting married during peak wedding season in your area? With the wedding budget you put together, and considering your overall financial budget, can you realistically save that amount before the date you have chosen? Would you consider having a small courthouse ceremony now, and save for a bigger reception in the future? Are you willing to have a longer engagement to comfortably afford your dream wedding?
- Alternative – If a longer engagement is something you’re considering, there may be some alternatives, that can not only allow you to help fund your wedding and other big purchases but can also provide financial protection and can be incorporated as part of a retirement strategy. One of these ways is with certain Whole Life Insurance policies there are borrowing provisions that allow you to borrow money against the cash value of the policy for any reason. The insurance company loans the policy owner the money and takes a lien against the policy, and most of these policies have extremely flexible repayment terms. This can be advantageous for the policy owner because the cash value of the policy continues to grow even with the loan taken. Having a Whole Life Insurance policy that covers your home and assets can ensure your new spouse is taken care of in the future!
- Avoid High Interest – Try to avoid high-interest credit cards as a vehicle for borrowing money. There are lower interest alternatives such as most personal loans and home equity loans and lines of credit. If, and only if you are disciplined enough to stick to a repayment schedule, a credit card with an introductory 0% APR, can be an interest-free way to fund small portions of your wedding or honeymoon!
Life insurance should be purchased by individuals that have a need to provide a death benefit to protect others with insurable interests in their lives against financial loss. Life insurance is not a retirement plan, investment, or savings account. Withdrawals and loans from a life insurance policy reduce the death benefit and cash value, may increase the chance the policy will lapse and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.
No matter how you decide to pay for one of the most memorable and exciting days of your life, try to be realistic in your budget. If your time horizon permits, explore alternative ways of funding for your big day that allows you to have use of your money while it continues to grow!
Meghan Cutsumbis is a financial professional who is excited to start working with creative types, change-makers, and ambitious young professionals, to disrupt their way of thinking about money and educate them on a 21st century way of approaching personal finances!
Meghan joined Benchmark Income Group™ from the retail industry, where she led several teams as a Buyer and held positions in both planning and allocation at a Fortune 500 retailer. Here, she won 21 different awards and honors for financial and personal performance, including being identified as an “out of the box” thinker. She also spent time as a buyer at a retail tech startup and many years as a professional makeup artist. Most recently, Meghan’s innovative way of thinking and problem solving led to her being sought out to work as a consultant in the wholesale vendor community.
Studying abroad in Hong Kong and China ignited Meghan’s passion for international travel. She appreciates adventure vacations and has gone from scaling a volcano in Bali to snorkeling in underground caves in Tulum!
Meghan holds a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising from Indiana University.
*Source: The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study of over 25,000 newlywed couples across the nation. https://www.wedinsights.com/report/the-knot-real-weddings