If you are getting married, if your daughter is getting married, if you have a daughter—in all of these scenarios—you need a wedding budget.
My three daughters are all tiny. My oldest is eight and I’ve got 30 years, according to my calculations, to save for her wedding. This is the key, you start early. We do not want to pretend that that’s not a significant expense.
College tuition—if you decide to help with that and if they wanted to go somewhere expensive—is probably the only bigger expense as a parent. We can talk about that more another day, but same principle applies, start early.
Weddings can be pricey. They don’t have to be and we’ll get there next, but they can be very, very expensive. The tricky thing is you don’t know exactly when they’re going to happen.
So, Start Early
I don’t know if the baby needs to be just two days home from the hospital when you start, perhaps, but you start early. It sounds funny to put away 50 bucks a month for a wedding right when a baby is born, or 100 bucks a month if this baby is really gonna want a huge wedding. I haven’t done the math, I’m just throwing that out, but you would want to start early, right.
In saving for anything, earlier is better and with weddings, it’s absolutely the same case.
Cap The Budget
You operate zero-based. You can start up a new budget in YNAB, call it “Wedding” and work within the confines with that just to move numbers around. So as you’re sitting there with your bride-to-be, and you guys kind of look into all of this, you spend this much on flowers, you spend this much on invitations, this much on venue or whatever.
Anytime we pretend we have infinite money we get into trouble, same goes with the weddings. You just would want to say, here’s our limit and we can work and juggle and move things around all in here and everything will be just fine as long as we don’t go past the limit. That’s the key.
So you cap it early on. This is what we’ve got, this is what we have to work with and you just work with it. It’s reality and the budget forces us rightfully so to work inside reality. It’s healthy and it’s effective. It’s the only way to operate.
Don’t Fool Yourself
You do not borrow money and kind of pretend that reality isn’t really happening. Don’t do that, you want to cap it, set your limits. Stay within the confines of your actual finite resources. Make them feel scarce so you can prioritize what’s most important for your special day. Same thing as with all budgeting, priorities, cap, work within the confines of that finite reality.
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Your Next Step
Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?