Monday, June 14, 2010

How To Save On a Wedding

This is a guest post by Sharon Smith. She offers advice on frugal living and various debt management programs. She can be contacted at

Church Bells, Wedding Day,
Dating Hell gone away,
What I've Dreamed all my life,
soon to be man and wife.

Are you humming this in your mind? Is it time for you to get betrothed? This is one of the biggest moments in our life. We tie the knot and take vows to be together for a lifetime. Getting pronounced and Man and Wife always call for a beautiful ceremony. Even I had one, so in order to fulfill my desire I got too extravagant and had to part with all my savings. However the lesson here is for a beautiful wedding you need not always put your bank balance at stake. Instead a smart approach towards spending can fetch a better result. Through my own experience I can throw some light on how you can save money on wedding with out giving up on the grandeur of your dream marriage.

Stop spending all your fortune behind wedding. Money can never buy love as the adage goes. So a good planning and some frugal tips can really make your D day worth cherishing.

Here are snippets of some of those frugal wedding mantras that I learnt from my wedding and now letting it out to you.

Wedding guest list needs to be pruned: You can save an enormous amount of cash if you start pruning your guest list. Often there are people who are your acquaintance and not friend. Try to cancel them from the list. Call people who are close to you and your family. Don't take the pressure of inviting all your office colleagues. Invite only the couples instead of inviting their whole family that includes the children.

Save on wedding invitation card as well as on postage: Send an e- card instead of a printed card. It would surely help you save a lot. You can also order a plain invitation and decorate it yourself. Show your creative streak. It's fun! Instead of a reply card ask your near and dear ones to reply on line. This also saves you postage expenses.

Make your wedding dress, make up and hair simple yet elegant: Simplicity is the toughest job. Did you know that? With expensive gowns or an uptown hair-do, you can always look beautiful. But a simple and classic look can actually make your fiancé smitten by love! Try not to hire a designer to design your gown as they won't give you some thing out of the world. If your mother's wedding gown is in perfect condition then you can alter as well as redesign it and use it for your self. It would be nostalgic wearing your mother's wedding gown. This would save a lot of money too. Try to hire someone who is competent in hair do as well as in make up.

Use cash instead of credit cards: Try to use cash while you go out for shopping instead of depending on the credit cards. There is always a tendency to spend more when we use these plastic cards. It becomes really difficult to pay off the piling debts soon after marriage. If you do not use the credit card then you do not have to settle credit card debt. If you get things on cash you can keep a check on the amount you are spending. It would even restrain you from being a spendthrift as well as help you to save money without incurring debts.

Save money on decoration: Decoration means making the wedding place beautiful. That can be a simple gladiola or some nice white drapes! So you can always choose something that will cost you less. You need not go for a rose-laden pathway. Rather just sprinkle some wild flowers and walk away with your spouse. What is important is being together. Before shopping for the decorative item go through an Internet search looking for the cheap stores and bargain prices. Dollar stores have nice and simple products that can be used as an item for decoration like candles, candle holders and plastic flowers. Use silk flower to decorate the reception venue and the church. Silk flowers instead of original flowers can be pocket friendly. The flowers can be too expensive especially during the off season. So some chic artificial flowers can also make your day. Save money by getting silk flowers.

Select a cost-effective menu when it comes to Wedding Food and Drink: Wedding calls for sumptuous brunch or a nice cocktail dinner. But you can always go for a simple yet filling menu. Talk to your caterer stating the motive that you are planning to save money. They would tell you whether a buffet would be less expensive than a seated dinner. The liquor provided by the caterer might cost you more as they would levy extra tax on the total amount. It would be cheaper for you to shop for the liquor in a bulk as they might give you concession. Serve the cocktail after the dinner is laid. And if your fiancé is not too fond of drinking then you may consider organizing a dry wedding.

Don't hire a professional photographer: Even if you hire a professional photographer give him the contract to capture some special moment. If you ask him to take picture of the whole occasion then he might charge you much more. You can afford to pay him for few snaps he would be clicking. Ask your family members and friends to click the wedding photographs. There might be few members in the family as well in the friend circle who can be talented enough to take photographs. In this you can avoid the unnecessary expenses of hiring a professional photographer.

Take my word and do what others might not have done before. A simple wedding can be way above an expensive ceremony. Get closer with your family and friends on this auspicious day! The essence is being together and sharing the best moment of your life! You can have a beautiful wedding and save money at the same time. Just make sure, not to start your newly married life on debts.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wedding Time

Hey guys, sorry for not posting in a long time. I am headed out for my wedding so I will not be posting here for the next couple of weeks. Check back though, because I will have a guest post on saving money on weddings.

In the mean time, check out some of these previous post:

Thomas Sowell: The Pattern of Failure (this applies so well today)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May 10 Net Worth: Chugging along...

Another increase in net worth, only by 2.4% but we will take it! This is the first time in last five months that my total assets have gone negative. It fell only -.23% so not a big hit but still not a gain, mostly from stock market pullback. Either way still positive growth overall.
Lets break it down:

Cash & Savings: This month we managed to grow by $550.00. Not a lot but considering how much we are spending on the wedding, I feel this is still really positive. This is probably going to take a hit this coming month because the wedding and the honeymoon which has out vacation fun in this bracket. This money grows from money directly transferred from paycheck into my money market, savings account and checking. This bracket holds the funds for insurance, auto maintenance, Roth IRA, and vacation. This is why it can be a little deceiving, it also holds my monthly budget in it. It has about 13-15k sitting around as savings the rest are funds that are going to be used at some point over the year. The rest is used on a daily bases for covering expenses, rent, food, auto, etc...

Stocks/Brokerage: Slight move down for the stocks that I own...mostly Exxon and Chevron with the decline of crude oil and the BP oil spill. With gold movement it is making all the mining and etfs I have go up as well. Still watching Silver Wheaton Corp (SLW) and could pull the trigger if stock/silver declines. As of right now I am holding back and hopefully save up some cash. The list of stocks I own (GLD)(SLV)(EGO)(AUY)(AVARF)(RGLD)(ZQK)(XOM)(CVX).

*As you can see I am heavy in commodities in my brokerage account. This is all based on my thought that over the next decade the best investments are going to actually be in hard assets. My Roth/IRA/401k are in pretty common index funds and mutual funds so I figure I can go more risky with brokerage. I believe these will out perform equities in the next decade and if nothing else I feel more comfortable with my portfolio diverse. I am bearish on the US Dollar and US Economy, I believe that trillion dollar deficits are not going bode well for the USA.

Retirement 401k: This braket is just me adding money to my 401k every month. Took a slight loss this month in 401k and feel we will be losing a lot more down the line. Think we might be headed for another downturn in the markets until Zimbabwe Ben starts up the printing press again, which should reflate the market.

Retirement IRA's: Slow growth here this month. I still think the market is going to correct itself. I pulled back half of my Roth into cash, so have about half my retirement in cash right now. I will keep cash on the sidelines and just try and max out my fiancés and my Roth's next year. In this bracket I have all Vanguard Funds (VTSMX, VGSTX, VEIEX)

Debts and Liabilities - Vehicle under 10K!! Credit Cards done...

Credit Cards: This is just a more wedding stuff purchased with credit (Wedding outfit), it will be paid off before I am charged - I pay off any Credit Card debt monthly.

Car Loan: I am paying 4% APR on it so I am paying a little, but not a ton. Still looking to pay it off early-will probably be a goal this or next year. We are still saving up for a house so not sure its in our best interest to get rid of our cash sitting to be debt free on my vehicle.

May is now in the bank, I am still extremely bearish on the world economy and the US economy...We are headed for a financial storm and it is very important for all of us to be up to date on current events. It time to be prepared for the worse and pray for the best. I will be saving as much as I can but with the wedding I am going to be running low on cash flow. (sorry used the same statement as last month but I am still in the exact feelings)