A large part of planning a wedding revolves around budgeting. As perhaps the most important day of your life, it’s tempting to splurge on the best that money can buy – a beautiful venue, live musicians, luscious catering, etc. If you’re not careful with your spending, it’s easy for costs to spiral beyond your budget. Even seemingly small expenses like transportation costs and minor decorations can really add up.
Sticking to a budget can be difficult as it means making compromises. But the last thing you want is to start off a marriage in deep financial trouble. Here we’ll look at the most common budgeting mistakes that couples make and how to avoid making the same ones.
1. Not Restricting the Guest List
If you don’t take steps to control your guest list, you’ll quickly exceed your budget. The average spend per guest is $258 according to a survey from The Knot. Each guest that attends equates to additional costs that ultimately add more to your budget.
Be selective about who you send invites to for your wedding. Make a preliminary list with your partner. Start with close relatives and friends, and be sure to set a deadline for replies. Don’t be afraid to limit plus ones as accommodating these requests can throw off your budget.
2. Only Getting Estimates
It’s standard procedure for any budget to have estimates for expected expenses. But creating these figures without any research is a common budgeting mistake. It can actually lead you to greatly underestimating the costs involved.
Contact venues and vendors directly to get more accurate quotes. If a vendor is out of your budget, don’t be afraid to inquire about alternative options, as some may offer more affordable packages for their services.
3. Rushing Into Decisions
Weddings are a major source of revenue for vendors so some may try to get you to sign an agreement that same day. But don’t feel pressured to commit to a purchase that you’re not ready to make. Just like with a home improvement project, changing your mind can be very expensive.
Take the time to review your options so you’re clear on inclusions and cancellation policies. If a vendor is too pushy, simply move on and look for other options.
4. Not Budgeting For Miscellaneous Expenses
Miscellaneous expenses will undoubtedly come up. These can be anything from transportation costs to small accessories like hair volume products and other fees. An additional $10 here and there may not seem like much but they can start to add up quick.
Set aside at least 5% of your budget towards miscellaneous costs to prepare for unexpected expenses. If you don’t use the allotted funds, you could always put it towards your honeymoon or for moving home expenses.
5. Not Tracking Expenses
Planning a wedding is a major task. With all the confusion it can be difficult to keep track of all wedding related expenses. If you’re not carefully tracking where your money is going, you could find yourself exceeding your initial budget. Make it a habit to track expenses for your wedding either with an Excel spreadsheet or a mobile app. You’ll also want to keep track of when invoices are due and how much.
6. Paying With Credit Cards
No matter how extravagant you want your wedding to be, you need to consider whether it’s financially feasible to do so. It’s easy to put expenses on a credit card with the justification that you can pay for it later. But if you don’t immediately pay off the balance in full, you’ll end up paying much more because of the higher interest rates. Pay with cash when possible and if you do use credit, make sure you can pay it off.
7. Making Impulse Buying Decisions
It happens to all of us—you see something you absolutely must have so you immediately buy it without hesitation. No matter how minor an expense is, it’s important to practice some degree of restraint. Before making any purchases, consider whether it’s actually something you need. Chances are you may be able to find cheaper alternatives or even forego it altogether.
Discuss all purchases with your partner and allow a few days before making a decision. This should give you plenty of time to decide whether the purchase is a want or a need. Then you can adjust your budget accordingly to allow for it.
If you stay aware and avoid making these mistakes, you will be more likely to stay within budget and start your marriage off on strong financial footing!
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