Here’s a SHOCKER! – Nearly 90% of all divorces in the first 7 years are caused by money problems!
According to the Federal Reserve Board, consumers’ outstanding debt on credit cards and other revolving loans has grown continuously over the last decade hitting $1.5 trillion.
Not every couple has the luxury of having their parents share in the expenses of their wedding. However, I strongly recommend that instead of putting all the expenses that you are responsible for on a credit card, once you know that wedding bells are in your future begin to work on a budget together and save every penny you can into a special wedding fund.
A budget is telling your money what to do. A written plan, if actually agreed on, will remove many of the “money fights” from your arriage and add a new level of unity to your marriage. It would be wise to start NOW to save at least 10% of your take-home pay for your future! Read: “The Richest Man in Babylon.”
A wedding is an expensive undertaking. (Opps! Please excuse the use of the word, “undertaking”). 😉 Or put another way. . . weddings are extremely expensive these days.
Once you have a plan. . . stick with it! Unless you have won the lottery or have been really good about saving money, the price tag for your wedding is likely going to take a big bite out of your budget. It’s smart to routinely doublecheck all expenses and track the budget.
Hashing out monetary matters may not make for romantic pillow talk, but a little planning can do a lot for your love life down the line. It is wise to talk money before your relationship becomes serious. A person’s financial habits are an incredible insight into their values and ethics. Marriage is a time that often tests the bride and groom’s financial compatibility. Consider personal spending habits when determining how to establish and manage your finances. As you plan be sure to take into consideration any current debt you already have.
Long before the wedding, determine with the families who will pay for what and how much they are willing to spend. Never ask anyone to spend more than they can afford. Once it is decided who will pay for what and how much, you can get on with determining your wedding budget. By setting priorities and planning a budget for your wedding you automatically eliminate a certain amount of stress that can become a distraction as the big day approaches.
Resist putting your expenses on plastic! Bad move. It is not wise to finance your future together. I strongly suggest not using loans or credit cards for wedding expenses because you will more than likely have other expenses pop up once you say, “I do.”
A better idea is to save for the wedding expenses for which you would be using a credit card. If you want or need to get married before you are able to save the money, cut back on the expenses for the wedding so you don’t need to charge anything. It is possible to save money and have a great wedding at the same time.
Be smart! Plan ahead! If you get started early, you’ll have the time and flexibility to shop sales, cut coupons, do-it-yourself and comparison shop. However, I do not recommend that the fee of a wedding vendor be the only criteria. Service excellence is the key. I know it’s cliché but the best often does cost more. When you find someone that is a little more than you have budgeted for, cut back in another area.
Don’t be tempted to sign up for a store credit card to get your hands on discounts. Most retail store credit cards are not very different than regular credit cards, but they do have some big downsides. One of these is the astronomical interest rates that you’ll be charged if you don’t pay off your balance on time. If you’re continuously rolling a balance over to the next month, the discount that initially grabbed your attention is as good as worthless once you account for the interest charges. In other words, “money down the drain.”
Think about getting married on a Sunday in someone’s backyard. Often there is a lower demand for Sunday weddings can help you cut costs across the board.
If there are no other options and you must charge wedding expenses to your credit cards, do so sparingly. Here are few things you can do to prepare. (Note: A bankcard connected to your joint banking account that you can use as a “debit” card would be preferable.)
First, you might want to open a credit card that has a 0% introductory rate for 6-12 months. Since you know you’ll be carrying a balance for a few months, this 0% rate can reduce your interest costs. Just be sure that you pay your bill on time each month (or your rate will skyrocket) and have a solid plan for paying the debt off before the end of the introductory term. Next, check to see that your credit limits are high enough for the charges you have planned. If your credit card balance goes over 35% of your limit, your credit scores could drop dramatically. You can call your creditors to request a credit limit increase if you think you may need one.
Once the budget is set, the hard choices must follow. How many guests? How expensive a cake? How elegant an invitation? An afternoon brunch or a full-course dinner during the evening? One photographer or more? A limo or a friend’s convertible? A wedding in June or July in the Greater Phoenix areas “off-season” months? (Unless it’s indoors, outside weddings in “off-season months are uncomfortable for the guests because of the desert heat). A wedding gown from the priciest shop in town or one from an outlet store or a mail order catalog or the Internet? Whatever the choices, the future bride and groom should probably pay any deposits with a credit card to ensure that they receive what they’re paying for. (This paragraph contributed by FamilySecure.com)
Remember, one of the only reasons that you should consider paying with a credit card is that paying with a credit card offers some protection should you postpone or cancel the wedding (wedding insurance is a better idea), or should you desire to withhold payment if there is a problem with the service or product.
Do your best to keep your spending under control, and only indulge in things that really matter. Remember. . . a wedding is about love, romance and commitment, not about expensive favors for your guests or going on an expensive honeymoon immediately after the wedding. With proper planning, budgeting and looking for alternative ways to cut corner, it is still possible to reduce the costs significantly and celebrate that special day joyfully and peacefully and credit card free.
Want a brighter future together? Avoid the peril of credit cards for your wedding expenses.
BONUS Articles: “100 Ways to Cut Wedding Costs”
“Splitting the Wedding Costs”
“Get Out of Debt with the Debt Snowball Plan” by Dave Ramsey, author of “The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness”
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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