By Joel Zimmerman

Planning Your Dream Wedding? Start Saving Well in Advance

The tradition of parents paying for their children’s wedding has changed, as more soon-to-be-wed couples are trying to take the financial burden off their parents. Too often, parents cannot afford a large fancy wedding either, unless they rely on credit.

The average wedding costs around $30,000, and the most important day of their life can set couples or their parents on the short path to lifetime debt. It makes sense to plan responsibly and cut down extra expense wherever possible. Planning a proper budget and researching your options helps you cut costs and avoid blowing all your savings in one go.

How Can You Start Planning and Saving for the Big Day?

Here are 3 major steps to follow:

  1. Understand How Much the Wedding Will Cost and Set a Budget – If you aren’t aware of how much you can afford, and what the wedding will cost, you can find expenses just spiraling out of control. Look into wedding packages, consult a professional planner and ask married friends or relatives for some details of their own wedding costs.Create a list of these projected expenses, search for the best deals and set a realistic budget to work with.
  1. Understand How Much You Need to Start Saving – Set up a monthly saving plan for yourself, your partners and your parents if they also want to pitch in. Based on the budget that you’ve decided in the first step, you can break down the total amount into monthly savings, and also understand how long you will need to save.Start saving as soon as possible, or consider setting a date that works out based on your monthly saving plan.
  1. Begin the Process of Starting to Save for the Big Day – If you’ve already set the wedding date, then you need to increase the amount of money you put away every month. If you have some time before the big day, lock away your savings into high-interest accounts and keep adding to them every month.It’s a good idea to open a separate savings account where you can park spare funds, and set a direct debit or standing order for monthly savings to be transferred into them. Look into zero-interest credit cards that allow purchases to be paid off in a year or more, and set up direct debits to pay minimum monthly dues on time.

Checklists and Other Tips to Follow

  • Compare, compare and then some more – Whether it’s the cost of floral arrangements or the interest rate offered by savings accounts, make sure to shop around and get the best value for your money.
  • Don’t forget long-term goals like retirement – While it’s easy to be convinced that your wedding day is more important than any other, the rest of your lives should not be spent paying for it. Focus on retirement funds and other long-term savings vehicles, too.
  • Give your insurance and wills the once-over – Since you have another person to look out for, study your insurance plans to understand benefits you may be able to receive, and update them where necessary. Also create or update your wills and estate plans.
  • Get started on college savings too – If you want to start planning a family now or someday in the future, it’s a good idea to work on a savings plan that will help pay for college education and other expenses.
  • Look over joint tax filing options and benefits – Married couples receive taxation benefits, even if only one of you is working and earning. Even before you’re married, you can start making joint investments or other financial decisions accordingly.

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