After I finalized last week’s post on wedding expenses and budgeting (you can check out the post here), it felt like the wedding expense and budgeting conversation was not complete yet. It was great to talk about budgeting. It was great to showcase how to calculate what you need to save for wedding expenses. It was great to create a plan. But once you create a plan, how do you put saving into action? That is the question I want to dive into today.
Keep in mind this post explains saving for our wedding, but you can change “wedding” into any category you would like. It may be a dream vacation to Europe. Or saving for a new car. Or purchasing camera equipment to start a side job on the weekends (this was me a few years ago). Create a goal for whatever works for you and your life!
I love reading about money and talking about spending habits because everyone is so different. So unique. I am a saver, and I hate having bills. I have learned that about myself. I need a savings goal to focus on each month as I budget. Lately, it was our wedding. Sometimes it is my next vacation. The bottom line is that I love the feeling of having a plan for my money, which is one of the benefits of having a budget. Creating a budget is the first step. The next step is figuring out how to make that budget realistic and happen, which is when savings goals come into play.
The Why of Saving + How It Motivates You
From last week’s post, we created a savings goal for a wedding. Here is a little background information. We looked at the initial amount of funds we had for our wedding. That amount in our example was $15,000. Then, we researched and calculated an estimated cost of our wedding expenses, which calculated to $20,000. Lastly, we took the amount of expenses versus the amount of our initial funds and calculated the amount we needed to save, which amounted to $5,000. Next, we determined how much we needed to save each pay period (or month depending on your payment schedule), which calculated to $250 per pay period (for 20 pay periods).
The best way I know how to keep a savings goal is to create a strong “why” behind it. So, what does that mean? It means you need to have an investment into the reason of why you are saving. It has to be important and meaningful to you so that when the hard times come and you want to spend, you won’t give in to temptation.
Remember when I mentioned this point in last week’s post: If you absolutely must have something specific in your wedding, budget for it. I want to talk about that idea again. When it comes to the wedding and the day you imagined, I want you to think hard about what you and your fiance really want. What is most important to you? What is most important to your fiance? Why do you want to have the wedding you want to have? Write it down. Talk it out with your fiance so that you will be on the same page for saving and spending for wedding expenses.
If you are planning a wedding that is filled with ideas and things that are not important and meaningful to you and your fiance, it is going to be hard to save. Why? Because deep down the areas you spent the funds on were not important. They did not matter to you, which means at the end of spending you are going to be left frustrated. And nobody wants that.
Here are examples of what I brainstormed for our wedding and my why behind saving:
– Beautiful Photography. For me, it was photography – no surprise there! It was my dream to be photographed by our photographer. I have grown the last couple of years admiring her work. And when I thought of our home and the photographs that will hang on our walls, it was her images. Photography was a priority in our budget, and I easily felt comfortable spending and saving for that experience.
– Food and Bar Selection. Good food and bar selection was a priority as well. This was Charles’ priority. We want our guests to have an enjoyable night, and we felt good food and drinks would add to that experience.
– Show Appreciation and Love to our Family and Friends. Finding ways to love and appreciate our family and friends that are joining us. Most of our family and friends will travel for our wedding, and we wanted a way to say thank you for joining us. So, purchasing items and favors for everyone was important.
Here is what a savings goal would look like for our wedding example:
Goal: To save $5,000 for wedding expenses for the next 9 months (equaling to $250 per pay period for the next 20 pay periods).
Why: Because I want us to have a wedding day filled with highlights that are important to both myself and Charles (photography, good food, good bar selection) and allows us to show appreciation to our family and friends who join us on that day.
When it came time to save those extra funds for wedding photography sessions, it was easy because it was something so important to me. Same idea behind the food and bar selections. I could picture Charles and knowing these details were important to him. That made saving easier. I did not complain because I was saving funds that I usually spent. I did not gripe because of how we were spending money. We picked details that were important to both of us, and I understood how our funds were being used for that day.
The How of Saving + Making It Happen
Making a savings goal happen is going to come down to two actions: making more money or spending less.
Make More Money. Is there a way for you to make more money? Take on a side job? Sell items to create some extra cash flow? Are you due a raise at work or will a raise be in your future? Regards to wedding planning, will family give additional funds? Look at your current situation and see if their are any possibilities to generate extra cash flow. If so, save that extra cash flow for your savings goal.
Spend Less. If making more money isn’t a possibility for your lifestyle, you will have to spend less to meet your savings goal. How does that work? The easiest thing for me is to cut extra spending. What are those items that you do not necessarily need? Like eating out for lunch five days a week. Splurging on a new pair of shoes. Cutting spending for cable or decreasing your cable package. Look at your spending habits and see where you can cut.
One of the easiest things I like to do when it comes to saving is to setup automatic transfers from my checking to my savings account as soon as I receive my paycheck. I consider my savings goal a “bill” that I must pay each pay check. When I look at saving as a “bill”, I am less likely to spend the money on non-necessity items and more likely to reach that savings goal quicker so that I can get rid of that “bill” as soon as possible.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the last two posts! Did you enjoy discussing budgeting and saving? Any questions I can help with? Do you have any tips for budgeting or saving for a wedding specifically? I’d love to hear thoughts!
Enjoy your week, everyone!
XOXO – Ashley