Most people set a budget when they begin planning a wedding. We did not.
We both agreed on what kind of wedding we wanted, small and intimate and far away on a tropical island. That was about all the planning we did before consulting with our families and booking/buying things. We were planning on paying for all of the wedding expenses ourselves from the beginning – ceremony, 2 week all-inclusive trip, home party, attire, invitations, decorations, you name it – basically everything minus our guests’ trips. We DEFINITELY don’t have money coming out of our ears, but we make enough to pay the bills and we always have a little left over. Our budgeting method: we knew when we saw a dollar amount on things if said amount was too much or actually do-able. In the last 2 years, I’ve been trying to be a better saver. I paid off $10,000 in credit card debt and once that debt was gone, the money I had been putting towards it went straight into savings. I’ve been trying to sock away about $500 a month, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I’ve tried to be really good about it. Tried is the key word. When we first started planning, I had a conversation with my dad about getting all of our guests out to St. Thomas. The intended plan was to have everyone pay their own way, but that wasn’t completely realistic given the economy, various employment situations among family members, etc. So I came up with a plan. I sat in front of my computer and created, yes, you guessed it, another spreadsheet. I swear, I don’t know what I’d do without Excel! Anywho, I tallied up how much money I could save. Let’s see…..
$500 per month for 11 months= $5,500
Christmas bonus= last year it was $1,600, so I rounded down to $1,000 to account for the economy
Tax return (first time I’m getting a return in 4 years)= I estimated $1,000
Free rent in October (something they did for us when we renewed the lease)=$1800
Grand total: $9,300
Holy schnikies!!!!!! That could totally help out the family members and pay for wedding stuff! Oh, how I had such good intentions. The first few months, on every 15th of the month, I paid my bills and transferred $500 to savings. It seemed so easy!
Then my car needed new tires. And my dog got sick. And Christmas came. And I dipped into savings. And I bought a second wedding dress that was twice as much as the first. And I bought $400 shoes. And I decided to make centerpieces. And my bonus was smaller. Seriously, it never happens the way you plan which is why I’m not usually a planner and prefer spontaneity. It really is the spice of life but makes it kind of difficult to plan for a wedding.
So here’s the reality of my good intentions to date:
$500 per month, should have been $3,500 by now, turned into only a current $2,100 in savings
Christmas bonus: $650 (which I am absolutely grateful for, but apparently I didn’t account enough for the economy and I’ve already spent $100 of it)
Grand total to date: $2,650
Yep. About 1/3rd of what I had planned on saving.
Granted, we’re still 4 months out, which could be another $2,000 in savings, provided life doesn’t get in the way. Considering we’ve paid for almost everything for the wedding except the $5,000 for the after party, and we haven’t put anything on credit cards, I’d say we’re doing pretty well. Wedding stuff is in fact where most of my planned money has gone. Which is really not a bad thing considering I was saving for the wedding in the first place. My parents helped out tremendously towards my other family members’ trips, and we also have Scott’s mom to thank due to a wonderful early wedding gift that has totally helped us out regarding expenses, I’m just a little bummed that I don’t have more saved at this point. I still have 4 months to set aside the $500, and my tax return is still not going to be coming for another 2 months or so.
So if my car doesn’t break down, the ceiling doesn’t cave in, I don’t end up in the hospital, my fish doesn’t kick the bucket, and it doesn’t rain…
…I shall have plenty of money put aside by April 🙂 Ok, maybe not $9,300, but I promise, I’m trying!