Set A Goal With A Time FrameAlthough we set goals for all kinds of things; for some reason, we hadn't set a goal for our wedding. We just kept saying that we'll save. Well, I'm here to tell you that the idea of saving without a goal simply doesn't work...at least, not in my household. So, we sat down and realistically discussed what we would need for our wedding and how long it should take us to get there. We came up with $10,000 as a reasonable budget. It would be enough for my tux, Ana's dress, and everything else included in the wedding (I know about the dress and the tux, Ana's going to have to fill me in on the rest, but she assured me 10K should be enough). Once we decided how much money we should save, things got a bit discouraging. After all, we've got savings goals for other things, and after all of our goals each month are left, there's really not too much money left over for day to day expenses and activities. So, we set the goal to a modest level of $350 a month, which would be enough to get the wedding paid for in just over 2 years...not accounting for interest.
Things We've Done To Reach Our GoalAs I mentioned above, our money is allocated to different things already. So, even though we had a goal, meeting that goal was going to be tough...well, at least I thought it would. Because I thought it would be so tough, I made a few changes to the way we spend and save money; and surprisingly, those changes were incredibly effective. Here's what they are...
- Save Those Singles - Every time we go shopping and pay in cash, we take the singles and change that we've got at the end of the trip and throw it into the wedding fund. At first, I thought this would net us around $50 to $60 a month. Believe it or not, last month alone, doing the dollar and change savings netted us more than $100! We don't really miss the singles, but they add up much faster than we expected.
- Put That Away! - As a freelance writer and entrepreneur, my income can be incredibly spotty. There's never a month where we can't make ends meet, but I don't necessarily have a weekly pay schedule either. So, to make sure we save, when money comes in, we discuss how much we think we need until the next payment and put the rest of the excess directly into our wedding savings. It's amazing how much less we spend when we don't look at all of our excess beyond our normal bills and savings as spending money.
- A Change In The Way We Think - After our savings goals were met and bills were paid for the month, if we wanted something and could afford it, we would go get it....why not, we're young twenty somethings with savings, bills paid, and we usually have money to spend on riff raff...so spending is what we would do. That spending was the number one thing that was holding us back in the past, we just didn't realize it. So, now when we want something that's not necessary, we ask ourselves, "Is buying this item worth prolonging our wedding?". I'm not sure the answer has been yes yet. The reality is, we've come to the conclusions that very few things are worth prolonging our wedding. Because of this, our spending habits have changed drastically.