HOW TO PAY FOR YOUR WEDDING WHILE BEING IN DEBT
If you are newly engaged and are in the thick of deciding how much money to spend on your wedding, but you also have debt, you are not alone. Many couples are in this exact situation. But the difference between you and them is that you are being smart to even ask this question.
Yes, having debt while trying to pay for a wedding is tough. And yes, you may need to make some sacrifices. But the good news is, that it is not impossible. Before you can begin to figure out how to pay for your wedding while having debt, you must get your financial house in order.
Financial house? Yes, your financial house. This means, knowing how much money you and your fiancé have coming in and how much money is going out every single month. This means having some tough conversations and being very honest about your money.
You have one of two options if you are engaged and have debt. One being that you just buckle down and pay off all your debt before you start planning your wedding. Or, you continue to pay your debts while putting money aside for your wedding expenses.
As I am a huge advocate of paying off your debts and becoming debt free, I know that it can take some people a few years to reach that goal. So, if you aren’t in this camp just yet, I’m going to breakdown exactly what you and your fiancé need to do to pay for your wedding while being in debt.
I know that some of you may already be living with your fiancés and have your money combined. But, in this post, I’m going to approach this as if you aren’t living together and you have separate households with separate budgets. But no worries, you can still implement these tips if your finances are already combined.
Set your household budget
Before you can know how much money to spend on your wedding you have to know how much money you have coming in. So, I recommend that you and your fiancé sit down and do this task together but using your own separate households. It may be helpful to have your bank statements from the last few months pulled up so you don’t forget anything.
1. Write down your monthly incomes. This is any money you have coming into your household from a full-time or part time job, tips from bartending, rental income, investment income, side hustle income, etc. Any money you receive on a fairly regular basis, should be written down. For this step, don’t include monetary gifts you may receive for birthdays, Christmas, graduations, etc.
2. List all monthly expenses, excluding debts. These are any reoccurring bills and expenses that you have every month like, utility bills, rent, gas for your car, groceries, gym memberships, insurance, etc. And some of you may have monthly doctor’s visits and prescriptions with copays; include these expenses here also.
At this point, you should have all of your household income and expenses listed (not including you’re your debt payments). Don’t forget about those expenses that you might pay once every few months, like car insurance or home security. Remember, you want to be as detailed and specific as possible.
3. List your minimum monthly debt payments. These are payments like your mortgage, student loans, car loans, bank loans, credit card payments, time shares, department store loans, etc. Again, only list the minimum monthly payments, not the total balances due.
I know some of you may pay more than your minimum payments on your debts, especially if you are a Dave Ramsey fan as I am. But, remember what your short-term goal is right now; paying for your wedding. So, in order to do that in a reasonable time frame (18 months, at the most), paying the minimum payments is the way to go.
4. Add up all of your monthly income. Then add up all of your monthly expenses and minimum debt payments. Hopefully, your income total is higher than the total of your monthly expenses and minimum debt payments. The difference between income and expenses plus debts is potentially how much money you will have monthly to contribute to your wedding expenses.
If your expenses and debts are higher than your monthly income, then you will need to either get more income and/or decrease your expenses. That may mean cutting out things that aren’t necessities, like cable, gym memberships, eating out, etc. The point here is that in order for you to get ahead, you have to bring in more money than what’s going out.
Also, I want to add, that your monthly budget will most likely change every month. Some things will remain the same, like your rent or car payments, but you will need to make adjustments every month. So, make sure you revisit your budget at least on a monthly basis to make sure everything is going according to plan.
Borrow no more
Now that you have your budget in place, and hopefully are bringing in more than what’s going out, it’s time for you to make a tough decision. You have to stop digging your hole deeper. You can no longer rely on loans and borrowed money to be your safety net.
The next step is to make a commitment to one another that borrowing money is no longer an option. What does this mean? This means that if you don’t have the cash to pay for it, then you don’t buy it.
I know, it can seem so much easier just to charge it and pay the balance later. But ultimately, you are robbing yourself of financial freedom. So instead, save up for the things you want and buy them outright with dollar dollar bills yall!
Have a safety net
Now, if you don’t already have some cash stashed away for a rainy day, this should be your next step. The main reason people end up in debt is because they don’t have and stick to a budget. Another reason is because they don’t have an emergency fund.
Loves, crap is going to happen; it’s one of the certainties of life. Something will break and need to be replaced, sickness will happen, and job loss is always possible. So, it’s best to put a little cushion between you and life.
If you’re reading this post, I can safely assume that you have some debt. So, I’m not suggesting that you have a fully funded emergency fund. I’m only suggesting that you have about $1000 in a savings account that you can get to quickly in case something happens.
This is not for your wedding or a mini shopping spree. This isn’t to pay off debt you already have. This is for a true EMERGENCY like an unexpected car repair or broken A/C unit. The purpose of this safety net is to keep you from borrowing money to take care of life when it happens causing your debt hole to get deeper.
time for wedding budgeting
So, you and your fiancé both have your individual household budgets in place. You know exactly how much money you have coming in and going out every month. You each also have a small safety net in place in case crap happens. Now what?
Well, now you know exactly how much extra money you have every month from your incomes to go towards your wedding expenses. The length of your engagement will dictate how much money you will ultimately have, but now you can start to put together your detailed wedding budget.
Remember, wedding costs vary vastly so be very wise in your decisions. Read this post to get some good tips on how to stay on budget and have a debt free wedding.
Many of you may still be in college or maybe you’re beyond your school days but you still receive monetary gifts from family and friends for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. This money can be used towards your wedding expenses.
In fact, any extra dollar you can squeeze out of your household budget that isn’t going towards your expenses and debts can help towards your wedding costs. Your debts are still being paid, but this extra money that comes in every so often throughout the ear can be added to the pot.
After reading this post, I hope I made it clear that in order to even begin to think about how to pay for your wedding, your household budget needs to be airtight. It needs to be detailed and specific and you have to stick to it. Otherwise, it’s just numbers on a piece of paper.
I hope I have convinced you to put some money away for when life happens. This will help to keep your wedding savings goals on track and also keep you from going further into debt when an emergency comes up.
I know that if you follow these steps, you can come up with a real plan to make sure your debts are paid while you also pay for your wedding.
as a bonus, i have created a free wedding budget checklist just for you. with it you can create you own personalized wedding budget and plan out your wedding expenses.
Start with your Budget
Get your planning underway with this complimentary Wedding Budget Checklist
I am the owner of Adesuwa Events, a New Orleans based wedding consulting business where I provide intentional guidance and direction to couples who desire to plan their own weddings. I'm a New Orleans girl who lives for a good festival with amazing food (usually CARBS) and good music. My mission is to help bring fulfillment and provide guidance to all of you couples going through your wedding planning journeys while preparing for a marriage that is more memorable than your wedding.
Recently engaged and wondering what to do first? No worries, I've got you covered. Use this guide and you will be well on your way to wedding planning bliss!
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