Saving for a wedding can seem daunting. But with a little effort and lots of discipline, it’s surprising how quickly you can build up funds. Simple but effective strategies, such as making small changes to your lifestyle and contributing money to a dedicated account, all help as you save up to pay for your special day.
There are many different ways to save and the right approach will depend on personal preferences, your circumstances and how much you want to save. Here are some easy strategies you can follow to help you reach your wedding savings goal sooner.
1. Set a target date and amount
Like Lucy and Brendan, it’s essential you have a target and a time frame to work to. This will make you much more focused about achieving your goal and will also mean you can celebrate milestones along the way. Rewarding yourself when you reach targets is great positive reinforcement and helps encourage you to reach your goal.
2. Set up a regular savings deposit
Establish a high-interest savings account that’s specifically for your wedding. Then set up a direct deposit that goes into this account from your regular account every time you get paid.
The average cost of a wedding is just over $30,000, so let’s say you want to save $30,000 for your wedding and you have a time frame of 12 months. Each partner can deposit $1,000 into this account each month, creating savings of $24,000. This will leave $6,000 that you’ll need to find from elsewhere.
3. Find extra income
In addition to saving your salary, think about what other opportunities you have to increase your income.
“I worked three jobs—one full-time, one part-time and I also took on freelance opportunities—to pay for our wedding in cash,” Lucy says.
Look around your house for things of value you can sell on Gumtree, eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Unworn clothes with their tags on them and household appliances you have never used are great places to start.
Side hustles can also help you make extra money outside your regular job. Offer to babysit friends’ kids or walk dogs. Or look on sites like Freelancer and Upwork for odd jobs you and your partner can do to earn extra money, such as gardening, lawn mowing and cleaning. This is a strategy you can continue even after you get married to help reach your financial goals.
4. Ask friends and family to contribute to your wedding fund
An easy way to add to your savings in the period before your marriage is to ask loved ones to make small contributions to your wedding fund instead of giving you birthday and Christmas presents. It’s also a lovely way to make them feel like they have made a meaningful contribution to one of the biggest days of your life.
Traditionally, the parents of the bride and groom also contribute funds. If you’re lucky enough to have parents that can help out, this will help you reach your wedding goals faster.
There are a number of different options you can use for storing your wedding fund, some of which can also help you increase your savings. Bear in mind that the right choice for you will depend on when you plan on getting married, as liquidity is an important factor when investing.
As we mentioned earlier, opening up a dedicated savings account is a great way to set aside money for your wedding. Separating these funds from your regular transaction accounts means you can see exactly how much money you can spend on your wedding. It’s also satisfying to see this amount rise as you add to it.
If you already have a lump sum saved, setting up a term deposit is a great option to store and build your wedding fund. You can choose the term, from one month to five years—the longer the term, the more interest you’ll earn on the amount in the deposit. But be aware you generally need to lock your money away for the life of the term deposit; you can access these funds during this time, but you will need to pay a fee.
You can also invest in assets such as shares, managed funds and exchange-traded funds to save money for your wedding. As Brendan is a financial and investment manager, this was an approach that Lucy and Brendan used.
But investing comes with risks and other financial consequences, with the biggest one being that you risk the value of your investment falling. You may also need to pay capital gains tax on your investment if it rises in value over time.
If this is a route you want to take, seek advice and know your time frame—the longer you have the better, with at least five years being advisable.
Lucy and Brendan decided to save the money they needed ahead of their wedding. “I do know people who used credit cards and personal loans to pay for their wedding—it all comes down to personal circumstance. It was great to be able to pay cash for our wedding and come out the other side with no debt. It also made us 10 times more savvy at saving,” Lucy explains.
For some people, however, it may make sense to borrow money to pay for their wedding. There are a number of options if you do decide to borrow money.
A credit card can be a convenient way to pay for the cost of your wedding and, if you repay the funds you spend within the interest-free period, you won’t pay interest on the money you spend.
But it’s also important to be aware that it may take time to pay off any expenses you do charge to your credit card, and if you don’t pay this amount off before the interest-free period the additional interest costs can be significant.
Taking out a personal loan to pay for your wedding is another option. Personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards, and you can also choose the term of the loan.
Another option to access funds for your wedding is to access a line of credit through your mortgage, drawing on the equity you have built up in your home. This is often the lowest-cost way of borrowing for your wedding, but you will be paying off the extra funds over the life of the loan, as well as paying interest on the money over this time.
Lucy says although she has always been careful with money, Brendan didn’t really have the same focus before they started saving for their wedding. “He’s since become much more careful with money and aware of what he spends, which is great for our financial future.”
There’s no doubt weddings can be expensive, but setting a financial goal, then finding ways to work towards it, is a simple but key strategy in saving for your dream day.