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Saying "I do" to Saving

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Published on September 17, 2019

Hello and welcome! My name is Mackenzie, but everyone calls me Mac. You are reading my first blog post! I decided to start this blog to offer advice to people who are seeking some financial tips and tricks. For the past three years, I've worked as a graphic designer for the Credit Union. Not only does my work revolve around the financial world, but I've also had a lot of  experience dealing with money in my personal life. I thought it would be beneficial to offer my words of wisdom, and hopefully help someone else financially.

I've been pretty busy over these last 26 years. I'm a college graduate, car owner, homeowner, fiancée, and mother. Money can be pretty tight sometimes, but I am still able to afford my monthly bills, while contributing to my savings account. How did I do all of this? By budgeting my expenses and putting away a certain amount of money each month! This process has helped me fund the most important day of my life...

My fiancé and I have been engaged for about a year and a half, and we quickly realized how hectic (and expensive!) wedding planning can be. And we've also realized that times have changed, and traditions are not the "norm" anymore. In other words, we decided to pay for the wedding ourselves, rather than put that financial burden on our families. Knowing this, we developed a plan on how much we needed to save by our big day.

Here are some tips I discovered that helped us prepare!

How do you get started?

Getting engaged was everything I hoped it would be. My best friend asked me to marry him on top of a mountain in Canada, and I thought the joy from the proposal would never fade. But like the old saying goes "What goes up, must come down," so did the excitement, and  anxiety took over. We started to panic, asking ourselves "How will we pay for this wedding? Are we biting off more than we can chew? How can we afford a mortgage, car payment, saving up for a baby and a wedding all at the same time?" Well, I can tell you that it's a lot easier than you think! For me, I really had to sit and think about all my monthly expenses and write out how much money I need each month in order to pay my bills. After that, I realized how much I had left, and I was able to save more than I originally thought!

Deciding on and sticking to a budget

It's hard to say how much your wedding will cost. There are a variety of circumstances that can cause a fluctuation in your price. Things like an alteration to the bride's dress, expensive decorations, or your mom saying "We have to invite your third cousin, and his wife and kids." There is no way of knowing the exact amount you'll need. However, you can decide on a range you think you'll need. For us, we decided that we would like to spend about $12,000 to $15,000 on our wedding. With this in mind, we cut the price in half, splitting the responsibility of saving between the two of us - $6,000 to $7,500 each. 

Put away a certain amount of money

Once I discovered how much I would need to save, I broke it down even further. I had 17 months to save $7,500, roughly $440 a month. Sounds like a lot, right? It was overwhelming at first, and I honestly was worried I couldn't do it. With a baby on the way, I was nervous we weren't going to have extra money. Knowing I had to save $110 a week, I told myself that it was just like every other bill, and it had to be paid. To reduce the temptation to spend money, I kept my savings separate. I set up a recurring transfer within our new e-Banking platform and sent $220 to my Prime Share  account from my Choice Checking account every two weeks. Suddenly, the money in my savings account started to grow! The best part about it was after a while, I didn't really notice it was gone!

Changing your routine to fit your financial needs

Of course we had to cut out a few of our monthly  activities. Instead of getting sushi, we would stay home and make our own dinner. By packing my own lunch, I had an extra $35 a week that went toward my savings goal! We  still went out and enjoyed a movie or  dinner every once in a while, but  we discovered we could still have fun at home. Make a habit out of putting  the money you don't spend into your savings account. Suddenly, it adds up to a substantial amount!

After I began putting away  money each month, I quickly realized  we would have plenty of money to pay for our wedding. I'll be honest, there were some months where I wasn't able to save the amount I was hoping for, but then  other months, I was able to save more! We still have a few more weeks to save, but in the past 17 months, my fiancé and I have saved $16,225!

I hope this helps you understand how easy it is to come up with a plan to save, whether or not it's to pay for a special event. Start with an amount that seems small, and watch your hard work pay you off!

What's my only regret? Not starting this saving process at an earlier age.

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