8 Ways To Save Money When Planning Your Wedding with Lance Advisors

If you’re planning a wedding you know how many expenses there are. It seems like nothing comes cheap and it’s more expensive that was originally figured. Some expenses usually incurred with a traditional wedding are:

  • wedding decorations
  • caterer
  • flowers
  • DJ
  • photographer
  • bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts
  • wedding dress
  • bridal party outfits
  • rehearsal dinner
  • and more

While there are some things that shouldn’t really be skimped on I have lots of ideas to save money on items throughout your wedding. Lance Advisors actually has a blog post about setting up checking and savings accounts before marriage too to help get your marriage off on the right financial foot.

While lots of people dream about their perfect wedding sometimes it’s better to scale back on the dream than to go into debt because a horse drawn carriage completed the dream. After all, money problems are one of the leading causes of marital issues.

Trim The Guest List

This one is pretty obvious. If you have 50 people at your wedding rather than 500 there’s only 50 people to pay for meals, you can go with a smaller venue, less alcohol, etc. Not to mention the smaller things that add up like needing less invitations, less stamps to send them out, etc.

Wedding Cake Alternatives

Have you priced out wedding cakes recently? I mean seriously, they’re expensive for something not everyone is going to eat. There are lots of great alternatives to traditional wedding cakes that can be more budget friendly. Here are just a few ideas:

  • cupcakes: you can even get cute wrappers to match your wedding. You can make different flavors, and even gluten free or sugar free options if needed. Easier to transport. Get the bridesmaids together along with the parents and soon-to-be-in-laws and have a cupcake baking party. Borrow cupcake tours or find them in thrifts stores or get ones from party supply stores like Oriental Trading.
  • Donuts: Who doesn’t love a donut? Order ahead from Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme and have someone pick them up or ask if they would deliver for a larger order. Still cheaper than a wedding cake! You can stack them neatly or see if your venue has towers you can use.
  • Rice Krispy Treats: You could easily mold rice Krispy treats into any shape you want. You can do one shaped like a small cake and have separate one that guest can easily grab. They even have gluten-free Rice Krispies available.
  • Fruit or cheese towers: This is something I’ve been seeing more and more of. People trying to be healthy so they have “cakes” made from watermelons decorated with grape cluster, pineapple rings, and more. Cheese wheels too thought depending on the cheese, it might not be any cheaper than a wedding cake.
  • Martha Stewart Living has an awesome alternative wedding cake idea slide show with pictures to show you just how nice they can look including items like waffles, crepes, ice cream and more!

Hall? We Don’t Need No Stinking Hall!

So yes, depending on what time of year your wedding is you may still need a hall. But for those with late spring, summer, or early fall weddings…depending on your area you can consider a picnic instead.

Lots of local parks and recreational areas have pavilions that can be rented more reasonably than a hall. Even if you have a lot of people they can spread out and it won’t seem as crowded.

If you’re lucky enough to have a close family member with a nice sized yard and parking available you can ask them. My sister rented a couple pop-up tents and had her reception in my parents’ back yard. They just had a speaker for some music.

Intimate Service, Bigger Reception

So you want people to share in the big day but you need to cut costs somewhere. Consider just having a small, intimate service with immediate family and then invite who you want to invite to the reception. In this way, you don’t feel the need to go all out with flowers, bridal party, etc.

Alternatives to Fresh Flowers

Fresh Flowers can also be expensive and end up getting thrown out most of the time.

This is another popular trend. Instead of carrying flowers brides are opting to to carry other items along with their bridal party. In my wedding only I had a bouquet while my bridesmaids carried votive candles in jars. The were extinguished once they got to the alter.

I had a cousin that made her own silk flowers for her bouquet and bridesmaids.

Bridesmaids can carry a small basket with silk flowers, parasols, light-up items. clutches, or whatever may go with the theme of your wedding. BridalGuide.com has a fun slide show of bridesmaid bouquet alternatives.

You’ll Be Amazed Where You Can Find Decorations!

There are lots of sources to find decorations for your reception, shower, and more.

  • Thrift Stores
  • Buyout and Surplus Stores
  • Borrow from family and friends
  • Marketplace and yard sale groups on facebook
  • Consignment sales
  • Dollar Stores
  • Yard Sales and Garage Sales
  • If you rent a hall ask if they have decorations that can be used
  • lots more

Skip The Formalities and Invest/Save

So this is another obvious one but you’ll often here “In the end the details don’t matter all that matter is that you love each other” In reality all you “need” is each other, a marriage certificate, and someone to marry you.

When my current husband and I got married we did talk about an actual wedding because he had never been married before. Some circumstances changed and we ended up getting married by a JP in a small court room in our small town. We had a dinner at a local restaurant, and THE END. We chose to save our money toward buying a house instead. Talking to a financial advisor like Lance Advisors can even help you plan for your financial future together.

I could not believe how much less stress my wedding to my current husband was because we didn’t have to coordinate near as much, the financial cost was minimal, and we just had immediate family so no family drama or guest list stress.

Saving Money On a Wedding Dress

This can be another huge expense. Some dresses can cost $10K or more. But even $500 is a lot of money. You can find wedding dresses in thrifts stores, formal wear consignment sales, use a dress from the family and just have it altered, or just buy a nice dress you really like at the mall. I bought a short white lacy dress from a department store for my JP wedding and I got lots of compliments on it.

This post is sponsored. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Deferred Interest: How It Can Cost You

This post is sponsored by Diamond Bloggers. Any opinions expressed are my own. Data provided by Wallethub.

The average shopper is set to spend $1,007 this holiday season.  A good chunk of that will be put on credit. It’s not uncommon for stores to push their credit cards and offer things like first time purchase discounts and deferred interest. You’ll here “yea if you open up a store card today you have no interest for a year” which sounds like a good deal but stores know what they’re doing.   82% of people are unaware of how deferred interest actually works.

WalletHub recently released it’s 2018 deferred interest survey and it’s Store Credit Card Landscape report  to help you with these retailer financing options.

Deferred interest is when a retailer advertises a low introductory APR – often 0% – and gives a consumer the chance to pay for their purchases without interest, only to slam them with interest charges (as if the regular APR had been in place from the start) if they are unable to do so. This can result in a shopper spending up to 27.5 times more on interest relative to a normal 0% credit card offer.

Retailers almost count on a consumer to not be able to pay off the debt in the time frame they offer the 0% APR.  Let’s say they offer 0% APR for 1 year, You’re paying it on time you’re doing good but maybe you’re only making the minimum payment or a little more thinking “I’ll have it paid off by the end of the year” but something happens that you can’t.  On day 366 boom all that interest they would have normally charged is sitting on your credit card now.  All that work you did to pay on time and it’s like starting from the beginning because of the interest charges.

A well-known financial expert, Chase Rubin, said “Stay on top of your finances. Don’t leave that up to others” This couldn’t be more accurate when talking about holiday spending.

So what do these surveys from Wallethub have to say?

Key Findings:

  • 85% of store credit cards with 0% intro APRs have deferred interest.
  • 82% of people do not know how deferred interest works.
  • 79% of people, who understand how deferred interest works, think it is unfair; 62% think it should be illegal.
  • 64% of people say 0% financing is a bigger draw for a store card than a first-purchase discount.
  • The average store card with a first-purchase discount gives 29% off.
  • The average store credit card has a regular APR of 28.62%.
  •  The average store credit card with a 0% intro APR has no interest for nearly 17 months.
  • All store credit cards have $0 annual fees. The average general-use credit card charges $15.88 per year.


Expert Commentary:

The cost of a happy holiday season all too often seems to be some post-New Year’s pain, as overspending catches up with us and expensive interest charges start rolling in. In the past five years, we’ve spent a total of $3.2 trillion on holiday shopping and racked up $238.8 billion in credit card debt during the fourth quarter.

A lot of times, people plan for a bit of post-holiday debt. But other times, would-be holiday savings can turn into big surprise bills due to a dangerous feature of most retailer financing plans called deferred interest. Deferred interest is when a retailer advertises a low introductory APR – often 0% – and gives a consumer the chance to pay for their purchases without interest, only to slam them with interest charges (as if the regular APR had been in place from the start) if they are unable to do so.

Although 85% of 0% APR store cards have deferred interest, fewer than 2 in 10 people even know what it is. So consumers who are unfamiliar with the term are not alone, but most shoppers are vulnerable to getting burned by this trick. One big reason for that is major retailers don’t seem to care about being more transparent. They don’t tend to list what the regular, deferred interest rate will be in large enough font or in a prominent location. And their average transparency scores are unchanged dating back to 2015, according to WalletHub’s research.

“Marketers and retailers are always trying to make money. Some will exploit consumers’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities in order to do so,” said Kelly Goldsmith, an assistant professor in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “This has probably been true since the dawn of commerce, and it will probably never change.”

But perhaps unsurprisingly, consumers who learn what deferred interest is, how it works and how common it is aren’t happy about the situation and want change. Nearly 8 in 10 people say deferred interest is “unfair,” while more than 6 in 10 people go as far as to say it should be illegal. Indeed, it is fair to wonder why regulators would allow this type of “gotcha” pricing to persist, especially after so many other financing tricks were eliminated in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

“I think it should remain legal because it can be a good deal for all parties involved, but I think it should be highly regulated,” said Rick Scott, associate professor of finance at Saint Leo University. “Borrowers should have to sign a short, well-worded, and easy to understand disclosure that they understand that the 0% financing is temporary and that they should be on the hook for substantial interest charges if they do not pay off the financing by the end of the teaser period.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of other ways to prevent deferred interest from costing you. You could take advantage of a 0% retailer financing offer, despite the risks posed by deferred interest, as long as you’re prepared to pay your bill in full by the deadline. You could also get a 0% credit card on the Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover network, which won’t have deferred interest.

Or, you could strive to pay for your holiday purchases in full within a single billing period. Rewards can really help with that. For example, the average store credit card with a first-purchase discount gives 29% off. And several general-purpose credit cards have sign-up bonuses of $500+ for spending a few thousand dollars within a few months of opening an account.

As long as you have a plan and stick to it, there’s no reason your holiday cheer has to come to an end come 2019. Not even deferred interest needs to spoil the fun.

“The internet age has made it easier than ever before for consumers to educate themselves about the various costs and benefits associated with promotional offers, like deferred interest financing,” Northwestern’s Goldsmith said. “Consumers should take advantage of this amazing advantage they now have and use these resources to inform their decision making.”

Free Credit Tool to Help with Your Finances: Credit Sesame

This post does contain affiliate links.  I will receive a small compensation for actions completed through the banner.

I’ve been using Credit Sesame for years.  To start with it’s free so there is really no loss in trying it. You can check your credit score at any time as often as you want and it won’t effect your credit score.  You can choose to get alerts either via email or app to let you know if there are changes to your credit either good or bad.

Credit Sesame has suggestions to help you try to fix your credit or maintain your good credit.

I had a divorce an bankruptcy decades ago in my history which is sort of the reason for my passion for saving money and getting my finances straight. I’ve come a long way since then.  Honestly Credit Sesame has been such an amazing tool for me in my journey to fix my credit.

There are no fees, no credit card required to join.

 

Avoid These Money Mistakes

Avoid these Money Mistakes

It doesn’t take an advanced finance degree or fancy high-rise office to understand how to manage your money. In fact, anyone can be financially savvy if they take the time to understand their own spending habits and needs. If you struggle with managing your finances, you shouldn’t get discouraged. Instead, read these common money mistakes people often make to help you avoid making similar errors in the future.

Neglecting Retirement

Many people have come to rely solely on Social Security to support them in retirement. However, what they don’t know is that Social Security only accounts for a small portion of your monthly income. Depending on what you made throughout your career, you may only be looking at 40% of your income being covered by Social Security. That likely won’t help you cover all your living expenses. Don’t use social systems such as Social Security as your retirement plan. You should put money away into a retirement account as soon as you can so you have enough money built up to sustain you in retirement. If you don’t, you could find yourself in financial trouble or unable to retire at all.

Overspending

Credit cards can be a hand tool. If you’re out of the country and have an emergency, for example, having a credit card available that works around the world can give you peace of mind and allow you to handle your emergency stress-free. However, if you’re using your card on shopping sprees and fancy luxuries, you may find yourself in more debt than you expected. Credit cards should be used sparingly and paid off as soon as possible to avoid interest charges.

Avoiding Savings

At some point in your life, you’ll likely run into an expensive emergency that needs taken care of right away. Perhaps you just bought a new home and the furnace breaks and needs replaced in the middle of winter, or you end up needing an emergency surgery that will leave you out of work for weeks without pay. If you don’t have money set aside to cover these types of emergencies, you may find yourself in hot water with your finances. Don’t let yourself be vulnerable to financial emergencies and set aside money from each paycheck to help you should something unexpected happen.

Being Uninsured

Insurance is a valuable tool, especially when used properly. If you have loved ones counting on you to support them, having insurance can provide peace of mind knowing they’ll be cared for if something comes up. Whether it’s fire, flood, a medical emergency, or even an unexpected death, having extra coverage in place to ensure they’re cared for can be priceless. Many people don’t purchase life insurance because they feel it’s too expensive, however, you can find excellent coverage for only a couple dollars a day that will give you and your loved ones the protection they need.

Keep up with the Joneses

If you’ve heard the expression about keeping up with the Joneses, then you understand that it can be a very expensive lifestyle to maintain. If you aren’t careful, your desire to keep up with the latest trends and fashions could land you in financial trouble. Instead, understand the values of investing in quality items that will retain their value and last years. You may even want to shift your line of thinking and place value on experiences over things. If you ask most people what they regret later in life, you won’t find it’s missing out on the latest gadget, but rather enjoying experiences with loved ones.

When you know what money mistakes to avoid, you can get on the right track towards being financially independent. The more you understand yours and your family’s needs, the better positioned you’ll be to make sound financial decisions that will benefit you and your loved ones.

Resource and Idea for Entrepreneurs

This post is sponsored by Diamondlinks.

Starting, owning, and running a small business is not for the faint of heart. It takes money, knowledge, proper resources, and lots of hard work.  Each type of small business or idea has it’s own obstacles to tackle.  For entrepreneurs, it can be  hard to figure out how to sell an idea or get investments in your idea.

You’ve seen the shows like Shark Tank where people present product idea in hopes of getting the “sharks” to invest in their products or idea.  But not everyone can get onto Shark Tank. So what resources do the rest of us have?

Rusty Tweed from Tweed financial services shares his journey to starting his company on ideamensch.  He is asked some interesting questions that I might not think to ask an entrepreneur myself.  Ideamensch is full of interviews that are both inspiring and full of ideas.  You can read Rusty Tweed interview and many others.

A friend, who is a mover and shaker in direct sales, had an awesome quote that made me think.  “If your mouth is shut your business is closed”.   She got to where she is in the company today because she believes in her products, she uses her products, she’s not afraid to talk to strangers about her products.  She inspires me in the realm of direct sales.  But there are inspirations out there for any type or business or idea.  The tactful way she can start conversations about her business…well I have a lot to learn.

Don’t be afraid to show people your product or talk about your business. Carry your business cards with you.  If you truly believe in your products or business potential customers will be able to tell.