Did you know that the average price for a wedding in 2016 came in at over $35,000? It’s true, according to The Knot, which polled 13,000 brides to get that number. While that might be the average, for some, it’s just not possible to spend that much on a wedding, no matter how much they may desire it.
If you’re reading this post, then chances are you’re in that category. That’s where some shoestring wedding tips can come in handy. Fortunately for you, we have a few, seven to be exact. If you’re interested in saving some serious cash on your nuptials, here’s how you do it.
1. Save on the Location
Your wedding venue can cost you big bucks, but there is a way around that, according to The Huffington Post: Choose a free location. And just how do you do that? You get creative. Think about friends or family who may have a stunning backyard and ask them if you can borrow it for your wedding. Or maybe you’re extra good at graphic design and you can pull off a trade: You design a menu and some flyers for a local restaurant in exchange for being allowed to hold your wedding and reception in the banquet room.
2. Save on the Extras
According to She Knows a lot of the dreams of the perfect wedding come from brides looking at one too many impossibly expensive photoshoots. This results in brides thinking that they need personalized napkins, special signs, party favors that no one has interest in nor can use, etc. In fact, as much as two-thirds of the party favors wind up staying on the tables after the wedding is over. Avoid these purchases and save your money.
3. Inexpensive Lighting and Decorating Ideas
Wedding Forward suggests that brides and grooms use candles to light their wedding. You can purchase pretty candles inexpensively at the local dollar store and dress them up to create elegant displays. Try placing candles and a bit of sand or small pebbles in glass jars to create lanterns for the wedding venue. Also create displays for the tables and even ones for the bathrooms using these inexpensive lights. For added beauty, look at your dollar store’s silk flower selection as well. If it has some of the flowers you’ll feature in your wedding, use those to decorate around the base of the candles. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can get many of your flowers at the dollar store. Some brides will combine silk and fresh arrangements in their weddings. For example, the bridal bouquet might be made of real flowers, but the flowers on the tables and around the wedding venue might be made of silk. Finally, if you are holding your wedding at an outdoor venue that has beautiful landscaping, plan your wedding decor and floral arrangements around that. This type of setting provides you with a lot of “free” decorative elements. Take advantage of them.
4. Get Help Paying for Your Honeymoon
If you haven’t tried Honeymoon Wishes registry, you’re missing out! It works just like a gift registry for brides and grooms, except it allows you to put your honeymoon wishes in a registry. The site carries honeymoon registries for destinations like Mexico, the South Pacific, and Africa. Or if you prefer, get your friends and family to pay for that special cruise somewhere. Additionally, you can stack your honeymoon savings by cashing in some of your travel credit card benefits. Some offer airline tickets. Others offer vouchers for hotels and resorts. Still others give you cash back. Don’t overlook this freebie. The airline miles alone could save you hundreds of dollars when it comes time to pay for your honeymoon travel arrangements.
5. Save on Food and Drink
The Nest reports that less than half of weddings feature a sit-down dinner. This type of meal can be a big expense and often, it really isn’t necessary. Guests would rather spend the time mingling or dancing. To reduce your food budget, think about having a wine and cheese event, do desserts only, or have a barbecue. Finger foods are also an option, and if you know someone who is particularly good at couponing, try to get cold cuts, crackers, and dips at a reduced price and assemble the food trays yourself. As for drinks, think about doing away with the bar – alcohol is a big expense – and opt for an afternoon wedding, where non-alcoholic drinks will be served. Planning an event like an afternoon tea allows you to serve finger foods and a variety of teas and coffees. You can also make up pitchers of lemonade and iced tea ahead of time and serve that instead of soda and other beverages.
6. Pick an “Off” Day for the Wedding
Saturday is the big day for most weddings, which means that if you get married on that day, you’ll probably pay more. Instead, have your wedding on a weeknight or a Sunday afternoon to save a bit of cash. As a side note, the Sunday afternoon wedding is a particularly good day to hold the afternoon tea wedding if that strikes your fancy.
7. Thin Out Your Guest List
Each additional person you add to your guest list adds to your wedding expenses. Having fewer people show up means you need less food, fewer decorations, and fewer tables, which cuts down your expenses.
Many working adults have their own vision of retirement, such as spending more time on the golf course, sailing across the oceans or touring the country in an RV. While the actual plans for retirement may vary, the concept holds fairly steady for most adults.
If you are like many others, you dream about getting away from the rat race and enjoying a leisurely life on your own terms. You will have complete control over your days, and you can live wherever you choose. You have no obligations holding you back, and you can enjoy immense freedom and independence. While some retirees do enjoy the blissful life that they are dreaming about, others find that their reality after retirement is not quite as idyllic as planned. These are some notable truths that you should focus on as you plan your retirement.
Happiness in Retirement Is Not Tied to Your Net Worth
You understandably need to have a healthy nest egg in retirement if you plan to live independently and spend your days traveling, golfing or participating in other expensive activities. However, many people retire on a dime and are quite happy living with relatives, gardening in the backyard and walking down the street to volunteer at the library. You do not need a huge portfolio of assets to find happiness in retirement. In fact, you may find that planning for a simpler retirement takes a considerable amount of financial stress off of your shoulders in the months and years leading up to retirement and even after you retire.
You May Live Much Longer Than Expected
When many working adults estimate their longevity, they think about how long their parents and grandparents lived. While genetics and familial lifestyles may play a role in longevity, other factors are also critical in your years as a healthy, active adult. It is wise to estimate on the higher end when preparing your finances for retirement, and think about starting to enjoy life more fully as soon as possible. After all, you do not know if your lifespan will be much shorter than your relatives’ lifespans either.
Healthcare Expenses May Cost More Than You Think
If you are creating a proper retirement plan, you may have a healthy sum of money set aside for medical expenses. This is an area where many people underestimate the actual costs that they may incur. After all, while modern medicine is helping people to live longer, it also is increasingly more expensive to have access to.If you don’t have access to healthcare or need extra money to pay off medical bills, you can always apply for a car title loan online, and use your car for collateral.
You May Get Bored Very Quickly
Many retirees who have dreamed about enjoying a slower way of life after retirement may quickly find that this type of plan may not be ideal for the next several decades. You must find a way to spend your days in a healthy, active and hopefully social way. This may involve being with a church group, golfing with friends or even spending ample time with family. When you are busy and active, avoiding scams and frauds, staying healthy and living on a fixed income may all be easier for you to do.
You May Miss Working
Retirees generally have spent the last several decades of their life working in the same field. This means that their personal sense of identity and self is directly linked to their responsibilities, clout and reputation in the workplace or in their field. You may find that your sense of identity changes quickly after you leave your job and career behind. This can be emotionally devastating. Some people also simply miss having something to look forward to or something to do each day when they wake up. They need a reason to get out of bed every day. Because of this, it is common for retirees to head back to the workforce in a part-time or contractor position.
Your Vision of an Ideal Retirement Will Change Over Time
When many working adults plan for retirement, they think about it as one long period of time. However, retirement actually usually includes multiple stages. For example, you may be very active in early retirement. Eventually, you may slow down and spend more time at home or close to family. Towards the end of your life, you may find that you need an increasing amount of assistance and medical attention. Rather than focus only on the first stage of retirement, you need to focus on each stage of retirement.
You Probably Will Want to Move
If you have not already found an ideal place to live in retirement, there is a good chance that you may want to move within a few years. Many people have a retirement plan that includes staying in the same house indefinitely, but this is not usually the case. Eventually, you may decide to relocate closer to family. Remember that your family members may relocate for their work opportunities or for other reasons, and you may need to relocate as well in order to remain close to your loved ones. Otherwise, you may want to relocate to be close to medical centers, to move into an assisted living facility and more over the years.
You can see that the primary image that you have about retirement may not actually be realistic after all. Many people have a specific perception about what retirement should be like, but they fail to take into account many specific factors that ultimately could have a direct impact on their real retirement experience. Now that you are more aware of some of the truths about retirement, you may be able to create a more comprehensive plan for your retired years.
Carrying a balance on a high interest rate credit card can result in the unnecessary waste of hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. Many people have tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt spread out across multiple accounts. Finding an effective way to reduce debt balances and eventually to be free of the burden of credit card debt is a top goal for many people. While there are different debt reduction and elimination strategies available, one idea is to take advantage of a balance transfer offer. Many balance transfer offers have a zero percent interest rate or otherwise a low interest rate offer for an introductory period. This period may range from less than six months to more than 12 months in some cases. With one of these offers, most or all of your credit card payments would be allocated directly toward principal reduction. You would notice your balance decline very quickly with regular payments. However, before you rush headfirst into a balance transfer, keep these tips in mind.
Pay Attention to the Current and Future Rates
Balance transfer offers typically have an introductory rate as well as a rate that will be reverted to after the introductory period has expired. In a best-case scenario, you will pay off the entire balance within the low interest rate period, but this may not happen. Understand what will happen to any remaining balance owed. For example, will the new interest rate only apply to any balance not paid off by the expiration date, or will back-interest be charged?
Check Your Approved Rate
Many people who intend to take advantage of a balance transfer offer will open a new account rather than transfer funds to an existing account. With a new account offer, you may see a teaser rate that sells you on the idea of applying. However, the low interest rate promised may not be the actual interest rate that your account is approved for. After you get details about your new account, review the fine print and interest rate. The last thing that you want is to transfer your debt to an account that has a significantly higher interest rate than what you expected.
Create a Reminder for the Introductory Rate’s Expiration Date
Balance transfer offers traditionally have an expiration date for the introductory period. After this period of time, the rate may escalate dramatically. You need to be aware of what will happen when the introductory period expires. More than that, you need to focus on the expiration date. Some people may be agreeable to paying a higher interest rate on a small amount of remaining debt. Others may decide to transfer the outstanding balance to another account with a great balance transfer offer. If this is your plan, remember that you typically cannot transfer balances to a new account that is held by the same financial institution.
Focus on Balance Transfer Fees
Balance transfers are not usually available free of charge. Most financial institutions charge a percentage-based fee tied to the amount transferred. There is usually a minimum fee charged for this type of transfer fee arrangement. In other cases, a flat transfer fee is charged regardless of the balance. In many cases, the transfer fee is well worth paying for and may be recouped in the first month through savings on interest charges. However, this is not always the case. Understand the cost of transfer fees up-front so that you can make the most informed decision possible about how to manage your accounts.
Pay on Time Without Fail
Most balance transfer offers have fine print that talks about what happens if you are late with even a single payment. Education benefits pay off in this area. For example, if you make even one payment more than one day past due, your interest rate could revert to the standard rate. In some cases, it may go higher than the standard rate. Remember that many credit cards have a grace period of a few days or longer. However, the grace period does not typically apply to the terms of a balance transfer. Make plans to make your payments in full at least a few days ahead of time to avoid having to deal with an expensive rate hike.
Understand the Effect on Your Credit Rating
If you intend to use a balance transfer from a new credit card account, be aware that your credit rating may decline for the short term. This is because credit scores are partially based on the age of your accounts. If you close your old accounts, your credit scores may also decline, and this is also related to the age of your accounts. While there may be short-term downsides to consider, the ability to pay off large amounts of revolving debt within a very short period of time may help you to increase your rating over a longer period of time. Be careful not to charge a new balance onto the account that now has a zero balance. If you don’t want your credit to be affected at all then try using a title loan online in stead of a credit car. Its quick and easy to apply for one.
Credit card balance transfers are a common way for individuals who have high balances on high interest rate accounts to try to make a dent in their debts. However, you can see that there are some pitfalls that you should watch out for if you want to avoid creating a worse financial situation than you are currently in. Pay close attention to these points as you proceed with a balance transfer.
Some Tips On Getting A Free Cruise Cabin Upgrade
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a cruise ship cabin upgrade without putting any effort in? Other than footing over the extra cash, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to spend your time on your cruise in a nicer, luxury cabin. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can get you closer to that upgrade.
Sail during the off-season.
If you book your cruise during the off-season (or you’re okay with going to a not-so-popular destination), it’s possible you’ll get an upgrade because the rooms won’t all be full. Or, you may be able to get an excellent deal on an upgraded room because cruise lines want to book their more expensive rooms first, and offering them at a discount is better than having you book a cheaper room.
Book as early as possible.
Sometimes, simply booking early could end up getting you an unexpected upgrade. The most expensive cabins are usually the first to go, but the cheaper cabins are next. If you book a cheap cabin and then there ends up being a lot of demand for your category, you could get an upgrade if there’s a slot open for a nicer cabin.
Explain that this is your first cruise.
While repeat cruisers are often given upgrades, you may be able to score an upgrade if you explain to the cruise line that is your very first cruise ever. The cruise line wants to make a great impression on you and their goal is to give you such a good experience that you can’t wait until your next cruise. You can also explain that this is your first time cruising with their company and that you’re considering switching over from the cruise line you’ve sailed with a lot in the past.
When booking, get a cabin guarantee.
A guaranteed cabin means that you’ll definitely get a cabin in the category you asked for, instead of one in a category below it. This can be complex, because some ships have as many as 20 categories to sort through, spread out in different locations of the ship. You won’t be assigned a specific cabin until your departure date approaches (about one week before). If the category you book in happens to fill up, you could get an upgrade at no additional cost.
Wait for a promotion.
If you have some flexibility about when you book your trip, wait until a cruise line is running a promotion. There are often promotions run on certain destinations, ships or itineraries, so if you have some wiggle room in where and when you travel, you could end up scoring a great deal on an upscale room. By giving yourself the freedom to book whenever the best opportunity presents itself, you’ll be investing with confidence.
Work with a travel agent.
If you call the cruise line yourself and ask for an upgraded cabin, there’s really no reason for them to give it to you – you’re just one passenger. However, if you work with a travel agent who already has an established relationship with the cruise line, you’re more likely to get a perk or two, like a nicer room.
Book with the same cruise line a lot.
If you love cruises and intend to go on one every year (or more often), always use the same cruise line. Airlines and hotels aren’t the only travel companies with loyalty programs! The more often you cruise with the same company, the more likely it is that you’ll start to get VIP perks, like free or discounted upgrades.
Tell the cruise line about any problems.
If you have an issue with your room, talk to the customer service agents on the ship immediately. If they’re not able to quickly remedy the situation, you may get an upgraded room. Cruise lines want you to have a good experience and it’s important to them that your trip starts off on the right foot.
Ask for an upgrade.
Sometimes, all it takes to get an upgrade is to ask for one. If nothing else has worked, simply talk to customer service to find out if getting an upgraded room is possible. Be extra polite and patient when asking, and be willing to work with the agent if they offer you an upgrade at a lower price.
One last thought
There’s no guarantee that you’ll get an upgraded cabin on your cruise, but it never hurts to ask or to apply these tips just in case. Ultimately, when you book a cruise, make sure you’ll be happy at the cabin you initially book. Otherwise, you could end up disappointment during your entire getaway.
9 Ways to Travel Big on a Tiny Budget
Whether it’s for business or pleasure, traveling can be expensive. You must pay for transportation, lodging, food and more. Because of the high cost of traveling, many Americans avoid taking vacations even if they are paid for by their employer. Thankfully, though, there are ways to travel on a budget.
#1) Book Early
Don’t wait until the night before your departure to book transportation. Booking early can save you big bucks when traveling. A study conducted by CheapAir found that booking airline tickets 47 days in advance offered the cheapest prices.
#2) Use a Rewards Credit Card
Carrying around a wad of cash when traveling is just asking for trouble. If you lose your wallet or purse, you may be forced to call and ask a family member for help. A rewards credit card, however, eliminates this problem while also allowing you to accumulate rewards points. Depending on the specific type of card, you might be able to redeem these points for cash, gift cards, merchandise or airline tickets. Furthermore, many credit cards feature travel insurance and discounts on lodging and transportation.
#3) Avoid Holidays
If possible, avoid traveling during holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer break. Because of the high number of travelers during the holidays, you can expect to pay more for transportation and lodging. By planning your trip so that it doesn’t coincide with a holiday, however, you’ll save money on these and other related expenses.
#4) Consider Airbnb
A hotel is only one lodging option to consider when traveling. When planning a trip, check Airbnb prices as well. According to a study conducted by the coach travel company Busbud, Airbnb lodging is cheaper than hotel lodging for most of the northern United States. As you may already know, Airbnb is a marketplace where property owners rent out their homes to people in search of temporary lodging. After buying a home, an owner may sell lodging to travelers through the service.
#5) Rent a Bike
If you’re traveling to a densely populated city, you probably don’t need to rent a car once you arrive. A cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative is to cycle. Bike sharing has become an increasingly popular method of transportation in recent years. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), more than 88 million trips have been made in the United States using these rented bikes. You generally pay a small fee, such as $1 for 30 minutes, to use the bike. When finished, you return it to one of several bike-sharing stations.
#6) Bring Your Own Food
Aside from lodging, one of the biggest expenses associated with traveling is food. Statistics show that food accounts for roughly 16 percent of the average American’s travel expenses. Rather than fasting, however, consider bringing your own food from home. If you’re driving, you can pack a cooler with meats and vegetables while carrying other foods in a large bag. Not only will this save you money, but it’s also better for your health than eating out twice a day.
If you’re flying to your destination, consider buying groceries locally and cooking them in your hotel or lodging room. Either way, you should limit the number of times that you eat out to cut down on your traveling costs.
#7) Find Free Activities
Regardless of your intended travel destination, there are probably free activities nearby. From state parks and museums to concerts and fairs, explore some of the free activities to save money. As long as you have internet access, you can search online for free activities nearby. And if you can’t find any online, ask around for suggestions.
#8) Go Off the Beaten Path
Sometimes it’s best to venture off the beaten path. If your travel destination has a crowded marketplace that’s filled with tourists, ask some of the locals about other, lesser-known areas. Here, you can find restaurants, shops and activities that cost a fraction of the price and often deliver better products or services.
#9) Track Your Expenses
Finally, be sure to track all your expenses when traveling. Unless you know exactly how much you spend, you won’t be able to travel on a budget. When you make a purchase, make note of what you purchased and how much you paid for it. You can either write this information on paper, or you can use a mobile expense-tracking app. The Travel Expense app for Android is a free, easy-to-use app that allows you to track your expenses. It even features a currency conversion calculator for international trips.
Don’t let the high cost of traveling prevent you from traveling. Follow the nine tips listed here to reach your intended destination without breaking your bank account.
Top 5 Habits That Introverts Should Follow For Money Management
Do you like to spend most of your time alone, reading books, playing games, or exploring nature? Are you more comfortable talking with a smaller group rather than mingle at a party? If you said yes to both questions, you’re probably an introvert. While introverts do wish that they were more outgoing like their extroverted counterparts, the personality and habits of introverts can actually be advantageous to saving money and building wealth. For those who are eager to live a more financially savvy and responsible lifestyle but don’t know where to start, read on further as we discuss five smart money habits for the reticent individual:
Stay at Home More Often
Staying at home is perhaps the single most financially impactful habit that any introvert does without even realizing it. Introverts are naturally opposed to attending rooftop parties, eating out with friends at fancy restaurants, and other activities that aren’t only exhausting and socially intense, but also expensive. A cab ride home from a night out partying can cost you upwards of $20, and that’s just the one-way trip. Add to that the overpriced drinks at bars and the insufficiently portioned yet ludicrously expensive meals at five star restaurants and you can be spending hundreds of dollars just to fuel your extroverted lifestyle. As an introvert, choose to stay home on the weekends. Rent a movie, have a board game night with friends, or read a book.
Shop Online Is Always A Great Option
Because most introverts spend their free time at home, it’s a smart habit to shop from home too. It’s quite easy to lose your financial discipline and control when shopping at brick and mortar stores. It starts off with one shirt, and the next thing you know your cart is filled with four season’s worth of clothing and a line of credit under your name that you can’t afford. As an introvert, you should use your time at home to purchase essentials, such as school or work supplies. It saves you the hassle and the costs of the round trip. Most online stores also offer discounts on select items. If not, there are always coupons you can find and use around the web.
Sleep on It and Be Patient
According to a 2010 study, extroverts have a higher tendency to seek immediate gratification; they crave results and pay no mind to the consequences or costs that they pay to get these results. Introverts, on the other hand, are less prone to buying on impulse. While they aren’t immune to the charms of the latest smartphone or a brand new car, introverts are much better at keeping their emotions in check when buying something. Before making any financial decisions, sleep on it. Take the time to consider whether or not you are making a smart investment or if you are simply throwing hard-earned money on something you’ll end up discarding or not using at all. If you still think it’s a good purchase after waking up, the only difference is the few hours that you took to decide. But if you wake up thinking that you don’t really need the purchase after all, then you would’ve saved yourself a couple of bucks and gained a bit of self-confidence in your ability to stay financially disciplined.
Learning From Online Classes
The article isn’t complete without some college tips for the young and career-driven introvert. Thanks to modern tech advancements, particularly expansions in IoT, online education has matured to become a viable alternative to traditional campus education. Online courses are significantly cheaper than traditional college. And while you lose out on the old campus experience, introverts tend to thrive and learn better in a digital environment. It’s not that they are shy or feel inferior; it’s simply that they study better when they are alone with their thoughts and can concentrate without the mumbling of uninterested classmates. With a smaller class size, each student enrolled into an online program is given more attention while being charged less.
Tap Into Your Creative Side
Introverts love working from home and prefer to stay indoors or somewhere quiet and peaceful to think. With the environment that they try to cultivate for themselves, they are able to switch into a way of thinking that allows them to pursue creative projects and sidelines that not only save money, but can potentially make some as well. Introverts are creative and resourceful by nature. While you’re staying in you can always apply for a car title loan online right from your home. Since it is characteristic of introverts to avoid conversations if they can, they tend to learn and pick up on new skills and knowledge fairly quickly.
Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, one thing is clear – you need to be smarter in how you allocate your personal finances in order to secure your future. Use your introverted qualities to affect change within your money management habits. Use the five tips above as a starting point or template for these future alterations.