Saving for a wedding can be intimidating. (Let's just say it's not exactly inexpensive, even if you go small.) And then there are always unexpected expenses that add up, bringing your total wedding bill even higher than you planned.
"If you haven't been smart about making some budget cuts early on in order to have that 'slush' fund, you may put yourself in a bad situation," warns Jennifer Kruger, assistant branch manager of Fidelity Investments' Park Avenue investment center.
So here are five ways you can easily cut back before the big day. Even though they're small budget cuts, our experts say they will add up to big savings.
1. Your Daily Latte
As finance expert and LexION Capital owner Elle Kaplan says, "Coffee is as essential as water for many of us. And while it might not seem like a big deal, daily trips to expensive coffee shops could start seriously eating into your wedding budget over time." For example, if you're a three-cup-a-day kind of gal, you could be coughing up hundreds of dollars a month on coffee expenses alone. Instead, "consider investing in a coffee machine to stay productive and money-savvy," Kaplan says.
2. Your Lunches Out
Packing your lunch is one less thing you want to do when you're already packing so much into your schedule. But, as Kruger points out, "it's easy to spend $10 or more per day each just for lunch, and that adds up quickly." By packing your own lunch, you can select a healthier option — one that might better align for your pre-wedding weight goals — as well as save money that you could put toward big day treats you might otherwise skimp on, such as a dessert buffet or sparkler send off.
3. Your Dinners Out
Going out for weekly dinners might seem romantic — or even necessary when you're busy wedding planning. But the cost is anything but, Kaplan points out. "Especially with fancy restaurants, constant nights out can breach into the thousands monthly," she says. "Consider cooking a new exotic dish at home instead for date night. It can be even more romantic, and buying the ingredients yourself will drastically slash costs tenfold."
4. Drinks with Friends
According to Kaplan, "You don't have to sacrifice your social life to cut your budget." But girls' nights in, rather than out on the town, can add up to big savings. "There are plenty of cheaper and more exciting options than going out on the town," she says. "You can supply a cocktail party at your house for the cost of one pricey drink at the bar, for instance." Those savings alone, Kaplan says, can add up to "half of your non-essential spending towards your wedding." Wow.
5. Holiday Gifts
Tis the season for giving. But when it comes to holiday gifts this year, it's OK to cut back on each other. After all, you'll soon be giving one another the best gift of all! "You are both dedicated to making your special day the best day of your life," says Kruger, "so instead of splurging and buying each other gifts for the holidays, put that money towards your wedding fund. By saving this extra money, you will be able to do more of the things that are important to you on your special day, and help create memories that will be better than any gift you can buy."