Jared here to kick off the wedding series with the one thing “wedding” I was really great at (leave the flowers to Lily, but, I did choose a yummy cake…) Finances!
Throughout the wedding process, the one question we got often was; “how are you going to pay for all that?” and people often followed up with “your parents must be paying for this since they are probably rich, huh”? Despite these questions and statements being a bit rude and intrusive, I laughed and tried to explain how we were getting married, taking a cruise to Europe, and buying a house (Which should be built in August!) but still, we received the same questions in return. People just don’t believe it!
Well, by no means am I a financial guru but I figured I’d give you some insight as to how Lily and I have been able to do all these things while at the same time paying off debt and being financially smart. I have broken it down into four things every individual or couple can do to achieve their financial dreams.
Having a goal or reason behind why you are doing what you are doing. If you do not have a goal in life you are just shooting blindfolded and hoping to hit something good. A goal is something that gives a purpose and drives you to do what it takes to reach it. Lily calls these goals her “why”. Unfortunately, most things in life cost a certain amount of money and most goals you will set require money to accomplish them. Shortly after Lily and I got engaged we talked about what we wanted to do/accomplish in the next few years. Here is a list of our goals, both short and long-term.
- Have a wedding
- Go on a honeymoon out of the county
- Pay off student loan debt
- Buy a house
- Have children in 5 (ish) years after getting married
Now obviously your goals may look a lot different but the main thing is to sit down and write out your goals and then put them in order of importance to you. When you’re struggling to save or make sacrifices, look back at these goals. Let them drive you to success. Maybe you need to write out what financial freedom would do for you and your family in more than just a small list ( insert Lily’s vision boards here ha!) but find what works for you.
Now that you know what you want to accomplish you need a plan in order to reach those goals. A budget is basically the “plan” for how you are going to pay for the things you want. What’s your budget for your wedding? How much does that dream vacation cost? How much money do you need to save monthly to have a down payment for a home?
Lily and I had many conversations about this, as I tend to be more conservative with money, while she is… not so much (she’s a Target queen). Regardless, we came to an agreement on a wedding budget and decided that since we both had never been out of the country we might as well go big and take a cruise for our honeymoon and we made a budget for that as well.
The budget we made for these things was based on many factors like the time we had to save before the event and how much we could save realistically each month, based on our income and expenses. We also realized if we wanted to pay for all this without going into debt we would have to make some sacrifices to accomplish that, which brings me to the next point.
Nothing comes easy in life and like the old saying goes, “with great sacrifice comes great reward”. The biggest sacrifice Lily and I have made was to move into Lily’s parent’s basement in order to save as much money as possible while our home is being built. Now, this is definitely not ideal for a newly married couple but we weighed the pros and cons and decided that we could do it in order to save some extra money. People give the old “Millennials living in their parent’s basement” a horrid reputation but it has been a sacrifice both on her parent’s end and on ours. It hasn’t been easy and we certainly aren’t taking advantage of them or planning to stay forever but in the end, it has been worth forgoing rent for a bit to save while we wait for our home to be built.
Besides our living situation, we have made sacrifices in other areas of our lives; like giving our free time to other money-making opportunities. Lily has more than a few side jobs/businesses that help bring in extra cash and I donate plasma once a week.
Then there are those luxury items or things that we know we spend too much on but do it anyway. Are you willing to give them up or at the very least spend less on those items? This for most people is the hardest sacrifice to make because we really do not think much about our daily coffee purchase or having a night out with friends but every dollar adds up. Plus, nobody says you can’t do those things every once in a while but cutting down can make all the difference.
Since making these sacrifices we have realized that we can achieve not just one, but all of our goals if we strive to do these things consistently.
Now you have made your goals, you have made a plan (i.e. a budget) on how to reach your goals, and come up with the sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve those goals. You just need to do it. Being consistent does not mean you will not mess up every once and awhile but means you will try to stick with your plan no matter what because you know if you do you will achieve your goals and probably more. So make that vision board, write your goals where you can see them…heck, make them your screen saver on your phone if you have to!
Lily and I have paid for our entire wedding and honeymoon without going into more debt. We have been able to pay off one of our smaller student loans and have saved for the down payment required to purchase our home. It feels good to be able to say that we worked hard for these things and it was not just handed to us by our “rich parents”.I am just as proud to say that no, I do not have the highest paying job in the world but I can still do/achieve financial goals that the world says only well-off people should be able to. If you are smart with your money you can achieve anything and I hope reading this shows that with a little hard work, planning, and sacrifice you can do it, too.
As our life continues to move forward, I look forward to continuing to achieve our goals and setting new ones. I hope to update you all at the end of the year on how we are doing once we have (hopefully) moved into our new home!
Thanks for reading!