You’re probably tired of hearing how the average wedding now costs more than £25,000. We know it’s going to be (probably) the most expensive day of our lives, but it will all be worth it… right?
Figures suggest that a quarter of couples get into debt to pay for their big day, and almost half of those live to regret it. Starting married life with a negative balance can place stresses and strains on your relationship when you should just be enjoying wedded bliss.
So, before you start dipping too deep into the red, read our six top tips for breaking those bad money habits.
Going for gold
It’s so tempting when planning your big day to want the absolute best, and that usually means hefty price tags. But it soon mounts up and, once it’s all over, it’s likely nobody will remember that the table decorations were made by a trendy designer.
Try This: Get creative and tap into the crafty/vintage vibe instead. Ask friends to help make unique decorations, or have a wedding bake-off instead of calling in the caterers, and beg and borrow what you can instead of buying everything brand new.
Burying your head in the sand
Some brides are super-organised, with a detailed budget planner updated daily. But most of us are guilty to some extent of letting costs mount up, and not knowing exactly what’s going in and out. The longer you let this go on, the harder it will feel to sort it all out – so it’s crucial to address budgeting now.
Try This: If you don’t like spreadsheets, ask a (reliable) friend to help put a budget planner together, and get her to nag you to fill it in every day.
Most people are guilty of this one, and brides-to-be are arguably even more susceptible. Whether it’s a piece of jewellery, or a new pair of sandals for the honeymoon beach, you see it, and you have to have it – because it’s PERFECT. But let’s face it, most of us have something in the wardrobe that we thought was fab at the time but have never worn.
Try This: Instead of buying it there and then, have a cooling-off period. Go home, add it to your wedding budget planner and see in a few days whether you think it’s really worth it.
Counting on credit
If you use cards all the time, it’s easy for spending to get out of control – and especially if you’re using credit cards. If you’re not having to take a physical trip to the cash machine or hunt for notes in your purse, you can lose touch with the actual act of paying.
Try This: Instead of taking cards with you when you shop, leave them safely at home. Take out just the cash you think you’ll need and no more – and see how much you save!
Not writing shopping lists
This one applies to everyday food and household shopping, too. If you’re heading out to the high street without a list of what you need, you’re probably going to end up buying a lot of things you just want – especially if you hit the shops when you’re hungry!
Try This: Work out what you really need to buy, make a list and stick to it. You can also try shopping more frequently and buying less – shocking research shows that about half of the food we buy gets thrown away, which for the average household tots up to £60 a month.
Keeping it quiet
If you’re already in debt, and worried about going deeper into the red, the worst thing you can do is not talking to someone about it. Many people find the subject hard to discuss, but opening up to friends and family (and not least hubby-to-be) could take a load off your mind, and they might be able to offer solutions you hadn’t thought of.
Try This: If you think you have a problem and you’re not yet ready to talk to friends and family, take a look at some of the free online advice services, such as StepChange or TrustDeed.
Want to find out more about breaking bad money habits? Have a look at TrustDeed Scotland’s top tips here.