I am quickly learning that after the engagement ring is slid on your finger, THEN it gets tough! Planning a wedding is far more expensive than I ever thought it would be! Girls dream of designer dresses, four course meals, live bands — and then you get a lovely reality check! According to The Knot, the average wedding will cost around $27,800 in most areas (Source: The Knot http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-budget/qa/what-does-the-average-wedding-cost.asrx). As a full time PhD student who is footing the bill for her wedding along with my fiancé, I am woman enough to admit that once I started looking at prices I knew I needed plan to have the best wedding I could afford and not get stuck with debt at the end.
So, how does a budget (but fabulous) bride-to-be get to have her expensive (yet delicious) wedding cake, and eat it too? My answer is SmartyPig (www.smartypig.com)!
SmartyPig is a free online piggy bank, that will allow you to save at your own pace — but not raid your savings for that must-have trendy t-shirt or sparkly glitter shoes!
- Sign Up: It’s FREE!
- Set Goals: When you sign up, you set up specific financial goals that you want to save for. For example, my goals include my awesome photographer, amazing wedding coordinator, and fabulous wedding cupcake baker!
- Set Contributions and Forget It: You link SmartyPig with your own bank account, and then set up when to have funds added to your goal — once a month, twice a month, even every 14 days. SmartyPig will even figure out how much needs to be added to your goal per withdraw to achieve it! Then just let the Pig do it’s thing!
- Let Others Help: You can even set up the goal like a gift registry so that your friends and family can contribute!
- Extra Funds? No Problem!: Also, if you ever find yourself with some extra funds you can add it towards your goal to reach sooner than expected.
A recent addition to the SmartyPig plan is the SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card. I’ve signed up for mine and can’t wait to help my goal piggy banks to load up faster by just buying normal things like gas and groceries!
- The SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card is a reloadable card that is linked to your SmartyPig account.
- MasterCard and Debt Free: The Rewards Card can be used where ever MasterCard is accepted. Best of all, it’s prepaid — so you are using money you already have to reach your goals and stay out of debt!
- 1% Cash Back: You can earn 1% cash back on every day purchases, that will be added to achieving your SmartyPig goals or kept on your Cash Rewards Card — you choose!
So far I love watching the little goal pigs fill up and up, with the satisfied knowledge that by the time I reach my wedding all the bills will be paid in cash!
[I am not being paid by SmartyPig for this blog post, I really am just a poor thirtysomething trying to have a stellar wedding!]