Category Archives: Budget

Developing A Budget As A Couple

tips for developing a budget

It’s no lie that finding someone, dating them, and then planning a wedding with them can be a bit difficult at times.  Combining two ways of doing just about everything to create one unified way can be frustrating and asks for a lot of compromise from both people.  That is the same for when you are asking two people with separate incomes, separate budgets, separate bills, separate bank accounts (wow! that’s a lot of separation) to come together to make a single family unit.

A team approach is the best.  You have to realize that the debts are no longer his and hers, they are now yours.  You have to plan to payoff the debts together and in a way that works best for the family unit.

Developing a budget is key.  As Dave Ramsey (roughly) says “You have to spend every dollar on paper before you actually spend it.”  That means calculating both incomes, all payment of bills, and putting aside some to savings.

As you might guess, J and I have been taking Financial Peace University.  While we aren’t finished with the classes yet, we are making progress.  Recently, we sat down to make a new budget that worked for us.  We kept finding reasons to not commit to a budget, but then we weren’t getting anywhere.  Here were our excuses reasons:

1) we just moved and had a lot of unusual spending – such as our final bills for our old utilities, moving truck, extra gas for driving further than normal, etc…

2) weren’t sure what J’s new monthly income after taxes and 401(k) draws was going to be

3) I switched to salary with my job and again, we weren’t sure what my monthly net income would be.

See, reasons.

tips for developing a budget

We were tired of reasons and it was time to get started.  I took Dave Ramsey’s forms and made a basic template using our monthly bills that we can hang on our fridge to talk about when monthly bills come in and get paid.

Cheers!

My Day: wedding planning

Wedding Planning – less than 4 months away from the big day.  EEK!

I love paid days off of work, they are my favorite.  I get to sit in my PJ’s most of the day watching trashy reality TV while getting paid.  What’s better than that?  I woke up, made myself some cheesy pasta because that’s normal, right?  Then I plopped down in the big comfy recliner with Tiny in my lap to watch my favorite TV show – Dog the Bounty Hunter.  I will pause while you laugh…. done? okay.

As you may know, I have been working on my wedding planning for awhile now:
I said yes / wedding budget tips / Ranking What Is Important / A few Engagement photos /6 months to go

wedding planning

wedding planning tips for budgeting

I have some wedding planning details to work on today, mostly dealing with money.  Think it’s time, like every bride would do … re-evaluate the wedding budget.  It’s important to take a look at the budget from time to time to know if you are still on target and don’t have any surprise expenses popping up.

For J and I we were originally under the impression that our friend’s Uncle would be our officiant and that would be our friend’s wedding gift to us; however, that was months ago and we have yet to hear anything about it.  So, now enter my panic mode and have decided that we need a backup officiant.  I talked to our wedding planner and that’s going to cost about $150.

That’s $150 that we were not planning on spending for that… we had other ideas for that money.  You know, like favors or programs.  Now, I have to re-evaluate so that we can afford it all.

Oh wedding planning!  It’s fun, but also stressful.  Don’t get too overwhelmed with it, that’s what I have to keep telling myself or that’s what J keeps telling me.

Wedding planning helps you get an idea of the big picture.  Know what parts will cost the most, for us it was the venue, photography and alcohol – you know, the important parts – the booze and the part that will capture those moments!

I will be sitting in this big, comfy chair for most of today working on some wedding planning – crunching numbers, stressing out, and thinking that I’m wanting to do too much; however, in the end it will all work out and I will get to marry my best friend.

Cheers!

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Will you be my bridesmaid?

bridesmaidgift

I saw a pin on Pinterest awhile back and it linked to lauren.david.style’s blog here.  I fell in love with the idea of packaging all the details and knick-knacks about the wedding into a nice box to give to my bridesmaids.

I had already asked the fabulous ladies to be my bridesmaids and now it was time to get them some info about J and I’s big day.

bridesmaidgift-open

I decided early on that it was not worth the stress to find a dress that fit in with the style of the wedding that made each girl feel beautiful.  Each of my bridesmaids are their own woman and knows what fits them the best.  I have given them some guidelines and details of what our style is so that they can find a dress that fits them and their budget.

bridesmaidgift-box

I included information about:

the big day – when, where, what time, and paint chips to see the colors.

my bridesmaids – a little introduction about each of my girls and how they came to be such a large, important part of my life.

their dress and accessories – navy blue, knee-length dress with eggplant (plum) heels or wedges.

their role – to feel beautiful, to have fun, and know that I am truly grateful for them standing with me on my day.

Cheers!

How To Rank What’s Important At Your Wedding

wedding-rings-wallpaper1

photo credit

Earlier this week I posted about how J and I are budgeting for our wedding (check it out here).  I mentioned prioritizing what is important to both of you for your wedding.  J and I both had different ideas of what was important, so we had to come together in agreement.

I have some tips on how to rank what is important to you:

Tip 1: Have both of you come up with a list or an idea of what you want your day to look like.  Then once you have an idea, talk about it with each other.  See which parts match up and make those a high priority.

Tip 2: Discuss the differences.  When J and I were talking about photos of us as a married couple we realized that we had a problem.  You see, I wanted to see each other before the wedding to take our pictures.  I figured it would save time between the ceremony and reception so that we could have the ceremony later in the day and a shorter reception.  However, it was important to J that he not see me until I was walking down the aisle.  After discussing our views for a while, I finally realized just how important it was to him.  So, now we have bumped our wedding time up and added a cocktail hour so that we can have pictures taken after the ceremony.  We understand that taking pictures after the ceremony is going to increase our budget because we will be having a cocktail hour, but it was great to learn what was important to him and listening.

Tip 3: Don’t get emotional when talking about it.  I am one that can go from 0 to 90 in less than two seconds when it comes to discussing a topic.  J is really good about calming me down and making me breath.  So, just remember that the two of you are just having a conversation and nothing is set in stone at that moment.  If you need to walk away and think about it for a day, that’s okay.

So, sit down with your future spouse and discuss what matters most to you.  Remember this is your day, so make it what you want.

Cheers,

Mere

Good Buy on a Printer

J and I were talking about investing in a printer for our new place.  It’s a struggle now that I’m not a student to print anything out.  I used to just e-mail myself and then head to campus for printing.  Now, I can’t do that.  Being an adult can have it’s down moments sometimes. haha

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Anyway, I found this printer here on Office Depot’s website.  It is originally $199 printer and on sale for $99 (through this Saturday). That’s about a 51% savings!  Now, I called the store and talked to an employee who instructed me on using a coupon online.  Well I was highly disappointed when the coupon code wouldn’t work for a technology item.  I refused to be defeated, so I started an online chat with a customer service representative.  After two conversations with two different agents, I was allowed to apply that $15 off coupon through her.  Now we’re talking here!

Let’s do the math:

199-100=99 (51% savings)
99-15 coupon = 84 (58% savings)

Wow! I’m one happy lady!

Cheers,

Mere

Wedding Budget Tips

wedding-budget

photo credit.

Budget. That word alone can usually cause stress in most people, including me.  However, it is imperative to have/know your budget when planning a wedding.  There are several ways to determine your budget and I was lucky to have parents that helped A LOT with my budget.

TIP 1: I determined that amount of money that J and I would have to plan our dream wedding after talking with my parents.  Then in my typical fashion I cut my budget by 15%.  Wait… what?! I cut money out of my budget? Crazy, huh?!

Well… hear me out before you think I’m that crazy.  In my mind, I know… I just know that unexpected charges or needs will come up during the planning process and I don’t want to be scrambling for money.  By taking 15% of the budget away on paper then I know that if an emergency arises, we are safe and okay with money.

TIP 2: Prioritize the important parts.  When J and I started thinking about what we wanted our wedding to look like we had to prioritize what was most important to us.

We came up with three categories.  First, highly important.

Photographer
Venue
Music
Cake

Next, important.

My Dress
Food
Flowers
Groom’s Tux
Groomsman Cake (well in J’s case a cookie cake)
Hair & Makeup
Stationary (invitations & thank you notes)
Favors

Finally, not that important.

Bridesmaid Dresses
Transportation
Seating Chart

Tip 3: Knowing your guest number limit.  J and I started crunching numbers and decided that we would ideally like to invite 175 people.  Knowing that on average 20% of those invited will not be able to attend.  That would leave us at about 140 guests.

Tip 4: Don’t forget about tax and gratuity.  Those charges can add up pretty quickly.  For example, let’s say that you’ve budgeted $2,000 for flowers.  You start talking roses, lilies, carnations, baby’s breath and next thing you know the subtotal is $1,999.  You’ll be surprised to learn that your total will be over $2,140 (at least in Southwest Missouri because our sales tax is 7.06%).

Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors what the tax rate is and how it is applied.  I learned that there is no tax on linens because the vendor pays the tax during the purchase and cannot pass that on to each customer.

Also, gratuity is another hidden budget balloon.  I talked to one caterer that charged a pretty high gratuity, which after the tax put her way above my budget.

Tip 5: Ask your vendors if they are running any specials for booking that month.  Since I started planning in February for a November wedding a lot of my vendors were running specials.  For example, my caterer through in a house salad for each guest at no charge, which will save us about $2 per guests (140 guests x $2 = $280 savings).  Also, my venue had a free champagne toast for booking… that saves a lot of $$$.

Hope these tips are helpful during your wedding budget planning! Let me know what you think!

Cheers,

Mere