Shot of the bride and bridesmaids taking a selfie with a cellphone

In a bridal party? Six tips to recover from an expensive wedding season

Summer is wedding season, and if you have multiple weddings to attend this year the costs can add up quickly. Getting married is expensive, but being part of the bridal party can be costly too – especially since you won’t have any of that wedding gift money rolling in!

Dresses, tuxes and elaborate bachelor or bachelorette parties are now the norm.  And typically it’s the bridal party members who are expected to foot the cost.

Celebrating a couple’s love should be a happy occasion, but not one to go into debt over. Thankfully, there are ways to ease the pain of the post-wedding wallet hangover once your credit card statements start to arrive.

1. Adjust your budget for the rest of the season

Take a detailed look at your total wedding season spend. It will be eye opening and may lead to sticker shock. Channel that initial shock in a positive way by creating or modifying your budget to recoup your summer wedding costs.

Knowing your costs can also help you plan ahead for the next wedding season – it’ll be here before you know it!

Also read: 5 money questions you’re too embarrassed to ask

2. Sell off your wedding party stuff

There is a myriad of ways to make extra money as you try to recover from the wedding season. One of the most obvious ways to do it is to sell your duds. You may have chosen your taffeta bridesmaid dress thinking you will wear it again but let’s face it, you probably won’t. Save room in your closet and put money back in your wallet by selling it online.

Groomsmen are often given thank-you gifts like watches and cufflinks from the groom. But if you already have a watch and you never plan to wear cufflinks again for the rest of your life… do you really need them?

Beyond just your wedding wardrobe, take time to rummage through your home and reduce clutter. You’re sure to find treasures that can be sold to help you make money and recoup your wedding season losses.

3. Become frugal-social! Your friends might thank you

Wedding season is a great time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. But afterwards try to find frugal ways to stay in touch with those friends. Host a potluck or have a picnic in the park. Be open and honest with your friends about your budget and they’ll probably be happy to accommodate.

Also read: Searching for your soul mate (financial advisor edition!)

You’ll likely find that many of them are in the same boat as you and are relieved by your frugal suggestions. Being on a budget doesn’t mean eliminating fun; it means planning ahead and thinking critically about where you want your money to go.

4. Create a meal plan and eat in

You’ve indulged in delectable wedding cuisine (or maybe just a few catered chicken dinners) all season. Now it’s time to buckle down and eat at home.

Making your own meals usually costs a fraction of take-out and is oftentimes healthier too. Create a meal plan to avoid waste and the temptation to grab take-out. Going vegetarian a few days a week will save you even more money. Try adding “Meatless Mondays” to your weekly calendar!

5. Cut down on fixed expenses in your budget

An hour on the phone could potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year (or more) on the services you use. Call your service providers to find out what deals they have available for existing customers and find out if switching will save you money.

Don’t be afraid to tell your current provider that you’re looking to cancel services to see if they offer retention deals – with the caveat that you should be prepared to walk away if they don’t budge.

Also read: I’m great with money! Why do I need a financial advisor?

Consider cutting some services altogether such as cable. Banking is another area where you might want to consider switching to a provider with lower or no monthly fees.

6. Pick up a side gig after the vows are over

The side gig – or second stream of income – is the latest buzzword in personal finance and for good reason. Finding ways to make money outside of your full-time job is one of the best ways to find money in your budget. There’s only so much stuff you can sell, but your earnings potential is virtually unlimited.

A side gig can be anything from a part-time job at your favorite retailer to an online gig as a virtual assistant. The opportunities are available in abundance once you have determined what you want to do and start looking.

Before you even think about taking on a side gig, however, make sure you ask for a raise and see if you can get paid more for the work you are already doing.

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Finding ways to save money extends beyond the wedding season. Once you’ve recovered from this year’s festivities, funnel money into an account allocated to next year’s weddings (you know they’re going to happen sooner or later) to cover gifts, clothing, parties and other associated costs. By the time the next season rolls around, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself without having to stress about the dollars and cents.

Also read: Procrastination solutions: Start investing like an adult!

 

415259 CAN/US (06/17)

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Pira Kumarasamy

<p>Pira Kumarasamy is a Toronto-based freelance writer and communications consultant in the financial space. She has a background in economics and enjoys making complex financial topics relatable to the average Canadian. Her areas of interest include financial markets, student loans and real estate. You can reach her on Twitter (@PiraKumarasamy) or LinkedIn.</p>