Anna and I got engaged in May of 2011. It’s been kind of a whirlwind romance, considering we met only a year before that–in that time we dated long distance, and after 7 months she moved here and started a new job. I proposed to her the day we moved in together and we immediately [...]
Anna and I got engaged in May of 2011. It’s been kind of a whirlwind romance, considering we met only a year before that–in that time we dated long distance, and after 7 months she moved here and started a new job. I proposed to her the day we moved in together and we immediately started planning our nuptials.
In our discussions we had two dates in mind, either this October (to take advantage of the lovely fall weather, and keep on our already pretty accelerated courting schedule), or next April which would give us longer to save money and get married on the anniversary of the day we met. In the end, we decided to go for the closer date for a variety of reasons, but above all: we just really want to be married.
I put together a spreadsheet in the first week and have been refining it ever since. Our back of the napkin estimate for a wedding party with ~100 guests (including catering, photography, location, booze) started at $10,000 and has remained around there even as we’ve ironed out the details. Add our honeymoon in there (7 days in Mexico!) and our current estimate is a grand total of $13,925.
After purchasing the ring, I had about $1,800 left over. That became the seed around which the rest of the savings have grown.
The first thing I did was to create a new ING Direct account. ING is where I keep all of my short term savings: it’s easy to move money around online, you can create multiple accounts for free and earmark them for whatever you’d like, and it still pays some interest (1% as of this writing). I currently have the following accounts set up:
- Home Improvement – About to be totally cleaned out by my siding contractor
- Car Insurance – A way to pay myself every month and get some interest before paying State Farm every 6 months.
- Motorcycle Accessories – $25/paycheck goes a long way when you shop very rarely for the bike.
- Travel – This allows us to have a cash buffer for vacations when we feel like it.
- Emergency – I’m not going to tell you the balance here, but trust me: it needs work.
- Wedding & Honeymoon – The new addition!
Anna is an incredible saver, even though she’s pretty disorganized about it. She had about $6,000 sitting in her checking account and we immediately moved $4,800 of it into the Wedding & Honeymoon fund, giving us a huge head-start at $6,600. After that, we had $7,325 (give or take) to go, and 23 weeks (11 pay checks) to get there.
With that goal and that timeline, we were looking at $1330 per month that needed to be put away in order to make it in time. I immediately diverted all of my monthly savings to the Wedding & Honeymoon account and added a bit more on top of that. That turned out to be $600 per month. It may not sound like much, but I let my salary pay for all of our fixed expenses (with the exception of Anna’s car payment) while she covers more of the fun stuff.
Since she had moved into my house, that freed up at the very least the cost of her rent, or $725 per month. Rather than impose an automatic savings plan on Anna, we let her savings grow organically in her checking account, but as she is by no means a spender, this was not an issue.
That put us just shy of our target at $1325 per month.
Gifts and Happenstance
We were very fortunate to receive $3,000 from Anna’s grandpa and an additional $1,000 from mine, along with Anna’s $1,850 deposit from her apartment. All of this brought us closer to our goals.
As always happens, there are other things to spend money on. We had some house work that required about $3,000 which was not in the Home Improvement account, so this came out of the Wedding & Honeymoon fund, dropping us back a bit.
With 5 weeks left to save, we have $110 remaining to pay for the wedding and the honeymoon. This puts us in a great position, and well ahead of schedule. We can continue saving into the wedding account, and after the wedding divert anything left into the Emergency fund and start growing the bottom line there.
Later I’ll write a post about our personal savings plan going forward–as soon as we have one. Don’t expect it until after we get back from the honeymoon.
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