By Andrew Lisa, a freelance financial writer. He covers budgeting and personal finance.
So your wedding ceremony is coming up and you’d like to buy a car before then – or a house or a boat or anything. A big-ticket purchase prior to your marriage ceremonies will require some financial finagling. If you don’t have a plan and a strategy, you’re not going to have enough left over for your honeymoon – or worse, the wedding ceremony itself. A mountain of debt after the big day makes the day after a lot less rosy. Follow this guide.
Weddings are expensive – save money wherever you can!
A New Car
As discussed in “Negotiate the Price of a New Car“, the value of a new car plummets the second you drive it off the lot. Decide if you really need a brand-new car. A lightly-used recent model – from as recently as the prior year – can save you a bundle without much compromise on quality.
Go to the dealership at the end of the month, when they’re desperate to get rid of inventory. Also, remember that trade-ins, interest rates and monthly payments are all distractions that are secondary to sticker price. Negotiate sticker price first.
Homes are tricky. If you’re buying one prior to your marriage ceremony, resist the urge to buy a home that is less energy efficient for short-term savings. Things like good insulation, new siding, upgraded ventilation in the attic, energy-efficient shingles and even solar panels cost more up front – this is true. But unless you’re independently wealthy (which, in that case, this article doesn’t apply to you), you’re buying your home in installments anyway. When a monthly mortgage payment is exacerbated by outrageous energy bills, the ship can start sinking quickly – especially if you’re in debt from your wedding.
The Same Rules Apply
The rules for saving money on big purchases before marriage ceremonies are the same as the rules for saving money in general. It takes time and it requires discipline. It comes down to two categories: the things that you need and the things that you want. You may need a fast Internet connection, but do you need cable TV with premium channels, or just want it? A streaming video account costs about $8 a month – how much is your cable bill? $60? $80? More?
Be smart on pre-wedding purchases to avoid a sad honeymoon.
In order to increase the amount of disposable income you have, you have to either earn more money, have a rich relative die or decrease spending. To decrease spending, you have to make lifestyle adjustments. These adjustments can be small, but make a big difference. You can always turn your cable back on or get a more comprehensive cell phone plan in the future.
Cook your own food and freeze it in small meals to avoid eating out or ordering in. Do little things that you know you should already be doing (make your own coffee, for example). But the important thing is to get basic budgeting software (which is free and web-based) to help you along and to show you the savings as they add up.