Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Distinguishing Between Wants Versus Needs

As you may have read in previous posts, Matt and I are trying to save money. It's complicated by the fact that there are so many things I want to buy (reminds me of our wedding)!

First, there's the DSLR camera I want, so I can start taking prettier pictures. We want to buy this body with this lens. It's way pricey.

Then there's the backyard furniture we want in order to transform our yard into an oasis.

Plus, I would really, really love a Vitamix to make green smoothies and eventually baby food.

Oh, I forgot that I want to trade in our lumpy, saggy queen-size bed for a king-size organic mattress. Don't even ask me how much that costs (we would also need to get a new bed frame).

And, speaking of home improvement stuff, I really want a leather couch, so we could more easily cope with our bloodhound's excessive hair and drool.

So, here's the plan:
  1. Prioritize the list: I'm going to sit down with Matt and put the items in order from most important to least important. That's the thing with money; it usually runs out before I've had a chance to get everything I want.
  2. Cross things off the list: I'm going to try and be honest with myself about what's a need versus a want (well, none of these things are needs, per se, but some of them are more want-ful than others). For example, I bet I could get by for a while using my blender and food processor, rather than a fancy Vitamix.
  3. Look for the best deals: I'm going to scour the internet for the best prices on this stuff. My first stop is going to be craigslist. Getting used stuff is better on the budget and the environment. Score!
  4. Start saving: I don't like to spend money that I don't have and then pay back more than I originally owed in the form of credit card interest. I can even set up a separate savings account with an automatic transfer each month (since we use an electronic bank, this process is super easy and free).

It can be hard having a consumer appetite bigger than my budget, but I always feel better when I consciously process the items on my list.

What about you? What items on your Wedding Wants list did you cross off? What other strategies do you have for dealing with a list of wants that overshadows your budget?

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A-L, said...

Timely, timely. The quote for the best cake my family and I have ever tasted came in last night. And it was much higher than the preliminary pre-tasting quote. And far higher than the budgeted allotment for the cake. Had this been a solo decision I would have ordered the different tiers as separate cakes (which would have dropped the price by $2/slice) and then bought/borrowed a cake stand. But it was important to my mom that they be stacked the way a "traditional" cake looks. So we're going on ahead and doing that.

So the question has arisen, where do we cut back?

1) We're cutting back on linens. Instead of having the magenta table cloths I envisioned we'll have black ones. And save over $100.

2) We're cutting back on special bridal party and altar decorations. Instead of having special & larger candles and candleholders for these folk, they get the same size as the rest of the invitees. And we'll save about $125.

3)We're also cutting back on reception decorations. The wall of light I envisioned will not be happening and that will save us more than $175.

4) And I have a feeling the ceremony music is going to be cut next. I was hoping to have a professional piano/string duo. We still want live music so it will either just be a pianist, or we'll see if we can find student musicians to perform at a price we can afford. So that will save an extra $200.

(Not all of these cuts are because of the cake. Somehow the way wedding planning goes the costs just keep going higher and then all of a sudden you're over budget. These are cuts to bring us back within budget.)

Lizzie [TenThouBride] said...

Great post..Learning how to manage a budget in a relationship is huge to keeping it a happy marriage. Money troubles seem to rip apart even the best of marriages...

The wedding is really only the first step in learning that...so thanks so much for continuing the story.

A Los Angeles Love said...

We do this same prioritizing too, via our electronic savings accounts, in life and weddings. We identify our wants v needs, prioritize the top needs, look for deals, and make cuts as necessary.

We've cut so much traditional wedding stuff it's a bit daunting sometimes. No save the dates, no fancy invitations, no OOT bags, no separate bachelor/ette weekends (will happen the night before the wedding), no full-service catering, no nice rentals, possibly no ceremony decor, minimal reception decor, probably no ceremony music (maybe a friend on guitar, no expensive clothes... it goes on. But we're doing that to make budgetary space for what matters: shuttles to a remote site for out of town guests, a DJ because music matters to Jason more than anything, a photographer who understands us and will capture emotional moments, and a DOC so we can spend time with our families and friends. And we've bargained like heck and made compromises on each of the things we DID decide to get.

And personally, I would put the mattress (perhaps non-organic?) on the need list. My back and sleep has been transformed by a new mattress and it was entirely worth the investment.

Jessica said...

I've heard a lot of great things about vitamix's, but I make green smoothies in my blender super easily, as long as I have the right solid to liquid ratio....and it definitely didn't cost as much as a vitamix does!

Jessica Horton said...

Check Adorama.com for a D90... I can usually find what I want cheaper there.... they also offer wonderful used gear... All but one piece of our gear is used and we've had zero issues... and it all comes in boxes, cases with batteries and manuals!

honeymooned said...

I love your blog! I don't know how to follow it :(
If you wish, check out my new blog on Honeymoons @ honeymooned@blogspot.com
Any suggestions, comments, etc. are greatly appreciated!!!

CB said...

check out this mattress for an eco-friendlier option http://www.econsciousmarket.com/default/eco-home/bedroom/beds-mattresses/keetsa-the-keetsa-plus-9-tight-top-coil.html

Sam and Becky said...

I have a Nikon D70, that I no longer use. (it's only 6.2 mega pixels). The only thing wrong with it, is that the pop up flash stays "popped up". I cure this with use a small piece of tape to keep it down. I live in California, ( 40 mins outside LA) the camera is yours if you want it. My wife has a Nikon D90 that we use.. I never use the D70, and it might be a great start for you. And oh, the pictures always look fabulous. I can send you some of them if you would like.

Jeliza said...

A belated comment, but I just found your blog from APW -- on buying cameras, if you are willing to be one body behind the cutting edge (and with new versions often coming out 18 months, this does not usually entail much sacrifice), buy it used from someplace reputable like keh.com or adorama.com; Professionals, who need to both stay up to date and have backup equipment, are frequently shedding older cameras with a great deal of life in them as they upgrade. (Of course, you may find the money you save on the camera you'll spend on getting good lenses, but that's just the way photography goes.)

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