Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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z06ray
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Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by z06ray » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:42 pm

It's been a little while since I posted on here with questions. Last helpful advice was when I was purchasing my first home at the end of 2015. Funny, looking back at my posts when I was upset buying appetizers for my then girlfriend, now fiancé :P :sharebeer

I think this is the right section for this post, I have quite a bit of questions regarding all of my finances.


Background-
-Age: 26
-Income: 76k (bonus potential around 10%)
-Assets: ~26-28k in 401k + roth, emergency fund funded at around 80%, and I own my corvette (daily driver, cars are my absolute passion, this will not go away. Generally, I keep them long enough to sell at what I paid for them...I'm hovering near or below what I paid now since I have had it for 20,000 miles. I just don't want to sell it and will likely just keep it and drive the heck out of it.
-Currently single, but after 8 years, I finally made the decision and bought a ring...wedding May 2017. This has prompted my return to the forums, I am getting nervous with all of these recent expenses that I have incurred. I am very excited, but we've had to cut the list down to ~300 due to large families and friends. Fortunately, our parents will be helping us but we will also be contributing...at what point is the wedding expense foolish? Anyone have regrets or things they would have done different? Currently, we are working on cost cutting ideas.
-Fortunately for my parents, no student loan debt.
-I have a mortgage that I owe $169,xxx. Home value is around 200k. I've only lived here for 7 months, and in this time, I cut my Vanguard roth contributions just to see how things would go. Well, every month, I have paid extra on the mortgage. I recently decided, if choosing one or the other, I should focus on maxing out my roth again (I did not do this in 2015 but do plan to now for 2016). Should I still put extra down on my mortgage?
-I have no consumer debt or any additional bills beyond utilities and insurance. But I do owe my parents ~15k. They helped me to get into my home. I really don't like owing money but my parents have told me that they would prefer I fund my roth and pay down my mortgage as opposed to paying them back right away. That being said, this money is not a gift and I will be paying it back. I just don't like owing, but how can I turn down interest free money? Should I set a reasonable timeline to pay back or heavily focus on paying them back first?
-I am going to go back and finish my MBA (I started this in 2013 and was taking classes slowly since I was paying out of pocket). At this point, I want to finish as soon as I can. Fortunately, my current company will pay for this, I just need to pay up front (this will cost a few more thousand dollars for this year). I am only nervous since all of these expenses seem to come up at once.
- I've spent a lot of money recently between purchasing my house and the ring so I am still not quite completely funded on my emergency fund (close however).
-I have around ~14k in my Vanguard account, ~9 k in my company 401k, and 4k (in 401ks that I need to roll over from past internships, any suggestions how/what I should roll these into?)
-I've also been prompted with getting term life. I always belonged to the camp that since I do not have any dependents, I may as well not look into it. Now that I am engaged, I am a bit more interested (she supports herself, so not absolutely crucial). I'm told that at 26, it's much lower risk in that something may come up in the next few years when I really need to look into it. I personally think of insurance as a scam but do want to make sure I make the right financial decisions. I do get a life insurance 2x salary through work.
-Through my company healthcare, every year upon passing a physical, I receive $1,500 into an HSA account. I decided that I would just let the 1,500 every year continue to grow and pay out of pocket for any medical expenses and using this for emergencies or when I have kids and things like braces come up. Is this stupid?

10 months from now, tables will be changing again. All of the above are my personal finances before marriage.

Any and all suggestions/advice are welcome. I feel that I have such a long way to go, but I am having fun getting there.



Thanks!!!!

mhalley
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by mhalley » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:52 am

I would max out all retirement accounts before paying down mortgage. Disability insurance is a must, as you are 3 times more likely to be disabled as die. Life insurance maybe not necc right now, but a must if you start a family.
Debt to family is fraught with problems, I would come up with a definite payment schedule. Pay me when you can is not a viable plan. As Dave Ramsey says, thanksgiving dinner is not the same when you owe money to family.
If the old 401k has good options, no need to roll it over, unless you have to because the amount is too low.. If you anticipate future high earnings and might want to do backdoor roths, then you should keep it in the Current 401k or roll it to your current 401k. Otherwise roll it to Ira. You might even consider converting the 401k to a Roth before you get married, while in lower tax bracket.
HSA is great, triple tax deferred money, can be looked at as a stealth Ira.
http://whitecoatinvestor.com/retirement ... ealth-ira/
Weddings can range from $30 to 30 million, so the biggest thing is to set a budget and stick to it. Consider getting married on Monday- Wednesday as everything is more expensive on the weekend. Lots of ways to save money, only beer and wine at reception instead of liquor, make your own floral arrangements or get them at Costco, etc,Google cheap wedding etc.

Loik098
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Loik098 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:07 pm

tjschraf wrote:I am getting nervous with all of these recent expenses that I have incurred....at what point is the wedding expense foolish? Anyone have regrets or things they would have done different? Currently, we are working on cost cutting ideas.
My suggestion would be to not spend so much on your wedding that it becomes obvious to your parents that you intend to further delay (for quite some time) paying back your loan to them because of it. Doing so would be foolish. There are not many folks who say afterwards, "I wish I would have spent more money on my wedding."

Make your relationships your top priority, and your finances further down the list.
Last edited by Loik098 on Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:19 pm

Our wedding was half the # you have coming. We divided the amount in 3 and our friends was 1/3, my side of the family 1/3 and her side 1/3. Her parents came back with 300 people. In vetting the list, we found 50 people who were dead. Finally found that they wanted everyone they ever knew on the list and actually took their wedding list and just dropped it right in (thus so many dead people).

My sister in law had well over 300 people. I don't think they lasted 2 months.

Going way overboard seems to be the normal today. If you want to pay for a party for the next 10 years, go for it.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

petiejoe
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by petiejoe » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:55 pm

You can spend as little as ~$100 to get married (in most jurisdictions there are various fees to submit the legal paperwork) or as much as you want. Any number you pick will have some people say you spent too much and other people amazed you spent so little. Set a budget that makes sense for you and stick with it. You can find lots of websites that will talk about creative ways to spend less (or more!) on the overall experience, it's really quite possible to pick exactly how much you want to spend.

Start talking with your fiancé about money now. Joined vs separate finances is a somewhat contentious topic, but either way you do it, it will only work with lots of communication. The engagement period is a great time to start playing by the new rules to see how you'll adjust to having a common household. Be careful about actually merging finances before the legal binding because it can leave one or the other of you in a tough place legally if things don't go as planned (I won't say don't do it, just be careful).

My $.02 (follow this or don't) is make sure you have a fully funded emergency fund (whatever that means to you in your situation) and then I'd personally pay off the family debt as fast as possible. Plenty of smart(er) people will disagree with this because it's not the optimal distribution of your money, but I hate owing money to family - it strains relationships. The emergency fund comes first so that you don't have to borrow from them again in case of emergency.

Congrats and good luck!

Atilla
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Atilla » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:07 pm

At night if I wake up and can't get to sleep right away I recite (loosely) something from Proverbs that says a man who finds a wife finds a treasure and is blessed by God. I do my best to always remember that.

I also know that real love is not an emotion - it's a long string of decisions you make your entire life. The good emotions come along with love.

Every day you come home from work is when your real work begins. You are one and not two.

Money stuff matters but if you don't get the above right, it doesn't matter at all. I know from experience.
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Topic Author
z06ray
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by z06ray » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:19 pm

Thank you all very much, I really appreciate it. I will definitely be looking into disability insurance as well as term life now that that is brought up.

As far as the wedding, we've been together for over 8 years now and neither of us want to spend too much on this but I think setting a firm budget for ALL things included will be a good place to start. It's pretty difficult with 300 people to be too inexpensive but I am currently looking into other avenues. After all, we don't need to be the typical.

Good points on owing family, I personally hate owing anyone and I prefer to take family and friends out of these types of situations. I am not fighting or resisting the need to pay my parents back as soon as possible. However, I think fully funding my emergency fund would be much more wise here (just a few grand away). I actually brought it up to my mom today that I don't want to be THAT family member on thanksgiving, she laughed and told me she is not worried about it right now. She said that what it was giving her in interest in the bank is minimal. I told her that I will be paying her back ASAP. My dad tells me that I am stupid to be focused on paying them back at the moment ( :shock: ; not quite the BH that my mom is)

Topic Author
z06ray
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by z06ray » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:22 pm

mhalley wrote:I would max out all retirement accounts before paying down mortgage. Disability insurance is a must, as you are 3 times more likely to be disabled as die. Life insurance maybe not necc right now, but a must if you start a family.
Debt to family is fraught with problems, I would come up with a definite payment schedule. Pay me when you can is not a viable plan. As Dave Ramsey says, thanksgiving dinner is not the same when you owe money to family.
If the old 401k has good options, no need to roll it over, unless you have to because the amount is too low.. If you anticipate future high earnings and might want to do backdoor roths, then you should keep it in the Current 401k or roll it to your current 401k. Otherwise roll it to Ira. You might even consider converting the 401k to a Roth before you get married, while in lower tax bracket.
HSA is great, triple tax deferred money, can be looked at as a stealth Ira.
http://whitecoatinvestor.com/retirement ... ealth-ira/
Weddings can range from $30 to 30 million, so the biggest thing is to set a budget and stick to it. Consider getting married on Monday- Wednesday as everything is more expensive on the weekend. Lots of ways to save money, only beer and wine at reception instead of liquor, make your own floral arrangements or get them at Costco, etc,Google cheap wedding etc.
I really appreciate all of these responses! this is all very helpful, thank you!!!

Tal-
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Tal- » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:03 pm

Congrats on your engagement, and on your solid financial start!

It would be helpful if you had specific questions, but here are some thoughts I had:

1- How much should you spend on your wedding??? There's no right answer here, but there are plenty of wrong ones. It's arbitrary, but my suggestion would be to match dollar-for-dollar what your parents put into the wedding, capped somewhere in the low five digits. Pick one or two things about the wedding that you want perfect, and cut on everything else. If you are taking a honeymoon, include that in your wedding costs.

2- I kind of disagree about disability insurance. My personal view is that term is a great place to start, though delaying until you decide on children is probably fine. I think 2x if probably fine for today, but probably low once pregnant. My personal view is that disability insurance is not vital (note that I'm not an expert).

3- What to do with your extra cash??? You have a lot of priorities right now, including paying for the wedding, paying back your rents, funding/maxing retirement, paying off mortgage, funding your emergency fund, etc. First, always get any 401k match. Second, split dollars evenly between your rents, maxing your retirement, and funding your emergency fund (maybe include HSA in here, and split it 4 ways). Your mortgage is, by far, the lowest priority item, and should only be considered after 529, maxed retirements, etc. etc.

4- I say this with hesitation, but have the wedding be the last time you borrow from your parents. They sound like great people, and have done a ton to help you. I don't fault you nor them for that. But, it's time to cut that cord.

5- Have a heart-to-heart with your fiance about finances. Determine how you prioritize vacations vs saving. Individual vs shared finances. Decision making for big ticket items. Define your long-term financial goals (in terms of dollars!). Career aspirations, including your MBA. Who will manage what with the finances (investing, paying bills, etc.) Talk about if/how you will care for family members down the line. And, discuss budgets. I did this exercise with my now-wife 11 years ago, thought it was a joke at the time, but still reflect back on those discussions.

6- Get married. Then get all name changing done. Then get a will (and power of attorney, and all that jazz). Then, yes, I would consolidate your old 401ks. I'd probably error on the side of rolling them into your IRA rather than your current 401K, but that's hard to know for sure without knowing plan provisions. This order is important to avoid rework.

7- HSAs are the bomb. Kind of. In theory, HSAs are among my favorite investment strategies. In actuality, HSA providers still think of HSAs as short-term resources, meaning that you may bump into odd plan restrictions and limited investment options. So, my advice is to start with something like 1500 this year and play with the saving, investing, and spending of the dollars for a year or two. Best case scenario, all works well and you can ramp that up over time. Worst case scenario, you will use that money for medical expenses over the next couple of years.

Congrats again.
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

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Watty
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Watty » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:03 am

tjschraf wrote:..at what point is the wedding expense foolish?
..... Currently, we are working on cost cutting ideas.
Not a moral judgement but if you have been living together, especially for a long time, that makes a big wedding sort of "foolish" is some ways unless it is something you really want to do.

When we had our wedding we would have had to cut a lot of people off the list if we had a sit down dinner reception. We ended up renting a good size historic church that was used as a wedding venue then had cake and light refreshments for our reception in the reception hall at the church.

Combined the ceremony and reception probably lasted between two and three hours.

That worked out just fine especially since we did not have to go through hundredth of the stress of figuring out a big wedding but even that much planning was still pretty stressfull.

We were in our 30s so we already had too much household stuff with two combining two households and were doing Ok financially so that we did not need any gifts so we put something like "No gifts please, your company is the best gift you could give." on the wedding invitation but we still got a fair number of gifts. My impression was that they were smaller and more sentimental since people didn't feel like they had to give a gift that would cover the cost of their seat at the reception and that was fine with us.

Before and after the wedding we had several separate dinners with various smaller groups of family and friends. We did not leave on our honeymoon until the next weekend so that we would have more time see the people that came in from out of town.

In today's dollars that only cost a couple of thousand dollars. That seems to have worked out just fine since we have been married for almost 30 years now and will be grandparents soon. :beer

In my experience it seems like about 80%+ of the people at a large wedding would rather be somewhere else since they know very few people there so don't feel like you have to make a whole day event out of it.

You can probably find it but a year or two ago someone did a study that found that there was an inverse correlation between what was spent on a wedding and how long a marriage lasts so you might keep that in mind.

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Tamarind
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Tamarind » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:38 am

Too much on a wedding is so subjective. But Bogleheads know you can always reduce the costs!

Dropping either the wedding or reception, and keeping a lid on the guest list, are the two biggest things you can do to cut costs. I like Watty's suggestion of having a light reception on church grounds. Who doesn't like cake and bubbly? I am planning to do the opposite: have the ceremony at the courthouse with just witnesses and then throw a dinner party. Either works depending on your religious needs.

To give you a data point: I'm 30 and we've been together for 7 years so similar situation to you. We decided the two important things are treating our closest loved ones as a thank you and having a lovely honeymoon to remember. So we are planning on high $ per plate dinner and dancing for 50 people. No inviting friends we wish still knew, no relatives we wouldn't want for Thanksgiving dinner. We'll be traveling for a couple of weeks on honeymoon. Total cost including all jewelry: $11k. I am so lucky to have found another Boglehead. :beer

YMMV obviously since your priorities are going to be different. I would suggest not accepting money from your parents for a wedding, though, even a gift. You lose control over the event i.e "If I'm dropping $x then you have to serve beef/you can't invite that friend I've never liked/Crazy Uncle Ed has to give the first toast!". :mrgreen:

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Tamarind
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Tamarind » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:45 am

tjschraf wrote: -I've also been prompted with getting term life. I always belonged to the camp that since I do not have any dependents, I may as well not look into it. Now that I am engaged, I am a bit more interested (she supports herself, so not absolutely crucial). I'm told that at 26, it's much lower risk in that something may come up in the next few years when I really need to look into it. I personally think of insurance as a scam but do want to make sure I make the right financial decisions. I do get a life insurance 2x salary through work.
Since she supports herself and you have a lot of one time expenses coming up I would suggest you wait on this. The life insurance through work is adequate for now.

Revisit this when you are ready to have kids.

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:06 am

Watty wrote:...

When we had our wedding we would have had to cut a lot of people off the list if we had a sit down dinner reception. We ended up renting a good size historic church that was used as a wedding venue then had cake and light refreshments for our reception in the reception hall at the church.

Combined the ceremony and reception probably lasted between two and three hours.

That worked out just fine especially since we did not have to go through hundredth of the stress of figuring out a big wedding but even that much planning was still pretty stressfull.

....
+1. Our "small" wedding was ~200-250 people, almost all relatives from our two big extended families, and we did it the same way. It isn't necessarily the number of people that is the cost driver.

That was many years ago and we were still in grad school... We are currently discussing this issue with our kids, who are OP's age peers. Even a spectacular wedding is a single day (or several). The goal is a happy long-term marriage, and one needs to have priorities if the two are in tension (i.e., avoid going into debt for the wedding, and avoid impinging upon savings earmarked for other, more important things).
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dfitz247
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by dfitz247 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:20 am

I would pay them back ASAP and get that off the table...seems like they help you out a very hefty amount (wedding, school loans, and home). I would pay a family member back 10 times faster than a bank. I would sell the Corvette and drive a beater to speed up the process. :beer

Pinotage
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Pinotage » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:23 pm

Atilla wrote:
Every day you come home from work is when your real work begins. You are one and not two.

Money stuff matters but if you don't get the above right, it doesn't matter at all.
This is really good advice.

This forum is focused on money and investing. In your personal life, don't let that focus overshadow the real priorities.

All the cells on your spreadsheet between A1 and A95 (or whatever) are where life happens.

staythecourse
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by staythecourse » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:17 pm

Congrats on entering the next phase of our life. May sound trite, but life changes every year from late 20's to 40. I have not had one year like the year before. The challenges may be money, may be job, may be family, may be spouse, may be kids, etc...

The important thing is to remember no matter what happens it is you two vs. everyone else. She has your back and you have hers. As long as you keep that in the front of your mind there are no issues that can't be figured out.

Good luck.

p.s. Everybody spends WAY TOO MUCH on their marriage. It really is like buying a mercedes or 2 just to drive it off a cliff. That being said I would not take one memory back we had that night. So if you are going to waste money great memories are as good of a rationalization as you can get. :D
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

mc2
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by mc2 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:50 am

Perhaps this isn't all that pertinent to your original post, but as a young person, please take note of the following pitfalls that will cross your path:

1. Don't by whole life/fancy insurance. I'd avoid NML agents in general.
2. Don't mix finances with friends and family-financial planners, insurance agents, health care workers.
3. Don't do 1 and 2.
4. Brown bag your lunches and drive that car to 150,000 miles.
5. Above all, don't do 1 and 2.
6. If you remember one thing, remember #3.

A long time ago, I bought the book, "Personal Finance for Dummies." Despite the cheezy title, it has a lot of practical financial considerations, many of which are repeated over and over on this forum. It's an easy read and it would be wise to have your wife read it too. Mine didn't, but I've convinced her to pay attention to where the money goes. Starting out so young may give you the advantage of making money. Often times, that's not the hard part-keeping it/not wasting it is the hard part.

stoptothink
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by stoptothink » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:25 am

staythecourse wrote:
p.s. Everybody spends WAY TOO MUCH on their marriage. It really is like buying a mercedes or 2 just to drive it off a cliff. That being said I would not take one memory back we had that night. So if you are going to waste money great memories are as good of a rationalization as you can get. :D
We spent ~$1000 in '13, including all clothing and rings. Thanks to my family for helping with the food and hers for providing the location for an awesome celebration for us and ~50 of our closest. Now we can afford to actually drive that Mercedes, well..Hyundai.

Engineer250
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by Engineer250 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:21 pm

stoptothink wrote:
staythecourse wrote:
p.s. Everybody spends WAY TOO MUCH on their marriage. It really is like buying a mercedes or 2 just to drive it off a cliff. That being said I would not take one memory back we had that night. So if you are going to waste money great memories are as good of a rationalization as you can get. :D
We spent ~$1000 in '13, including all clothing and rings. Thanks to my family for helping with the food and hers for providing the location for an awesome celebration for us and ~50 of our closest. Now we can afford to actually drive that Mercedes, well..Hyundai.
I agree! We spent probably $2-$3k ~10 years ago, also including food, venue, clothing, rings, about 50 guests. We paid for it ourselves, no help (only volunteer/time help) from family. I don't exactly "regret" the expense, but had I to do all over again we'd probably hit the court house with our immediate families, then just have some food and a stand up reception in my parents backyard/house. I'd still get the dress (I spent $600 I think! More than my wedding ring!) because that was important to me, I'd never had something not homemade for dances/occasions growing up. But we could have easily skipped the venue and the decorations. I know people with big pricey destination weddings who say they don't regret it, but some of those people are getting divorced. I think we are also predisposed to justify the decisions we made (it was worth it to go to private college and take out loans instead of public because of xyz). At the end of the day, spend money on what's important. Are all 300 people you're trying to invite really going to be a part of your life? We only invited people we still see every year. And plenty of them could have easily survived without being a part of our narcissistic celebration of our union :D
Where the tides of fortune take us, no man can know.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Growing up and becoming an adult, lots of questions!

Post by JGoneRiding » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:39 am

chalk me up to the I should have spent more category. I spent about 3k. I make about 95k a year. We got married last year. My wedding was great! Were i would have spent more--food I should have given in and just catered the thing we did plates from Costco and it worked out well but still. I think I should have given in and hired a DJ the music part would have been great if it had worked as planned and we still got a great first dance in but a dj would have made it more fun. and I should have bought the expensive cheap tablecloths. :D

were I saved a ton of money and loved every minute of it: The venue we got married in a state park it was awesome and beautiful and very cheap. I loved my venue for ONLY $25 a lot more then my friend who paid 3k for a similar type of venue and I don't think was as pretty, clean or nice and I had better bathrooms! Invitations--one word vistaprint--they are nice they come with a back side for free so you can put a pic on them and they are the least expensive non do it yourself, no regret saving hundreds there, make sure and get rectangular invitations--square ones cost double on postage no way is that worth it. Online reply--very easy to set up lots of websites some older people were confused but seriously everyone else was fine with it.
Flowers! Silk! problem solved. actually I scored twice here. a very good client who is very good friends with a good friend owns the local florist and does silk flowers for weddings. at no cost he loaned us the flowers for the alter area and the aisle ways. friend put all the table decorations together and our bridal bouquets which along with the boutonnieres were the only real flowers.
Alcohol--we had left overs! I got cheap but nice wine from trader joes. and beer from Costco. No regrets there. it worked well and I didn't even really need any supervision of it which had initially been a worry.

I can't tell you the number of people I know who spent 10k-30k and were divorced with in the year. So make it nice but have fun and don't go broke. Finances is a huge fight area for all relationships so don't start it off by making it hard.

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