Budgeting, Lifestyle, and Inspiration

I thought perhaps I should start by talking a little about budgeting itself. I can’t say that it doesn’t do my head in at times but it is essential to lasting the fortnight between pays with enough money to cover everything that needs to be covered. I use a spreadsheet… Well actually I use a couple. I have one on my computer at work and one on my personal iPad, and I refer to both a few times a week particularly around pay day. My spreadsheets show me what’s left after all the essential ongoing costs are covered (such as mortgage, bills, petrol, groceries etc.) The figure I’m left with has to last me the fortnight and cover incidentals. Incidentals can be anything and pop up often, these are things like emergency repairs to your car, medical supplies/medications because your toddler picked up some bug from playgroup, I’m sure you know the sort of thing I’m talking about, the things you just hadn’t quite figured into this week’s budget and it sends you into a state of anxiety.

Sometimes even when you are aware of upcoming costs ahead of time, it can still be a nightmare trying to factor them into your budget, especially if your budget is extremely tight, or the cost coincides with another big cost such as annual car registration for example, or your best friend, your cousin, and one of your in laws all decide to have their weddings within the same month. If you are just starting out and saving for a house too, you can feel like you’re constantly being stalled in your saving efforts when you need to keep spending money on wedding gifts, baby shower gifts, birthday gifts, and then your partner pops the question and you start to evaluate the cost of an engagement party and wedding, then you begin to despair thinking your dream home will forever be relegated to the realm of dreams.

DON’T DESPAIR! There are things you can do to keep your sanity, you just need to call upon your creativity, and this may require some inspiration. Where do I find inspiration, I hear you ask, well inspiration can come in many forms. I can and will spend entire blogs on inspiration for every possible scenario, but for the purpose of this introductory blog I will use just one example.

Six years ago my husband and I got married. Being Pagan we wanted to incorporate a Handfasting ceremony into the wedding (as here in Australia a Handfasting ceremony on its own is not legally recognised as a marriage). So we had a fair idea of what we wanted, and also that we wanted to stay around the five thousand dollar mark, considering I’ve heard of some brides paying around twenty grand on a wedding gown (there’s your home loan deposit right there), five grand would be considered a cheap wedding. However, our wedding, as I mentioned in my first blog was everything we dreamed it to be and more.

So despite having a fair idea of what we wanted our wedding to look like, we still searched around for ideas and inspiration. I still bought and perused traditional bridal magazines, these are great for inspiration when it comes to hair styles, make up styles, venue decor etc. Hubby-to-be and I even attended a Bridal Expo, and this proved to be a big money saving experience for us. Whilst at the expo we looked at various wedding photographers and their packages, it was one of those moments where you both look at each other in shock and slowly, discreetly start backing away from the booth like you’re backing away from some venomous creature hoping not to get bitten. The cheapest package we found that day was $500 which would get us a box of photos (I can’t remember how many photos, maybe 200?). As we stood looking at the quality of the pictures and portraits in the photographer’s portfolio, something simultaneously occurred to both hubby and I, which we later discussed after we left the expo. All you need is a person with a decent camera, preferably with a bit of an eye for taking a good picture, some inspiration for poses (again where the bridal mags came in handy), maybe some basic photo editing software and you can save yourself the expense (and unfortunately sometimes the disappointment) of professional wedding photography. We approached a good friend with a decent camera, and an eye for photography who was more than happy to take on the role (for free I might add! Although I repaid her with a gift). She took some very beautiful photos that we were more than happy with and provided them to us on disc, potentially saving us five hundred dollars or more. We purchased photo paper and printed what we wanted and I scrapbooked us a wedding album. Another tip I would suggest for you here too is to ask any guests that take photos to provide you with a copy of what they took, these days it can be done cheaply enough by transferring photos via USB. Often you will come across a rare gem amongst guest’s photos as they tend to capture more intimate moments during the ceremony and reception that can be missed by a wedding photographer.

This is our favourite pic from our wedding (Oct 31st 2009). This pic was taken by our good friend Paige Ricci.
This is our favourite pic from our wedding (Oct 31st 2009). This pic was taken by our good friend, and appointed Wedding Photographer, Paige Ricci.

A saving of $500 can make a big difference on a tight budget, and when you take into consideration my wedding dress cost less than $200 (the dress being a BIG part of essential wedding items), it puts into perspective the value of saving yourself $500. I know there are some people who will say that $500 is cheap for wedding photography, and this is true when compared to other packages available at the time, and there will be people who say $500 isn’t a huge expense when your entire wedding comes to fifteen grand or more, but what if $500 was your entire wedding budget? Or a thousand? Would you want to spend half or all on photos?

Anyway, I hope I’ve piqued your interest with my money saving tips and techniques, and if I have please like and share, and follow me for more frugal blogs to come.

Bye for now,

Marti

And remember- cheap does not have to mean nasty 🙂

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