Money-Saving Tips for Wedding Guests

Receiving wedding invitations is exciting – nothing beats celebrating one of the most memorable days of your friend’s life.

But once you begin receiving multiple wedding invites per season, the financial burden starts to weigh heavily on your bank account. As you add up the costs of travel, hotel stays, gifts, attire and any extra expenses, your money goals for the year can be greatly impacted.

That’s why planning early for wedding season is critical to easing the anxiety that often comes with those extra expenses. Help yourself offset the financial impact and avoid racking up wedding-induced credit card debt by following these savings best practices.

Start a Wedding Fund

Once you hit the age of 25, it’s important to start a wedding fund. Tweet this

Now, wait! Don’t panic! This fund isn’t for yourself. It’s for funding all the weddings you may attend in the next five to 10 years.

Start by setting up a separate savings account for these expenses. Designate a portion of each paycheck to automatically deposit into that account.

Simply set aside $25 per paycheck – or maybe a little more or less depending on your financial situation. That way, when you go to book flights, pay for a hotel and buy presents, it won’t feel like such a strain on your bank account.

Any side hustle money can also help quickly pad this fund without digging into your regular pay.

No Shame in the Re-Gifting Game

Maybe you got married recently and ended up with two sets of kitchen knives. Or maybe that juicer you bought a year ago is just sitting on the shelf – unopened – collecting dust.

There is no shame in saving yourself $50 to $100 on purchasing a wedding gift (or bridal shower present) if you can re-gift an unused item you already own.

Just make sure it isn’t personalized in anyway or originally from the new recipient!

Use Cash Back Portals

Using cash back portals is one unique way to put a little money back in your pocket during wedding season.

Brides and grooms notoriously register with places like Macy’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Pier 1.

Instead of navigating to a product via the wedding registry, click to it through sites like Ebates or Mr. Rebates so you can get a percentage of your purchase back.

For instance, if a purchase from Macy’s yields 8 percent cash back through Ebates, buying a $100 set of plates will put $8 back in your pocket.

You can even stack cash back rewards by combining cash back portals with your cash back credit card to get even more money back.

Sure, it might only be $5 to $10, but multiply that by every wedding gift you buy and you could recoup the cost of one or more gifts. You can even put the extra money back into your wedding fund.

Consider Using Credit Card Bonus Offers

Traveling for weddings adds up fast. Diligent credit card users can use travel hacking or credit card churning to help offset the costs by using sign-up bonuses to cover flight expenses.

You can apply for an airline credit card or for a travel card from major companies that offer big sign-up bonuses.

Usually credit card churning works like this: spend enough to get the bonus being offered – usually around $2,000 or $3,000 in the first three months of being a card holder. Then, you automatically get enough miles for a domestic round trip (or two).

If you use this strategy, just make sure you hit the minimum balance targets without increasing your spending.

Also, make sure to pay your credit card bills on time. If you’re very careful, credit card churning can be a creative way to fly the friendly skies for “free.”

Learn to Say No

It’s never worth going into debt for a wedding – your own or someone else’s. Tweet this

If you know you can’t financially afford to attend, simply send a gift along with your regrets. There’s no shame in being financially responsible.

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About Erin Lowry

Erin is a millennial personal finance expert and the founder of BrokeMillennial.com. She's also the author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together. Lowry and her work have been featured on CBS Sunday morning, CNBC, Fox & Friends, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan and NBC News. Connect with Erin on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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