It’s wedding season, which means that your mailbox may soon be filling with wedding invitations for the coming months. There is a lot of advice for brides and grooms to avoid taking on too much debt just for the sake of a wedding, but what about the guests? There is a lot more to pay for than just the wedding gift. Don’t go into debt as a wedding guest!
“There are a lot of expenses that guests incur just to attend a wedding. If you have to multiply that a few times during the season for numerous weddings, it is a lot of money in a short period of time for which you may not have budgeted,” says Jeff Schwartz executive director at Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“The temptation is to draw on debt to cover these expenses. It can be easy to “justify” using debt because you have strong ties to the bride or groom, you don’t want to be rude or you don’t want to miss out on the special celebration. However, like with all other expenses in your budget, you need to plan ahead, spend within your means and earmark funds,” says Schwartz.
Here are some tips on avoiding going into debt as a wedding guest:
Time off from work?
Does the wedding require you to take time off work, either because you have to travel out of town or because of the timing of the wedding? If that time off will be unpaid, don’t forget to include those calculations in your wedding guest budget planning.
For out of town weddings, how much will it cost to travel there? Is there any way you can cut down travel costs by carpooling, if you are driving?
For accommodations, can you stay with family or friends for the wedding? If you need to stay in a hotel, reduce this cost by using reward points from loyalty programs. Also pick a hotel that has breakfast included with your room rate or has kitchen facilities in the room to save on food costs during your stay.
If you are attending multiple weddings, there is no need to get a new outfit for each one. You could technically wear the same outfit every time. If you don’t want to do that, invest in a versatile base piece like a quality skirt, dress or dress pants that you can swap out accessories and tops or jackets to make the outfit look fresh.
Remember all expenses
Don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with a night out like this, including parking, taxi fare and babysitters. You could be looking at adding a hundred dollars or more just for these expenses alone.
Learn to Say No
Don’t let guilt about attending or declining the invitation influence your decision to dip into debt to cover wedding guest costs. There are times in which you may just have to decline the invitation because it’s not in the budget. It’s a good idea to be honest and explain your position to the bride or groom, so as to avoid any miscommunication and to avoid damaging your relationship.