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We often hear from our friends and family, various tips on money and saving for retirement, but are they the ones that should really be giving us the advice?

The generations that pre-ceded the millennials typically have a different way of thinking when it comes to money. Does this mean that we shouldn’t take their advice and follow in their footsteps? Not exactly, but take the advice with a grain of salt. The financial world is ever changing and the one that previous generations grew up in is vastly different than the world we live in today. Here are a few of the topics that advice is commonly given on:

1. We hear “Don’t get a credit card.” – You should actually get a credit card to build up your credit. Just because your parents or grandparents paid for everything in cash, doesn’t mean that you can’t use this tool to help grow your credit score. A prompt and consistent record of credit card payments can have a significant impact on curving this score. There are also some significant rewards associated with certain credit card providers that can provide for numerous rewards such as cash back, airline vouchers, and hotel stays.

2. We are encouraged to “Buy a house.” - We have commonly heard the logic of “you got your first job, it’s now time to buy a home”. Our Parents and Grandparents have always said that buying a house is the best investment you can make and that there is nothing better than owning a home. Home ownership may be a right fit for some people and some situations but it is most certainly not a one size fits all answer. You may be fresh out of college with a new job. What happens if you get promoted or transferred to another region. It would complicate the situation if you were tied down with a mortgage. By renting through your first few years of your new job, you also will not have to worry about maintenance and upkeep expenses. This is not only limited to monetary expenses, but also a time expense as well.

3. Be sure to “Invest all your cash.” – It is important to invest your money, but it is equally as important to have an emergency fund. Unexpected life events happen and typically when they do, we need to have quick access to cash. It is crucial to make savings an expense. Get in the habit of systematic saving, not only in investment accounts, but in your bank accounts as well. I encourage my clients to set a threshold of the amount of cash they want to have in their emergency fund. Once we exceed that limit, we will look at investing the surplus.

There should be a disconnect between family and friends when it comes to advice with your money. You should work with an advisor that will be able to give their unbiased opinion and assessment for your unique situation. Investing is such an emotional event that affects each and every one of us. It is important to have that unbiased opinion come in to make the determination of when to take action or whether or not to stay the same course.

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The first few days after getting engaged are a complete whirlwind.  Your days are filled with phone calls, texts, an incredible amount of love expressed from friends and family, and a billion questions that you probably don’t have the answer to.  Once it settles down, reality sets in, and planning begins.  The average cost of a wedding in the United States is over $32,000.  Like Wut?  Now for some brides, that’s totally reasonable, and if you have the money HEY, why not?  “It’s the most important day of your life!”  However, for my fiancé’ and I, $30,000 could go towards so many other things.  It’s $30,000 you could have for retirement, multiple vacations and so much more.  We just aren’t willing to drop that much money for one, single, day.  Nor are we willing to ask our parents (and neither should you), who are all in retirement to sacrifice their income and future, for our big day.

With a budget well below the national average, my fiancé and I sat down and really thought about what we had to have and what was most important to us, and what we could do without.

So, before you go thinking people who have a small budget wedding can’t pull off an event that is elegant and fun, I have some tips to help you cut costs, but still have “the best day of your life”. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to take on side jobs or odd jobs, and I won’t tell you to DIY everything, but here are five things to consider!

  1. Choosing the date:  Friday weddings are becoming much more popular and for good reason.  Most venues will give you a great deal if you have your event on Friday or Sunday, rather than a Saturday.  Even more so, if you choose a day between January and April.
  2. Finding your venue: I knew I wanted a venue that allowed outside catering because we didn’t want the normal “chicken or beef” selections on the menu.  By finding a venue that allows you to bring in outside catering, you can literally save thousands!   You might have to get creative, but it’s definitely doable! Your wedding is celebrating two people coming together in marriage, personalize it!
  3. Go digital:  Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on Save the Dates, Invitations, and postage, make a wedding website!  You can personalize it, have all the information you need in one spot, and people can RSVP online!  
  4. Cut the DJ: *GASP* Venues usually have all the equipment you need!  So rather than spending a couple thousand on a guy who plays music and announces things, create some Spotify playlists and enlist a good friend or two to MC the reception!  This will make your reception more interactive!  It will also ensure all the music you want will get played, and all the music you don't want (chicken dance) won’t!   
  5. The Guest List: This is by far the hardest thing!  It’s okay if you don’t want to cut anyone or can’t.  This one is truly a personal choice.  However, between the appetizers, main course, dessert, and drinks, one person might run you well over $50.  So, the more people you have the more money it’s going to cost.  Do you really need your second cousin twice removed by marriage there?  Probably not, but if you want them there, then that’s great too!

There are so many ways to save money on a wedding!  If you really do your research and can differentiate the things you must have and the things you can truly do without, you can have the best wedding day, without having to spend a ton of money!  Just, try to remember what is truly important because a wedding is just that, a wedding.

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