By Alyssa Windell
In our 20’s and 30’s our life and social calendars seem to be crazier than ever. New friendships are emerging, old friendships are rekindling, families are growing, your colleague base is expanding, etc. You attempt to maintain that attitude and loyalty to be there for each wonderful life event you are invited to. We’ve got graduations, baby showers, weddings, new jobs, bachelorette parties, Birthdays, and everything in between. There is always an incredible reason to celebrate! You, my friend, may have a lot of miles to cover in attempt to be present at each one. With each mode of transportation cost, gift to give, and additional purchases, the cost of attending the following life events can be utterly overwhelming. How in the world are we supposed to attend three weddings (two in which you may be in the bridal party for), and our parent’s anniversary party all in the same month?! No need to get into a financial panic, let’s break down life events galore and 5 ways to financially account for.
1. Thank goodness for invites
Isn’t it wonderful that for most major life events, there is typically a preceding invitation that gives you enough notice of when the event will take place? Unless a friend received a surprising raise at work (hello, impromptu celebratory happy hour!), most events are pre-planned far enough in advanced. Mark your calendars ladies, you’ve got a celebration to attend! This will allow you to get mentally prepared and your finances ready.
2. Get your pre-planned life event game plan in place
Now that you’ve got your engagements visually laid out either via phone calendar, or that gorgeous new planner you received at Christmas (or maybe you’ve got a photographic memory, that’s great too!) – it’s time to start creating a saving schedule. I know, I know. Between rent, bills, subscriptions (yay Netflix!), gym memberships, etc. it can be pretty difficult to even scrape up enough cash to get by from day to day. If you would like to attend all the life events your family and friends have invited you to, you need to find the finances somehow, right? Let’s get you to a place where you feel confident with money leftover to attend those celebratory moments!
3. The snowball saving effect
Know that you have an important Birthday weekend to attend that’s over a year away, that just so happens to be taking place across the country? Fantastic! Start setting aside a particular dollar amount each month prior to purchasing the big ticket items to get there (i.e. plane ticket, hotel room, etc.). If this is your first time setting aside money for big purchases, start small. Try just setting aside $20 a month. To get that $20, think about potentially forgoing two meals of eating out you normally would. Or, ditch the idea of grabbing those usual Starbucks coffees on your way to work. Outweigh the incredible memories you will create at your friend’s Birthday in the future vs. the instant gratification of a steamy, vanilla latte. It will allow you more will power to skip the meals out & take-out coffees for the satisfaction of seeing your friend’s smile on their face when they know that you are there for them. If you save $20 per month, that’s only 5 months of snowball saving to get to $100! Think you’ve got what it takes to set aside even more? Think about the expenses you can have paid off in no time if you set aside an even larger dollar amount!
4. Reach out & get in touch
When attending an event like a destination wedding, you will surely need travel & lodging accommodations. Reach out and see what other people will be in attendance. Chances are even if they are not your close friend, they are looking for people to split the costs with as well! Suggest sharing hotel rooms, and coordinating transportation to/from the airport to alleviate the cost factor. Feel like you do not have the right type of attire, but can’t find the funds to purchase a new outfit for the wedding? Check in with your friends closets to see if there is something you can borrow, or visit sites like RentTheRunway.com for more inexpensive alternatives. You do not have to feel like you are taking on this financial endeavor of attending a wedding alone!
5. Finances tight? Allow them to grow
I understand that finding any spare cash to set aside and save can be tough. A majority of us have been there where our checking accounts have somehow dwindled to the double-digit and single-digit range (I left an open tab at the bar last night for all my friends to use?!). Managing finances can be tough, especially in your 20’s and 30’s. There’s only so many expenses that you can cut before you may end up driving yourself crazy. Can’t find room in your finances to save? Allow your chances of earning more money to grow! Ramp up your hobby of making knit scarves & hats by creating and selling them via an Etsy store. Have an accumulation of random furnishings you’ve somehow collected over your college years? Try selling them through Craigslist, or even through your network of friends. Have a passion and knowledge interest? There are several kids in grade school and high school who would love to have you as a tutor! Think you’ve grown in your role at work? Try negotiating your salary and proving your worth. You don’t know if you can receive a raise until you try. Discover ways in which you can grow your cash flow which leaves more opportunity to save for all the celebrations and fun events to come!
Which of Alyssa’s tips will make it to your Just Haves list?!