For those of you who don’t know, I got engaged to my best friend of 10 years this past December. Of course, it was joyful and we spent a couple of months celebrating our bliss. Then reality set in. We have to plan this wedding and more importantly pay for it. We are so lucky to have the generous help of friends and family but planning and budgeting for this type of event is no small feat! Which leads me to the topic of this blog: budgeting.
The first thing about money and budgeting is that it’s hard. Now, I know this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone who has ever tried, but I have to tell you, I am finding it challenging in new ways. Let me explain. I am a girl, who at one point in my life thought up a dream wedding. Well, let me tell you that is exactly what it was – a dream All jokes aside our society has created a market for weddings, cars, and dreams and sometimes it is really hard to say no to something you really want; and for a moment you think it might make you happy. But even when you realize that it won’t your still left with questions about how to make it all work.
This leads me to my second point. Talking about money generally makes people uncomfortable. How do you know what to do without seeking advice, asking questions, or being honest about your budget? Growing up in a low-income house we talked about money ALL the time. It surrounded every activity, dinner, and certainly every time we wanted something for school. So now that I live in a world of financial literacy, refunds, and everything to do with money I am often taken aback at its continuously illusive behavior. Here are some gems of advice I’ve received about budgeting for my wedding (you’ll notice none actually give any sort of dollar amount).
- Don’t spend too much on your dress after all it is only worn once.
- Well, if you go with these pieces it will look like you spent a lot of money without actually having done so.
- You don’t want to do that, it will look really cheap.
- Other words commonly used to describe a value: classy, simple, elegant, tacky, and cheap.
After all that I think, well no wonder people don’t talk about it. What does it mean if we over pay for a dress and under pay on linens? Personally, I have no idea but it made me think about the work that I do and how this scenario could be applied anywhere. Where do we begin with families? And how do we make sure that they feel comfortable talking about this very personal topic. For me it is a wedding (which I am very lucky to be able to budget for) but for other folks they are talking about food on the table. We ask families to budget when they don’t have consistent income, we ask them to save when they are overwhelmed by medical debt, and then we ask them to TRUST us – which by far is the greatest ask.
My third point? There are ways to figure it out and it starts with a conversation. It starts with asking for help (which believe me, I have had to do) and hopefully it ends with a support system. Maybe it’s your family or maybe it’s a non-profit like Fair Credit Foundation, but between the two there’s help to sort out the challenges in budgeting and hopefully make it a little easier and our futures a little brighter. After all I am sure excited about mine!