How to plan your wedding flower budget in advance

wedding-photo-flowers-bouquetPLANNING YOUR FLORAL BUDGET


Wedding planning is an exciting time for a bride and groom-to be even though many girls have their dream wedding thought up years before the big day actually happens.

Proper wedding planning can end up saving money in some of the more expensive parts of your wedding budget.

Take the time to know how much you have to spend and how much you are willing to spend in accordance with your personal tastes.

There are so many things to think about when it comes to planning your wedding including your dress, the venue, guest list, menu, flowers and décor, just to name a few.

If you have a tight wedding budget or simply don’t want to spend an outlandish amount of money on your wedding, making a couple of right decisions in the beginning may pay off for you in the end.

My mom is a florist who over the years has worked with many brides-to-be and I am sharing below some of her tips for saving money on your wedding flowers.


Skip unnecessary planning costs


The internet sure has become a handy tool and is a great place to start to look for ideas for dresses, flowers etc.

As exciting as it may be to run out and buy some of the latest wedding magazines they are not cheap ranging in price upwards of $15.00 or more for some of the best magazines out there is a good chunk of change.

Alternatively you could look online to see if anyone who just got married is giving their magazines away or scour the thrift shops to see what they have lurking about.

If you want to skip the magazines you can easily use the world of information at your fingertips online with no extra fee on top of your regular internet bill.


Choosing your colours and doing some research



The colour(s) you choose for your wedding will impact the choices available to you when it comes to making decisions such as bridesmaid dresses, décor and flowers unless you choose a multi–coloured wedding of course then the options are endless.

If you decide you want to include white wedding flowers in your arrangements keep in mind it is characteristic of white flowers to turn slightly brown.

Some cut flowers may start browning within a few days of being cut even if your white flowers are arranged the day of your wedding you run the chance of having brownish white petals on your flowers.

Generally darker colours such as red and purple are associated with Winter and Fall and the lighter, paler colours such yellow and pink are associated with Spring and Summer.

Your flowers of choice may not be in-season and as easily available to get hold of making them more expensive to buy.

Knowing what flowers are readily available in your season of choice and what colours of each type of flower can be ordered is a good thing to know when deciding the colours you will use.


Choosing flowers that are in season


Choosing to use flowers that are in season will always be cheaper, they will not only be more easily available but the flowers used will be of a higher quality having grown during their normal growing season.

While roses are available year round and in a wide variety of colours they may not be the first choice of flower that every bride and groom want to use.

There are also other seasonal options such as berries, small pine cones, crab apples and chestnuts for example that can be used as a filler in bouquets reducing the number of flowers used in the arrangement.


Seasonal flowers



The following is a brief list of popular wedding flowers that are in season throughout the year.




Bursting with colour these spring wedding flowers are sure to please.

Roses, Tulips, Peonies, Hyacinths, Anemones, Calla Lilies, Irises, Daffodils, Hydrangea, Lily of the Valley, Sweet Pea, Delphinium, Alstromeria




Roses, Sunflowers, Asiatic Lilies, Gerbera Daisies, Peonies, stock, Delphinium, Irises, Calla Lilies, Lisianthus




Roses, Gerbera Daisies, Hydrangea, Delphinium, Amaryllis, Carnations, Viburnum, Irisies, Narcissus




Frost your special day with these popular winter wedding flowers

Roses, Tulips, Hydrangea, Amaryllis, Lilies, Orchids, Stephanotis, Ivy, Evergreens


Exotic flowers including Orchids and the Bird of Paradise flower will always be a more expensive option no matter what the season.

Before your florist places any orders ask them if they have colour charts for the specific flowers you have chosen which are often given to them by the wholesale flower supplier.

Referencing these colour charts prior to ordering can prevent the disappointment on your wedding when your flowers arrive and the exact colour is not what you were expecting.

Ordering pink flowers is not specific enough and looking over these charts with your florist and ordering the exact shade desired can give you the peace of mind that your flowers will arrive in the colours you ordered.


Choosing your florist


My mom being an experienced florist has heard stories from some clients who have gone to a florist for some advice on wedding flowers and without purchasing a wedding package were refused any advice.

Do not choose a florist who will not discuss your ideas and come up with a plan with you without seeing some money first.

Any good florist will be happy to take the time to see if they can meet your needs and desires.


Grocery store florists


I have heard of good and bad experiences using grocery store floral shops.

Purchasing your flowers from the grocery store can be used as a cheaper alternative though you may find that they offer only wedding packages with very little room for changes without incurring more fees.

Word of mouth is a great way to find a good florist, ask your friends and family not only about the quality of their work but also how well they worked with them in making decisions and offering money-saving alternatives.

Go in with an open mind and be willing to discuss other options the florist may be able to offer to achieve the same or similar results of designs and arrangements that are of interest to you.


Utilize your local farmer`s market


You may have a talented friend or family member who has diy wedding ideas when it comes to decorating and flower arranging which might help you save some money in your wedding budget.

If they are interested in decorating for your wedding you may want to consider taking them up on it if you are confident in their ability to make your wedding day look as beautiful as you desire.

Choosing a florist that is not affiliated with a flower shop means they are not restricted to ordering from a specific supplier and you can then utilize local resources such as farmer’s market to purchase beautiful cut flowers much cheaper than being limited to ordering through a specific supplier.


Fresh flowers aren’t for everyone


 wedding-centrepieceWedding Flowers can swallow up a fairly large percentage of money in your wedding budget and for some the cost can be overwhelming and surprising when they receive the bill.

The flowers will all likely wilt by the time you leave for your honeymoon and some may see this as a big expense to throw away in a few days.

There are people in our world, women included, who do not care for fresh flowers or any flowers at all.

Bouquets and table centre pieces can be made using things other than fresh flowers like brooches and other types of jewellery, paper flowers, and flowers made of felt.

Again, looking on the internet you can find many alternatives to traditional wedding flowers.

Being prepared and knowing a few things beforehand can make dealing with your florist a much smoother and possibly more budget friendly experience.

Taking pictures with you, giving your florist a starting point and visual picture to work with will help to ensure your day is as beautifully decorated as you hoped it would be, whether you chose traditional or alternative wedding flowers.

Plan ahead and be prepared for the expenses wedding flowers may bring you will give you a realistic idea of how far you can stretch your wedding budget.

What ways can you think of to save money on wedding flowers?


You can win either a $100 or $50 credit to Soulmates dresses if you are chosen as the winner in this amazing contest. It’s easy to enter so don’t miss out on getting your ballots in the draw. The contest ends on November 19, 2013 at midnight.

Good Luck Canadian Budget Binder fans!

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The Saturday Weekend Review #40: Nothing is free at a wedding not even being a guest


Money Can Ruin Relationships, Tread Carefully


Nothing in life is free but expectations put on guests when it’s party time especially for a wedding can get out of control like it did for these two ladies below.

It’s another one of those wedding letters that a guest writes to the bride because she turns into some money hungry bride who wants her guests to pay for the extravagant wedding that they couldn’t afford.

I’m always amazed at how the wedding gifts seem to be more important than the day itself. It’s probably why my wife and I never bothered with a traditional wedding or why some decide to jet off to the Dominican or other hot spot destinations to get married.

I remember one of our guests gave us a hand painted tea-cup and plate and although it was simple it was a reminder of friendship and her presence at our wedding.


Wedding budget


We did not request any form of gifts from our guests and to be honest we wouldn’t have cared if they brought anything at all because we saved up the cash to pay for our entire wedding in cash with a realistic budget in mind.

Since we had a very small wedding the costs were kept very low and we didn’t go crazy on all the extras because really how many people watch their wedding video over and over. I guess some of you might fancy watching the ceremony again but we weren’t so bothered by it.

There are ways to organize a frugal wedding without breaking the bank but most importantly there never really is a rush to get married so plan ahead and start saving to pay as much cash as you can for your big day.

When you have unreal expectations of your guests giving you an envelope stuffed with cash whether it’s tradition for your culture or not it’s important to remember not all of your guests are made of money.

Your guests should never feel pressured to bring a gift and although it is etiquette to bring something it’s not fair to put a number on that gift.

When you read the private messaging between these two ex-friends and then read the letter that was hand delivered to bride-zillas house you will see how money can ruin relationships and it’s not just marriages or dating flops it’s also friendships that can be cut off for the same reasons.

This poor girl was so happy for her friend’s wedding and the announcement of her pregnancy but lost her job in the process of all of the good news which meant her bank account didn’t have the funds necessary to pay for pricey gifts nor did she seem to want to go into debt putting gifts on credit cards or any credit for that matter.

Smart girl if you ask me. I think she did the right thing and if people would stop thinking money is more important than love than the world would be a better place.

Money is not meant to bring happiness in the sense that it takes away from the simplicity of life. It’s meant as a means to pay for what we need to get by and if we have more than we need then we might just get better quality or more of something but we should never use it as leverage for why people should do or not do something for us.

If you have friends and family that can’t afford to pay for a large wedding gift or cash for whatever reason which no one is obliged to give then leave it be. You risk losing a precious friendship or love and money isn’t worth losing neither over in any situation.

Be Real. Love. Live Simple And Live With-In Your Means- CBB

When the girl was supposed to drop off a card with money this is what bride-zilla got instead. I love this letter which is from the article at The penny taped to the top was icing on the cake.

It’s well written and if you are reading this and planning a wedding don’t make the same mistakes and expectations of your guests. Click the image to enlarge letter.


Have you been to a wedding where there were gift expectations?

You can read the full article and texts between the ladies here.


Best Canadian Personal Finance Blog


The Plutus awards were put together to celebrate the best in personal finance on the web and this year I am humbled and honoured to have been nominated and now a finalist in the best Canadian personal finance blog category.

Thank-you to everyone who took the time to vote for Canadian Budget Binder.

On October 17, 2013 at the Plutus awards ceremony the winners will be announced and you can follow this through live blogging at or follow along on the Twitter feed if you are not attending the ceremony.

We are all winners because every morning when we get up to blog we share something that someone in this world will benefit from and that is what it’s all about, education.



Canadian Budget Binder this week


If you missed any Canadian Budget Binder posts this week you can catch up by clicking any of the links below. Somethings always brewing at CBB so subscribe to the blog today and get my daily post sent to your inbox!


Making a difference

Student Debt Survivor

Hi CBB readers!

My name is Kari and I’m the blogger behind I’m a 30-year old non-profit professional living and working in the greater New York City area.

I reside with my wonderful boyfriend and our menagerie of rescue animals. We recently purchased a condo where we indulge in Mexican food, Belgian beer and bad 80’s pop music.

I guess some folks would also call me a personal finance blogger. I’ve always had a passion for personal finance and budgeting, but my finance finesse was weakened by the allure of an expensive education.

Like many college students, I took out loans to pay for my tuition and expenses. I thought that student loan debt was “normal.”

It wasn’t until several years later when I started paying back over $30,000 in student loan debt, that I realized I was in a lot of financial trouble. Long story, short, I made a plan, worked hard and paid off my debt.

A self-proclaimed “student debt survivor”, I launched Student Debt Survivor for 3 reasons:

  1. I wanted to share my story and document my failures and successes with money and debt.
  2. I wanted to warn others about the dangers of taking out too many loans and starting your adult life drowning in student debt.
  3. I wanted to offer encouragement to friends, family and readers who are in debt. I’m just an average gal with a modest salary. If I can pay off my debt, you can pay off yours!

Garage Sailing with Jen



I’m pretty sure garage sales are coming to an end but Jen my Canadian Budget Binder success story is still out pounding the pavement on Saturday mornings looking for bargains so she can save money in her budget. Check out what she’s found.

  • Blue purse – FREE
  • Black boots – FREE
  • Blue jeans for me (Denver Hayes) – $1.00
  • 4 toy cars – 4 x $.25= $1.00
  • Step 2 Easel (has chalk board on one side and white board on the other and came with the marker wiping brush) – $1.00!
  • 7 Foam mats – $.50 (GREAT deal!)
  • 4 books (not pictured as they were for my MIL and I gave them to her already) – FREE

Total $3.50


 Blog post sharing


I really appreciate when other blog owners recognize my hard work at Canadian Budget Binder and share my posts with their fans or even mention my blog on their blog or website.

Here are the blogs that did just that this past week, so please head over and check them out. If I’m missing you it’s because I didn’t get a ping back so please send me an email and I’ll add you next Saturday.

A big thanks to these blogs for thinking of CBB even though I haven’t been around much this past month. Cheers!


What is a blog carnival?


Some fans have asked me just what a blog carnival is so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans. A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web.

Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed. If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.

A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals


Carnival glory




Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Here are a few of my favourite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.

  • Why does Dollarama not sell salad dressing any more: Ha, that was awesome.
  • How low can I realistically go with my food budget? : Well that depends on what you want to eat and how much your grocery budget is.
  • My cheap meal at Tim Horton’s: Eating out is never cheap it’s convenient
  • Plants that will help you save money: I can only think of one but it’s not legal lol
  • While you’re ignoring her quote: Someone else is loving her… and that’s a fact!
  • I want a man with lots of money: Sad how people forget about love…. it will never last.

That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review: Nothing is free about a wedding not even being a guest.

Join me next week same time, same place to see what trouble I can get myself into. Have a great week everyone.





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PF Weekly Grab A Brew #27: Wedding money gift was not enough

Grab A Brew Reading Line-Up

Celebrate Your Love With No Expectations 

You might need to grab a brew or two for this one because weddings are meant to celebrate not be used as a money-making venture to pay for the day. I read a recent article online about a bride who was upset because a guest and her date only left a $100 wedding gift.

It made me wonder how many newlyweds think that they should get more than they do as gifts from their guests? The article was originally featured on the Huffington Post and I hope that other brides and grooms who think that their guests need to give them a certain amount of money come back down to earth.

Wedding gifts

Wedding gift etiquette for most is given as a gesture of appreciation to the bride and groom for the invitation. Expectations should not exist because not everyone on your wedding list is made of money. I don’t know many people who are these days to be honest with you.

I fail to understand why people invite guests to weddings, parties, baby showers, birthdays etc, if they hardly know someone or have not talked in many years. I’d rather not go at all, buy a case of beer and make homemade pizza with my wife and friends. Best part, I don’t expect them to bring anything to be in our presence and I’d pay for the pizza and beer because I invited them to the party. If they do bring something that’s great, and if they don’t that’s still great.

Below is the Facebook message left by the bride to her guest Tanya who gifted her $100 as a wedding gift which clearly upset her. Best of it is the guest is fresh out of University and having to pay down $40,000 in school loans and only working part-time. You don’t even want to know what I’d say to the bride for sending me this message. Yes you do, I’d tell her to take a hike and let her talk behind your back all she wants because that’s where she belongs. I would just shut the door and move on if I were Tanya. Don’t waste your time, it’s worth money after all and you don’t want to waste another cent on her. Below is the exact quote.

Hi Tanya, how are you? I just want to know is there any reason or dissatisfaction of Mike’s and I wedding that both you and Phil gave 50$ each? In terms of the amount we got from you both was very unexpected as a result we were very much short on paying off the reception because just for the cocktail + reception alone the plate per person is 200$ (as per a normal wedding range with open bar is about) and Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn’t expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well. As I know you both live together and work, so I did not see any reason for that amount, when it comes to your wedding hopefully you’ll know what I mean. I hope for the best as from what we receive is what we will give back. Anyways, good luck on everything.

Budget wedding

Weddings happen all year-long and for some reason we hear of couples like the above who believe they are entitled to lavish affairs that they can’t even afford. Sure mom and dad might offer some cash to pay all or a portion of the bill but if you can’t afford it yourselves, don’t have it.

At our wedding all we worried about was having the people we love celebrate our wedding day with us. If you are counting the money in the envelopes in your head instead of enjoying your first moments as husband and wife you clearly have your priorities mixed up. When we got engaged we knew we weren’t going to have a big wedding so we created a wedding budget and spent the money accordingly. We still had a fairy tale wedding because the two most important people were there, us. If the plan was to have a lavish wedding there would have been no rush and we could have waited and saved more money. I wasn’t going to run away because we didn’t have a piece of paper saying we were married.

Too many people who don’t have the funds available put too big an emphasis on the wedding, honeymoon and rings including the engagement ring but it doesn’t have to be that way. Going into debt for love is not a good way to start a relationship, so take your time and do it right. That’s my opinion, maybe not yours and that’s fine because we are all entitled to our own financial dealings in life. Not everyone can have a royal wedding so stop pretending you are a Prince and Princess spending more than you can afford unless you have the funds to back up your role-playing dream all the way to the altar. (unless of course you actually are a Prince and Princess)

Life is precious

I don’t know how much more it will take to teach people you can’t spend more than you earn, although I don’t plan to stop now. If you still think that money grows on trees please tell me when you find that tree because my green thumb is itching to get planting.Then again, we are still struggling for those to grasp that speeding in your vehicle and/or talking on a cell phone while driving can cause an accident and can kill. That’s not all either. What about the people who think it’s fine leaving a child or any other person and/or pet in a hot car with the windows up. You shouldn’t have to question it, just don’t do it, ever. If we can’t even take a moment to protect our own lives how will we ever protect our finances?

What would you do if all your guests bought you a toaster and towels instead of an envelope stuffed with $100 bills? No one should judge you if you don’t have the best of the best at your wedding, heck I could care less if my mates didn’t have seat covers or fine china. All I care about is that they are happy.

This was a comment I read when Yahoo ran the post yesterday and the commenter does get to the point. With over 506 thumbs up at my time of reading I can only assume the masses agree. Below is the exact quote.

First of all Brides and Grooms out there. It is YOUR wedding, not your guests, and it is not your guests responsibility to cover the cost of it. Just because you decide to spend $40,000 on decor and food etc…to make YOUR day special, do not expect your guests to foot the bill for it. That is the first thing people need to know when having a wedding. Second of all, chances are I don’t even WANT to come to your wedding, but have been made to feel obligated in some way (friends, family etc…), I can get drunk for cheap at home, and my fridge has lots of food in it, so I don’t need your dried out chicken breast supreme and cheap champagne. If you want to party, you pay for it. I give what I can afford to help the couple get a good start in their marriage, but if I can only afford $50 bucks, well then, that’s it. If YOU can’t afford a $40,000 wedding, DON’T HAVE ONE. These people are so freakin selfish and it is disturbing to see this kind of reaction, YOU invited ME, I did not ask for a “ticket” to your “show”, my gift is a “gift” not a “fee for admission”. Get it right folks

Take time to investigate what is right for the both of you and what you know you can handle financially. I’d be happy with my wife, a bucket of popcorn, beer and a DJ spinning some tunes after the ceremony to celebrate our union as husband and wife with our guests. Clearly, I’m being sarcastic but my point is to keep it simple if simple is all you can afford. We’ve been to a few simple weddings and had a blast.

After a few years couples in major debt they can’t handle may start to blame each other, blame others, fight about money and then potentially get divorced. Not always the case but buckle up if you think money and life is easy because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. There are so many ways to cut costs for a wedding or better yet, just budget the money. Live the life you want by making smart financial decisions first.

How did you pay for your wedding? Did you have expectations of your guests for a wedding gift? Has anything like this happened to you before? Share your comments below.

Top Recipe


If you haven’t had a chance to check out my new Facebook page The Free Recipe Depot please come around and Like my page. It’s a place where I share recipes and only recipes from blogs and websites from around the web.

Today the top recipe goes to A Cup of Mascarpone for sharing this gorgeous Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake with a Lemon Lavender Glaze. You have to go and check out the photos and recipe as there are no words to describe the beauty of this cake.

Don’t forget to pass by my Canadian Budget Binder Facebook Page every Sunday for Frugal Food Sunday to share a blog recipe so I can share it with my over 5900 fans. We get closer to the 6000 fan goal every day.

PF weekly reading line-Up

Here are a few blog posts that I thought were worth mentioning this week from around the web. I didn’t get a chance to read and comment much this past week as I took a couple of days off from the blog.

Top story: Why you should take care of your stuff- 2 Copper Coins

Have a great week everyone and I hope you enjoyed this edition of my Personal Finance Weekly Grab a Brew #27.


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Working Towards A Debt Free Lifestyle In 8 Steps

Debt Free Lifestyle Start Today wm

Working towards a debt free lifestyle is possible, that is if you really want it bad enough. I’m sure you all know that the 8 steps are only stepping-stones, meaning one step leads to another. Perhaps you may learn that our steps differ from what your ideal steps are but learn to create your own. You may only need 1 step but the first step may be the most important of all. You can make that happen.

There may be some of you who didn’t start saving early like we did but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow the road to debt freedom. Start today. If you take a sincere interest in wanting to learn how to pay off all your debt and start saving for all the things you’ve wished for in your life, it can happen. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to get ahead especially if you are in a relationship.

Getting rid of our mortgage was one of our top goals when we bought our home so instead of investing in renovations like we wanted to with the extra money saved, we backed away from them. We didn’t invest all of our savings into our home down-payment because we wanted to do major renovations but that all quickly changed.

One thing I’ve learned as a homeowner is that sometimes things don’t always goes as planned, you might have to skip a step which you can later return to. One of my biggest challenges was establishing myself in Canada and building credit as a permanent resident. I had alot on my plate so some things had to be put on hold.

It was more important for us to reduce personal debt which was our mortgage then to think about what we needed to modernize around the house. Of course yearly maintenance was always completed it was more about living the debt free lifestyle that meant more to us than a new kitchen or $10,000 spent on new hardwood floors.

This is not all-inclusive but a personal insight which helped bring us to our almost free, debt free status today. I’ve also learned along the way that in order to make it to the debt free lifestyle we had to get past the obstacles that so many face. I’ve detailed below 8 steps that we’ve encountered or met along the way.

Marriage and Debt

When most people get married they take on each others debt, the “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours” is a saying we all know too well.

There was no “my debt” when we got married it became “our debt” and yes we did have debt in the form of vehicle payments on a 0% interest vehicle over 60 months and everyday living expenses including rent. I paid cash for my vehicle but I also had to save money to pay for my education which was not in the initial plans. So where I had no debt she compromised by paying the bills so we could get ahead.

How I Earned Extra Money

I would earn extra cash by repairing our friends kitchen by adding a back-splash to their new modern home. I didn’t charge them an outrageous fee because I wanted to help them out like he was helping me. I made $100 cash and he took me out for Chinese lunch where we laughed and had a couple of beers.

Another time I helped a friend who wanted me to fix her dishwasher connection and install her kitchen worktop which she had pre-cut from Home Depot. I did all of that for $15o because I knew that she was a single homeowner and didn’t have lots of  spare money to splash around. No, I’m not assuming either, she told me so in conversation. It was more important for her to use her savings to buy a town-house instead of renting.

I also took the liberty of joining focus groups in our city that paid cash for my opinion. It was the easiest extra money I’ve ever made. There’s nothing like talking about coffee, road salt, cigarettes and I can’t remember how many other topics earning anywhere from $50- $100 for less than an hour plus they fed me dinner.

I did whatever it took to earn money so I didn’t have to pull from the savings that we worked so hard to build since we were in our twenties. There are so many ways to make extra money to pay off bills and even if you can’t leave home you might be able to offer your services as a tutor or babysit from home to help out a parent who is in need.

Not My Debt

If you open your bills and prance around with your fingers in your ears, turning a blind eye and rhyming off the, “it’s not my debt la la” tune like a child, get over it. Stop dissing the debt and saying it’s not yours, I didn’t create it so I’m not paying it. If it’s in your name you are likely responsible for the money owed so waste no time, find out who you owe money to and start paying the money.

If you are in the middle of a legal battle then consult your lawyer to get professional advice instead of leaving the debt unpaid month after month. The last thing you need is a red mark on your credit report that may follow you for years. Not all debt is created equal but unfortunately some people pay the price and have to learn from their mistakes.

A friend of ours who is now divorced had a credit card in her name while married. Her ex-husband charged all sorts of purchases made online to that card but she was still responsible for it when they split. He had no money so she was forced to pay for it or risk a bad mark on her credit.

Paying Off Student Debt

Student debt, so many people of all age groups are faced with paying back student loans in the form of OSAP or a credit line from the bank. Many students also have credit cards that are maxed out and soon realize after the fun is over in University and College that they are now in the “real world”.

You might not have been the person who was partying every night of the week but you still have debt. School isn’t cheap and it’s not getting any cheaper which really is depressing for many students. If you want to pay off your student loans fast then forget about all the fashion and eating out every night of the week, focus on your personal finances.

Sure you can balance life with a budget but if you’re just adding more debt on top of debt it may prove difficult when you want to move forward with the next stages of your life. If you’ve moved back home with mom and dad don’t get too relaxed unless you plan to stay at home until you get married.

Even then you still leave home with debt if you haven’t taken the opportunity your parents are giving you living at home with a little to no rent to pay it all off. They are doing this to help you, they understand what it’s like out there.

When I went back to school as an adult for the second time we had to buckle down on all the spending. I had already saved to pay for University once and I had to do it again. We lived pretty frugal during those years before we bought our house.

It was in line with our goals and we never felt like we were giving anything up, we were gaining, if anything at all. Our lives were put on hold while I was learning and costing us more money than anticipated.

No one likes to hear it or face it but debt doesn’t just go away and as a student you may not have bought a house  yet or even a car. Never-mind if you want a big wedding with all the bells and whistles followed by starting a family. Debt may be your worst enemy.

Owe You Money

Who owes you money? Don’t be shy to ask if someone owes you money especially if it’s friends or family. We had loaned a family member over $30,000 dollars and you can bet we won’t be forgetting about it. The money has been paid back but there are people out there that loan out $5 here and $10 there to friends who say they will pay you back and don’t. Letting them get away with that is not good enough especially if you wouldn’t do the same.

The person is not learning responsibility for their actions and needs to be called on it. My wife had a friend who would always borrow smokes from her. She would tell her that she’d “pay her back” well that never came and my wife wouldn’t say anything because she knew she was struggling for money.

The thing is, maybe she was but my wife wasn’t helping by allowing her to think she can get things for free and not pay for them. If you truly want to help someone and don’t expect the money back then agree to it from the start. Simply say, “hey no worries, it’s OK”.

There is no reason you can’t help someone out but you also can’t be dishing out cash to everyone. It’s the same with your child. If you offer your teen $5 to mow the lawn for example ( I know not all parents pay for chores and that’s fine) and he/she agrees but asks for an advance on the money and you give it.

The problem is the teen mowed the lawn, not the next day or the next week, not ever, the father did. The teen didn’t learn a lesson at all. What he/she learned is that mom and dad are soft and I can get away with things if I need to and someone else can do the work. This lesson may also carry on with this teen into his adult life.

If you keep passing out cash like you have endless amounts of it then you will soon see your savings dwindle or not grow as much as they could. It may not seem like much but small amounts add up quickly, don’t believe me, if you have debt than you should. It’s true!

I Owe Money

Who do I owe money to? If you owe money to anyone you’ve got debt. As far as I’m concerned there is no good debt. If you owe money you should pay it back in a reasonable amount of time. What’s reasonable depends on how much interest you are willing to pay and how much money you can earn through investing. Not everyone shares the same values when it comes to money and investing so make your own informed decisions.

Figuring out who you own money to should be a priority when working towards a debt free lifestyle. You need to know all these important details and have them easily available for review. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that have no idea who they owe money to.

I bet if I asked someone who owed them money they could rhyme names faster you can shake a stick at. That’s how well you should know your finances, inside out. If you owe money it should be a priority to pay off your debts. Don’t pretend like they aren’t there or that they will go away on their own.

If you think paying the minimum payments on all of your debts is putting a dent in them you may be surprised to find out that’s not always the case. When Tony came to me and said that he paid off over $100,000 in debt I knew anything was possible. It does take more than money it takes courage and a desire to want the debt free lifestyle.

If you aren’t making enough money than maybe you should look into what options are available to you in order to earn more or simply spend less. Remember Katrina, she’s in a better place with her finances now because she created a business to earn extra money with her passion and skills to pay off her debts. She knows what she wants and is working towards a debt free lifestyle.

Budget Plan and Invest It Wisely

If only, have you ever said that to yourself you wished you had done something sooner? It happens whether it’s buying a house when the interest rates are low and houses are relatively decent priced, investing in stocks and other investment, applying for a job or even taking care of your personal finances with a budget. Whatever you choose to do with your money make informed decisions that you can live with.

I won’t go into great detail here but if you’ve never budgeted before It’s safe to say that you aren’t too familiar where to begin or you know how you just need a push to start. You can read my budgeting series which I wrote where you will see the Canadian Budget Binder budget sample that we use for our own family budget. That budget didn’t happen over night it took over a year of practice, making changes and we continue to do that month after month.

We started our budget by creating a sample budget, not one but two budget samples so we could evaluate what a budget would look like with our current net income and another sample budget only using one income. You don’t have to go all fancy with a budget unless you want to but we kept it simple.The reason for the second sample was to investigate how our lives would potentially be affected in the event that one of us was no longer here or we lost a job or could no longer work.

Getting started with the budget was one of our priorities and still is today. Saving almost $185,000  to pay down our mortgage since 2009 was given a kick-start simply by focusing on where our money was going. No, we did not save that much in a few short years with a budget but a combination of everything we’ve talked about in this post has helped us to build up our savings.

Budgeting isn’t for everyone and many people I know are successful in their lives without using one and that’s great. Decide what works best for you.

Spend Less Than You Earn

If you follow my blog you’ve probably got my quote engrained in your head by now as it’s at the bottom of just about every post. “It’s Not About How Much Money You Make , It’s How You Save It”. I do that on purpose because the more you see something the more it might sink in. We are all creatures of habit and unless we choose to make changes we will continue to do what we are used to.

You can be frugal and still enjoy your life and for some living a minimalist life seems like the better way to go. If buying new clothes is important to you pick a few up quality pieces that you can mix and match. If you get your clothes at second-hand shops that’s great as well. There are endless ways to save, you just need to know where to find them.

Some great posts about minimalist lifestyles have popped up in the personal finance scene such as Michelle from Making Sense of Cents who shares tips on spring cleaning your wardrobe and well on her way with her extraordinary extra income.

Jordan at My Alternate Life took on the minimalist challenge  back in 2012 when her and her fiancée moved from an apartment to their new home. She vowed to de-clutter and get rid of the crap they were collecting for years.

Sometimes having too much stuff or clutter in your environment tends to swallow you up. We opt to not buy more than we need in our house and keep “stuff” to a minimum. We also get rid of what we no longer use if we haven’t used it in 6 months to a year because we likely won’t if we haven’t by then.

I’ve saved my money since I was young and bought my first house at 21 years old. If I can do it anyone can. I still had lots of friends and enjoyed spending time with them. As an adult I still do the same but I know I don’t have to be flash with the cash to enjoy myself.

“I Am A Saver” is a stark reminder for me because I learned that I don’t want to pay for mistakes that I could have easily avoided. If you want to live a debt free lifestyle like we are today, let go of the negative mindset and just get on with it. It’s going to take time, but that’s all we have is time, just balance it with some fun. Stop dreaming about how to live a debt free life, start living it today.

What ways do you work towards living a debt free lifestyle? If you don’t want to be debt free what are your reasons?


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How To Have The Wedding Of Your Dreams And Still Be Frugal

Wedding rings- Roger Kirby

Like most men, I did not have my wedding planned out from the day I turned five. Actually, I never thought I would marry. Then I met my wife. Suddenly, marriage seemed not only possible but desirable. We met in Florida, dated long distance and got married in San Diego. Figuring out what we could, and couldn’t live without helped us say “I do” to each other without saying “I will” to massive credit card debt.

Wedding Costs are Soaring in Canada and Beyond

Anyone engaged, planning a wedding, or recently married knows how expensive it can be to get married. The average cost of a wedding in Canada is $23,330, which is up from $20,129 two years ago. That’s less than what debt-saddled Americans spend  - $27,021, but not by much. Unless you factor in New York, where everything is outrageously expensive; a big wedding in the Big Apple will set you back $65,000! You could buy a home in West Virginia for that amount (which consequently has the lowest average wedding cost of any American state at $14,203).

What Costs so Much, Anyways?

The dress is a big part of it for Canadian brides, who spend more on average than their American counterparts – $1,798 compared to $1,100. In addition to the dress, dinner, drinks, the venue, ring, photographer/videographer/DJ, wedding planner, florist, party favors, gifts for the wedding party, rehearsal dinner, invitations, and postage all add up. If you’re getting hitched in an expensive city where the cost of living is higher than average, it’s easy to see how wedding budgets get bloated. I remember when my wife and I were planning our wedding, we couldn’t find a photographer for less than $2,000 and we were driving all over San Diego, looking for a good deal. We ended up saving $500 by hiring someone who spoke broken English but still knew how to point and shoot.

How to Find Room in Your Wedding Budget for Your Dreams

I’ve always been a bit of a planner (my wife would probably take issue with the “bit” part of that statement) so I had a wedding checklist in my back pocket, right behind the family ring I gave my wife when I proposed. Having my grandmother’s beautiful, antique wedding ring to give to my wife was a lifesaver on helping us stay within our wedding budget. We set a figure and committed to staying within it. By contrast, my step sister, who was also getting married at the time, did not have a budget for her wedding. She spared no expense and ended up spending more than $50,000. As a result, she and her husband weren’t able to take a honeymoon. By being frugal as we planned our wedding, my wife and I were able to visit Ireland for our honeymoon, which was a lifelong dream of hers.

Location ended up being the most difficult cost to keep under control for our wedding. We thought it would be cheap to get married on the beach. Boy were we wrong! It turns out lots of people want to recite their vows with sand between their toes, creating a high-priced market for beach weddings. Our options were either drive down to Mexico and deal with passport issues for our guests, or set up a sandbox in my in-laws back yard, so we opted for a more traditional setting. While we had to sacrifice on the venue, we learned that location was something we could live without. We saved a ton by getting married at our church and hosting the reception on site, in the attached meeting area. We weren’t able to serve alcohol, but that ended up being a blessing in disguise because liquor can be the single most expensive wedding expenditure after the ring and dress.

Be Frugal by Doing Things Yourself

In the 10+ years we’ve been married, we’ve seen plenty of couples keep costs down by serving simple appetizers or enlisting the aid of friends and family to bring desserts to serve at their receptions. They still have memorable and meaningful weddings and we still feel privileged to attend. Other ways to be frugal include making the wedding favors yourself (Hershey kisses and a little tulle go a long way), picking silk flowers at your local hobby store and making the bouquets and boutonnieres yourself, and selecting a simple, basic dress for your bridal party. We asked our bridal party to wear little black dresses so we wouldn’t have to bloat our wedding budget with the cost of custom bridesmaid dresses and shoes.

Keep the Right Perspective on Your Wedding Check-list

Put your love for and lifetime commitment to each other at the top of your wedding check-list. It will impact your wedding budget more than any other item on your list by helping you remember that this day is about the two of you and not impressing your guests. We started our new life together without a load of debt, and as any newly-wed will tell you, there’s enough stress learning how to share everything with someone else without adding creditors to the pile. A little frugality on your wedding day goes a long way in getting you to your 25th wedding anniversary!

If you’re married or planning a wedding, how did you keep your wedding costs down? What would you do differently if you could?

Guest Post Bio: John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a finance blog that regularly discusses investing, budgeting, and frugal living. John is a father, husband, and veteran of the financial services industry who’s passionate about helping people find freedom through frugality.

Photo Source: Wedding- Roger Kirby

It's Not About How Much Money You Make It's How You Spend It

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