The B Word / by Vanessa Larkey

 I love stock images. 

I love stock images. 

Budget.

It’s not a very fun word, is it? Budget is that friend that discourages you from spending $300 on a pair of jeans, ordering a round of shots at the bar, or splurging on a lamp from Pottery Barn. She’ll also insist on taking transit home instead of splitting a cab. Budget is responsible.

Budget and I have a tumultuous relationship. I like to have fun (read: spend money frivolously), but I also drive great satisfaction from saving and watching my investments grow.

Lately, I prefer to do more saving than spending. I chalk it up to my fiancé. He is the original spendthrift in our relationship, and since shacking up I’ve adopted many of his wallet friendly ways.

Peter budgets EVERYTHING – from spending money to monthly transportation to groceries. And when he runs out of his monthly spending money, instead of heading to the bank to take out more, he utters a powerful sentence.

“I can’t afford that.”

Me? I avoided that phrase for YEARS. I did not want to admit to my friends, and more importantly myself, that there was (and still is) a limit to my disposable income. I was afraid of what other people would think. Weird, right? Instead of admitting my limited funds, I made up excuses, or swallowed the expense with a credit card.

All of that changed a few years ago after a conversation with my friend Jason. We both were sick of our overspending, and decided to stop lying to ourselves about our spending habits. It was time to take charge of our finances and start telling the truth – I can’t afford that.

It was freeing and I haven’t looked back. As for the fear of judgemental friends? That was completely unfounded. People get it and move on.

Over the past few years Peter and I have saved our pennies, invested our funds, and accumulated zero debt. That’s right – we are debt free, and that’s including credit cards. We don’t want to jeopardize our debt free status by throwing a wedding we cannot afford. Plus, we want to have some cash leftover to splurge on a pretty sweet honeymoon and after that, invest in a home (or condo). 

So! What is our magical budget for a party of 128 people? I’ve mapped out our rough estimates below.

$2800 (venue)

$5000 (food)

$ 1000 (bride and groom clothing)

$ 1500 (alcohol)

$4, 700 (photography, makeup, hair, other expenses)

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$15,000

I must admit, I was hesitant to share our proposed budget. What if people thought it was not “spendthrifty” enough? What if people thought we were cheap? What if people looked at our budget and thought, “LOL yeah RIGHT. They will be spending WAAAAY more than that.”

At the end of the day, it’s our budget, it’s what we can afford and we are sticking to it. Now, off to look at some venues.