No more haircuts! (And other extreme ways to save for a wedding)

About seven months ago, the love of my life and I decided to get engaged. We went ring shopping together so that I could have input on the style (and price) of my ring. He proposed to me with little fanfare at home in our living room, while I was sitting on the couch whining that we’d gotten the ring already so why had he still not proposed to me?? (I’m a real treat, can you tell?)

Then something weird and totally unexpected happened. It turns out once you get engaged, you have to plan a wedding. Since we both come from pretty large families, that means planning big ole party for 130 people.

We’re still about a year out from the wedding, but it is shaping up to be an affair that will cost about $16,000. Yiiiikeess.

So, what do two 24-year-olds do when faced with that steep a savings goal?

Well, start a personal finance blog, for one!

But seriously, here are some of the measures we’re taking to keep our expenses low, low, low.

Moving in with the in-laws – temporarily. 

When we decided to move back to Massachusetts, it was very tempting to dip into our savings and get an apartment right away. There’s a lot of hassle in living with our things all over the place, unable to unpack, with boxes split between both of our parents’ houses. And feeling like we’re in a constant state of transition. And being an hour away from my new job.

But there’s also something nice about living with family. I’m getting to know Walt’s parents and brother more than I did before, and having the financial safety net of two months rent-free has been an unbelievable aid in the move. When we domove into our new apartment in a couple of weeks, we won’t have to touch our savings account at all.

Total Savings: About $3,000

Cutting our own hair.

I’ll preface this section by saying that I have very long hair so there’s a pretty large margin of error.

I got the idea to cut my own hair when we moved to D.C. and I didn’t have my hairdresser anymore. My dead ends got so, so, SO bad that I couldn’t bear it….. but I was still too lazy to find a new salon. I figured worst case scenario,  I’d just have to pay to get it cut anyway.

Typically I would pay $75 twice per year for a cut. Now, I cut my hair more often! It’s healthier and easier to maintain myself, as long as I keep it simple.

I’ve cut Walt’s hair once, but we both agreed it was too high stress to become a regular thing- men’s hair requires a lot more skill unless I want my fiance to rock a bowl cut in our wedding pictures!

Total Savings: $180 per year

Cancelling ‘nice to have’ services. 

First I canceled Hulu. It hurt.

Then I canceled Netflix. Which was okay, because my mother immediately offered to start covering the bill, as long as she could keep using the account. Win! Then I canceled Spotify Premium.

Then I canceled Spotify Premium.

To be honest, this would have really wrecked me if I hadn’t found audio books. I use an app called Overdrive to borrow audio books from my local library, which is just amazing? Libraries are high tech now, people! It’s a whole new world!

Total Savings: $540 per year

No ‘New’ Clothes

I’ll write another post about this one, but in 2017 I’ve made a resolution not to buy any new (meaning, not used) clothes. This has significantly reduced my excessive shopping and definitely saved me money.  I would estimate that I used to spend about $30-$50 per month on impulse purchases. To date, I’ve only spent about $120 on gently used clothing that I get a lot of wear out. Since I need to really hunt for something I want, I’m less likely to buy something I don’t really need.

Total Savings: About $400 per year

And that’s it! This year we’ll have an extra $4,120 to put towards our wedding.

What are some extreme savings tactics you’ve implemented when you had a big goal?