Weddings can be expensive. Once you add up the cost for the venue, food, drink, dress, suit, honeymoon etc., the average marriage-bound Canadian can end up spending over $30,0001 which often means couples start their life together with debt.

Most couples take about a year to plan their big day, and during that time there are ways to save and manage your finances. Here are five tips that can help you start your married life in a stronger financial position.

1. Open a wedding account

Money sitting in an everyday bank account tends to get spent just because it’s there. When you open a new account specifically for your wedding you can:

  • Build savings in a one-way account: money goes in (and isn’t taken out) until you’re ready to pay for your wedding
  • Stay motivated as you watch your balance rise: it’s easy to track your savings and set goals

If you’re not already using a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), this can be a perfect place to build your wedding savings because you won’t be taxed on any interest you earn.

2. Save a little every week

Set up regular deposits to your wedding account. Saving smaller amounts on a weekly basis means you probably won’t feel any loss to your normal budget. Automated deposits are generally easier to manage and can provide momentum for your savings.

3. Save more by trimming expenses

If you can curb some of your spending, like reducing the number of lunches and lattes you buy, you’ll have that money to add to your savings. Any short-term sacrifice you can make will take the pressure off wedding expenditures. And, by understanding your spending habits including what you can reduce, you can build a disciplined approach to spending and saving.

4. Agree on and set your wedding priorities

Discuss with your partner about what matters most to both of you for your wedding day, and determine if there are areas you’re willing to compromise on. For example, you may be able to afford the location you want with a smaller guest list, or buy the dress of your dreams with a less expensive honeymoon.

5. Create a wedding budget

Build a realistic budget for your wedding by knowing how much you’re willing to spend and then comparison shopping. Look at cost-saving options like when you hold your wedding — daytime, Friday and winter weddings can cost less at the venue of your choice.

Planning a wedding can be exciting and fun; it doesn’t have to be financially stressful. Save as much as you can before the wedding so you’re not starting your life as a couple with wedding debt and financial stress.

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