Home > 2014 > Personal Finance

4 Weddings in 4 States in Under $2,200

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

My husband and I received four wedding invitations for this summer, and we knew we wanted to do everything we could to attend each one. With some strategic saving, budget adjustments and frugal choices, we’ll be able to enjoy them for less than $2,200.

That may not sound like a deal, but we easily could be spending more. MUCH more. The weddings happen within eight weeks of each other (time is always a squeeze on money), and they’re in different states, only one of which we live in (though I suppose we can be happy that at least one is local).

We knew we needed to strategize, and here’s how we broke it down:

  • 4 roundtrip plane tickets: $1,150
  • 5 nights in a hotel: $465
  • 10 days/nights of pet care: $341
  • 6 gifts: $80
  • 900 miles of driving: about $125 for fuel
  • TOTAL: $2,161

How We Did It

First of all, we started putting money aside for this summer as soon as we knew about the weddings. That was well before we received save-the-dates, but we could have saved plenty in a shorter period of time. If we hadn’t saved, we would have had to send some “No” RSVPs.

The biggest savings came in hotels, because even though my husband and I would love our own room, it wasn’t practical. Three of the five nights, we’re splitting with friends, and we opted to couch-surf other nights. This requires a lot of flexibility: Is it desirable to sleep on a futon with another person, as opposed to in a spacious hotel bed? No. Is it worth being able to go to my friend’s wedding? Absolutely.

Plane tickets account for half our expenses, and we’re only flying to two weddings. I spent a lot of time comparing fares (setting online price alerts helped), but the biggest savings came from credit card rewards. We always pay our credit card balances in full, allowing us to take advantage of rewards, and in this case, we used a travel card that allowed us to essentially get one plane ticket for free. We chose price over convenience, too.

Credit card rewards played another huge part in our savings, because we have a card that gives us cash back. We do a large part of our daily spending on this card, so we rack up cash back fairly quickly. That allowed us to spend very little on gifts without feeling like we were being cheap (and if you’re wondering why I listed six gifts, I included showers, because that impacted how much we spent on the “big” gift). Free shipping and deal hunting helped us secure presents for even better prices, as well.

There are little costs you should consider that I didn’t mention in my price breakdown (but here’s a list of what to think about when deciding to go to a wedding).

We didn’t buy any new attire for the weddings (with the exception of the one in which I’m a bridesmaid, but I bought that dress months ago and budgeted for it then). We also are working food expenses into our monthly food budget, meaning we’re cutting down on going out and frivolous treats at home to compensate. We’re not renting cars because we worked out carpooling, and our fuel costs include giving gas money to the people who drive us. We’re also having friends and family take us to and from airports (thanks, guys!).

Where I Could Have Saved More

Fuel costs were the toughest to cut, because the longest drive we have to make is for a family wedding, and we don’t live near family. We could have certainly saved money on pet care by having someone dog-sit or using an alternative service to our daycare, but our dog is a little … intense. Without going into details of his exceptionally high energy, trust me when I say it was worth the peace of mind to pay more and leave our dog somewhere he’s stayed before and gets the attention he needs.

We could have saved money by splitting the two hotel rooms we have to ourselves. We actually were going to split one, but our room buddies had a change of plans, and we honestly didn’t think about it with the other. It can be easy to reserve a room and forget about how much it’s going to cost later, because you’re often not charged when you book.

It was a lot of work, but it wasn’t that difficult, especially considering how much we wanted to attend all the events. As enjoyable as weddings are, they’re never worth going into debt or sacrificing important financial goals. If you don’t plan ahead, you might find yourself going into debt to join the party — and debt can negatively impact your credit standing, especially if you carry a balance of more than 30% of your limit on your credit cards, or if you’re late making a payment. You can see how your debt affects your credit by checking your credit scores for free on Credit.com, where you can also get an overview of your credit reports.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Jupiterimages

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team