Reports show that less than a third of couples who plan a wedding that costs more than $10,000 save more than a couple of thousand dollars toward paying for it. Yet Weddings today can cost an average of $20,000 or more for the reception hall, caterer, flowers, decorations, Wedding gown, Rings, and don't forget the honeymoon. So how do you pay for all this extravagance?

1- Save for your wedding. Certificates of Deposits ( CDs) offer one option for short-term savings that offers higher returns on the initial investment. Having a regular savings plan to save as much unrestricted income as possible in the months preceding your wedding can help you to accumulate as little debt as possible. Saving coins and $1 bills in the months leading up to your wedding can add up too, perhaps contributing a decent down payment toward the honeymoon.

2- Talk to a representative at your financial institution. Many banks offer free advice to couples about budgeting, savings and purchasing a home. Inquire about a home equity loan to help cover wedding expenses. For engaged couples who may already own a home either individually or together, a home equity loan provides a flexible option for financing along with low interest rates.

3- Set a Realistic Budget. Be careful of hidden costs. Don't make the mistake of going over budget. Be prepared as a couple to compromise on many of the details. Consider using a combination of savings, paying out-of-pocket, home equity and credit cards to finance the cost.

4- Pay as you go in order not to incur debt. Even if you don't have a lot of excess cash, you can pay off many of the bills related to a wedding beforehand. Most vendors require a 50 percent deposit at the time that you place the order. this gets you halfway there from the start. And Remember, all cost are negotiable.

Paying for College is a reality for most students now days. There are many ways that you can achieve going to college without having your parents help.

1. You can always choose not to go to the big Universities and Colleges. Start small.Go to a community college where the tuition is less than at a private or state run university. Gather brochures from nearby community colleges to determine whether they offer the degree you are interested in. Compare the costs among the public colleges and decide what one fits your educational and financial needs.

2. Apply for federal and state run grants to help pay for college. The application for Federal student aid, or FAFSA, which can be found online, at college financial aid offices to at High school guidance offices are FREE! Grants are determined based on the previous year's tax return of you or your family. Federal Pell Grants, for example are offered in every state. Money is dispersed to colleges per semester to help pay for college tuition.

3. Talk to financial aid personnel at the college or in your high school guidance office to find scholarships. Expect to have decent high school grades or current college grades when applying. Make sure that you read the requirements carefully and follow the instructions when applying.

4. Get a part-time job or sign up for an internship program. Having a part-time job can help ease the burden of being strapped for cash. Unexpected expenses will occur, having a part-time job can help a little in those situations. Internships allow students to hold campus jobs, with the intent on helping pay for tuition.

There are many other ways to help during these times. Make sure that you ask questions there are always people willing to help.

You are engaged!!!!!  Now what?!?!?  

First thing is first... you are so excited in the fact that you are engaged you hate to even think about starting to plan the Wedding. Yikes!!!! There are so many things that go into planning a wedding. Take a deep breath and start from the beginning… who is paying for the wedding?

Although tradition says that the bride's parents pay for the whole thing, this is frequently untrue for today's couples. If you can pay for the whole wedding yourselves, you've got it easy. If you want your families to help you out, or pay for it all, you need to have a sit down discussion with them about it.  You need to be prepared to answer some tough questions. First you need to know that the average wedding costs about $25,000, but you need to base your wedding on what is available to you.

There may be several options that arise after you have a talk with family.

* Parents can say that they are contributing a specific amount, and then the couple decides on a wedding budget and makes up the difference themselves.

* Parents say that they want to pay for specific items such as the bride's attire, the rehearsal dinner or catering. The couple then has to figure out how to pay for everything else.

* The couple can set a budget and then ask to split it evenly. This is particularly good solution for divided families. For example, the couple, the mother of the bride, the father of the bride, and the groom's parents will each contribute $5000, for a total of $20,000 wedding budget.

How much do you really need?

Depending on your area, budgeting about $100 per wedding guest will give you a good start. This allows for $50 a head for catering, and the remaining $50 goes towards everything else- Flowers, attire, etch.

We have attached a wedding budget worksheet.  This will help you determine what is important to you and what kind of money you want to spend where. Cross off things that you don't need and find a wedding planner. They will save your life and save you from a ton of stress. Remember this is one of the best days of your life!  So, enjoy every moment of it.

And…. CONGRATS!!!!! 

Wedding Budget Worksheet
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File Type: pdf
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College is EXPENSIVE!!!! The best way for a parent to help their child pay for college, without either the parent or the child going into debt with loans, is to start saving early. Early means the younger the better. with compound interest the longer the period over which you save the more the savings grow. Also the longer the period in which you contribute the smaller the incremental payments.

Assuming no interest, if you were to calculate that $40,000 will be needed for college and you begin putting the money away monthly two years before the child begins college you will have to sock away $1,666.67 per month for 24 months. However, if you start 18 years before you only have to save $185.19. Remember this is without interest. If you factor in the interest that the savings will earn, the monthly payment will be less. Again, the longer the period, the greater the impact of the interest, so the sooner you start the less you will have to contribute each month to reach your goal.

There is always the dreadful fact that there is always a TAX when you have a savings account. This is where Life insurance on the child comes into play.

Life insurance on the child gives a parent both tax sheltering and flexibility in the use of the funds. There are three parties to a life insurance contract: the insures, the owner and the beneficiary. When the child is born the parents take out a policy on the child. Assuming the child is healthy, the parents can purchase a very large policy for a relatively low premium payment. The child is the insured but the parents are the owners and can make themselves the beneficiaries. As payments are made cash builds up in the cash portion of the policy. Under the current Tax laws, the investment income generated by an insurance policy are not subject to income tax. So the cash value grows tax free. When the child is ready for college the parents can cancel the policy and withdraw the cash value or keep the policy and borrow the sash value at a low interest rate. If the child decides not to go to college the parents as owners of the policy , can keep the money in the policy or withdraw it and use it for something else. At some point the parents may want to transfer ownership to the child but they are not required to do so.

Life insurance on a child is not for everyone. However, it is one option that can be considered when planning for your child's college education.