Some couples go over their budgets very carefully every month. Others just go over them.

I get my haircut at the nearby Supercuts, which in case you didn’t know will give you a glorious shampoo-only for about $4.  If you feel like getting pampered and its not your time for a haircut, I cannot recommend this de-stressing experience enough.  It’s less expensive than a mani-pedi and, in my opinion, much more in my budget.  I don’t know what it is about the feeling of my scalp being massaged by water that’s just a little warmer than I would use at home, but I love it.  I adore the smell of the shampoo they use as well; even if I get suckered into buying the stuff off the shelf by the entrance, it never smells quite as luxurious as it does with my neck straining over that basin.  Anyway, I bring this up because my personal budget allows me to spend about $20 on a haircut every six weeks. Why so low?  I don’t really need more than long layers since I usually pull my hair back in some way.  I would rather, you see, spend my money on travel.

I have a terrific budget that usually allows me to leave the country once or twice a year. It is fundamentally important to me that I experience other cultures, revel in the global community, and seek out  new challenges.  One of the ways I can do this so successfully is by separating my money into separate accounts.  But making a travel-only bank account, I can be assured that I don’t spend more on the trip than I can afford; it also keeps my day-to-day spending  in order so that travel remains a priority.  I also find that it prevents major fraud; by only traveling with my debit card attached to my travel budget account, I don’t risk my regular account getting compromised should I lose my card or have it stolen.

Wedding budgets are always a sticky wicket.  Between your account, your soon-to-be spouses account, and any incoming monies from either parental side of the families, there can be more or less money coming in, going out, and getting lost. I make this recommendation to all my soon-to-be wedded friends: open up a separate account just for wedding-related expenses. It will help you track the money you are spending and on what; it will also force you to stay within budget.  As you look at that money independent of other monies you may have access to, it provides you with a clear, resolute financial snapshot of what you have to work with.  Busting your budget causes nothing but grief, mistrust, and even fiscal ruin.  Using a separate account is an opportunity to transparently show where your spending priorities lie.

It’s hard to decide what to spend your money on: the perfect dress or the perfect decorations, more guests or better quality reception food. Whatever you decide, keeping the money quarantined will allow you to make better choices while still enjoying the excitement of planning your wedding!

**title quote by Sally Poplin

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