Guest post by Brittany Fisher, CPA of financiallywell.info
TL;DR: It’s tempting to blow your wedding gift money on luxury, but that can set you back on other necessary expenses, such as insurance, car repairs, and next year’s vacation. Consider other, more practical options that’ll leave you with more stability later.
The average wedding gift sets your guests back $160. And when this comes in the form of cash, you could potentially walk away from your nuptials with a few thousand dollars you didn’t have that morning. For many couples, monetary wedding bestowments are the first time they’ve received communal funds, and it’s also a great first opportunity to be fiscally responsible.
Here are a few ideas that make sense on how to spend those dollars.
Down Payment on a Home
Your unexpected financial contributions may not completely fund a down payment, but they can certainly help. Even if you can’t come up with 20 percent, which many buys don’t have to do, any money you can put toward your home, moving expenses, or furnishings is money well spent.
Invest in Insurance
Chances are, the day before you were married, no one else could claim responsibility for your final expenses if you died suddenly. But that has changed, and your spouse will be on the hook for anything you don’t handle. Although death is the last thing you want to think about as you are beginning your married life, now is a great time to buy final expenses, or burial, insurance. Sit down together and take a look at the different types of policies available. Crunch the numbers — including how much you can realistically pay in monthly premiums — to figure out how much you might need in case of an unexpected tragedy.
Now is also a good time to check your health and auto insurance rates and use your wedding money to invest in better coverage if all you have is the minimum. It’s also important to understand the minimum requirements in your state; in California, for example, you’ll need both bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage.
While you probably have already paid for the photographer, they will likely take more pictures than you are entitled to, based on your contract. Further, as Martha Stewart Weddings explains, many photographers retain the rights to your photographs. If privacy is a concern, such as if you are in a high-profile position at work or within your community, it might be worth purchasing the rights to your imagery so they may not be published without your consent.
Maybe you’ve already paid off your student loans, but one day, your children will have to do the same. So, help them get a head start in life by opening a college savings plan, which will also help you by providing a few tax benefits.
Now that you’re sharing in the spoils of your wedding, you’ll also share the expenses involved in vehicle maintenance. If you’ve been driving around with a check engine light or chipped windshield, it’s time to start throwing cash at these problems. Money Talks News explains that these two small repairs will virtually pay for themselves down the road.
Next Year’s Vacation
Ideally, your honeymoon is already paid for. However, that does not mean you can’t take your wedding money and put it aside for a romantic rendezvous for two on your first anniversary. Spending time together away from home is quite simply good for your relationship.
Contrary to what you might have heard, you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a respectable investment portfolio. With a bit of research, you can take a thousand dollars and turn it into a life-long source of revenue.
There are literally thousands of ways you could spend your wedding gifts. However, unless you are a wealthy couple, these practical ideas can help you start your married life on the right foot, which is by being financially responsible.
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