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$41,167. According to The Knot, that's the average cost of a wedding in New Orleans as of 2017. The national average is $33,391. With a measly budget of $12,000, I'm sure you can image me Googling "cheap weddings in New Orleans" like my life depended on it.
Since my boyfriend (sorry) FIANCÉ and I started planning our wedding barely 3 months ago, the most prominent thought in my mind has been "How in the hell are we going to afford a wedding?" This question has stormed to the forefront of my mind like a suburban soccer mom at Target on Black Friday. No matter what part of the wedding I'm focused on — colors, music, food, venue — it's there, standing over me with that stupid Patrick Star sinister-ass grin waiting for me to spiral into wedding depression. And I'm trying to not let it get the best of me by keeping in mind that the most important part of it all is that I get to marry the man I love. Cheesy, I know, but true. So naturally, I've done what any modern woman would do when strapped for cash. I've sought advice online.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
There's lots of random articles online that claim to have easy ways to make extra money. Sounds great, right?! Wrong. The problem is that they offer solutions that work at a snail's pace and typically only earn you small amounts of money. The majority of the articles are just ads for apps and websites like eBates or Ibotta*. Now don't get me wrong, I like Ibotta. It's this app that allows you to get rebates back on purchases both in store and online. However, if you're not a big online shopper or buy a lot of name brand items (as opposed to Great Value like I do), then you only earn about $0.25 to $0.50 here and there. It does add up eventually, but not at the rate you need it to if you're trying to supplement your income or save big for a wedding.
Couponing and using rebate apps are great for saving small, and I do use them when ever possible, but the only REAL way to get that REAL money (besides stripping or doing anything illegal) is to:
- Get a better paying job or
- Get a 2nd (possibly 3rd) job.
No matter what people say, you CAN be picky.
Obviously I not climbing on a pole or working a corner (I'm just not that brave), but after working several years in the food service industry, I have a list of things I know I just won't do. I won't work a job that requires me to stand the majority of the shift. I also won't take any position that requires me to work overnight, anything that requires I be outside constantly, and nothing that requires me to commute more than 30 minutes. Add on the fact that any additional job I get has to be part-time with flexible hours to accommodate my full-time job (and possibly my other part-time one), and the options diminish quickly. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyways), I have a desk job. Two, actually. And I'm comfortable in both.
Keep in mind what's really important.
Most people probably look at my pickiness and say, "Well damn! I guess you don't want that extra money!" Trust me, I do. I'm willing to work 2, even 3, jobs to help pay for my fairy tale wedding, but I've been there, done that, and HATED it. Constant physical pain from standing for 8 hours straight and sleep deprivation from working overnight and then going to a full-time day job, just doesn't work for me. However, I also came to terms with the fact that it might take me longer to find a supplemental job or that I might not get what I want in terms of my dream wedding. So I make it work where I can — couponing, using rebate apps, writing articles, taking advice from people who've been here before**, and even begging my mom occasionally (mainly to pay for my dress). But at the end of the day I value my happiness, my sanity, my relationship, and myself more than I value having extra cash or a super fancy wedding. If we end up at the courthouse having a $500 wedding (which is exactly what my fiancé wants) rather than at Disney World having a $50,000 wedding (my dream, of course), so be it. Maybe (more than likely) we'll meet somewhere in the middle. Either way, I'll be married to the love of my life, and that's something I'd choose every single time.
*This isn't a paid ad for Ibotta, but if you're interested in signing up, make sure you use my referral code so we can both get some cash!
**If you have any tips, tricks, ideas, or advice on making (legal) extra money or having a cheap yet classy wedding, let me know.