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Wedding saving tips: What to do, what not to do, and how to budget
Wedding season is here, and for those couples on a budget, you may be wondering how to have a big day without spending in a big way. We have some tips on how you can create the perfect moment of matrimonial bliss without going over your budget (and maybe even while staying under it).
Consult the experts
By experts, we mean bridal magazines and websites. There is no shortage of resources available to you by professionals whose job it is to plan beautiful weddings for a small amount of money. Look for these tips and make a list of your own— compare and contrast ideas, see which suggestions pop up most often, and keep an open mind about solutions you might not have otherwise considered. A lot of the work is already done for you, courtesy of these publications, so get to Googling for the best tips.
Talk to your friends
The odds are high that you know of someone who has gotten married within the last year or two. This is the perfect chance for you to ask for their help. Neither of you has to share your budget if you’re not comfortable doing so, but they can give a better idea of current flower prices and which bridal salon is offering the best deals. They can also give you insider tips on locations and what they did to save their pennies beforehand. Everyone’s wedding has a budget—some of them may be large; others are small, but even the grandest wedding can be scaled down to fit your needs.
We don’t want to step on any toes but do take the time to consider your wedding day versus the rest of your life. While weddings are wonderful events, they are also the start to something much more wonderful: your marriage. Keep this perspective in mind as you make financial decisions for your big day. In ten years, will you still remember going with the less expensive catering service? If so, that’s okay—everyone has different priorities. But at the end of the day, the highlight for most couples is that they finally get to begin their lives together.
Choose a less popular day
Fun fact: Saturday evening weddings are by far the most expensive weddings. This is because Saturday evening is the most highly-desired ceremony time for many couples, and venues charge a premium for reserving these dates. Look for other options, like a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon—this could save you nearly 20-50%. You can even take it a step further and get married in the middle of the week if you’re feeling really crazy. Be sure to avoid holiday weekends, as these also tend to drive up venue prices. Choosing a less popular day means choosing a less expensive day—and it all goes back to your budget!
Location, location, location
There are many gorgeous wedding venues in the area, but there are also a lot of equally beautiful options that don’t cost money to use. For instance, if some local friends have a large backyard, you might consider using it for either your ceremony or your reception. Do some research on how you could use your favorite park for your ceremony to keep the outdoor feel without the price tag. You can make any venue beautiful with some simple decorations, so look for the potential in each place you visit.
Don’t use so many fresh flowers
Flowers are wonderful and picking them out for your wedding is especially fun. Unfortunately, flowers are often expensive, too. Talk to your florist about adding a few fresh flowers to your bouquets and make the rest of them yourself out of silk flowers from your local craft shop. This combination will allow you to have a stunning look in your décor that keeps you well within your budget needs. Bonus: those silk flowers will last forever, which means you will get to keep your bouquet for as long as you want it. Or, if you don’t want to skip the fresh blooms, consider buying in bulk from a warehouse club and doing florals yourself.
If you have crafty friends, now is the time to call on them. Work together with your friends and wedding party to do some DIY projects as a group. You might be able to create your own invitations, make your own cake, and do your own makeup instead of paying a professional, which can add up to big savings. We know it’s a special day, so we aren’t asking you to break out a Betty Crocker box mix for your wedding cake—but you should consider looking for a local friend who could give you a break on the price of the cake if you choose a simple design.
Skip the limo ride
For many brides and grooms, it’s tradition to leave the reception in a big way. This might mean a ride in a limousine, or, if you’re super fancy, maybe a horse and buggy. Either way, consider skipping this step altogether to save a few hundred dollars. If you’re really set on not driving yourself to your post-reception destination, ask a friend to drive you, or look for a car service that offers options within your budget. Leaving in style is fun but having the extra cash to spend on your honeymoon is even better.
There are so many ways to make a wedding great without breaking the bank, so put on your thinking hat and look for creative ways to stay within your financial needs. Make a budget, decide which priorities are the highest for your big day, and plan to have an amazing, finances-friendly wedding that you will remember for years to come. But what should you do with all those savings? If you don’t already, consider opening a savings or Money Market account together, so you can get a head start on your financial goals.
4 ways to save on sporting events
For many people, their lives revolve around sports. It’s how they connect to their families, bond with strangers, and choose to spend their hard-earned money. Sure, you can catch a game on television, but for some, that will never beat the feeling of sitting in a packed stadium, taking in the sounds and smells, and enjoying their favorite team. However, tickets can be a little pricey—especially now due to inflation. Worry no more sports fans: here are four ways to save on sporting events.
1. Use a ticket resale site
Let’s say you and your friends want to see your favorite team last minute. You get excited, look at ticket prices, and frown—the tickets are too expensive, and you can’t justify spending that much money. The solution? Ticket resale sites. These sites allow people to buy and sell tickets at various prices, making this a good option for people trying to purchase last-minute seats. You can often find multiple tickets at different prices, allowing you to see your favorite teams at a lower cost.
Use caution and be aware of the face value of the tickets you are attempting to purchase on these sites. Don’t automatically assume that the tickets sold on these sites are the best or cheapest—some people buy and resell tickets at a higher price, looking to make a quick buck. If you find tickets below face value, this can be a safe, easy, and affordable option for sporting events.
2. Buy tickets in bulk
Many teams offer discounted rates for groups larger than eight or ten, which could be anywhere from $50 off or 20% off the total price. It’s a great, cost-effective way to enjoy a game with friends. What could be better? This deal usually depends on the stadium or team box office, but if you reach out, you may receive a discount. Finding a large group of people to go to a single sporting event with you isn’t always easy. If it’s not an option, you can try finding individual seats in a section (which can sometimes be cheaper). If you have a large friend group, buying in bulk can make for an inexpensive and fun-filled outing.
3. Plan and budget
Planning and budgeting seem like an obvious answer, as most people who are effective budgeters set aside money to use for entertainment costs. However, with the rising prices of sports tickets, concessions, and more, you need to set aside a larger sum of money to attend a game. One solution is to pick a game in the future, set aside money, and save. Once you reach the time to purchase your ticket and go to the game, you may have even saved up enough money to get a higher-quality ticket.
With a Georgia’s Own savings account, you’ll have a secure place to store your cash that you’ve worked so hard to save—and reach your goal in no time. We even offer goal-based savings, so you can make sure whatever funds you set aside will be used towards your next sporting event or even a vacation.
4. Use team memberships
The easiest way to get specific deals and memberships for your preferred sports team is to become a member of your team’s fan incentive group. Sometimes these organizations have membership fees, which are usually not expensive, but more often than not, these groups put you on a text or email list at no cost. These notifications allow you access to specific deals only available to members, such as reduced ticket prices, packages, and more. You’ll also have access to priority seating and higher-cost items for a reduced price. For example, some sports offer four- or five-game ticket packages. This can reduce costs while also offering other perks, like great seats and access to other parts of the fan experience.
There are other ways to obtain low-cost tickets through buying from people on resale sites, negotiating with friends, or finding a ticket through social media. However, these four ways of buying sports tickets can allow you to experience live sports without breaking the bank. So go out and enjoy that game with your family and friends—now you can afford it!
Fitness at home: five YouTube channels to work out at home
Between working, raising a family, and hopefully venturing out for a social life once in a while, it can be difficult to fit a workout in. As always, the Internet is here to help: this time in the form of YouTube, which plays host to many great options for working out at home—because taking care of your physical wellness is just as important as your financial wellness. Keep reading for ideas on optimizing your home workouts and which YouTube channels you should be following for fitness.
How much should I work out?
Working out is hard, but it’s one of those life things that always benefits you once you do it, so we encourage you to find what you love in the exercise world and make it part of your weekly, if not daily, routine.
Everyone’s exercise needs are different—there is not one magic number or routine that applies to everyone. But most experts agree that the key is consistency, and that working out for about 30 minutes five times a week is a great way to add exercise to your life without taking up hours of your time.
Is home better than the gym?
Some people thrive in the gym—it’s where they love to go for their fitness needs. And that’s a great idea! But for people who don’t live near a gym, are too busy to make it to one, or just don’t want to spend the money to join, working out at home is a great option. It can even be done for free or for very little expense most of the time.
The equipment you’ll need will depend on the type of exercise you want to do, which is different for everyone. But for many home workouts, you will find you need little more than a towel and some comfy clothes, along with your favorite water bottle. If you do need extra equipment, like weights, you may be able to substitute household items to achieve the same effect—which means the forgotten cans of beans in the back of your cabinet finally have a new purpose!
How do I get started?
You should start where everyone starts: at the beginning. If you are new to exercise in general, this is a great opportunity to discover what you love. You may find that you thrive in a routine centered around dance, or you may have more success with a strict set of exercises that you repeat over and over. Just remember not to give up if you don’t love the first workout you try—it may take a few attempts to find the exercise that is calling your name.
Do I need a trainer?
Personal trainers are a great choice for many people, and you can certainly explore that option! For the more budget- and schedule-conscious people, you can utilize many of the great fitness experts on places like YouTube, which offers a lot of free guided workout options. In fact, we have made a list of five of the best YouTube channels to help you work out at home—see if any of these choices get your heart rate going.
1) Krissy Cela. This channel is dedicated to weight training, so if that is one of your goals, check this one out. While this channel is more targeted to women, Krissy Cela also covers topics like nutrition and wellness, so it may be worth a look for everyone in your family.
2) Fitness Blender. This husband-and-wife team runs the gamut when it comes to home workouts—you can do strength training, cardio, high intensity interval training, and even Pilates through their channel. Check them out by yourself or with your spouse for a fun workout experience.
3) Lively Ladies – Fitness in Your 50s. Don’t let the name fool you—this channel was designed for women in their fifties, but these workouts are perfect for anyone who wants to do some cardio or light weight training in a low-impact setting. Weak knees can’t stop you now!
4) Cosmic Kids Yoga. This channel has gained a lot of popularity as yoga becomes more prevalent among younger kids in school. While the fun themes will definitely catch your kiddo’s eye, you can enjoy these moves, too— and it’s a perfect way to bond with your children in the process.
5) Indoor Cycling Videos. Is your stationary bike gathering dust (or laundry) in the corner of your room? It’s time to put it to work for you with some of these great cycling videos. You can cycle along to some beautiful scenery, meaning you might even find this workout relaxing—amazing, right?
Finding the time to work out can be hard—but your body will thank you for it. Your wallet will also thank you for brushing up on your financial knowledge with ACHIEVE by Georgia’s Own. Enjoy free, interactive videos to help you learn about financial basics, preparing for retirement, owning a home, and more. Keep up with your physical and financial health—pick your favorite YouTube exercise channel or pick an ACHIEVE topic to explore, and challenge yourself to follow it regularly for a month. We think you will be pleased with the results.
Affordable Mother’s Day gift guide
Whether you are shopping for a mom, sister, aunt, grandmother, or friend, these gift ideas are affordable and sure to wow. Succulents are all the rave and the perfect gift for anyone with a green thumb. Re-pot them or pot several together to make the gift even more special. Crafty? Try your hand at creating string art or transferring a favorite photo onto wood for a very heartfelt gift. Beaded bracelets are trendy and can spell out a special name or meaning. A memory frame or box is another gift that can easily be pulled together on a budget, but shows a special person you care. Not crafty? Compile a box of sunshine for your special lady. Fill it with lots of favorites or choose a variety of yellow gifts for those sunshine feels.
Sources: Wooden photo blocks, thewhoot.com; Mama bracelet, kendrascott.com; Sunshine box, skiptomylou.org; Memory frame, beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com
Following dreams with Elaine Burge
I recently had the pleasure of getting to know Georgia native and professional artist, Elaine Burge. She’s as bright and full of energy as her gorgeous paintings. Her artwork can be found at ElaineBurge.com or follow her on Instagram @elaineburgeart to see more of her creations.
A Little Bit about Elaine
Born and raised in Georgia, she loves country living. She describes herself as having a ton of energy, which is one reason the slow pace of country life is so perfect for her and her family. “I love the animals that surround us and the wide open spaces” that change so drastically from season to season.
The Art Start
Elaine has always been creative and inspired by her surroundings. She started painting as a way of income in high school – first as a muralist, then as a muralist painting scenes behind miniature train layouts. She launched Elaine Burge Art in 2011.
Turning a Dream into a Career
Elaine says, “I always dreamed of it (painting professionally), but didn’t know it was possible until my husband told me he believed I could; and so I did! It was his faith in my ability to succeed that gave me the courage to pursue my passion.”
Weighing being a people-pleaser and giving myself what I need creatively can be a challenge.
Being my own boss – I don’t like to be told what to do.
Favorite Piece of Artwork
I don’t have a favorite… It’s always the one that has the freshest paint on it, I think.
A bride named Gia reached out to me and asked if painting her wedding would be something I would consider doing. I said why not? I painted her gorgeous ceremony on the lawn in front of the Swan House. It was such a moving experience that I knew I had to have more!
Where do you find inspiration?
Honestly, there isn’t much that I can’t find inspiration from. My spontaneous creations are kind of therapy for me, where I can let my hands work and my mind relax. It just happens! I love textiles, nature’s color palettes and the way that painting is an outlet for my energy. I feel that I pull inspiration from things I see on a daily basis… like the way the sun hits the grass at a certain time of day… the way a quilter lines up locks of color and sews them with such care… the juxtaposition of a structured fence against a chaotic scene full of splashes of color.
I think the way that you live your day is the way that you live your life… I cannot remember where that quote is from but just to be sure to make today count because your life is made up of a bunch of todays!
If you could only paint with once color forever, what would it be?
It would be Golden Acrylic’s teal.
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Go for it! It’s harder not to do it if that is what you want. You are the only one holding you back.
What is your favorite thing about Georgia?
There is so much to love, but I think the pace of life, specifically in this area (Riddleville), is my favorite.
Supporting Black-owned small businesses in Georgia
Buying from Black-owned shops, restaurants, and brands is just one of many ways you can support a community that is essential to Georgia’s culture and economy. We rounded up our favorite small, Black-owned businesses across Georgia that offer everything from jewelry and trendy apparel to baked goods and more—below are 19 Black-owned shops and restaurants throughout Atlanta, Savannah, and Albany you can start supporting today.
Boutiques + Markets
the beehive – Atlanta
Deez Jazzi Jewelry – Savannah
Just Add Honey Tea Company – Atlanta
Albany Fish Company – Albany
Back in the Day Bakery – Savannah
The Flint – Albany
Good Times Jazz Bar and Restaurants – Savannah
The Grey Market – Savannah
Le Petit Marche – Atlanta
Popbar – Atlanta
Sisters of the New South – Savannah
Sublime Doughnuts – Atlanta
Tropical Taste Restaurant – Albany
Who’s Got Soul Southern Café – Atlanta
Auntie Renee Story Teller – Atlanta
Brave + Kind Bookshop – Atlanta
Footprints of Savannah Walking Tours – Savannah
Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia – Atlanta
Medu Bookstore – Atlanta