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During my heyday years as a wedding guest, I probably got invited to more than 20 weddings in eight years.
It was hard on the wallet, but at least I also got to go to all those awesome bachelorette parties, right?
Welp, not so much. Buckle up for this one: The cost of attending bachelorette parties alone could be keeping you from owning a home.
According to Zillow, which factored the average costs of these parties — $1,106 for gals and $1,532 for guys in 2016, according to the Knot — if you attend nine of these, you've spent up to $13,788, or 34% of the down payment on the median price of a home, assuming you put down the recommended 20%.
In other words, if you didn't take all those trips and shell out for all those gifts over three years or so, you'd be more than a third of the way closer to homeownership. (And this doesn't even include the price of gifts for the shower and ceremony, party favors and the mental cost of getting six bridesmaids to agree on anything.)
Of course, realistically, you probably can't turn down every wedding invite you get, especially if you want to keep all your friends. This research simply proves how important it is to have a non-monthly savings account as part of your overall budget.
This involves adding up all the irregular expenses you foresee (e.g., wedding gifts, holiday travel, quarterly taxes) and dividing that by 12 — that's the monthly amount you should stash away in a separate savings account.
It prevents you from going into debt (or dipping into your emergency fund) whenever you have to, say, pay for that bachelorette trip to Vegas; and it helps you plan better when you have competing goals for your money. If you have a set savings amount already baked into your budget, then you can pay for both a wedding and a home with less stress.
So if you haven't yet, estimate how much you think you'll be spending on weddings this year, and automate a monthly deposit to cover that into a separate savings account. With your finances in shape, you'll enjoy the wedding — and that chartreuse bridesmaid dress with the bubble sleeves — that much more.