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I feel I may have a problem with hoarding money..
Old 02-19-2014, 12:50 PM   #1
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I feel I may have a problem with hoarding money..

The Problem:

I've recently been engaged my fiancee and I have been planning our wedding for early next year. The thought of paying upfront for a $5000 deposit has become too much, despite how much money I've saved. I love my future wife and would want to give her the best wedding I can reasonably afford, but I've been in a kind of crisis recently as I've almost never in my life have spent more than $2000 at a time and the thought of spending so much money at once has become paralyzing. I still drive the used car I got as a hand-me-down from my parents from 7 years ago which has close to 200,000 miles on it, so I've never had to pay for any big-ticket items yet.

Some Background:


I keep about $45,000 in a taxable investment account which I invest according to the Permanent Portfolio asset allocation (25% Equities, 25% LT Bonds, 25% Gold, 25% Cash).. the cash portion of this (about $10,000) is my emergency fund. I also have about $10,000 in my retirement accounts. I currently have no debt.

I work in Finance but only make a little over $40,000 a year (yeah, it's probably an outlier.) I started working in 2010 and my salary hasn't increased much since then. I live on about $1200-1800 a month and save the rest of my paychecks (basically about 30% to 50% of my take home pay.) Also I've not been able to find a new job despite continual efforts since 2012 (although I still have this job, it's not paying very well and there's little room for advancement.)

Back in 2009, I graduated with a Masters in Finance. Don't mean to whine or anything but the timing could not have been any worse. I had about $10,000 in savings at the time and I pulled off 50-60 hour weeks submitting my resume and looking for a job for the next 8 months.. when I finally found a job (my current one), I only had about $2000 in my account. Maybe for a person who finds new jobs easily, this isn't a big deal but it was really traumatizing near the end when I was about to run out of money and knew I had to work about twice as hard as the average person at finding a job to get the same results.

My horrifying experience desperately trying to find a job before my savings ran out in 2009-2010 plus my recent lack of success at finding a higher paying job has created a very bleak outlook for my future, at least in my mind. I feel that I need a 2+ year safety net in case one day I lose my current job and will continue to have this much difficulty in finding a new job. This has prompted me to save money like there's no tomorrow. Although saving is prudent, I the rational side of my thinks that I'm going overboard with my savings.

The rational side of my feels there's almost no doubt my "hoarding" of money has gotten out of hand but I'm wondering if there's anything that can be done to change my mindset?
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:00 PM   #2
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Quit calling it a wedding and start calling it a party. Then the deposit will be in the $2500 range!

Seriously, you might need to have a heart to heart with the sweetie to scale back the party. It would be best to find the middle ground in the proclivity to spend right now, because it won't get any easier later. Or maybe she's freaking out about the amount too, and you can cut the roster and open bar and both live happily ever after :-)
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:11 PM   #3
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Elope.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:12 PM   #4
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Personally, I think you are just being financially smart, which means you probably have to get used to being a financial outlier. My husband and I were married at a courthouse and bought a house with the money we had saved up.

Do you really have to spend a lot of money to have a memorable wedding attended by family and friends? I have been to nice pot luck wedding receptions in backyards and rec rooms.

Here is a related video making the rounds on the frugal forums on costly engagement rings -

Why Engagement Rings Are a Scam - CollegeHumor Video

(crude language warning)
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
Here is a related video making the rounds on the frugal forums on costly engagement rings -

Why Engagement Rings Are a Scam - CollegeHumor Video
That was hilarious, and unfortunately quite true!

Why not go to Mexico with a few close family members and friends (who pay their own way) and have a beach wedding cum honeymoon?
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:32 PM   #6
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I eloped. Best. Decision. Ever. The whole wedding was under 10grand and it was in paradise. Oh, it also showed me that I wanted to get a new job, so I did on the island we were married on. Life is funny.

You will find a new job soon. Keep looking and talk to recruiters and friends in the industry as well as search everday for different job titles. Being in my career for 7years now I realize my same job is called something entirely different in say the finance industry, as it is in the healthcare industry.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:57 PM   #7
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I think weddings are over rated. I thought the bride's family usually foots the bill? Most weddings I attended could have done without all the extras. Have a small wedding and everybody meet at the bar afterwards! If having an expensive wedding is important to her then maybe you two aren't as compatible as you think? Do you talk finances? There's nothing worse than one spouse wishing to save and the other likes spending. It's a disaster in the making, IMHO.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
The rational side of my feels there's almost no doubt my "hoarding" of money has gotten out of hand but I'm wondering if there's anything that can be done to change my mindset?
Based on your post, you do not come across as a "hoarder" of money. My opinion is that your reluctance to make a large down payment for a wedding is quite rational and financially prudent.

My assumption is that you are relatively young since you received a Masters degree in 2009. While you are off to a great start with $55K in savings (more than many people twice your age have), that is still a modest sum. A desire to continue your wealth building is very reasonable.

You do not know what the future will bring in terms of your job and career. You may soon get a new job at twice the salary, or there could be a financial downturn and layoffs at your firm. Preparing yourself for events that happen all the time is not hoarding.

I agree with others in that you can get married on a lot less (almost $0). If it was me, that $5000 (and it sounds like that is just for the deposit) would be better spent on tangible assets such as a partial down payment for a house or a needed car in the future. Or keep that money invested to help you become financially independent and have the flexibility to retire early (that feeling of security and freedom is priceless).

Out of curiosity, does your fiancee plan to make an equal payment for the wedding deposit or do you feel the burden is all on your shoulders?
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shawn View Post
Based on your post, you do not come across as a "hoarder" of money. My opinion is that your reluctance to make a large down payment for a wedding is quite rational and financially prudent.

My assumption is that you are relatively young since you received a Masters degree in 2009. While you are off to a great start with $55K in savings (more than many people twice your age have), that is still a modest sum. A desire to continue your wealth building is very reasonable.

You do not know what the future will bring in terms of your job and career. You may soon get a new job at twice the salary, or there could be a financial downturn and layoffs at your firm. Preparing yourself for events that happen all the time is not hoarding.

I agree with others in that you can get married on a lot less (almost $0). If it was me, that $5000 (and it sounds like that is just for the deposit) would be better spent on tangible assets such as a partial down payment for a house or a needed car in the future. Or keep that money invested to help you become financially independent and have the flexibility to retire early (that feeling of security and freedom is priceless).

Out of curiosity, does your fiancee plan to make an equal payment for the wedding deposit or do you feel the burden is all on your shoulders?
Her family provided her with almost 100K for a downpayment for a 300K house.. I jointly applied with her for the mortgage a few weeks ago (since she cannot afford it on her own with a grad student's salary.) In this situation, I cannot fathom how asking her to foot any part of the wedding costs would be fair.

For as long as I've known her, she's been quite frugal in her everyday spending.. way more than most of my friends but not to my extreme degree.

As for our honeymoon, I have enough Chase Ultimate Rewards for a round trip ticket for 2 to Europe or Asia and possibly some hotel stays (played the Credit Card Rewards "game" last year to rack up over 100K points) so only a few thousand dollars more should suffice.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:30 PM   #10
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Whatever happened to the days when the BRIDE'S parents paid for most of the cost??
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
Her family provided her with almost 100K for a downpayment for a 300K house.. I jointly applied with her for the mortgage a few weeks ago (since she cannot afford it on her own with a grad student's salary.) In this situation, I cannot fathom how asking her to foot any part of the wedding costs would be fair.

For as long as I've known her, she's been quite frugal in her everyday spending.. way more than most of my friends but not to my extreme degree.

As for our honeymoon, I have enough Chase Ultimate Rewards for a round trip ticket for 2 to Europe or Asia and possibly some hotel stays (played the Credit Card Rewards "game" last year to rack up over 100K points) so only a few thousand dollars more should suffice.
Her family ponied up $100K, and you are worried about $5,000?
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:34 PM   #12
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What is your budget for your wedding? If this is just the deposit, how are you going to feel when all the bills come due? Is this just the deposit for the venue or is it a percentage of all the costs there?

Weddings, if not kept in check can be hugely expensive so you are right to be cautious.

I don't think we have enough info to respond adequately. Expensive, venue (?), how many guests, are you feeding them, providing liquor, beer and wine, flowers, professionally printed invitations, band/D.J...etc...etc...
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:37 PM   #13
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What is your budget for your wedding? If this is just the deposit, how are you going to feel when all the bills come due? Is this just the deposit for the venue or is it a percentage of all the costs there?

Weddings, if not kept in check can be hugely expensive so you are right to be cautious.

I don't think we have enough info to respond adequately. Expensive, venue (?), how many guests, are you feeding them, providing liquor, beer and wine, flowers, professionally printed invitations, band/D.J...etc...etc...
I originally wanted to plan for $10K to $15K but it looks like it'll be at least $20K for an entire package (average priced venue, flowers, DJ, food, etc.) with all the guests who found out and want to come..
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I feel I may have a problem with hoarding money..
Old 02-19-2014, 02:41 PM   #14
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I feel I may have a problem with hoarding money..

The wedding (the reception actually) is just a party--you don't have to have this party at all. The marriage is your future. Try to think how you will feel in 20 years if you did or did not have this party. If you really think you or your fiancée will regret it, then go ahead and plan it, because you can't go back and do it, and don't worry about it anymore (DH and I had a party of 12 and have never regretted it, but that's us).

Does your fiancée know how stressful this is for you? Talk to her about it, telling her just what you have posted here. She might even be relieved not to have this party. As your future wife she should always want you to share your concerns with her.

Your honeymoon plans sound amazing!
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
I originally wanted to plan for $10K to $15K but it looks like it'll be at least $20K for an entire package (average priced venue, flowers, DJ, food, etc.) with all the guests who found out and want to come..
So more than 6 months net income for a one day event? When you are worried about job security?

Not wanting to spend that much of your income on a wedding isn't hoarding. It is really just being practical and realistic about what you can afford.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:44 PM   #16
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Just relax and be yourself. Your job, finances, and marriage will be great. Congratulations!
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:45 PM   #17
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I originally wanted to plan for $10K to $15K but it looks like it'll be at least $20K for an entire package (average priced venue, flowers, DJ, food, etc.) with all the guests who found out and want to come..

You do not have to invite everyone who wants to come. If you go ahead with this, stick to your budget.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:48 PM   #18
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You are asking the wrong folks!!! Talk to your fiance. It is more important that she and you are happy. From a financial point of view you two are getting a 100k head start in savings. There are times to be frugal and times to enjoy and do what brings joy. I think the wedding day falls into the latter. That does not mean you have to do the over-the-top kind of thing, but do make sure whatever you and the future Mrs. decide allows her to have a joyous day.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:53 PM   #19
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Given your past experiences and future unknowns I think you're not hoarding money, you're smart. Best thing I can suggest is sit down with your wife-to-be and talk about this. If it's a problem for you it's a problem for the marriage.

Don't ask how I know that.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:02 PM   #20
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I originally wanted to plan for $10K to $15K but it looks like it'll be at least $20K for an entire package (average priced venue, flowers, DJ, food, etc.) with all the guests who found out and want to come..
But do you WANT all the guest that found out to come? Guest lists have to cut off somewhere otherwise you'll be throwing a party at your expense for a lot of people.
Careful with packages. Have you already signed a contract? Once you get into details you may be surprised at things you may want being an "add on" cost. Try to get those details in there before signing a contract. If you have already signed....well...it will still be o.k.
What types of things am I talking about? Let's say you want servers to serve champagne. There is typically a server charge.

What about the taxes on the package. We had an extra food tax and gratuity fee that added 25% to the total. Didn't know it when my daughter and her fiancee signed the contract.

Does the venue allow you to bring in your own liquors? If so, huge savings there but...probably $3.50 a person for set ups. If you need more than one bartender, it will be extra.

D.J. do you need a microphone for minister? Add on. Do you need microphone for any readers, singers, etc. Add on.

Having a hard time remembering all the add ons! It is very difficult to "walk thru" your day prior to contract signing but I would suggest trying to.


How many people.? Just trying to prepare you with some things to factor in to your totals. The wedding industry is counting on escalating your costs! It's a racquet!!!! You may find you can take all of your guests to a filet mignon dinner with wine cheaper than the cost of prices at a wedding venue with a package deal. And it would be better food! This was my assessment after giving our daughter's wedding back in 2012.
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