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How to Pay Off Wedding Debt

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Question: How to Pay Off Wedding Debt
My husband and I spent too much money on our wedding, we still have bills to pay, and now we’ve accumulated wedding debt. How do we get out of this wedding debt hole?
Answer: Wedding debt offers the opportunity for the two of you to exercise your ability to talk about money, a necessary skill for a successful marriage. You have to devise a plan of action. Your first goal should be to pay off what you can. Without even considering other purchases, take those wedding cash gifts that you received and put them all toward the wedding vendors you still owe.

Credit Card Debt

If you accumulated credit card debt while planning your wedding and you’re now behind in payments, you should make sure to always pay more than the minimum each month. Put as much toward your monthly payment as you can. In fact, you and your husband should calculate how much money of your monthly earnings you can reasonably put toward paying off your credit cards and then stick to the schedule you set. You can motivate yourselves by calculating how long it will take to pay it all off – the sooner, the better.

Those newlyweds who have taken on more debt than they can handle should start communicating with others who can help. For starters, talk to the vendors with whom you still have an outstanding bill. Explain your situation to them and see if you can work out a payment plan that will not burden you with too much interest.

Renegotiate Price When You Can

In the case of vendors who you typically finish paying after the wedding, such as photographers and videographers, see if you can downgrade your package to pay less. (Realize that this is not always possible if you signed a binding contract.) Maybe the photographer can offer a more economical plastic cover instead of a leather one on your album, or he’ll agree to let you buy the digital photos and you can make your own album by scrapbooking or through a more affordable online publisher. Or maybe your videographer promised in the contract to film and include your limousine as it moved from the church to the reception, but he failed to do it when you received the raw footage. In a case like that, you might be able to negotiate a discount for his mistake. Your own power of persuasion will come in handy here. Figure out which one of you is better at negotiating and getting a bargain or if you should work on this as a team.

Live within Your Means

One of the best results of being in debt as newlyweds is that you have a great excuse to learn how to live on a budget. Living within your means will help you stay out of debt, get through the leaner times more easily, and should help your marriage. Finance troubles and debt puts unnecessary pressure on a relationship, and it makes people stressed out and generally crabby. Determine how much you need to make ends meet each month – from paying the heating and electric bills to groceries. Then, cut out the fat. Eat out less and give up video games or cigarettes and luxury items. Clip coupons and be smart about purchases. Don’t just splurge because you feel like it.

Finally, once you’ve paid off your debt, keep up the good habits you’ve developed and start putting money away in savings. It could come in handy if another rainy day comes your way. If nothing else, it will help you pay for the house you’ve always wanted, the kids’ college education, or your retirement. These things might seem far away because you’re still in the honeymoon stage. But they’re really just around the corner. Just think about how quickly your wedding rolled around.

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