There are only a few things I truly, genuinely love in this world. One of which is money. I f*cking love money! Maybe that’s why I’m a finance major, despite a continuous history of despising any form of math. Even if you are not money-obsessed like me, I’m sure we both want the same thing: financial security. In college, you want to feel at least somewhat capable of funding your nights out, your Postmates deliveries, and general miscellaneous things that pop up. This doesn’t even include, you know, like, your education itself, or textbooks (barf). So I am here as a personal Jordan Belfort, per se, to tell you how to be not be a broke-ass b*tch for the duration of your schooling. I know he’s a stockbroker, and not necessarily an advisor, but just go with it.
Formulate a budget
Please, please, hear me out. I know this sounds like literal hell, but trust me, it makes a difference. I don’t mean you have to make a spreadsheet or comb through your bank statements. You barely have to do any work if you use budgeting apps like Mint or Pocketguard, which allow you to connect the app to your card and see a variety of statistics on where you’re spending your money. Setting a budget will allow you to account for what you’re spending the most on and your overall patterns, and you can only improve your spending when you have a knowledge of its current status. Like, you might think you only spend $100 per month on going out (LMAO), but once you see the hard numbers, it’s a lot harder to lie to yourself. I know you fellow online shopping
addicts lovers have all your credit card information memorized, so let’s put that sh*t to good use for once.
Do not pay full price for niche items or one-time wears
There will be a ton of date parties, dances, and other occasions that you will most likely have to buy stupid sh*t for. Scouring the internet for the cheapest pair of pink cowboy boots might not seem like the most fun use of your time, but a bit of planning and searching when it comes to niche items can save you a ton of money. I am literally giving you a justification to online shop instead of doing homework, so take it! I save money on random clothes by taking advantage of student discounts and using resale websites like Poshmark. I know what you make be thinking, “student discounts for students, groundbreaking.” But there are a lot of programs and/or stores that give you a discount for putting yourself through four years of distress, and all you have to do is ask! Obvious ones include ASOS, TopShop, and Amazon’s student Prime membership, but even Outdoor Voices is now offering an expansive student perk program. Like, sorry, but you don’t need designer go-go boots for your 70s theme party. Go to a cheap store with student discounts or buy used ones.
Have the money conversation
Sometimes the thing that costs us the most is our aversion to any form of an uncomfortable conversation *hits blunt.* The reality is that as you make new friends and meet new people, your financial expectations and ideas of money are simply not always going to match up. This can go both ways and can encompass a ton of things. However, if you are feeling financially stretched, I guarantee you another person in your group is as well. Are you guys all going to split Ubers? Does everyone purchase their own alcohol for pregames or do you all split it? It’s especially important to talk about money with your friends if you’re planning any trips for Spring Break or any other occasion. Differences in travel expectations can create huge rifts within the group. It’s important to address things relating to money so you don’t end up angrily staring at an excessive Venmo charge, or worse, have some bitch ignore your passive-aggressive Venmo request.
Use investing apps
I understand this is technically more long-term, but it is still a great way to lay a foundation for financial independence later on. And don’t get freaked out by how old-fashioned that sentence sounded. Investing apps may sound scary, but they take virtually no skill at all and could probably be utilized by a blind dog. If you spend a lot of money on your debit card, Acorns is a perfect passive investing app that leaves little room for you to f*ck anything up. Acorns rounds up any purchase you make to the next dollar and invests it in things called Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs are are pretty much the Jennifer Aniston of investments: they’ve only grown in popularity since the 90s and are pretty unproblematic, but not crazy exciting. Acorns usually charges a small fee for use, but people under 24 and in college can use it for free.
If you’re more into having control over what exact investments your money touches, Robinhood allows you to buy and sell stocks without the trading charges you normally have on other large platforms. Again, investing is more of a long-term flex, and you’ll most likely not make any notable amounts of cash to use immediately this way, but if you somehow figure out the next Big Short on a millennial investing app, call me. It’s only fair.
Consider setting up a separate savings for an emergency fund/study abroad
I like my money how I like my carbs: just out of reach. If you have a borderline concerning lack of self-control (guilty as charged!), consider opening up a separate savings/debit account to put money into that you’ll only use for a specific purpose. I did this when I got to school, and many banks don’t charge you to open a new account. I’m going abroad this year, so I’ve been dedicating a portion of each of my paychecks to go toward my separate account, and I don’t let myself touch it at all. This is painful in the moment, as I’d love to keep a little extra money to spend on everyday sh*t, but I also really want to be able to flex on hoes this semester with my study abroad posts. Again, this is a priority for me, but it may not be the same for you, so personalize as you wish.
Hopefully my basic knowledge and inflated ego helped you realize you can still buy the sh*t you want while also being smart with your money. If you’re going to destroy your body with ungodly amounts of stress, sleep, and drinking, you might as well be financially healthy.
Images: Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
“Broke college student” is a stereotype for a reason. Many of us don’t have jobs, or if we do, we’re being paid minimum wage. Tuition, books, room and board, and everything else
our parents we have to pay for are f*cking expensive. But there’s good news, too. College students are the future. The tremendous power we hold can and should be exploited! Brands know this, and companies view universities as the perfect test market, a place of young tastemakers whose opinions matter. We are as relevant as we’ll ever be in college, and it’s up to us to take advantage of that. And that means finessing as much free sh*t as we possibly can before our powerful student status runs out. If you’re wondering how your friend with under 1,000 followers is able to post #ad on her latest Instagram, or simply looking to save money, here are six ways to make money and get things for free in college.
1. Become A Campus Brand Ambassador
The days of being an unrealistically hot Instagram model in order to be an ambassador are long behind us. Today, the standard for entry is lower—MUCH lower. Companies are on the quest of gaining brand awareness. They’re increasingly willing to pay or give free sh*t to students to be campus representatives. Free bar tabs, merchandise, and even food can be major perks that come with being a rep. Your feed is probably sprinkled with
subtle yellow Bumble hats, #Beanoutsider, and #Aeriereal captions. However you choose to embark on your ambassador career, make the most of it! Becoming an ambassador is as easy as sliding in a brand’s DMs on Instagram or applying to be part of the ambassador directly through their website.
2. Be A Notetaker
Are you literate? Do you attend classes? Do you have a laptop? If you answered yes to these three questions, which I sure hope you did, you’re qualified to be a notetaker! By being a student notetaker, you can make hundreds of dollars for your class notes by the end of the semester. Make money for something you would be doing anyway! Whether it’s through an academic center to help someone who is actually unable to take notes, or a
dumb rich douche who doesn’t show up to class—money is money! There are general platforms, like OneClass, that let you apply to online, or you can reach out to your campus’s version of the Student Accessibility Services Department to see which classes are in need of notetakers.
3. Join A Research Study
I’m not talking about a Stanford Prison-type experiment. You won’t be locked up by some power-hungry fraternity dude or forced to do anything that requires crazy bodily commitment. I mean you can volunteer to be a test subject for various surveys and in-person studies on campus. Often times you can find out about these studies via flyers posted around campus hubs or by simply searching online for “research opportunities” at your university.
There are some really low-key research studies, and some are actually pretty fun. Payment for participation varies depending on the study and level of commitment. But honestly, any added value to your college bank account is worth it. For example, I made $300 just for talking about my feelings for two hours. It was like the therapist was paying ME for once. Win-win!
4. Pocket Points
Sitting in class. Texting your ex retracting the drunken Snapchats you sent. Making eye contact with the professor every few minutes to make it seem like you’re paying attention. Typical lecture behavior.
We’ve all done it, but if every few classes you feel guilty for having learned nothing, you’re in luck. Pocket points is an app that gives you rewards for turning your phone off during class. You just have to open the app while you’re on campus, then lock your phone. A few hours of actually paying attention and you can earn points. Points can be redeemed at a variety of local stores, restaurants, and even Lyft. What’s better motivation than that?
5. Student Discounts
Beyond a great education, the second most valuable thing your tuition gets you is a little plastic card, aka your student ID. Not only is your ID a lifeline to school, it also often gets you at least 10 percent off at salons, clothing stores, restaurants—you get my drift. You’ll either have to flash the merchant your student ID, enter a student email, or login through UNiDAYS to get the deals. But seriously, a sh*t-ton of places offer student discounts, you just have to do a little digging to find them. Hoooowever, since you didn’t read this whole thing to be shortchanged on intel, here’s some places I know off-hand* that give student discounts:
Clothes: Madewell, J. Crew, Steve Madden, Urban Outfitters, Toms, H&M, ASOS
Workout: Corepower Yoga, SoulCycle
Media: Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Tech: HBO, Apple Music, Spotify, Adobe Software, Amazon Prime
Transportation: Student Universe, Amtrak
Food: Dairy Queen, Arby’s, Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings
*Sometimes, participation may vary by location, but I haven’t had any problems with this list thus far!
As you can see, student status presents a multitude of opportunities for capitalization! Be creative, think outside the box, and reach out to random brands you love. Hell, maybe become an ~elusive~ female club promoter. Society values
its ability to exploit youth and for the next four years, we’re here to provide it.
Images: Joel Mott / Unsplash; Giphy (2)
Look, it’s no secret that FOMO is f*cking real, but did anyone know that one in four women spends more in the summer because of FOMO? I sure as f*ck didn’t, but a new report from MassMutual is saying just that. I deactivated my Instagram account back in January, and despite writing a self-congratulatory article about how it made me a better person, I did not stick to my guns. I reactivated my IG, and as much as I love revisiting my saved inventory of puppy videos, my FOMO is officially off the charts. I almost forgot what FOMO was because I couldn’t actually see my friends frolicking in the Hamptons without me because I was/am too poor to go. Now, it causes me physical pain to see my friends having fun as I sit in the discomfort of my un-air conditioned apartment, because I can actually see what I’m missing out on.
FOMO has most definitely always been real, it just didn’t have a name (and an acronym) until recently. That said, “largely due to the rise of social media, FOMO has been amplified this past decade,” says Amanda Wallace, head of insurance operations with MassMutual. But because I refuse to let FOMO keep me from having a good time, I totally feed into it—especially in the summertime—and pour all of my hard-earned cash into the ridiculous weekend plans my friends hatch up. There goes literally all of my money! And I’m not the only one who falls victim to FOMO spending, especially this time of year. Wallace adds, “Summer vacations are in full effect, back to fall shopping kicks into gear, and it is sometimes hard to resist when you see what everyone else is doing on social media.” Preach.
In short, Instagram FOMO is making us spend money we don’t really have. Not to worry, though. Wallace has some tips, stats, and comments up her financial sleeve that can help us survive the last weeks of summer. Your wallet will thank you, even if your IG feed won’t.
How Is FOMO Hurting Our Bank Accounts?
Well, unfortunately for everyone who doesn’t live a Succession-worthy lifestyle, yes. Doing things with your friends is really expensive because we never want to just, like, hang out at someone’s apartment and talk (look at memes). No. We want to go to the restaurant where Beyoncé just ate and chase that experience with $15 cocktails that look amazing in pictures and match our outfits.
Wallace says, “FOMO is absolutely influenced by social media and seeing photos of others’ positive experiences (whether real or staged). However, have you considered the fact that you do not see the whole picture when you see that amazing photo on social media?” *takes deep, introspective breath* Yes, I’ve definitely considered that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a part of this completely fake, staged BS. However, because I’m considering filing for bankruptcy, I can’t really live this fake, staged lifestyle for much longer.
How Can We Satisfy Our FOMO Without Spending Money?
“Retrospect is a gift for future considerations and experiences. Weigh your options, your budget, and be creative,” Wallace advises. Be sure to make thoughtful decisions and set some spending limits when it comes to FOMO-induced impulses,” Okay, she also has a good point. I’m currently thinking of that time I spent a casual $200 on dinner on a f*cking Tuesday, and the only thing I remember about it is how much money I spent. I honestly couldn’t even tell you who I went with. But Wallace is right in that retrospect is a gift. If I’m in a similar situation again, I can look back on my past $200 Tuesday experience and say hell f*cking no. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it should not be worth a thousand dollars.
If you want to keep hanging out with your friends but don’t want to keep dropping Benjamins, as Wallace says, you’ll have to get creative. Luckily, since this is the summertime, all you need for a good IG backdrop is natural lighting, which abounds in the summer. Don’t want to spend $20 on one rooftop cocktail? Corral your friends for a BYOB picnic in the park. Take some thirst traps on the beach. You get the point: the beauty of the warm weather is that standing outside is aesthetically pleasing and free!
Why Is Summer Such A Hard Time For FOMO-Sufferers?
Summer is the only time of year I am even remotely social, especially in New York. Being outside isn’t physically painful, I can walk everywhere, and I can show my legs without blinding people with my paleness. Summer is the time of year when people actually want to do things, but with that come more FOMO opportunities. All this makes me think that all Instagram is good for is horrible photo editing and making people jealous of your fun plans. That can’t be good for anyone’s general mental health, can it?
Spoiler: it’s not good for your mental health, but that’s not the only side effect. While studies have shown a direct connection between FOMO and mental health issues, one emerging way it’s impacting people is with their finances—especially during the summer. Again, not surprising since summer is the one time people enjoy doing things outside their homes. Wallace says, “Our research found that this is especially prevalent during the summer months when we tend to prioritize more costly experiences like vacations and day trips rather than our financial goals, which can leave some feeling stressed and regretful.”
Stressed and regretful is my natural state, so I can definitely relate to this sentiment, but for people who have a more positive approach to life, feeling negative sh*t like this is a downer.
What Can We Do?
At the end of the day, FOMO sucks and no one likes it. It sucks feeling left out, but so does forking over money to partake in an activity you’re only doing #forthegram. It would be cool if we weren’t so affected by FOMO—both financially and emotionally—but we live in a society ruled by social media, so what can we do to not let FOMO ruin our lives? It’s actually pretty simple. Create a FOMO fund! That’s right. Wallace says, “To some, a FOMO fund is the new lingo for discretionary income or ‘fun money.’ As you use a FOMO fund, you need to make sure you are prioritizing alongside paying down debt and saving for emergencies, retirement or other life events.”
Basically this just comes down to budgeting. Don’t go into debt just to “keep up” with the people you see on Instagram. (It sounds obvious, and yet, people do it.) There’s got to be a balance. You can go to Mykonos, but maybe not this summer. I promise you that, as much as they make it look like it, these influencers did not just pack up one day and decide to go there for 12 days. They probably started planning and saving beforehand. And if you start a FOMO fund and quit blowing your money on every random Instagram opportunity, you can do it too.
Images: Giphy (4); Melissa Popanicic / Unsplash
Let me start off by saying that you can do it. You can be a bridesmaid and still have your sanity and money in the bank by the end of it. It might seem overwhelming to be in multiple weddings in a short period of time, and you might think you’ll go broke and lose all of your free time, but I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be like that. I would know. Last year, I was asked to be in three weddings in September, October, and November. I traveled to Virginia, Chicago, and Cleveland, respectively, within six weeks of each other, to stand beside my best friends as they said “I do” to some pretty amazing men.
Don’t get me wrong—I was both honored and thrilled to be a major part of the kick-off to their amazing journeys, but I was a 27-year-old editor living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. So clearly I’m far from being the “Rich Girl” Gwen Stefani sings about. I won’t lie, I dedicated a good amount of my time off to drunken weekends in various southern cities (in the heat of the summer, no less) and a good chunk of change to flights, gifts, and penis straws, but I wasn’t about to let anything keep me from standing by my friends’ sides, so I devised a plan to be three-time bridesmaid without going broke, and I’m here to share my saving secrets with you.
Start A Wedding Fund
has anyone ever created a "wedding budget" that they stuck to??
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) April 9, 2019
As soon as I got asked to be a bridesmaid, and then got asked again, and then again, I made a mental list of everything I knew I’d have to get for the occasion, times three. Just thinking of the dresses, hotels, and flights made me feel poor af, and I made a very adult move and decided I needed a financial plan to stay afloat (I’m really not the financial planning type, so this might be a bit of a shocker for those who know me). I opened a savings account and set up an automatic monthly transfer from my checking account. I know, soooo adult. The paychecks for my second job at a local bridal salon went right into my wedding fund, and if I got an extra buck here and there from freelance work, I would deposit it right into that account. I wasn’t necessarily rolling in dough, but it added up quicker than I expected. Whenever I booked a flight or bought something wedding-related, I specifically used that money. Even if you don’t add a ton to your account every month, every little bit helps!
Use Price Alerts And Frequent Flyer Miles
another day, another engagement
— Ashley Fern (@disco_infern0) March 15, 2019
Unless you’re like Lala from Vanderpump Rules and you have a hookup with a private jet—in which case, cheers to you—chances are you’ll have to buy a flight to at least one wedding you’re in. I am not engaged to a hotshot movie producer, so I flew commercial like most normal twentysomethings to two of the three weddings I was in, and their respective bachelorette parties in Miami, New Orleans, and Savannah. Not gonna lie, after the third one I swore to God I would never drink again (clearly that didn’t work because I’m drinking as I write this). Websites such as Hopper and Airfarewatchdog allow you to put in the dates of your trip and they’ll notify you when prices drop and advise you whether or not to buy them at any given time. Have some points or frequent flyer miles stored up? This is a good time to cash them in. And, of course, if your destination is in driving distance, that should always be option number one, but I wasn’t about to drive 24 hours to Miami. Can you imagine doing that hungover? F*ck no.
Rent Or Buy Secondhand Bridesmaid Dresses
Bridesmaids dresses are not cheap. Before you buy a gown on a designer’s website, check out Vow to Be Chic. It’s like Rent the Runway for bridesmaid dresses. Rent the Runway itself also carries bridesmaid dresses. The one issue with renting is that you can’t get the dress altered; however, if you know your exact measurements, you might be able to find one that fits you perfectly. Another option is to visit the website, Forever the Bridesmaid, and buy a dress from a fellow bridesmaid who doesn’t need hers anymore (and you should probably sell any dresses you have hiding in the back of your closet). Be sure to check with the bride if this is OK, because she may have a very specific style or color she wants you in that’s exclusive to a certain store or designer. You can also ask friends if they have any bridesmaid dresses hanging in their closets. Chances are they’ve been in a few weddings and have some gowns collecting dust in their closets. Ask around, you might be surprised how many people you know have a dress they’re dying to get rid of. One bridesmaid’s trash is another bridesmaid’s treasure, right?
Spread Out Your Spending
*gets married* *spends as much on clothes and shoes for the bachelorette/shower/rehearsal dinner/wedding/after party as the wedding costs*
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) May 2, 2019
I separated my bigger purchases (airfare, bridesmaid dresses, penis straws) so I didn’t drop a ton of money at once. Make a list of everything you know you’ll need, and make a payment schedule for yourself. I know that sounds like an annoying amount of extra work, but if you know you’re getting a big bonus at work in a certain month, buy your bachelorette party flights that month. Think about your cash flow and the cost of all the things you need to buy, and devise a plan. If you spread out your spending you won’t find yourself dropping a thousand bucks at a time.
Share Hotel Rooms
Whether you’re part of a couple or riding solo to these events, make plans with fellow bridesmaids and their dates to share rooms. I did that at a few of my wedding events as a way to save cash, and it worked! You need to stay somewhere, and so do the other members of the wedding party, so why not team up and lower the cost of the hotel? What’s better than a slumber party with your besties you don’t get to see very often? You can also opt for an Airbnb in the area and get the whole wedding party under one roof! The more the merrier—and the more money you’ll save.
For those of you singles about to embark on wedding season, stay safe out there, but more importantly—and I cannot stress this enough—stay drunk.
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) May 2, 2019
Remember to keep your financial issues to yourself. You definitely don’t want to be the Debbie Downer of the group, always bitching and complaining. At the end of the day, being a bridesmaid is a huge honor, so be happy you’ve got friends who want you by their side on such a big day. If you really, really can’t afford something, try to be up front about it, so you don’t end up causing problems down the line. You’ll get through this, I promise.
Images: Shutterstock; @betchesbrides (2), @disco_infern0, @betchesluvthis / Twitter; @betchesbrides (2) / Instagram
I feel like most people who saw 27 Dresses were thinking, “This poor woman!” because she was forced to wear 27 monstrosities to 27 different weddings. I was thinking it quite literally because being a bridesmaid is f*cking expensive and I would surely go bankrupt if I was enlisted to serve in more than three weddings during my lifetime. Unfortunately for my friends with pending nuptials, I’ve already been a bridesmaid twice, so only one more of y’all gets to experience the pleasure of listening to me sneeze behind you at the altar because there are too many damn flowers everywhere and I have allergies—I mean, being your bridesmaid. Anyway, as much as I’d be filled with sunshine at the prospect of being a bridesmaid only one more time in my life, I’m only 25 and I feel pretty damn confident that I will be asked to be a bridesmaid again at some point. Joy.
The older I get the more I want to know exactly how Katherine Heigl’s character could afford to be a bridesmaid in 27 weddings.
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) April 23, 2019
Like most things in life, you have to make a lot of mistakes before learning the lesson, and my first time as a bridesmaid was no exception. I literally spent a few dollars shy of my rent (!!) on this shindig, which is saying a lot because I live in Manhattan and, for anyone who has a friend living in New York, you know how much we love to complain about our rent. Anyway, what I learned too late was that I don’t have to live without running water for a month because I threw my money for bills at being a bridesmaid. Luckily, Credit Karma’s Dana Marineau, VP of Brand, Creative, and Communications is here to impart some of her wisdom on us regarding how to save money as a bridesmaid, so we don’t have to choose between being a good friend and having wifi.
1. Create A Budget
This seems obvious, but so does not responding to a “u up?” text and we all seem to ignore that. Before you spend one f*cking cent on this wedding, map out your expenses and set a budget so that you don’t walk down the aisle looking for a sugar daddy to pay for your next monthly unlimited subway card. Marineau says, “It can be easy to lose track of what you’re spending, so create a budget and stick to it. Between gifts, decor, bachelorette activities, your bridesmaid dress, and more, you don’t want to be caught surprised once the wedding is over on how much you’ve spent.” Exactly. This isn’t a drunken night at Catch, people, this is real life and we can’t go spending our entire paycheck on a pair of heels that either no one will see or we will take off as soon as “September” revs up. Some things you’ll def want to splurge on (Goose for the bachelorette weekend), which is fine as long as you cut back on other things. Get the nice Airbnb for the bachelorette weekend, but maybe skip the Swarovski hair clip, you know? You will feel so accomplished and proud of yourself at the end of the night when you still have some leftover money to shorten your bridesmaid dress and wear it again! Lol jk, literally no one does that, but every bride insists on it.
2. Be Honest With The Bride
When it comes to your spending habits on someone else’s big day, honesty really is the best policy. As
self-involved focused as the bride is on her ~special day,~ she most def doesn’t want to make any of her closest peeps feel like they have to spend their life’s savings on her or her wedding, so telling her your financial concerns is most def the move. And do it early. Saying you can’t cover the cost of the Airbnb the day before you leave is rude and not very sisterly, so make sure you voice your woes early on. Maybe like, before any of the activities even start. “The sooner you can have an honest conversation with the bride about your financial situation, the better. Costs, big and small, can add up quickly, so share what budget you’re working with to set expectations as early as possible. This way, there isn’t pressure as you get closer to the big day to overspend,” Marineau says. Your financials are the one thing people really can’t argue with because you are the only one who knows what’s happening in your bank accounts, so being honest about where you stand cash-wise is important. Odds are, if the bride loves you enough to have you share her big day with her, she will love you enough to understand that you have a smaller budget than she does for her wedding, which makes sense since you are not the bride! If she doesn’t get it or tries to guilt you into paying for things you can’t afford, quit because this job just ain’t worth it, honey!
3. Suggest Cheaper Or Free Alternative Activities
This is a big one. Yes, the dress may be expensive. Yes, the gifts may expensive. But you know what makes all of that sh*t look cheap af? The bachelorette weekend. I mean, you def can’t put a price on a good time, but you don’t have to spend every dollar you have on a weekend during which you’ll likely only know half the people there and will be drunk 97% of the time. Unless you’re a Kardashian, you don’t have to host the most extravagant weekend of your young lives. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. The bach weekend is about bonding, drinking, and eating, activities that can be made cheaper if you so choose. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun af, it just means you can have a great time and save dat money à la Lil Dicky. Marineau says, “From bridal showers to bachelorette parties, costs can add up. But, not wanting to overspend money doesn’t need to ruin the mood! If you’re afraid to kill the mood when your friends invite you to do something you can’t afford, instead of saying ‘I can’t,’ suggest a fun, affordable alternative.” Chances are, you aren’t the bride’s only friend who is, as Jonathan Van Ness says, “struggs to func,” so be the brave one and say something first. Everyone loves saving money, so they will feel #grateful that you were the one who spoke up. One easy suggestion is cooking instead of going out to eat. Even if none of you are chefs, cooking an easy meal like pasta could be a fun way to bond with the other bridesmaids and it’s like basically free. Cute!
4. Do Your Own Hair And Makeup
This goes without saying. Unless you are truly horrendous at hair and makeup (which none of us should be because YouTube exists), just do it yourself. Marineau says, “These days, hair and makeup for a wedding can be in the triple digits. If the look the bride is going for is relatively simple, consider offering to do your own hair and makeup. You can do a few trial runs before the wedding so you feel comfortable being your own glam squad on the big day.” As far as hair goes, flip your head upside down and move a dryer through it for five minutes and, boom, you have a blowout with serious volume. That’s a trick I learned at my unpaid beauty internship and it’s probably the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned at any internship. Who needs to get paid as a struggling college student when you can get lessons like these that last a lifetime?? Anyway, you will not be the star of the photos, so there’s no need to spend all of your money on your face. Also, maybe just remember that natural beauty is in and that you are beautiful, so there’s no need to go ham on foundation and smokey eyes. And honestly, getting a f*cking blowout is like $50 and I can’t even fathom how much makeup would be, so spare your wallet and your dignity the shame and just DIY.
Images: Giphy (2); Unsplash
Oh god. Here we are again with tips and tricks on how to cut costs on your wedding and have it not be a precursor to your poverty. If you want things in life like the down payment on a house or a honeymoon that isn’t at a cheap resort in Mexico that serves tainted alcohol, you’re going to need to chill on some wedding day stuff. Everything from food to flowers to photographers costs a lot of money, and you need to prioritize where it’s cool to pay a couple thousand and where it’s like, uncool. Maybe none of this applies because Mommy and Daddy are footing the bill, but, like, maybe they aren’t. Or maybe you’ll piss them off so much that you’ll be paying for it yourself.
In any case, here are a few ways to cut costs on your wedding.
1. Chill On Your Dress
Do you honestly need the custom designer Oscar De La Renta dress for your wedding day? Yes, it’d be nice to have, and yes, everyone would be super jealous (especially your cousin who literally always tries to one-up you). However, at the end of it all, is it necessary to spend more than $5k on a dress you’re going to wear once? There are millions of beautiful dresses below the $5k point, many in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. If you NEED the designer dress, check the sale racks or shop sample sizes if you’re #blessed enough to be a size zero or two.
2. Don’t Use A Florist
Flowers are going to kill your budget. All of your flowers are going to die three days or less after your reception. I’ve heard of people quoted $30k on flowers (she wanted an entire altar made of roses, but that’s neither here nor there). Knowing these cold hard facts, go ahead and get your bridal bouquet and potentially bridesmaids bouquets from a florist. But when it comes to decorating cocktail hour serving areas or adorning tables in the reception hall, go for dried arrangements of lavender, baby’s breath, and eucalyptus from your local Michael’s (I know you have a coupon) or mixed floral bouquets from spots like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Grocers have fresh flowers delivered on the reg and will prevent you spending a metric f*ck ton of money on the same effect you’re getting from the florist. If you put gas station roses on a table, chances are your guests will be too drunk to realize you spent $12 instead of $100.
3. Stock Your Own Booze
Although some of us (me) think it’s tacky, soon-to-be-wedded couples sometimes do a “stock the bar” party instead of a bridal or wedding shower. The object is to guilt guests into buying all the booze for your event so that you aren’t forced to pay a couple thousand dollars for an all-night open bar. You could also slowly buy nice bottles of top shelf liquor and use that, depending on the size of the wedding. The moral of the story is that having an open bar with a bartender with top shelf liquor at a venue is often extremely expensive. So, if you’re able to at least stock the bar with your own beer, wine, and liquor to offset some costs, go for it.
4. Limit The Guests
I know your mom is dying to invite your third cousin twice removed, but if you want to count pennies for this shindig, limit the guest list. Every person you invite is going to cost you between $50-100 depending on the size of the wedding. Once you think of everyone as a dollar sign—dollars that could be spent on wine during your honeymoon—you’ll stop feeling so obliged to have them sit through your special day.
5. Buy Used
Check out Etsy, Craigslist, weird garage sales, flea markets, etc. for wedding decor like lanterns, tea lights, vases, etc. Chances are, you’re going to find little corner-filling items for a lot cheaper (and in probs fine condition) by perusing used items versus going to a planner and having them source stuff for you.
6. Nix The Programs
You know what costs money? Printing programs. I printed 160 programs for my wedding which hosted a guest list of 150. I still have about 100 said programs laying in a v sad, handwritten book basket in my office. If you want everyone to know the correct Psalm number with which your reading coincides, get a giant, adorable chalkboard, frame it nicely, and have someone with lovely handwriting get to work.
7. Don’t Bother With Favors
Save your money. You just gave these ungrateful plebs an all-you-can-eat buffet and free booze. They don’t need a personalized tea light or Mason jar of local honey that they’ll forget about and leave in their car. It may add up to just a couple hundred bucks, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to buy house wares like that margarita machine, amirite?
8. Go Buffet
When it comes to food, obviously, a plated dinner is nicer, fancier, and classier. However, if you really want two weeks in Corsica after the wedding, opt for a family style meal or buffet which is almost always cheaper (don’t @ me). People can eat as much or as little as they want (less food waste which is like, v planet-friendly), go up as much as they want, and you can have an assortment of mains and sides.
All these tips AND MORE can help you save thousands of dollars on your big, giant, one day party. Remember that when you’re drowning in invites and custom napkin colors and your bridesmaids refusing to wear pink: it’s a big party. What matters is the person waiting for you at the end of the night; the person you can pass out and throw up on this night and every night for the rest of your life.
Images: Anne Edgar / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
Ah, New Year’s Eve, the universally appealing fuckboy. The other 364 days of the year, we all sit around agreeing that NYE is a trash holiday, guaranteed to let you down—but as the 31st approaches (or that fuckboy sends out a “ u up?” text), we’re suddenly, inexplicably dashing out to buy sequined dresses, eyes swimming with the vision of the perfect kiss at midnight. We’ve discussed how the “new year, new me” trend is utter bullshit, but there’s something about getting to do January ALL OVER AGAIN that makes us feel like this time, it could actually be different. You definitely want 2018 to be different from 2017 in SOME way. Here’s what your resolution, official or otherwise, says about you.
1. Lose Weight
The biggest thing this New Year’s resolution says about you is that it’s almost definitely not the first time you’ve made it. I, for example, made this resolution for a full decade before admitting to myself that it was the least effective weight loss strategy I’d ever tried. Basically, if you need the push of a new calendar year to make actual changes in your diet and exercise regimen, you probably weren’t that motivated to begin with. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the fitness industry, whose business model literally depends on you breaking this resolution before January ends. Also, you’re probably in college and haven’t yet realized that losing 10 pounds won’t change your life like you think it will; at best, you’ll just get a few more hate-glares from women on the street.
2. Save Money
Like weight loss, this kind of resolution is suspect if the only push for you to save money is the fact that there’s now an “8” where there once was a “7.” But feasibility aside, this goal likely means that you’re scheming on some front—whether you’re saving up for a house, looking to upgrade your wardrobe, or just trying to live a little less paycheck-to-paycheck in 2018. Either way (and IMO, regardless of how well you uphold it), this resolution means you respect yourself enough to have grown-up goals and rely on your hustling abilities to provide a better quality of life.
3. Get Married
If you’re in a couple, this has probably been your goal for most of the past year, but your partner’s not quite as keen on it as you are. But being the Type-A betch you are, you’ve known the age at which you want to get married and start breeding since you were six, and you’re not going to let something silly like “financial concerns” or “not being that in love” slow you down. If you’re single, you probably talk more about being single than most other things, and your (mostly married) friends’ facial expressions have slowly morphed from “kind pity” to “my husband and I are going to laugh about you later.” Basically, these resolutions make me sad because you’re ultimately saying that you want someone to want to marry you—and that’s not something you can “achieve.”
4. Travel To A New Place/Learn A Language
On the surface, your life probably looks totally together. You have a job and a 401k, your clothes usually don’t have food stains, and your relationship status does not induce bi-weekly tears. BUT, deep down, you have a sense of being cosmically unfulfilled, and rather than do the work of seeking therapy being honest with yourself and figuring out why that is, you do what all basic betches do and decide that 10 days in Paris will renew your sense of adventure and zest for life. Ironically, you are probably the most likely to get married within a year because you’re so determined to find yourself, and there’s nothing guys like more than a girl who acts like she’s not trolling for peen while going to European bars alone.
5. Advance Your Career
First of all, congratulations on having a career, or at least an idea of what you would like your career to be. Sadly, this type of resolution is usually preempted by getting laid off, working a job you hate for years on end, or being broken up with and deciding to “throw yourself into work.” People who are well-established in positions where their only goal is to move up the corporate ladder traditionally understand that the first week of January does not function as a parade of junior executives marching into their supervisor’s office to demand promotions, so making your New Year’s resolution about your career means you’re starting something from scratch or switching gears. Unlike other resolutions, what else this says about you depends on how well you actually uphold it: Vowing to do this and staying at your desk job another year means 2019’s resolution will be “Travel to Greece,” while successfully launching a new chapter of your professional life means you’re really pretty spectacularly at the end of your rope in a way that launches weird, dramatic results. 2018 won’t be your easiest year (and 2017 was definitely one of your hardest), but it could be your best.
Honestly, the nicest thing you can do for yourself this New Year’s is to take a leaf out of Facebook’s book (anyone else get that cute “here’s what happened in 2017” video this morning? Mine was ultimately depressing because I haven’t regularly posted on Facebook since 2012, but I liked the impulse) and celebrate whatever good things happened this year, rather than immediately launching into everything else you want to change in 2018. They don’t even have to be good things actually—just celebrate the THINGS. You did stuff! You got out of bed (presumably), you met at least one new person (it’s okay if you hated that person), and you made it through one of the most cartoonishly, nightmarish years in American political history. You’re a goddamn warrior, and your 2018 checklist can wait until at least February—which still leaves you five months to get that summer body.