We ask Kalpana Fitzpatrick, personal finance editor of Good Housekeeping, Red and Prima magazines, as part of Talk Money Week, to answer the following question. Join in the conversation on Twitter and tell us what you would advise.
My best friend is getting married and she’s asked me to be her Maid of Honour. We’ve been friends since school and I’m so pleased she’s chosen me because she is like a sister to me.
Thing is, I’ve been saving really hard for a deposit on a house for two years now. Every month I put away £500 without excuse and I’m doing really well.
The problem is, this wedding is getting more and more expensive. She wants me to pay £400 for a hen do abroad, I have to pay for my dress and a present. It’s all adding up. I just don’t think I can afford it. At the very least I’d have to stop saving for a while.
Should I stop saving and fully invest in the wedding? Or drop out of the wedding?
This is typical among friends – we talk about love, fashion, health and everything in-between – except for money that is. But there comes a time in life when you have to break the taboo and start the conversation – now is that time.
It’s lovely that your friend is getting married and chosen you for such an important role, but it is clearly becoming a sore point financially. I would suggest you sit down with your friend and have a very honest conversation about budgets.
Tell her what you can realistically afford and truly happy to pay towards her big day, but anything beyond that she may have to fund or do without.
Ask yourself – do you know how much your friend earns? It could be that she earns significantly more and hasn’t given the cost burden put on you a second thought. And remember, she is in a bubble of love and excitement with her focus being on creating the perfect day – your financial problems probably haven’t crossed her mind.
So, don’t be afraid to open up this conversation. As you are close friends, the chances are she will understand and be happy to stick to an agreed budget.
The budget should include the cost of the hen do, dress and any necessary extras – but say no to anything else or ask for it to be funded by her.
It’s probably a good idea to start a budget diary (there are apps you can use to help you budget too) to see how you spend and if there are any cutbacks you make to help pay for the wedding costs you have agreed on.
There’s one thing you shouldn’t do – and that is get yourself into an uncomfortable situation with your finances or even get to a point where you are at risk of getting into debt to cover someone else’s wedding.
After all, you say you are saving for a house and maybe one day you’ll want to get married yourself – so put yourself first and don’t feel guilty about taking care of your own future and life goals.
Where to put your savings
Have to say, I am impressed that you’ve been able to put away £500 a month – keep at it. You could consider putting the money into a few savings options that could give your savings a boost. For example, an Instant Savings or Fixed Term Savings account or if you’re using that money for your first home, then you could consider a Cash Lifetime ISA.
These options wouldn’t be putting your capital at risk and with the Lifetime ISA by putting in £4,000 in any tax year you could earn you a £1000 bonus (although bear in mind there are some restrictions and eligibility requirements with this option).
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