Top Five Ways to Earn Extra Wedding Cash

Budgeting can be super hard and frustrating, and it can only get more stressful the closer you get to your wedding. All that fun stuff you’ve been planning for can seriously add up, but that’s okay. There’s no reason to do your wedding on the cheap, you totally deserve to have the wedding you want! There comes the problem of having to pay for it all. If you’re looking over the bill and realizing you could use a few extra dollars here and there, we’ve got the top five best tips for making that happen!

Save Receipts to Save Paper

You’re going to spend money on food and groceries regardless of your budget situation, make use of it! The basic bride will keep an eye on what’s on sale and look for coupons, the advanced bride will hang on to receipts and look for rebates. There are smartphone apps like Checkout 51 and Ibotta that will give you actual money in exchange for pictures of your receipts. If you’re grabbing fun stuff for a bachelorette brunch or even just stocking your fridge for a long night of signing thank you notes, you might as well make a little money back. You won’t get rich but it’s a quick, easy, and non-invasive way to make a little bit of money on the side.

Plan for a Merge-Have an E-Yard Sale!

If you’re going to merge furniture and household goods soon with your fiance, take a serious look at what you both have in stock. Since it’s late August now, the ‘college move’ has started everywhere. College kids are moving in and need furniture and appliances quickly! This is the best time of the year to be selling furniture and appliances for quick cash. If you realize you’ll have a couch you don’t know what to do with or an extra toaster, take a few pictures and put them online and let the highest offer have at it. Selling your items online is much easier than doing a yard sale nowadays. You save yourself the time spent sitting on your lawn hoping to flag down someone, you reach a wider audience, and you get more serious offers. If you’re a part of a college group page on social media, try posting on there as well to promote your sale- it seriously works!

Shop Secretly (and Get Paid)

Secret shopping may seem like a silly pipe dream, but it’s a serious way to get paid to eat or shop. Do searches for credible secret shopping services (Market Force is a great one!), sign up, and look for secret shop assignments that work for you. You should never be asked to pay to be a secret shopper, you only have to file as an independent contractor (for tax purposes). If you’re a bride on the go, plan to meet friends at restaurants you have to secret shop- it’s killing two birds with one stone and you’ll get paid to be there! Doesn’t that make a lunch meeting about seating charts that much more gratifying?

Get a Side Gig

Scan your facebook feed for friends throwing events and ask if they need an extra hand. Look out for shows, events, parties, anything where you figure they could need another person to help out and ask if they’d need extra employees for the day. Helping out a friend with their event can make them much more likely to help out during yours (you know, like helping set up for a wedding…). You could also offer to help out with life events like moving or re-painting. If your newsfeed is a little dry, check out the day gigs on craigslist. There can be quick jobs you can do to help put together events that pay easy cash. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, attending tapings of shows on your days off is an easy way to make some money on the side. It won’t get you rich, but it’ll help that budget!

Upgrade your Appliances

Do you know how many rebates there are for having energy or water safe appliances? Way more than you realize! California is in the middle of a really rough drought and are working hard to encourage efficient water use. Nationwide, there are different programs by state that offer rebates on the actual appliance itself or discounts on your bill. Check to see if you’re missing out on rebates from appliances you already own- you may be missing out on some serious cash! If you’ll need new big appliances after the wedding, register for appliances that qualify for rebates. If you want to know what rebates are available in your area (sometimes, they can vary by county), check your county’s official .gov website. If you’re heading into a store to register for a big appliance, ask the salesperson about appliances that qualify for rebates. You can decrease your footprint and save some cash for a bridesmaid brunch. Everybody wins!


Five Simple Savings Tips for Your Wedding

It’s becoming more and more common for brides and grooms to pay for their own weddings, or at least big portions of it. While it is smart to save up, it can be hard to save up enough to pay for an entire wedding. We at Bridal Hot List are always here to help! We’re sharp on trends and sharp on savings, so take notes and stack up.

Re-Think Your Bills

Stack up all the bills you got last month and see where you can trim. If you’re paying for cable, do you really need to? If all you need cable tv for is ‘Game of Thrones’, maybe have GoT parties with your girlfriends and cancel your cable. Most shows are easy to watch on subscription services like Hulu which are a tiny fraction of the cost of cable subscriptions. If you have internet, you really don’t need to pay for cable. If you’re paying for a gym membership to run on treadmills, consider canceling and running in a park. If you’re going to work out classes, check out youtube to see if there are tutorials or videos that you could do instead of paying for classes. It’s free, and you can take breaks when you need to!

Negotiate Your Percentages

Do you know how high your interest rates are? Whatever they are, high or low, they are never set in stone. Call up whatever customer service lines you need to and don’t get off the phone until your interest rates are lower! It’s good to go in calm, be friendly, and ask for lower interest rates due to being a loyal customer, paying on time, etc.

Social Networking

Send out the beacon and see who can help! Be specific and ask for your friends and family for any suggestions for vendors or specialists. They may have a cousin or girlfriend you didn’t know about with great talents! Be sure to not straight out ask for a discount, but say that you are on a budget, and would love to work with a friend. The key to getting discounts is always to be pleasant and friendly.

Shopping Your Stash

Before you buy that ‘back-up’ mascara, go through your makeup kit to see if you really need it. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it! See what you have already before buying, or even worse- impulse buying anything. You can also go through all your clothes and create donate, toss, and keep piles. It’s a great way to clean out your closet and find old favorites! Just assess what you have and decide if it’s truly a need or a want. Needs are unavoidable, wants can be put off until everything else is paid off.

Let it Go

Have you been hanging on to something for a ‘rainy day’ forever? Maybe it’s the vintage white gold watch that you never wear or a signed poster, but if you’re not getting anything out of it maybe it’s time to. Even little things like old dvd’s could be worth a little bit here and there. Dvd’s are going on their way out to make room for blu-rays anyway, so now could be the perfect time to sell. If you don’t have any stores nearby that buy off old dvd’s, amazon has a great program where you mail in your old dvd’s, books, and cd’s in exchange for amazon credit. It may not always be a lot (that old one-disc copy of ‘The Notebook’ may not pay for the flowers by themselves…), but every bit counts! Stay in that mentality- every bit counts. You’ll see the savings stack up as long as you count every bit as you save it.

Five Tips for Charging Your Wedding Expenses

For many people their wedding will be one of the most expensive events in their life. Chances are, you may not have the cash on hand to pay for it all up front. If you do end up having to charge parts (or even, all) of your wedding, we have some tips on how to do it the smart way.

Pick Your Card Wisely

It’s easier to use a card that you already have rather than opening up a new one. Look at your cards and weigh out which ones have the highest limits. You may not use your entire credit line, but it’s good to have the cushioning of a high limit. If your cards don’t have limits as high as you’d like, go ahead and call your credit card company and ask for your limit to be raised. As long as you’re in good standing, there really shouldn’t be a big issue. You can even mention that you’re getting married soon and have lots of expenses coming up. If you do plan on opening a new card, shop what’s out there. It’s easiest to pick cards that don’t have annual fees, so you don’t get extra charges just to spend your money.

Know Your Extras

When you’re picking out your card, know what the card’s benefits are. Most cards have some form of rewards or cash back programs associated with them. If you play these rewards right, you can use your rewards for fun things (like a honeymoon!). For example, some cards do a higher cash back percentage when you spend money on gas than it does on groceries. If you use one specific card to pay for all your gas (or even offer to pay for gas as your cut for your bachelorette party), you can use those rewards later. There are lots of travel-based cards that offer great rewards that are redeemable on hotel stays and airfare. Just don’t get caught up charging everything because you get a percentage back- remember you’re not saving money by spending it. Before you pick a card to match with an expense, do some research on your card’s website to make sure your purchases will qualify for the most rewards possible. Some cash back rewards extras may also cut off after a certain amount (i.e., 5% cashback up to $1000 in purchases), so keep that in mind in your budget.

Be Realistic

Once you’ve shopped around for your wedding, you’ll probably have a ballpark idea of how much you’ll end up spending. With this budget in mind, realistically figure out how long it will take for you to pay off. By realistically, we mean give yourself some leeway in case you can’t always pay off as much as you’d like. If you have these numbers in mind you may be able to haggle with your bank for a better interest rate. Banks are most concerned with getting their money back, and if you are able to present a plan of action to get them paid, they will be more likely to help you out too (author’s note: by presenting a plan to my bank I was able to get my interest rates lowered before I put school charges on my credit card!).

Know What To Charge

Even if you have a high credit limit, try not to be tempted to max it out. Ideally, you want your credit utilization to be around 10-30% (if you have a credit card with $100 limit, you want to keep your spending on that card to $10-$30). That’s a safe range that won’t hurt your credit score. Plan what you will be paying for with plastic before you checkout. Stick to only charging the expenses that you planned on (and not that 2nd sugar-free energy drink of the day or spontaneous snack- all those charges really add up!) to keep your spending and payments on track.

Pay As You Go

If you can afford to pay off your credit cards a little more than you anticipated- go for it! If you plan on paying off $800 a month but have an extra few dollars lying around, put it towards the cause. You can even do little side projects to help pay off your credit cards, like selling your old clothes to consignment stores or old furniture on craigslist. Even small amounts like recycling cans can add up and over time take a serious chunk out of your credit card debt.