Managing money for life's big events

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, soon-to-wed, or starting a new family, life’s big events can be daunting. But with the right approach to managing money, you could make these milestone moments even more rewarding.

Woman packing a vase in bubble wrap, ready to move house

Getting married

Planning a wedding can be almost as fun as the ceremony itself. From choosing the perfect venue, to selecting decorations, food and entertainment – every decision is a chance to make the big day even more special.

November could be quieter and therefore cheaper month for a wedding, and midweek bookings are more affordable than weekends.

If you plan far enough in advance, each choice is also an opportunity to save money that can then be put towards other exciting things like a honeymoon or house deposit.

Here are some tips for managing money ahead of the big day:

  • Engage and save. Putting a bit of money in the wedding fund each month can make eventually paying for the big day much easier.
  • Get married in the off-season. For example, November may be chilly but it could be a quieter and therefore cheaper month for a wedding. Midweek bookings could also be more affordable than weekends.
  • Jet off abroad. Having your ceremony in a different country can sometimes be more memorable than a traditional experience on home turf. It could even double as your dream honeymoon.
  • Have a more relaxed meal. Instead of a sit-down dinner, consider a more informal option like a picnic or fancy food truck. As well as being cheaper, there’s no washing up.
  • Swap flowers for something else. If flowers prove too expensive, go with non-floral alternatives like lanterns or candelabras.
  • Be your own DJ. Make your own playlist and use a wedding DJ app to manage the music. That way you’ll know how many cheesy tracks are in the queue.
  • Choose a second-hand (vintage) wedding dress. A new dress can cost well over £1,000, but you could find one for just a couple of hundred pounds in a vintage store or online.

Payment options

If you manage your spending and payments properly, a credit card with a purchase offer could help you pay for some of the wedding. It’s important that you repay what you borrow before the introductory period ends, otherwise you’ll end up paying interest on top of what you borrowed.

Check out our card finder tool to see which card is right for you.

Protecting your money

You’ve spent months or even years planning the most spectacular wedding imaginable – the last thing you want is for a supplier to spoil the main event. If you use a credit card, by law purchases between £100 and £30,000 made on a credit card could be protected by the card provider. Conditions apply.

You don’t need to make large wedding purchases on credit to take advantage of this protection. For example, if you put down a £200 deposit on the wedding venue with a credit card (and pay it off in full), then pay the remaining £2,000 with a bank transfer, the entire £2,200 could be covered by the card provider under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

There’s also the option of taking out wedding insurance. Depending on the policy you go for, you could be covered in the event of illness and for costs over £30,000, which is more than the Consumer Credit Act covers. Be sure to check what your policy includes, especially you do decide to tie the knot overseas.

Buying a home

Credit rating

The better your credit rating, the more chance you have of being offered an attractive mortgage to buy your first home.

There isn’t a specific credit rating you need to get a mortgage, but there are things you can do to improve your credit rating and to give you a better chance of being accepted.

Read more about what credit rating you need to buy a house.

Home-buying schemes

There are several government schemes to help people who are hoping to buy their first home. The best known is a Help-to-Buy ISA, which could help you save up a deposit if you are buying a house in the UK. For every £200 you put into the account, the government tops it up by 25%, up to a maximum bonus of £3,000. You need to have saved at least £1,600 before you can claim your bonus.

You can also calculate how much the government will give you using this ISA calculator. Conditions apply. Check out Barclays’ Help to Buy ISA to see if it could help with saving towards your first home.

Additional costs

There are costs involved in settling into your new home than the deposit and mortgage, but as long as you see them coming, you can budget for them. Here’s some of the most common ones to pop in your budget.

  • Mortgage arrangement fees
  • Valuations
  • House surveys
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Stamp-duty fees
  • Removal costs
  • Home and contents insurance
  • Utility bills and council tax
  • Home improvements, repairs and new furniture
  • Upgrading locks, installing new alarms or testing existing security systems

You can read more about these costs in our first-time home buyer’s guide.

Starting a family

Paid leave

New members of the family need lots of looking after, so take advantage of the time off from work that you’re entitled to as a new parent. Read more about financial help if you have kids at the site.


New parents face dozens of different childcare costs, but that means there are lots of opportunities to save money, including:

  • Ordering essentials like nappies in bulk.
  • Joining online communities to find coupons and giveaways.
  • Following our top tips for doing DIY on a budget.

The earlier you can start saving for your little one’s future, the more they’ll have when they’ve flown the nest. A Junior ISA lets you save or invest up to £4,368 in the 2019/2020 tax year. There are two types:

  • A cash Junior ISA. You won’t pay tax or interest on the cash you save.
  • A stocks and shares Junior ISA. Your money is invested and you won’t pay tax on any capital growth or dividends.

Look into which type of Junior ISA might be right for your situation before making a decision.

Childcare costs

If you live in England and have a three- or four-year-old, then you’re entitled to 570 free hours of childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. Find out more about free childcare where you live.

What's next?

Whichever adventure is next for you, managing your money effectively can be easier with the right Barclaycard.

Find the right card