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.
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.
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.
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.
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. That means less time worrying about money and more time practicing the perfect speech.
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.
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.
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 (or £6,000 if you and your partner have one each). 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.
After moving in, paying your mortgage is likely to be your biggest monthly expense. It’s therefore a good idea to know a bit about the specific type of home loan you’re signing up for.
The mortgage is linked to the Bank of England base rate. Tracker mortgages have been popular in recent years due to historically low rates. Often the mortgage will track for an introductory-deal period before moving onto your lender’s variable rate. Remember that the interest rate can go up as well as down.
Here you pay your lender’s variable rate, minus a discount. You might also agree to pay different rates for set periods of your mortgage.
With this type, there is a fixed rate of interest when you set up your mortgage which you stick to for the whole term. This gives you certainty about what you’ll pay, but if interest rates in general drop, you’ll still have to pay the higher rate.
There are two main types of repayment methods. Most mortgages are arranged on a repayment basis where you pay back the loan and interest over the term. You could also get an interest only mortgage, which will mean you only pay back the interest on the loan each month instead of reducing the money you’ve borrowed.
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.
You can read more about these costs in our first-time home buyer’s guide.
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 Gov.uk site.
New parents face dozens of different childcare costs, but that means there are lots of opportunities to save money, including:
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 £4,260 in the 2018/2019 tax year. There are two types:
Look into which type of Junior ISA might be right for your situation before making a decision.
Tax-free Childcare is a government-backed scheme that lets you pay for up to £10,000 of childcare per child each year. For every 80p you put in, the government adds 20p. The scheme is available to parents of kids up to the age of 12.
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.