Clever Girl Finance provides women with money coaching services, financial advice, financial tips and budgeting tools to inspire them to pursue their dreams of financial independence. Follow this blog to get tips to take charge of personal finance and build real wealth.
We know Megan and Harry took the cake for the wedding of the year. There was no competition. Literally, everybody and everything was there. However, the price tag of their royal wedding does not exactly line up with the everyday reality of most Americans seeking to get married.
We want a grand experience similar to that of a royal wedding, without comprising personal finances.
Here is a list of tips to cut costs on wedding expenses and achieve the glam wedding of your dreams based on insights from Promo Codes Consumer Savings Expert, Jill Caponera who is all about teaching people to save money:
1. Negotiate for a lower price
The first step tip that might seem obvious is to negotiate price and contracts with the people you employ for your wedding. Caterers, photographers, florists, and DJs will often work with your specific budget. Don’t take their offering rate was set in stone.
Be willing to negotiate and or walk away if you cannot afford a rate being offered to you. For example, ask your caterer for sample menus and prices per person, then see which areas you can cut back on (i.e., perhaps you only need two passed hors-d'oeuvres instead of five). This will help you to go back and negotiate the price down for their services. Photographers, florists, and DJs will also usually be willing to come down on prices in order to close the deal.
2. Opt for family style service dinner
Choosing a family style dinner with shared platters that can be passed around the table can save you up to 20% off your catering cost. Although formal catering is nice, it is not always well-suited for everyone’s wedding, and the experience they would like to receive from their wedding. It can also create a warm atmosphere for people who would like to have smaller and more intimate weddings.
3. Shop for used wedding dresses
If your dream dress is out of your budget, try finding it online from second-hand wedding dress sites such as OnceWed.com or StillWhite.com. You can save up to 75% off wedding dresses that have been pre-loved, dry cleaned and preserved for their next owner.
Another alternative is renting out formal wear. You can rent a dream wedding dress instead of dropping thousands of dollars to wear it for one occasion. The same goes for the suit for the groom. Suits can also be rented and is a great way to cut costs on materials that do not have long timelines in terms of how often they will be worn.
4. DIY your wedding flower arrangements
Often times, floral arrangements can be the biggest budget-buster, but a little-known fact is that you can buy flowers, bouts, and corsages in bulk from Sam's Club and Costco, which can save you thousands when compared to working with a florist.
Figure out your wedding colors, watch a few YouTube tutorials on how to put together an arrangement, and you're all set!
5. Skip the fancy wedding cake
3-tier wedding cakes can set you back hundreds of dollars, and more often than not, guests are having too much fun to even notice if there was a cake at all. Opt for a single 6-8 inch tier cake atop a Styrofoam base, so you can still get your cake cutting photos.
You can also take the rest home with you for your one-year anniversary. If you still want to serve cake to your guests, purchase a few sheet cakes from Costco or your local bakery for about $40 a piece- your guests will never know the difference.
6. Forget the wedding linens or bring your own
If your venue has wooden tables that don't need to be covered, opt for a rustic look without linens which could save you between $500-$1,000.
If the provided tables need to be covered, buy a pretty fabric in bulk online or at your local craft store and DIY your own linens for major cost savings. There are many resources available, especially visual such as Youtube that can help you get started on customizing your own linens.
7. Ask a friend to officiate
You can save between $200-400 by asking a friend to officiate your wedding. A friend can easily get ordained online for around $50. Also, if you do not feel comfortable with asking a friend to officiate for the first time, asking someone you are close to who has had experience officiating weddings is another alternative.
Weddings are a beautiful and wonderful time for everyone involved, especially when finances are not an issue. Everyone would like to have the wedding of his or her dreams. These are just some tips to turn your dream into a reality.
Article by Ada Amadi, the content management intern for Clever Girl Finance. She is an avid budgeter and passionate about women becoming financially literate and empowered.
Smart people make poor career decisions and not-so-smart people make poor career decisions- so what's the difference between them?
That’s a trick question. There is no difference.
It doesn’t matter if you made good grades in college or if you excelled in sports or the arts. It doesn't even matter if at work you became the go-to person on the team in no time and have always been able to thrive in social settings. Even if you’re the Albert Einstein of your department, you have most likely made at least one opposite-of-genius move at some point in your professional past (or present).
Look, I get it: no one intentionally makes bad career decisions.
Decisions that make you question if you know what you’re doing when it comes to your professional life. Decisions that leave you paralyzed with regret and defeat as the sound of the alarm on your cell breaks through your subconscious every single morning. Decisions that force you to ask yourself:
What was I thinking? How did I get here? What do I really want to do?
Do any of the following career scenarios sound familiar?
Ever move on to a new opportunity without giving serious thought to whether that move makes sense for your ultimate career goals, and once you’re in your new job you realize you’ve made a huge mistake that may take years to undo?
Ever agree to join a side project at work even though your plate is already filled to capacity with other tasks, so you can’t give the project your full attention — which makes you look like a slacker?
Ever convince yourself to just “keep your head down and do your job” even though your eyes glaze over from boredom every time you think about what you do for a living, which leaves you unable to operate at the level you know you’re capable of?
So, why do smart people — people who solve complex problems, people who think things through logically — people like you — totally miss the mark when deciding how to navigate their career?
The reasons may surprise you.
The truth behind why we make the career decisions that we make
You probably think most people make decisions based on what they truly want. That they always do what’s in the best interest of themselves and their career.
But actually, that’s not true.
For the most part, our career decisions are based on what we think other people want.
You apply for a job at that big company because your best friend convinced you that bigger is better — even though you feel most comfortable in smaller work environments.
You raise your hand to be considered for promotion because all your colleagues raised theirs and you don’t want to be left behind — never mind the fact you have no desire to do anything listed in the higher profile job description.
You quit your job to become an entrepreneur because everyone else is doing it and you think if you’re not your own boss then something’s wrong with you and you’ve somehow settled for a mediocre life.
The painfully bad career advice everyone follows
Because most people are making choices aligned with others’ professional desires (and not their own), they’re more susceptible to using the well-meaning, but incorrect, anecdotes as reasons to make silly decisions.
- Just follow your gut
There are times it is OK — expected even — to use your gut to make a major decision (like when it comes to relationships, buying a home or your health), but deciding your next career move doesn’t have to be one of these times. Instead, give serious and objective thought to which option gets you closer to your ultimate career goals. You should be clear on how and why your decision is the best choice for where you’re trying to go professionally.
- You need to figure it all out by (insert milestone age)
Newsflash: you will not self-destruct if you haven’t found your career groove by 35, 45, or even 65. That means you should slow down. The most successful (and fulfilling) career journeys are those treated like a marathon, not a sprint. Experiment with your interests and weigh your options before taking any big risks.
- Focus on the future, forget about the past
Part of what makes high performing athletes so great is the habit of reviewing game film. No, you shouldn’t beat yourself up or be critical of every wrong move you’ve made, but you should figure out the lesson behind every mistake. Questions like: what could I have done differently and what have I learned are important to ask after each setback.
- You need to stay on the right track
The worst thing you can do is force yourself into a box, afraid to explore your interests. Take that class on a topic unrelated to your day job. Apply for that position in an entirely different industry. Don’t feel pressured to do things in the “logical order” predetermined by someone else. There is more than one path to success.
- Always ask for advice from others
The most valuable advice I’ve ever received was, don’t seek counsel from anyone you wouldn’t trade places with. Outside of my mentor and my career coach, I don’t rely on many people to inform my career decisions. Who better to steer your career in the right direction than you. Trust in your own knowledge and experiences when thinking about making your next move. Ultimately you are responsible for your decisions.
- Just follow your heart
Let me be clear: I agree that you should take the time to figure out your professional purpose and spend your days doing work that excites and energizes you. But the idea of simply doing what you love is oversimplified.
Ask anyone who has found work they’re passionate about and they’ll tell you their journey was a series of little decisions that compounded on top of one another. Finding work you love is definitely the goal, but you shouldn’t avoid making decisions just because you’re not passionate about your options.
- What you've got to do now that you know better
While there is an argument to be made for embracing career mistakes and learning from every decision you make, why put yourself through the emotional and professional stress that comes with trying to course correct after the fact if you don’t have to?
Admit it. You’ve made silly career decisions that left you in a space you didn’t want to be in — one that threw you off track with your professional goals. You probably even clearly remember the exact moment (or series of moments) that led you to that point.
Remember how you felt when you realized those ill-advised choices you were making — which maybe even seemed like the right thing to do at the time — were actually the opposite of what you should have done? The embarrassment? The uncertainty about what would happen next?
Hopefully, you succeeded in turning your professional life around since then, but maybe you didn’t. Maybe as you look forward to where you want your career to go in the future, you’re unsure of what your next step should be.
"The good news is it’s never too late to get back on track and learn the tools you need to make the best choices going forward."
You’re smart and perfectly capable. It’s time to make sure your career decisions are as well.
Article by Dorianne St. Fleur is a HR expert, career coach and the creator of Your Career Girl, where she teaches women the strategies they need to increase their income, have more impact and do the work they love.
If you are reading this blog post, there a high chance you found out about Clever Girl Finance from watching a YouTube video on the Clever Girl Finance YouTube Channel. YouTube has been an incredible platform for creating brand awareness for Clever Girl Finance and for connecting with my incredible audience.
I've learnt a lot so far from being on YouTube and I wanted to write this blog post to share some of that because I get asked all the time about how I was able to grow my YouTube channel.
"In my first year on YouTube, my channel grew from 0 to 26,000+ subscribers."
In my first year on YouTube, my channel grew from 0 to 26,000+ subscribers and there were a few key things I did that contributed to this. So below are my tips and suggestions in no specific order:
1. Create and upload videos on a consistent basis
I think one of the barriers to entry when it comes to creating video is that people think that their videos need fancy editing or require super fancy equipment but to be honest, my videos were (and still are) super basic and I used (and still use) the free editing software that came with my Mac - iMovie - to edit them.
Initially, I recorded my videos using my built-in computer camera and by placing my laptop on some stacked books (yup, I improvised) but then I upgraded to the following equipment that all together come in well under $100:
In time, I will plan to upgrade my editing software and camera equipment (perhaps I'll purchase final cut pro and I'll get a DSLR camera with video capability) but until I decide, I'll keep making my videos with what I have now.
If you've been on the fence about making a video because of your equipment (or lack thereof) my advice to you is to just use what you have now, even if it's your phone's camera - the key is to make sure you have good lighting!
2. Find a video accountability partner
I got a friend to be my video accountability partner and we each set a goal to record a video for our businesses once a week. I recorded videos specific for YouTube but on the weeks when I couldn't, I would just upload a video I had made for Instagram or FB live. The goal was to keep consistent content going because when it comes to content creation for platforms like YouTube, consistency is key and YouTube loves that.
I also uploaded the audio of my podcast for people who listen to audio on YouTube and organized them into different playlists. In my experience, I've found that my YouTube videos do well when they are 5 to 15 mins long. This might vary depending on topic though - I speak mostly on personal finance and mindset and this works well for me.
3. Use good titles, keywords and tags with your videos
It's all about making it easy for people to find your content when they search for your topic on YouTube and that means using good titles based on keywords and searchable tags. Tube Buddy is a free browser extension and a pretty cool tool that can help you find good keywords to use in your titles and can help you find relevant tags to add to your videos. Also since Google owns YouTube, the Google Keyword Planner Tool works great too. I highly recommend signing up for and exploring both tools so you get a sense of how they work.
4. Sharing your videos everywhere = more views + more subscribers
Sharing your videos as much as you can will drive more views and will also drive more subscribers to your channel (as well as drive your chances of going viral - more on that below). Share your videos with your email list or newsletter, on your blog, on IG, on FB, on Twitter etc. The more views your videos get the more inclined (I believe and have read) the YouTube algorithm is to promote it.
Also, going back to point one, the more video you create, the more content you have to share, the more views you can get. Note: Don't be spammy, be consistent. Once a week (or on a schedule people expect) is good.
5. Aim to go viral
While there are no guarantees of getting a video to go viral, having a viral video can have a big impact on the growth of your YouTube channel. This was one of my goals and when it happened it contributed immensely to my subscriber growth. It helped me gain 11,000 subscribers in a two month period. How did I do this? I picked my most popular blog post at the time and made a video of it (Using keywords, tags and also sharing it as much as I could).
Another idea is to determine what's popular on YouTube in your content category by doing a search for different topics and looking at the most popular videos, to get ideas for content to create and variations of titles to test out as well.
6. Get to know your YouTube Dashboard
A key part of succeeding with YouTube is understanding your metrics and also understanding how to use the dashboard available to you with your YouTube account. There are a ton of useful insights on your dashboard that will show you just how your videos are performing and there are some very useful features that can help your videos perform even better.
Some of my favorite features are the end cards and annotations where you can embed notes, polls and even showcase your other videos as your viewers watch your current videos keeping them engaged with your channel for longer. Not sure how to use the features on your dashboard or need some extra help? Do a search for a video tutorial on YouTube :)
Also as soon as your account is eligible, turn on monetization - over time and as your account grows, it will be a great way to earn passive income.
7. Engage with your audience
Just like with other social media platforms people will comment and ask questions. You should respond, like etc - it all helps. Plus engaging with your audience will help them get to know you better and will give you ideas for content to create that they want to see from you that will, in turn, help you grow your channel.
In addition, take advantage of your YouTube community page. It's another way to engage with your audience. You can recycle your IG and FB images, post text there and have conversations with your community.
8. Have patience
YouTube takes time to grow and while it's a slow and steady pace of growth, the results can be amazing! Plus your videos will return as results on Google searches (yay) and you'll also be building a community on YouTube that will help grow your business platform so be patient. It's well worth it.
Accessibility, organization and easy to use tools are key components to financial success.
If you are able to manage and view your finances at your convenience on devices that you use often, you're more likely to stay on track with your money goals.
Here are three key type of phone apps and tools every Clever Girl needs in order to win with her money:
1. A budgeting app
Having a budget or a spending plan is key to managing your daily finances. When you're able to actively see and keep track of your money, you become more aware and intentional about how you spend it. Once you have developed a budget, the next step is to actively manage it.
My go-to budget app is YNAB (You Need A Budget). It allows you to create a monthly budget and track your spending on the go. You can also access it from anywhere, computer or phone and it’s updated in real-time. Budget with your partner or spouse? You can both access the budget through the app and keep up to date on your spending habits.
2. Net worth / finance tracking app
Your net worth is an essential number to know. Net worth is essentially your assets minus your liabilities. It’s what’s left over after you add up all your assets and possessions you own and deduct all of the debts you owe. Having this information in the form of an app is a great way to manage how you are doing over time in growing your net worth.
I like using the Personal Capital app as a way to track my net worth. It allows you to connect your investment accounts, retirement accounts and bank accounts which update automatically with real-time numbers. It helps give you a complete picture of your financial life and best of all it's free.
3. A bank app
It’s important to have your bank account and credit card related apps on your phone so that you can keep track of your accounts. Most if not all bank have apps for your smartphone. Through these apps you will be able to check your account balances, deposit checks, pay bills and check credit charges on the go. You can also put alerts on your accounts to send you notifications of account activities. This allows you to be proactive and keep up to date with your bank and credit card accounts.
By using these apps, you'll feel a lot more organized and will find it easy to check up on your finances at the simple touch of a screen. What are you waiting for? Click on that app store!
Jamila is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI), blogger, money coach and founder of Journey To Launch where she blogs about her journey to reach Financial Freedom. she helps brave Journeyers; gain clarity around their finances and create an actionable plan to reach their goals.