"Helping people who help people"

One of my passions is to “defend” a wedding against attacks of superficiality, materialism, or over-consumption. Why? Because I believe RITUALS are extremely powerful and we have almost none in America. A prom is probably the first ritual (or debutant ball if you’re in the south.) High school and college graduations are rituals, and funerals are rituals. But notice most are very public for a mass of people, and then one is a last-minute, sad event where someone has to DIE for the event to happen.

So here we sit, my husband and I. We’re on a new, slow ramp to more financial freedom after taking massive pay cuts to switch careers (more soul-fulfilling but not so good at bill-paying!) We’re going to acquire a small pot of money from an estate sale and the question is what to do with the money.

Sometimes this is when your parents agree to put a chunk into your wedding. Or perhaps you’re considering taking on a second job, or consulting gig, or dipping into savings, to help bring in more cash for your big day. No matter the situation, it is a very vulnerable thing to put a lot of money into ONE day, particularly when it’s not a single object with great financial loan options (like with cars or homes.) In our situation, we’re considering remodeling our basement (doing all the labor ourselves, which will save a lot of money.)

Some of the emotion is inside your head. “A basement remodel?” It sounds so silly compared to what we could spend our money on. We could all go to the dentist (no dental insurance), we could upgrade my car (small sedan and our tall kids legs are up against the front seats), on and on. But we spend 90% of our non-kid time (evenings and naptimes) in the basement and it would greatly improve not just our daily lives but our home value and family life as the kids get older.

In the case of a wedding, you hear all the comments. Flowers die in a day. The dress can only be worn once. Guests don’t use the favors. A cake is eaten and gone. You’re only in the limo for a short time.

On the flip side, every vendor has a sale pitch to counter any negative thoughts. Flowers/music/food set the entire TONE of the day. The dress is an icon of a wedding and can be passed on for generations. The music is what makes the experience enjoyable for guests.

Money. Such a frustrating, fascinating topic. We all have our patterns of how we spend or save, and we all have opinions on how OTHERS should spend or save! This is one reason we’re happy to sell our Money Habitudes card game – a fantastic way to quickly, easily, and without feeling bad (or overly proud), figure out your own money motivations as well as your partners. Check it out and maybe get your friends to do the game, or your parents. LinkI was surprised to learn how much money represents security and safety to me, because I’m sort of frugal, but not to the point of overly spending time on bargain hunting, or “DIY projects.” Growing up babysitting, I was able to afford spending a summer in Europe on my $2/hour babysitting jobs, which just sat in the bank account!

How have YOU justified the money or are you having issues defending your decisions? Do comment!

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