No Spend Challenge on a wedding weekend? Truth or dare?!
Truth: We dared. It was my sister-in-law Callie’s wedding weekend in North Carolina, and we couldn’t and wouldn’t have missed it for the world — No Spend Challenge or not.
Weddings, especially those that take place out of state, have the potential to be a high expense experience not only for those hosting, but also for guests. For Matt and me — groomsman and bridesmaid — the opportunities and temptations to spend were heightened even more.
After all, there were bridal brunches, groomsmen gatherings, last-minute toasts and rehearsal dinners to attend. In my old life, B.N.S (that’s “Before No Spend”) I would’ve NEEDED to go shopping for all new outfits to wear during the trip — at least one per outing and maybe a couple of backups just in case I wound up not feeling like wearing the ones I bought. The same applies to the heels.
Sounds a bit over-the-top? Maybe, but I’ve been described as being “extra” too many times to count. I’m choosing to believe it’s an abbreviation for ”extraordinary,” though it could be short for “extravagant.” Anyway, on this occasion the only extra was the money in my account; I drove past all my favorite stores and “shopped” my closet, rediscovering dresses and jumpsuits I could rewear and accessorize to create fresh new looks. Once I got to my mother-in-law’s house in Charlotte, I shopped her closet, too. No shame in my game.
Most wedding-related events were, thankfully, covered by the families of the bride and groom, so there were many delicious and free — though not fat-free — lunches and dinners. My dress and Matt’s suit had been custom-made and paid for months ago. The kids' outfits for the day, paid for by Yaya Phillis, had also been hanging in the closet for a while. And the gift was paid for long in advance, as well.
But, of course, as these things go, there were still several things that we weren’t able to cover ahead of time. This meant I couldn’t have my nails or my eyebrows done. I couldn’t take the kids to get haircuts, and Matt couldn’t buy a new beard oil scent to wear at the wedding for the first time as he likes doing on special occasions (though he was adamant about getting a fresh cut and beard trim before the wedding, which ran us $25 plus a $5 tip). And I, because I was in the bridal party, had to pay for professional hair and makeup for the day, which totaled $105.
But the most important part of it all isn’t what we spent on and what we didn’t spend on. The most important part is that we enjoyed such a wonderful love-filled time together with family.
Matt looked handsome. I felt beautiful. The kids were happy. Matt’s sister Callie, the bride, was glowing and beaming just to have us there to share her special day alongside her and her groom, Aerris.
That’s one thing about this exercise in personal finance betterment, this No Spend Challenge, that I find invaluable: Learning what you don’t deem worthy of spending your hard-earned cash on. That, along with learning when, where and for whom you shouldn’t hesitate to bring out your wallet. This weekend was without a doubt a magical one. There just aren’t enough dollar signs that can represent the value of spending quality time with our loved ones.