How to be a wedding guest on a budget

By, Carla Hindman,

From wedding showers to engagement parties to wedding ceremonies, the cost of celebrating the couple-to-be can put a strain on your budget during the summer wedding season. According to WeddingBells Canada, weddings are a $5-billion business in Canada, with more than 160,000 weddings taking place every year and 67% of weddings occurring between June and September.

Are weddings also a financial burden for guests? For a few years in my late twenties, it seemed like as soon as summer hit, I was spending every weekend at a wedding, and spending all my dollars while I was at it! Though I loved celebrating with my friends, between travel and gifts, the pressure from all the partying was putting a strain on my bank account. If you’re heading to a few weddings this summer, here are some tips to get you through the season without paying the high cost of love:

Build a budget: Before wedding season, take inventory of upcoming weddings and build a budget based on your current financial situation. Do you have wiggle room for the extra dollars you may need to fork out on expenses beyond the main event? If not, consider making adjustments to your spending habits leading up to wedding season. Need help building a budget? Practical Money Skills has a calculator that can help you build or even rework a budget.

Wedding Attire:  Want to look your best on someone else’s big day? It’ll cost you. RetailMeNot says that Wedding guests spend an average of $325 for wedding attire, with men outspending women (men spend an average of $334). Don’t be afraid to recycle your outfits. For men, simply changing a shirt and tie combo can make for a quick and less costly new look. Women can save by exploring dress rental stores with options that will keep them on trend. Another option is to stick with a classic little black dress, but switch up accessories for a different look. If you really want to wear something new, you can make a little extra cash by selling your old suits and dresses at a consignment shop or online. Also, be on the lookout for buy, trade and sell groups on social media sites – often they have gently used attire that could help you celebrate in style.

Wedding Gifts: Wedding gifts can also take a big slice out of your budget. According to the RetailMeNot survey, 54 per cent of Canadians prefer to give cash. But cash is not always king for your budget. Consider bringing together a group to pitch in for a big-ticket item and don’t forget to look for sales while shopping the gift registry. Giving the newlyweds an experience, like a cooking class or a honeymoon excursion, is also a great idea for a present. Most of all be thoughtful. If your friends have invited you to share their day, hopefully they’ll be more thrilled with your presence than your present!

Travel expenses: Travelling to and from a wedding can be costly. If possible, travel with a group to cut down on fuel and hotel costs. Heading to a destination wedding? A WeddingBells survey estimates that one in four weddings that occur between November and April will be destination weddings. Explore using your rewards or loyalty points on airfare and hotel costs.

Bottom Line: Weddings are expensive, even if you’re not the one walking down the aisle. With planning and budgeting you can enjoy wedding season without breaking the bank.

By, Carla Hindman, Director of Financial Education, Visa Canada

http://www.practicalmoneyskills.ca

Do’s and Don’ts of Home Hair Colouring

(NC) Colouring hair at home is popular for many reasons: it saves time, money and can be much more convenient all while achieving great results. More than half of Canadian women colour their hair and, of those, half colour their hair at home, according to a recent poll. When asked what concerns them about using at home hair colour, the top concern raised by one-quarter of Canadian women was that they would not get the colour they want.

Luis Pacheco, Clairol’s Consulting Colourist, offers some tips to ensure women get the hair colour of their dreams.

Do a strand test. First, before colouring your hair, you should always do a patch test to ensure you don’t have any allergic reaction to the colour. Next, a strand test to ensure that you get the colour you want before you actually colour all of your hair. Not only can you test the shade, but you can ensure that you know how long to keep the colour on your hair for.

Don’t do a drastic colour change at home. There are times to seek out a professional colourist such as when you want to go drastically lighter or darker. The general rule of thumb for at-home colour is to stay within two shades lighter or two shades darker of your current colour.

Do try something new. Want to warm up your look summer? Try a colour with a bit of red in it or look for a colour with golden undertones. Clairol Nice ‘n Easy offers 44 natural-looking colours with colour-blend technology to ensure the result is full of depth and dimension. Have fun this summer and experiment with a new shade.

Don’t worry about choosing the right shade. Twenty per cent of Canadian women are concerned about choosing the right shade of hair colour. Choosing a you-only-better shade requires a little prep work but shouldn’t be intimidating. The first thing to consider is your skin tone. Take a look at the inside of your wrist. If your veins appear bluish, you should look for cool or neutral tones; if they’re greenish, look for warm or neutral tones. For warmer shades, look for the words golden, bronze, and copper. For cooler shades, look for the words ash, platinum, and Champagne. Then, select your colour based on going no more than two shades different from your current colour.

www.newscanada.com