Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Always a member of the wedding party? Part Two

Last week was part one of our discussion on minimizing the cost of being in a wedding party. Below are a few more ways that I, my friend Latoya and others have successfully lowered the price tag on celebrating some of life’s most important events.

Hair and makeup. Knowing this wedding and other big events were coming, Latoya got braids earlier this year, which was the perfect remedy to avoiding multiple $75 salon fees. She also made the braids style something that she could be put into a bun for the wedding should the bride prefer it.

Some brides hire a makeup artist and offer it to the bridesmaids for a discounted price. If you don’t want to spend that, MAC, Fashion Fair, and other lines do free makeup sessions for a minimum product purchase. If everyone is getting their makeup professionally done, for the sake of the pictures we don’t recommend you be the only DIYer.

Use those rewards points. Between destination weddings and the general spreading out of friends and family (my brother’s wedding is in China in October. SMH), I’m traveling far and wide to celebrate life events these days. Fortunately, these occasions aren’t typically on short notice so take stock now of all of your flight and hotel rewards points, and see how many you can use for the wedding. If you don’t plan to go with your spouse or partner (another cost saver), see if other members of the wedding party will split a hotel room. And be sure to ask the couple to negotiate a discounted room rate at the reception hotel or somewhere nearby.

Plan your gifts. As you’re budgeting for the travel, attire, and pre-wedding festivities, don’t forget about the gift. Some people follow the gift registry, others purchase based on their knowledge of the bride and groom, and many give cash. Whatever you decide, be sure it’s considered well before the big day.

Know when to say ‘no’. It’s important to embrace this time while remaining considerate of your own life post-wedding. You may not be able to take part in the bachelor(ette) trip to Turks and Caicos, but you will be there  for all other big occasions. Do the best you can, and be unapologetic for the rest. True friends wouldn’t have it any other way.

And so it is.