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.

When You Can't Afford to be a Bridesmaid

You two have been through so much together, and you’re thrilled she’s found The One. In an ideal world you’d have enough to afford the best bachelorette party, bridal shower, wedding gift and everything else, but the truth is you can’t even afford the dress. Ugh! 

While you can usually make a way out of no way, this is one of the few times in life when it’s clear that you cannot afford to participate in your friend’s wedding. How do you tell her without ruining her special day and your friendship? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Tell her as soon as possible. As soon as you commit to being a bridesmaid, the bride incorporates you into her planning. Backing out at the last minute will not only cause bad vibes, it will likely cost her money. Break the news to her gently and early so she can adjust her budget and expectations.

2. Explain (in person or by phone) why you’re unable to participate. A true friend knows you and may already understand your financial burdens. If you’re, clear, up front and honest with her about your financial situation she will likely understand. But please don’t send her a text. This is too delicate a subject for anything other than a phone call or (preferably) personal visit.

3. Offer to do something special for her. Whether it’s contributing your time (and maybe a little money) to the shower, or helping with the planning, there are a myriad of ways you can pitch in to show her how much you care and want to be part of her big day.

If you do decide to participate in the wedding but know you’re on a tight budget, set that expectation with the bride and fellow bridesmaids as soon as possible. The worst thing is to have the bridal party making elaborate plans, expecting your financial input, and you either go into debt trying to make their dreams come true, or completely back out at the last minute. Neither option is fair to you or them.

While a wedding is a momentous occasion, and it’s incredibly important to celebrate loved ones, it must be able to occur along with paying the rest of your expenses. Unfortunately, sometimes everything cannot happen all at once.
And so it is.