2014: The Year of the Weddings.

Recently, I watched the movie Love Actually. It’s this great Christmas movie that I try to watch it every year. In the beginning of the movie, Hugh Grant’s character narrates as families and loved ones embrace at the airport. Yes, we are about to get super cheesy for a second, but Grant’s character says: “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

Well dear readers, in my friend circle, love is really every where this year. After getting another Save the Date yesterday, I will now be attending a grand total of six weddings this year. Yes, six weddings. I will be in three of those weddings and two of those three are destination weddings. Oh. boy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love weddings. It is so special to watch to friends exchange vows (not to mention the reception is a blast, too), but after the whole kit-n-caboodle, weddings are expensive.

I’m not talking just for the bride and groom, but for the guests, too. Market Watch recently stated that the average american will spend $539 in attending one wedding this year.  I’m not sure about you, but that is a TON of money. Reading these stats and getting the initial totals for the destination wedding scared me a bit, so I decided it be best to get a rough budget outlined now so that I can plan ahead, instead of waiting to add up my receipts after the fact.

Without further adieu, here is a preliminary budget for each wedding and travel expense.

January– N’s wedding. It’s local and I’ll be carpooling with another friend. Estimated total for gift and gas: $50.

April– B’s wedding. It’s 2.5 hours away and I’ll be carpooling.  We’ll crash with friends for the night. Estimated total for gift and gas: $100.

April– S’s wedding. It’s local and I’m going with my family (she is a family friend). Estimated total for gift and gas: $0 (gracias to my parents).

July– M’s wedding. The location has not been set but it will be a destination wedding. So far she’s mentioned France,  Spain or New York. Estimated total for attending: $2,000 (I’m guessing high so I can budget accordingly. This will include, flight, lodging, dress, etc).

August– B’s wedding. Location: The Dominican Republic. She’ll be using a travel agent so the package is all inclusive and I’ll be able to make payments on the price.  Estimated price: $1,500-$2,000.

September– C’s wedding. It will be local. Estimated cost for dress, bachelorette party, bridal shower and gift: $400.

Added up, the initial budget for attending six weddings this year will be around $4,050-4,550. Yikes. I’m wondering if the best way to go about saving for this is taking $20 out of each shift of tip money to put in a “wedding savings account” (Is it sad I’ll have a wedding savings account when it’s not even my own wedding? ). Even then, after working 25 shifts, I’ll only have $500 which is just a fraction of the amount. The rest will have to come out of my teaching salary, which will cut down on my loan payments. I’ll still be able to make all the minimums, but I’m a little bummed knowing the my debt repayment will be a little light after having paid so much these last few months. I guess, asi es la vida.

Have you ever attended so many weddings in one year? What was your strategy for saving money while still going and supporting the couple?

The Great Texas Ice Storm

It has been quite a while dear readers, and for that I am sorry! The past two weeks I have been swamped with gearing up for the end of the semester with grading and lesson planning, working doubles at the restaurant (even on school nights!) and weddings! Even though the next two weeks are going to be equally crazy, I get two full weeks off for the Christmas and the New Year’s holiday from December 21st- January 5th. Did I ever tell you how much I LOVE being a teacher?

Since the last post, I was able to pay off two loans (the “gimme” loans I mentioned last time) and pay an extra $817.79 on my smallest loan. That brings my monthly loan payment total to $1,117.79. Sigh. My goal for this month is to pay $3,500. This goal was already high, but due to having to replace my front brakes ($300 set back) and pay for wedding and graduation gifts ($100) plus gas to go to and from said wedding and graduation ($75), I’ll be cutting it close. Oh and did I mention that didn’t even count in for Christmas gifts or the fact that I had to give up 3 shifts at the restaurant to attend wedding and graduation? *Positive thoughts, positive thoughts*

Yet I digress…

This past weekend Texas got hit with one of the biggest ice storms I have yet lived through! It was so bad that my district (and most in the area) cancelled school Friday and again today (no complaints there). Even with this going on, this past Saturday two good friends got married. It was a beautiful ceremony, but one that my friends and I almost did not make. We woke up Saturday morning to find that all of north Texas had been covered in a solid sheet of ice. The ice was  gorgeous- but incredibly dangerous. We had expected the ice to be bad, but not as bad as it was. Most of the highways were closed, semis got stuck for hours and the news stations advised all to stay at home and not take on the roads.

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Frozen needles on the tree!

My friends decided to continue with the wedding, understandably since they already had family in town, but it was quite the event to get there. The wedding was 30 miles north, up in the country. Two friends and I rode together and a drive that should have only taken 45 minutes took 2.5 hours of back roads and country driving. Thankfully, we (and the other wedding guests) made it safely and were able to celebrate the special day with our friends. We

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The Lodge we stayed at after the wedding

ended up staying the night out in the country (one friend’s uncle has a lodge in the area). The next day we made it home in another 2.5 hours. My friend V drove the whole way and definitely deserves the driver of the year award for braving the roads the entire time!

The roads have cleared up quite a bit today and I’m sure that we will go back to school tomorrow. In stead with trying to not drive for errands in town, I walked all of my errands today and only managed to completely bust once on the sidewalk. Conveniently enough it was right as several cars drove by and yes, I did hear them slow down right after and then speed up again once I got up. At least they were going to be good Samaritans?

I hope that you all have had a fabulous start to December and have enjoyed the wintry weather. What are you favorite things to do when it ices/snows?