Smart Ways to Save on Your Wedding

by Sara Seeger 2. October 2014

Wedding Proposal

Weddings are expensive, it's a fact. If you've come across our recent wedding infographic, you've seen how much a wedding in Maryland costs on average (after you have recovered from the price shock). Don’t worry grooms and brides-to-be! There are ways to cut costs on your dream day without sacrificing the most important aspects of your wedding.

The Date

Consider scheduling your wedding in an off-peak time, such as November or most of January through March. Where there is less competition for dates, there is more negotiating power. Day of the week is also important, as Saturdays tend to be the most popular and thus more expensive. Ask about rates for Friday or Sunday evening weddings.

The Venue

Contemplate choosing a nontraditional venue. Dedicated wedding reception halls or country clubs can be expensive. Renting a park, garden, or restaurant could save you some serious dough.

The Food

The more choices, the more expense. Cut out the traditional “guest choice” of an entrée and try a combination plate. By serving everyone the same meal you are able to cut down on the cost of food automatically. Fewer different ingredients, fewer costs. Another way to cut down on food is to host a daytime reception. It is always cheaper to serve brunch or lunch than dinner.

The Liquor

Most reception sites charge for every bottle opened. Offering a limited bar can save you huge bucks on your wedding day. A fun way to have a limited bar, without depriving guests of their favorite drinks, is to create “signature” drinks, which are a series of signature cocktails, that use one type of liquor, that guests can enjoy. Then, stock up on a few other beer and wine options for guests who don’t drink liquor.

The Photographer

Photographers usually offer packages based on the number of hours they work. Instead of booking a photographer for the entire day, take candid shots of the groups getting ready before the ceremony. You can also cut your cake earlier in the reception to allow that to be the last events the photographer shoots. Candid photographs from guests can supplement reception and dance photos. Another way to cut costs is to hire a photography student for your wedding. Be sure you check out his/her portfolio beforehand, but hiring an experienced student instead of a large photography company or professional could cut your photography bill in half.

The Invites, Programs and Favors

DIY! Take advantage of your aunt’s thrifty yard sale tactics and your bridesmaid’s Photoshop skills. Anything you can make yourself becomes a fun, shared effort and can save a lot. From designing invitations and programs, to creating your own centerpieces or favors (see our Pinterest board for ideas!), you can save a bundle of money doing things yourself.

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Infographic: Are Maryland Private Schools Worth the Price Tag?

by Sara Seeger 23. July 2014

All parents want to give their children the best education possible, and many believe that private grade schools and high schools provide the best opportunities. But as the average cost of private schools continue to rise, people are asking themselves, is the price tag worth it?

Are Private Schools Worth the Price Tag?

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Fun Ways to Teach Kids about Money

by Sara Seeger 19. June 2014

1st Mariner Piggy Bank

Encouraging positive and responsible money habits in your children's minds is arguably one of life's most important lessons. The sooner children start learning about the "value of a dollar," the better. However, kids don't have to know how to count to be introduced to and taught about money. Luckily, with today's technology, there are many ways to make learning about money fun for kids of any age. Read on for some quick tips to make learning about money fun.

1) Use Cash Yourself

Try not using a credit or debit card on everyday purchases. By allowing your children to see you use cash, they will begin to understand the value and purpose of money. Other great ways to introduce your child to money is to take them to an ATM so they can watch you withdraw money, or let them deposit coins in a parking meter.

2) Give Them a Piggy Bank

Children's piggy banks come in a variety of colors and designs. Some even have their favorite movie character or superhero. A piggy bank will teach children to put away money for saving, and that this savings can be used to purchase an item or toy they really want. There is also a newer "modern" piggy bank that has multiple slots that divide money into categories such as save, spend, invest and donate.

3) Go Online

The Internet is full of age specific money games for kids. T. Rowe Price teamed up with Disney to create an interactive, online game called “The Great Piggy Bank Adventure.” This game teaches age appropriate financial lessons, such as the importance of saving money with a specific goal, interest, and financial distractions.

4) Play Games

Board games are also an easy and non-invasive way to talk about money. Board games, such as Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Payday, help children develop and master their financial management skills.

5) Give Them an Allowance

There’s a strong argument that an allowance is the best way to teach a child about handling financial responsibility. An allowance reinforces the lessons that money is limited (even yours) and it must be earned. Use allowances to combat the “I want this” during a Target trip, and let your child know that they need to bring their own money from their allowance if they want to buy something.

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