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  • Writer's pictureGreg Cadogan

Tracking Expenses: The Key to a Debt-Free Wedding and Beyond Pt. 2

Hi, glad to see you back. Last we spoke on some of the reasons we were able to manage our wedding expenses. Now, we will focus on what were the steps we took to reach our goal and the challenges we faced.


Getting Organized

Implementing an effective system for expense tracking is key to maintaining financial clarity and making informed decisions. Here's how you can begin:

  1. Choose Your Tracking Method: Select a tracking method that suits your preferences and lifestyle. Whether it's using spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets, utilizing personal finance apps (YNAB), or even keeping a dedicated notebook, find a method that works best for you. Yes, I am a sucker for a good spreadsheet. My wife, not so much.

  2. Establish Categories: Create clear categories to organize your expenses. Feel free to customize the categories based on your unique spending habits and priorities. Remember to put top priority on your non-negotiables.

  3. Record Promptly: Make it a habit to record your expenses promptly. Especially the big-ticket items eg. I remember pulling up the laptop as soon as I was home after we bought the rings.

  4. Stay Consistent: Make expense tracking a regular habit. Dedicate specific times during the week or month to review and update your records. I studied my spreadsheet extensively. You don’t have to become so extreme; I get a joy of looking at spreadsheets to the annoyance of my wife.

  5. Discuss the budget with your better-half: Have regular conversations with your partner. Set a date each month to have a quick money talk and has it gets closer to your special day, then increase the number of times to be on top of your game. Additionally, it will be good practice for the marriage.

  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff: Be thorough in tracking your expenses, but don’t sweat the small stuff. With a budget of 5M, will a request from your partner to buy a $4,000 cake topper blow up everything?


As with any major event, we encountered our fair share of hurdles along the way. However, thanks to our trusty excel sheet, we were able to navigate through the ups and downs with a little more ease. Here are some common challenges we faced during our wedding planning journey:

  1. Inconsistent Tracking during Busy Planning Phases: There were moments when tracking expenses consistently felt like an uphill battle. Between meetings with vendors and family members, finding time to update our sheet wasn't always easy. However, don’t give up and stop updating your budget.

  2. Dealing with Unexpected or Emergency Spending: Ah, the unexpected surprises that come with planning a wedding! From shipping delays to the need for more seats our budget felt like it was playing hide-and-seek. Thankfully, our expense tracker helped us stay grounded since we created a separate category for emergency spending within our wedding budget, allowing us to allocate funds for those unexpected costs without derailing our financial plans.

  3. Balancing Budget and Personalization: Like many couples, we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of our unique style and personality. However, striking a balance between our vision and our budget proved to be a bit of a tightrope act. We had to make some tough choices and prioritize what mattered most to us. Honeymoon and decorations were priority #1.

  4. Managing Cash Transactions: These can be a bit of a logistical challenge. Unlike credit and debit card, tracking cash transactions are tricky because it is based on memory. The key is to save your receipts (if you can) and make sure to promptly record these expenses in your tracker. Block a time in your calendar if you must.

Our journey towards financial empowerment and tracking expenses began with a wedding, but its impact has extended far beyond that momentous occasion. Through the creation of our first budget and the diligent use of our trusty Excel sheet, we gained awareness, clarity, and control over our finances. We learned to communicate to each other about money which is one of the most difficult conversation to have.

Harness the power of awareness, budgeting, and reducing financial stress, and embark on your own journey towards financial empowerment. Your future self will thank you.

Managing Finance lead to debt-free wedding

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