Smart Money Podcast: Delta Spending Habits, and Marriage vs. Mortgage

Sara Rathner
Liz Weston, CFP®
Sean Pyles
By Sean Pyles,  Liz Weston, CFP® and  Sara Rathner 
Edited by Kathy Hinson

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Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a discussion about how the delta variant of the coronavirus is changing the way people are managing their money.

Then we pivot to this week’s money question from Daphne. They emailed us asking whether to save for a home or a wedding:

"Hi, Nerds. Love the podcast. My question is inspired by the Netflix show 'Mortgage or Marriage.' I have a year left of my Ph.D. — in other words, a year left before I start actually making money — and my boyfriend and I are starting to plan our lives together. The conversation of whether to purchase property together or get married came up. Frustratingly, a wedding can cost as much, if not more, than a down payment, but the idea of having to plan to save for another major milestone seems daunting. Both of these things are years out, but as I've learned from the pod, it's better to start saving early. Thanks for your help.”

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Our take

As the uncertainty of the pandemic continues, think about how to shore up your financial resilience. This might mean increasing the amount you’re putting into your savings from each paycheck or cutting down on expenses like travel. To learn more about how to manage your expenses during hard times, check out our podcast episode with Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary.

If you’re debating whether to put your savings toward a mortgage or a big wedding, realize there is no one-size-fits-all answer. What you do is a matter of your personal financial priorities. A wedding might be the route to go if you want to hold an event for friends and family to get together after a year and a half of not seeing one another. On the other hand, home prices are likely to continue going up, so now might be a good time to enter the market if you have the savings.

No matter what your financial goals are, know how to hit your savings goals like a wedding or buying a house. Working backward can help. Start by figuring out (or coming up with a good estimate of) the total amount you’ll need and when you’ll need it. Then you can determine how much you’ll need to save monthly to hit your goal within your time frame. Whether you’re saving for a wedding or a house, unexpected expenses are likely to pop up, so add in a savings cushion to cover these costs.

Our tips

  • Know your values. When you’re struggling to decide between two major financial decisions, talk through each option and see how they reflect your priorities and motivations.

  • Build savings into your budget. When you’re saving for a big-ticket item, know how much you need to save monthly to hit that savings goal within your time frame.

  • Expect to spend more than you expect. Both weddings and homeownership are expensive, and you’ll almost certainly encounter unexpected costs.

More about saving for a mortgage or a wedding on NerdWallet:

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at [email protected]. To hear previous episodes, go to the podcast homepage.

Sean Pyles: Welcome to the NerdWallet Smart Money podcast, where we answer your personal finance questions and help you feel a little smarter about what you do with your money. I'm Sean Pyles.

Sara Rathner: And I'm Sara Rathner filling in for Liz Weston, at least for the start of this episode. To contact the Nerds, call or text us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-NERD, or email us at [email protected].

Sean: And be sure to subscribe to get new episodes delivered to your devices every Monday. And if you like what you hear, leave us a review. This episode, Sara, Liz and I answer a listener's question about how to decide between putting your savings towards getting married or getting a mortgage.

Sara: First, though, in our This Week in Your Money segment, Sean and I are talking about how the delta variant of the coronavirus is changing the way we're spending our money.

Sean: Yes, indeed we are. Let's take a trip down memory lane to a time when we thought the world would look a lot better than things are looking right now. This is Q2 of this year, and consumer spending in Q2 recovered pretty well as people got vaccinated and got back out there. The recovery was uneven. Spending on homes bounced back more than spending on out-of-home entertainment, but things did change pretty abruptly in Q3 as the delta variant swept across the country, right, Sara?

Sara: How quickly things change, unfortunately. So according to Deloitte's State of the US Consumer report, which came out August 2021, so as we record this, consumer anxiety is up to its highest level since March of this year. And spending on travel is down.

Sean: Remember that idea of a hot vax summer. That was like what? Three weeks long?

Sara: Yeah. More like high anxiety summer. Am I right?

Sean: Oof. Yeah, but that's why Sara and I wanted to talk about how our spending habits are shifting and how you, the consumer, our dear listeners, can also brace for what is yet again another unprecedented, but maybe kind of familiar time that we're getting into. For me, the pandemic fatigue is very real, but so is the desire to stay out of the way of the world and stay safe and save money right now.

For example, I have plans to visit some friends in New York in September, and I think I'm probably still going to do that because I know that my friends are vaccinated. But given how highly transmissible the delta variant is, I'm probably going to be buying higher quality PPE than I was on flights taken earlier this year. That might mean some goggles maybe, some higher-quality masks. I have been Googling around looking at those hazmat suits, but I'm not quite there yet.

Sara: I have some flights coming up, and the double-masking thing might be just the ticket. I have several boxes of surgical masks, and I have quite a few cloth masks.

Sean: In terms of finances, I know that my trip to New York is going to be expensive. New York is always expensive, no matter what you're doing there. And looking further down the road, I'm supposed to attend a wedding in October in Texas. And right now, I think it's a little too early to know if I'll actually attend that. Like many other people, I'm letting the pandemic and vaccination status guide my plans for the coming months.

Sara: I know some conferences are still on. I'm on the mailing list for quite a few. And while they do have virtual options, many of them are still planning on having the in-person event. So if you're thinking of going to a conference or if your job is requiring you to go to a conference, if you don't feel comfortable, just know that the virtual options are there for you in case you want to backtrack and cancel your travel.

Sean: And day-to-day right now, Oregon is at its worst point in the pandemic to date, in part because not a lot of people got the coronavirus in the earlier waves. So now those who are unvaccinated are getting it in higher numbers. For now, I'm not going out to restaurants as much as I was. I am stocking up on more groceries like I used to, because we've had supply-chain issues with grocery stores up here. And I kind of feel like I'm back in March of 2020 in some ways — in terms of how I'm approaching saving more money where I can, not going out as much, and being really careful with where I do spend my money recreationally.

Sara: At the very least, we're not back to the point where we were like Clorox-wiping our groceries before bringing them inside the house and like changing out of your clothing when you got home from a public place.

Sean: We know so much more right now.

Sara: We do, and that comforts me because I feel like I know what actions I can actually take to reduce my risk. But at the same time, the risk is a lot higher. And even though I'm fully vaccinated, even though I thought that kind of gave me a shield and I was like, "OK, good to go," it turns out that it's still possible to get a breakthrough infection. And it's not awesome. I mean, it's not like an awesome feeling, because we just don't know how long... how much longer this is going to keep going on for, and it's hard.

Sean: I mean, one thing I keep going back to is a line from the episode that we recorded with Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary that published in July. So if folks haven't listened to that, I highly recommend it. She talks about how she lives her life and manages her finances as if she's in a perpetual recession. And by that, she means that she's very careful with her money to have long-term financial resilience. And that's something that I'm trying to embody on a day-to-day basis as well.

Sara: That's such a good point, and I'm a huge fan of hers, and she gives great advice. You think about your money and you plan for the long term. The long term is going to include some pretty dicey financial and economic and global situations. If you're working for 30 years and then you're retired for another 30 years, I mean, a lot happens in 60 years. I mean, I was pretty new to working during the Great Recession in 2008, 2009. So I very quickly saw how crazy things could get in a short period of time and then how much of a boom could happen afterwards. There is a cycle to things like this. So you want to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

A piece of advice I got from a financial planner I worked with a long time ago, he basically said, "Save as aggressively as you can while you can." So if you're in a good financial situation, you have stable employment or income, and you don't have a ton of expenses, if things for you are good, then save until it hurts. And then that way, when things are not so good or your life has just gotten more complicated — maybe you had a baby, you put them in child care — that's like another mortgage. You lose your job and your spouse or partner loses their job. You saved while you could, so when you need to back off from the savings a little bit, you might still be saving, but just not to the same degree. And that frees up some cash every month to put toward the things you need to pay for. You've built your nest, which is nice.

Sean: And you've gotten in the habit of living below your means because you've been living off of less money overall.

Sara: Exactly. And then once things get a little bit easier for you, maybe you pay off a bill or your living situation changes, you get a new job, you get a promotion, whatever, then you can go back to saving more aggressively in preparation for the next time you're in an unexpected situation.

Sean: Which will happen sooner or later.

Sara: Exactly. So while the economy is cyclical, your life is cyclical too. So use the boom times to save because I promise you the bust times are coming.

Sean: Well, to that end, how has the delta variant changed how you're managing your money, Sara?

Sara: I'm thankfully in a time where I can save pretty aggressively. I have automatic contributions set up to different savings accounts that have different purposes. I also have an investment account, and I have retirement accounts. So I have different goals for my money that I continue to automatically save into every month, like the set-it-and-forget-it thing where I take like 10 minutes to set up those transfers, and then I just kind of let them happen in the background of my life. And what's nice about that is I'm saving and investing money without it really ever landing in my checking account, so I don't get tempted to spend it.

Sean: That's just ongoing maintenance to, as we mentioned before, improve your financial resiliency.

Sara: And also, one of the savings accounts that I maintain is for home renovations, and spending on home improvement is up during the pandemic because we're all home all the time, and then you just stare at all the things that bother you about your house.

Sean: Yeah.

Sara: It's kind of like, "Where is that weird noise coming from? That thing is loose." And so there have been some home improvement projects that we've tackled over the last few months.

Sean: So spending more on home projects. What about your day-to-day spending? Are you also spending less on going out, more on groceries, that typical thing? Or how are you thinking about spending right now?

Sara: Definitely, the most money goes to groceries and takeout, for sure. Most of our socializing is just hanging out in friends' yards or going to parks. We keep a pretty shocking beer supply in our basement. We joke that we make our own six packs out of what we have in the basement.

Sean: I mean, after a year and some change of not going out to restaurants, I feel bad, but whenever I spend $5, $6, $7 on a beer at a bar, I think this could be pretty much a whole six pack that I could have in my own backyard and not be around people that I don't know. I'm totally turning into a hermit.

Sara: I've got to warn you about New York, though. So I went there in early June, and whoo, it's expensive because —

Sean: Oh, I know.

Sara: And any listeners who are considering traveling to any large cities, you might face a COVID recovery fee tacked onto a restaurant bill.

Sean: Oh, interesting.

Sara: So some restaurants in New York tack on like 6%, and that's not including tax, tip, all that stuff. And then you want to tip heavy because they've been through a lot.

Sean: Oh, yeah.

Sara: Definitely set a pretty intense food budget and drink budget for when you go there, because I think I spent like $300 on food in a weekend, and I don't spend $300 on food in like, I don't know, a month. I mean, in normal life, especially when I'm doing a lot of cooking. And that was pretty shocking.

Sean: And I'm there for a whole week. I'm kind of reeling knowing that I'm going to be spending a lot of money, but I'm hoping that I can make some meals with my friends and maybe get some free drinks from my friend who works at a bar. We'll see.

Sara: Yeah, definitely take advantage of any free drinks you can get because it's... Oh, man, that hurt. That was really the first time since the onset of the pandemic that I experienced spending like that. And you get home, and you're just like, "What did I just do?"

Sean: It's like maybe those unprecedented times weren't so good for our bottom lines. I mean, I think it's important to continue the conversation around how we're spending our money right now, especially since the pandemic seems to be shifting every four months or so. There's something new that we have to encounter. And it seems like we'll have moments where things are more open, where things are more closed, and we'll have to adjust our mindsets and our money management accordingly.

Sara: Yeah. I think if anything, one of the big lessons out of all of this is have patience. We lived in a world where you can get anything you wanted delivered to your doorstep in two days.

Sean: Yeah.

Sara: And now with supply-chain issues and stores closing and things going out of business and restaurants keeping limited hours, you just kind of have to learn to live in a world where you can't get everything you want exactly when you want it. If there's something that you really need, just know that with supply-chain issues, things are on back order a lot. I've heard that story with ordering furniture. So if there's something you absolutely need, because if you just moved and you need a couch and you're sitting on the floor of your living room and it's seven months till your couch arrives, maybe buy a floor model. There are ways you can adjust your spending choices to get you the things that you need when you need them.

But also just recognize that you're going to have to think a little bit harder before you make decisions. If I'm going to go get takeout, for example, I live in a city with lots of independent restaurants, and that means a lot of them close on Mondays. A lot of them take a week off in the summer and just give their staff the week off because the owner of the restaurant wants to go on vacation. And also, we are still experiencing random restaurant closures when an employee either tests positive for COVID or is exposed to somebody who tested positive, so they have to shut down and get everybody tested.

So there are these rolling blackouts in a way with businesses, with small businesses especially. So I tend to follow businesses that I go to a lot on social media, and that's where I get the most up-to-date information. Who's open? Who's closed? Where's my money going today?

Sean: Yeah, exactly.

And I do try to spend in those local businesses because they really need our dollars right now, and so that's a big change too.

Sean: Well, I think that about covers it for now. Before we move on to this episode's money question, I also wanted to put out a call for our listeners to share how they're changing their money habits and spending due to the delta variant. You can shoot us an email at [email protected]. You can call us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. Let us know how you're thinking about money management right now, and we might just talk about it on a future episode. OK. And with that, I think we can get onto this episode's money question.

Liz Weston: This episode's money question comes from Daphne. Here's their question. "Hi, Nerds. Love the podcast. My question is inspired by the Netflix show 'Mortgage or Marriage.' I have a year left of my Ph.D. — in other words, a year left before I start actually making money — and my boyfriend and I are starting to plan our lives together. The conversation of whether to purchase property together or get married came up. Frustratingly, a wedding can cost as much, if not more, than a down payment, but the idea of having to plan to save for another major milestone seems daunting. Both of these things are years out, but as I've learned from the pod, it's better to start saving early. Thanks for your help, Daphne."

Sean: To help us answer Daphne's question on this episode of the podcast, we are joined once again by personal finance Nerd and occasional cohost of the podcast, Sara Rathner.

Liz: Hey, Sara, welcome back to the podcast.

Sara: Thanks for having me back.

Sean: Always great to have you on, especially when we're talking about a question that really revolves around personal priorities. But before we get into that, I want to give a little bit of background for the show for those who are not familiar. So in each episode of "Mortgage or Marriage," a couple decides whether to spend their nest egg, which is typically somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 on a single day or an investment that is one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. It is a wonderful show if you want to yell at your TV.

Sara: Sean is in no way indicating which option he thinks is better in his description of the show.

Sean: Not at all. I'm just laying it out exactly as I see it. Again, a wonderful show if you love to yell at people making poor decisions. So let's get into Daphne's question, which again is about financial priorities. Sara, how do you think people can begin to pin down what their priorities are?

Sara: Well, it's very common to have multiple priorities at the same time. I feel like I say this a lot. It's going to happen. Eagerly anticipate the day where you have to sit down and decide between two or more awesome options. But ultimately, it comes down to what you and your boyfriend value. If you're part of a couple and you're having these conversations, you might think about homeownership as being your top priority. So, then you'll kind of sacrifice the big wedding and have a simpler celebration or elope even. But after a year-plus of not seeing people, you might value having a wedding that kind of doubles as a big reunion, and that's valid too. It's been a hard year.

It really just depends on this combination of cost of living in the city where you live, which can affect your housing choices. And it can depend on family expectations for milestone events. So it really just depends on your own situation, and that is definitely compounded for Daphne, who mentions being in a Ph.D. program. They didn't specify whether or not there are student loans involved in that, but that can complicate things too, because that would make three big things to think about at the exact same time.

Sean: When people are trying to pin down their values, I think the five-whys exercise can be really helpful. It's a technique for solving problems or finding motivations that was actually originally developed by the founder of Toyota, and here's how it works. So when you're faced with a problem, you ask yourself why five times about it to uncover the core problem or your core motivation. So in this case, it would be something like, oh, you want an extravagant wedding, and then you say, "Why?" Well, because you want to have a big moment to celebrate your union with your partner or something like that.

And then why do you want that? Because you've always dreamed of being the bride or the groom and having this big day. Well, why is that? Because the tradition of having families coming together is important to you. And why is that? Because your family has instilled these values in you. And lastly, why is that? Because it's a tradition. So there in the end, your value, your motivation, your priority is continuing traditions and honoring your family.

Liz: So instead of perhaps having a value of, I don't know, matching bridesmaids outfits, you're talking about maybe inviting more people to the wedding so that you can extend that feeling of family.

Sean: Yep, which, as Sara said, in a post-year-of-lockdown world is really important.

Liz: Yeah. OK. That makes sense. Now, but always, always the costs or the projected cost or the average cost of weddings have always seemed insane to me. Sara, can you talk about what supposedly people are spending now?

Sara: Yeah. So this data is courtesy of The Knot, which if you're planning a wedding is definitely a website you've been to, and if you're no longer planning a wedding is a website you avoid. So in 2021, the average price of a wedding they're looking at is around $28,000. And this is close to 2019 levels, so close to pre-pandemic levels.

Sean: Oh, my gosh.

Sara: So in 2020, when people were having smaller weddings because of COVID precautions and rules, the average price was still $19,000, which was actually pretty surprising to me, judging by how many weddings I saw where somebody just sort of had a witness in a park and an officiant, and it was like four people standing there in a park. So it does surprise me, but people were still managing to have very scaled-back events through 2020.

Sean: See, hearing these numbers is when I start to scream about things a little bit, because I think it's also worth comparing the cost of getting a house. So I pulled up some numbers in preparation for this, and I found the median home sale price in Q1 of 2021 was $347,500. And a Federal Housing Administration loan can require as little as 3.5% for a down payment. And for that median home price I just mentioned, that would be a little over 12K for a down payment. Granted, that doesn't include things like closing costs, but that is still probably, in the end, going to be a good amount less than $28,000.

Sara: This is neither advocating for a wedding nor a mortgage, but just understand that when the wedding is done, hopefully, the bills are done unless you went into debt. When you buy a house, you are going to incur maintenance and repair costs, renovations you've been planning. Things break. You've got to replace them, things like that. So that is something to keep in mind too. You still want to budget on an ongoing basis for the maintenance of your home.

Liz: Just as an aside, one of the most meaningful weddings I ever went to was in somebody's backyard, and it was a potluck. So, just to keep in mind you do not have to have this massive event to celebrate a wedding. I'm speaking as somebody who had a small wedding and who had it at her in-laws' house. They have a beautiful house that worked out great. I know other people have different values. Sara, did you have a big old wedding?

Sara: I had a big old wedding.

Liz: OK, tell me about it.

Sara: We did have family help for the cost. I will say, if you're thinking of a backyard wedding, and I have been to some, you do want to keep in mind that you want to have bathroom facilities and seating and other things for your guests. If you've ever sat or stood in full sun at somebody's August field wedding, and there was no water and no bathroom, you'll stop believing in love. So I would just say whenever you're planning a large-scale event, it's going to cost more than you think, even if you try to keep it "simple."

Sean: I'm torn between loving to throw fun parties and not being traditional and wanting to not spend a ton of money on the wedding that Garrett and I will inevitably have sometime in the future, as we've been engaged about a year and a half now, and it'll probably be at least twice that amount of time until we actually get married. So I'm thinking that we'll probably do something like get married at San Francisco City Hall, rent out a restaurant, have friends stay at hotels. And it'll still clock in at less than $20,000, I'm hoping, because we're just not the traditional types of people. We don't really need that big ceremony, and I think that's fine. I think that for Daphne and her partner, it would help them to understand what they really do want out of a wedding and whether they want to spend $20,000, $30,000 on that one day.

Liz: How do they figure out how to save when they've decided what their goal is going to be?

Sara: Let's say you wanted to save up $20,000 in two years. That's ambitious, but let's just do it. These are very expensive things. Let's say you have $1,000 to start, your savings, and you put it in a high-yield savings account earning 0.5% interest, which is the prevailing rate right now. I hate to say this, but you have to save $787.46 per month to reach that $20,000 goal. So —

Sean: Ambitious.

Sara: On the one hand, breaking it down into smaller pieces makes it seem a little bit more manageable. It's still a pretty expensive monthly goal to get to that point.

Sean: And I guess one thing that does kind of help is that this amount is being saved among two people. So it would be half of that per person potentially, except for the fact that Daphne is not yet earning money, and she won't be for another year. That is a complicating factor too.

Liz: The whole point of financial planning is to juggle various priorities. So you can change the math on any of these things. Like, when we talk about retirement, we say, "Well, if you can't save more, maybe delay your retirement a bit. Work a bit longer. Work part-time in retirement, things like that." It can be the same with a wedding. If you're really, really set on having that big wedding, then you put off the wedding itself while you save some more. There's ways to do everything. Maybe not everything at once. There are ways to get what you want.

Sara: Yeah. And I would say with homeownership, and I say this as somebody who rented for a very long time, well into my adulting years before buying my first house, it is OK to rent for a longer time if that is what makes sense for your situation. People talk about renting like it's throwing money away. It's like you're throwing all your cash into a dumpster and setting it on fire. But, one, don't do that. And two, you are getting something for your money. You're getting a roof over your head. You're getting maintenance on the property. That's really big because if something breaks and your landlord gets to pay to fix it, and I say this as somebody who just had to drop a grand on a dryer, like surprise, surprise, it's really nice when your dryer breaks and your landlord has to drop a grand on that dryer instead of you.

And so suddenly, you have so much more that you can save because you have this fixed monthly cost for your rent and maybe a little bit of variable cost for your utilities, but you are not paying to maintain the property. So, yeah, you don't get equity in it, but also you don't have to deal with the difficult stuff too.

Sean: Which is when you're getting a Ph.D., when you're planning a wedding, it might be nice to have a simpler living situation.

Sara: Yes. It saved me a ton of anxiety when I was earlier in my career and a little bit more flexible in where I might be living. Your life is changing a lot. I was able to delay having to decide where and how to put down roots and gave myself the flexibility for my life to go through typical changes that your life goes through when you're in your 20s and early 30s. So you might want to give yourself the gift of a longer time horizon with homeownership, regardless of what decision you make about your wedding, and maybe that can help ease your mind a little bit.

Sean: All right, Sara, I think that about covers it. Do you have any final advice for Daphne and their partner?

Sara: With big life things like weddings and homeownership, there is a lot of outside pressure that we all feel to do things a certain way, whether that's have a big wedding or a very fancy wedding, or buy a certain house or buy a house at a certain time or by a certain age. When you're doing that exercise where you're doing the five whys, you're examining your values, it really is worth it to ask yourselves, "Are we setting this as a goal because this would benefit our lives and bring us happiness, or are we setting this as a goal because we think that's what you're supposed to do to be an adult or to be part of your community or part of your family?" And if the answer is not "because it would bring us joy," but the answer is rather having to do with pressure from someone else, take the time to examine that, and it might make you shift your values a little bit more.

I think we all get so hung up on hitting milestones, especially millennials, because we've been hitting them so late that we feel like we're behind. And I can't imagine Gen Z is going to hit them any sooner than we did. So, really think about that, because these are two extremely huge decisions. They're very important. You want to give them a good amount of consideration, and you want them to be for you.

Sean: I could see Daphne using this final year of their Ph.D. program to really think through this decision. They don't need to decide today what they're going to do with their money. In the meantime, they can continue to save, get a feel for the housing market, get a feel for how much weddings will cost in 2022 maybe, and then begin to decide once the Ph.D. is completed.

Sara: Yeah. And if you want to be legally married to your partner for — there are lots of reasons to be legally married to somebody that you're in a serious relationship with and for all sorts of purposes: taxes, health insurance, emotions, whatever. You can still do that, and then perhaps plan a party later. So if there is a reason you want to be married sooner, you can do that for the cost of a marriage license and just get married in a park or get married in city hall and then do some sort of celebration at a later date.

So, you don't need to delay that if you don't want to or you can't. So that's another thing to keep in mind, and that can potentially take some of the pressure off. I think a lot of unfortunate pandemic wedding couples realized this year, "We do want to be married. There's a world crisis going on, and this is my person." And they did the quick wedding, and then they'll do the celebration later on. So that remains an option too.

Sean: I've always found that to be a little bit silly, that you have to have the entire ceremony and then you get the paperwork. You've already committed to having this life together. Why not just get the paperwork done with, have the party when it makes sense to have the party . . .

Liz: There you go.

Sean: . . . and live your life in the meantime.

Liz: Yep.

Sean: But that's just me.

Liz: And me.

Sean: Well, thank you so much for chatting with us, Sara.

Sara: Thanks again for having me back. Daphne, good luck with all of your choices.

Sean: All right, with that, let's get onto our takeaway tips, and I will kick us off. First up, know your values. When you're struggling to decide between two major financial decisions, talk through each option and see how they reflect your true priorities and motivations.

Liz: Next, build savings into your budget. When you have a big-ticket item you're saving for, know how much you need to save monthly to hit that savings goal within your time frame.

Sean: And lastly, expect to spend more than you expect. Both weddings and home owning are expensive, and you'll almost certainly have an unexpected expense pop up somewhere along the way. And that is all we have for this episode. Do you have a money question of your own? Turn to the Nerds and call or text us your questions at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-N-E-R-D. You can also email us at [email protected]. And visit for more info on this episode, and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review us wherever you're getting this podcast.

Liz: And here's our brief disclaimer thoughtfully crafted by NerdWallet's legal team. Your questions are answered by knowledgeable and talented finance writers, but we are not financial or investment advisors. This Nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes and may not apply to your specific circumstances.

Sean: And with that said, until next time, turn to the Nerds.