How to prepare
for the floodgate
of 2021 weddings
With so many weddings being pushed back due to the pandemic, you should prepare now in order to get ahead on savings. Here’s how to save money during the sure-to-be hectic 2021 wedding season
By Megan DeMatteo, Money Writer
According to a new study by wedding planning website Zola, 63% of couples are postponing their weddings by one year or more from their original date as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
And the change in timelines isn’t just affecting the bride and groom. If you were planning to attend a wedding in 2020, you’ve probably already had to shift your plans to 2021. Lots of couples (24% according to Zola’s study) plan on tying the knot in 2020 and having their reception later, but a good portion (38%) are delaying their entire wedding until things calm down.
Between the “catch up” weddings postponed from 2020, and the 2021 weddings proceeding as planned, it’s time to prepare for your budget to take a hit as next year’s calendar fills up with bridal showers, bachelorette/bachelor parties and/or out-of-town receptions.
But there’s an added glitch: No matter how far in advance you plan, you should also stay flexible given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and whether it will be safe to gather in groups by the spring or even next fall.
With so many things up in the air, it’s important to make a plan now as to how you’ll save for upcoming costs so you aren’t left scrambling when invitations arrive. Below, we’ve got the scoop on how to prepare your finances and save money during the sure-to-be hectic 2021 wedding season.
Look into rewards cards with bonuses
No matter how you spend your money on, a rewards credit card can help you earn cash back and/or points to cover some of your wedding costs.
Major card issuers, including Amex, Chase and Capital One, have recently increased their welcome bonuses.
Right now, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® comes with a massive 80,000-point welcome bonus for new cardholders who spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s 20,000 more points than the previous offer, and worth up to $1,000 toward travel when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
This offer is the highest offer ever for the Preferred card. It’s only running for a limited time, though the end date has not yet been announced.
You need to have good to excellent credit to qualify for most rewards cards, particularly ones that offer no-interest periods. For those with fair or average credit, consider the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
With the QuicksilverOne, cardholders can earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn. This card has a $39 annual fee, but the average American can earn enough to offset it.
The QuicksilverOne charges no foreign transaction fees (great for destination weddings) and comes with travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and 24-hour travel assistance services.
You can take advantage of the time between now and the upcoming wedding season to make everyday purchases with your card and earn cash back. That way, you’ll have plenty to cash in as a statement credit to cover any wedding-related travel costs.
Start a savings bucket for weddings
Now is a good time to start stashing away extra cash so you can be ready for what 2021 brings. You can use your current savings account or a new account designated just for wedding season.
The Ally Online Savings Account is a good choice for when you want to create separate savings “buckets” all within one savings account. If you have more than one wedding to budget for, you can make up to 10 different funds, all labeled and easy to keep track of.
High-yield savings accounts earn you more than a traditional savings account would, since the interest rates are a lot higher than the 0.05% average for more traditional savings accounts. APY for high-yield accounts are on the lower side right now, but when the economy is stronger, APY is known to rise to close to 2%.
Sign up for airline alerts
Whether you have a co-branded airline credit card, such as any one of the seven Delta SkyMiles Amex cards, or you jump from airline to airline and pay with general travel card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, sign up for alerts to track when prices drop.
There are a few ways to get alerts: Apps like Skyscanner or Skiplagged help you track and find low-cost flights, whereas newsletters like Scott’s Cheap Flights send out regular announcements when fares dip. You can also set an alert on travel aggregate sites like Kayak.com or Hotwire.com.
Install a coupon app or browser extension
The popular browser coupon extension Honey can save you big when it comes to wedding gift shopping. When you’re checking out at nearly any online store, Honey automatically scans the web for coupon and promo codes and finds you the best savings before you click “Buy.” The service is free, and you can even earn Honey rewards in the form of cash back on purchases over time.
The social app, Fluz, lets you share deals with friends and earn cash back on what you buy.
Other services include Rakuten, which is like Honey but features rotating cash-back offers; Pricescout, which comparison shops to find you the best price; Gumdrop by Goodshop which helps you locate deals and donates a portion of eligible purchases to a school or nonprofit; and Coupon Cabin, which gives you price-saving tips based on your Google searches. (These extensions are compatible with Google Chrome.)
Sign up for an airline and/or hotel credit card
The average cost of attending a wedding is $430, according to a 2019 study by The Knot, and as much as $1,440 for out-of-town weddings requiring a flight.
That’s where signing up for a hotel or airline credit card with a loyalty program can save you big.
With Chase’s current welcome bonus for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, you can earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
For another new monster offer on hotels, check out Chase’s new welcome bonus offer on its two IHG cards.
New applicants signing up for the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card can qualify to earn a welcome bonus worth 140,000 points, and customers signing up for the IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card can qualify to earn a welcome bonus worth 100,000 points.
For airline miles, consider the new, no-annual-fee card United Gateway℠ Card, which earns you 3X miles on grocery purchases on up to $1,500 in eligible purchases per month until September 30, 2021; 2X miles on United purchases; 2X miles at gas stations; 2X miles on local transit and commuting and1X mile on all other purchases
New cardmembers can also benefit from a limited-time welcome bonus of 20,000 MileagePlus miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months from account opening.
Save on gasoline
Another option is road-tripping to out-of-town weddings, and there are plenty of great rewards cards to save on gas.
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card currently offers the highest rewards rate at gas stations with 5X points per dollar spent, and if you maximize the rewards you earn, the average American can save up to $111 annually on gas purchases alone.
You can also check out travel cards with no annual fee, such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, which delivers 3X points on gasoline spending.
While next spring’s wedding season is shaping up to be a wild ride, there are still ways to save on your expenses. Plan ahead and take advantage of our tips above, whether you plan to travel to weddings this spring or celebrate your loved ones on Zoom.
Information about the Capital One® cards, Ally Online Savings Account, and Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
This article was originally published By Megan DeMatteo cnbc.com.
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