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February Budget Recap – How to Buy a Wedding Dress and Invest at the Same Time.

We are officially 2 months into 2023 and I feel like we are getting through Q1 at a great pace. My spending this past month reflected this. February was filled with a lot of wedding planning obligations that significantly impacted my numbers. February is always my least favorite month because it’s the time when winter gets old, the holiday charm is officially gone, and there aren’t many things to look forward to for me during the month (besides tax season, yuck!). With all of that being said I was able to hone in on some habits this month that trigger my spending, and mitigate them. Keep reading below to see how I did!

Total Spending: $2,626.56

a hand placing a wallet into the inner pocket of a blue coat.

This number might be a bit confusing after reading the intro because I said that I was able to hone in on some things to mitigate spending. A large portion of February spending was allocated to a purchase made on my credit card at the end of last month. I was fortunate enough to be able to buy my wedding dress and some accessories off the rack at the very end of January. There is this trick I like where I schedule my larger purchases on a date that is close to the due date for credit card payments. I find that if you time this right then the payment will be added to the statement for the next month. 
Here is the true breakdown of my spending:
  • wedding dress and accessories – 1597.44
  • Miscellaneous – 1029.12

Even though the numbers are still high, the wedding dress was planned. Also the miscellaneous spending came out to $500.00 less in February than last month. I’m going to call that a win.

Total Saved Income: $0.00

a small green leaf plant growing out of white sand


 Last month I made a huge deal of how high my savings was due to semi-automation and paying myself first. I chose to forgo that in February due to the large wedding purchase. On average I like to save around $1500.00, which is around the price of my wedding dress and accessories. I hope to start this up again in March, but it just was not in the cards this time. The thought of not putting anything away in my savings accounts makes me uneasy, but I’m trying to focus on my investment progress on months where I cannot save cash.
To make up for the lack of savings I made a point to focus on behaviors that would distract me from spending needlessly. It’s a lot easier to swipe your debit card when you have already thrown a large number in your nest egg. Here are some things that I focused on to lower my spending:
  • I stayed off of my phone
  • Working out the second half of my wedding budget helped prioritize my spending.
  • My W-2 job got really busy, so I focused some extra time on that during weekdays.
  • I’ve been on a health journey that has been improving in the last month. The changes that I’m experiencing is taking my attention away from lazily scrolling for those online shopping guilty pleasures.

Total Invested Income: $972.00

a piece of paper with a line graph depicting compounding.


Because my 401K is automated to take my contributions pre-tax(like most 401K’s), I never see the money in my bank account. This makes consistently investing $972 per month so easy. It truly would be more difficult to reach this number on my own using just discipline to not want to spend. I made two contributions to my roth IRA in January after getting an inflation bonus, so this allowed me to use that $541 in February for my wedding purchase without having to dip into my savings. The timing was absolutely perfect.

I felt a little guilty for investing less than $1000.00 in February because I’ve gotten so used to throwing larger numbers towards stocks in the past year. Here are some things that I like to remind myself when I start to compare my numbers to my past self:

  • Circumstances change, and luckily I still have a fortunate circumstance.
  • $972 is a lot of money!
  • In 10 years this lone contribution is going to be worth more assuming that the market keeps going up over time.

Those are just some ways that I stay grounded when I start to feel a little anxious about my progress. It also doesn’t hurt to play around with a compound interest calculator from time to time. I frequently visit this really simple one when I need to remind myself of my progress.


To Wrap This Up…

a yellow felt tip pen without a cap, laying vertically on a brown surface


 February had some budget highs and lows, but overall I feel like each month that I am able to save or invest is a good month. In my previous budget post I mentioned that I look forward to exploring automation in February to skyrocket my savings. Unfortunately that just did not happen this month. But I’m looking on the bright side because wedding planning is coming to an end and I can see the future savings getting closer as the date approaches. These are some takeaways that I got from this month:
  • Your savings rate will be variable each month and that’s okay.
  • Saving something is way better than saving nothing. It doesn’t always have to be a 4 to 5 figure number.
  • If you cannot save in any given month, focus on what you have and how fortunate you are in life in general.

I am the most grateful for being able to make a large wedding purchase without having to dip into savings. Going forward I want to focus on being thankful for having the privilege of marrying my fiance in a wedding that is fully paid for in cash. Though this has been a pricey out-of-pocket experience, things could always be worse. I look forward to what March has to bring, and to the end of Q1, because it has been tough!

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