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Mortgage or marriage: Why not both?

What we'll cover

  • How to save for a house and a wedding

  • Resources to help you save for both

  • How to establish your budgets

After all the butterfly-inducing crushes and story-worthy dates, you found the love of your life.

However, following the excitement of engagement comes wedding planning. And you might face a decision: Throw a lavish wedding to celebrate your forever person? Or put those funds toward a forever home?

While TV shows may make it seem like you can’t have it all, with smart saving, plenty of planning and the right mortgage loan , you can kick off your marriage and homeowning journey with a bottle-popping-worthy celebration.

Wedding spending

From venues to outfits, food and décor, weddings can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. But the typical price of a big day decreased drastically in 2020 as couples who got hitched pared down guest lists and opted for hometown gatherings and backyard festivities — proving you don’t need to rack up wildly high bills to have an amazing day. Couples who want to plan weddings on a budget may look to those from 2020 for inspiration on throwing “mini-monies,” virtual ceremonies or otherwise lower-key celebrations.

Down payment reduction

When you think of a down payment , it’s likely that 20% of a home’s price comes to mind — a hefty sum to pay at once. But contrary to the popular real estate misconception , a 20% down payment isn’t always required to buy a home and you have options to explore.

For example, those who qualify for a HomeReady mortgage from Ally Home can purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3% — making the dream of throwing a wedding and buying a house in the same timeframe more of a possibility. Think of it this way: A 20% down payment on a $200,000 home is $40,000, but a 3% payment cuts that to just $6,000.

White picket fence or white dress?

You have a good idea of how much goes into a wedding compared to a home down payment . But if you’re trying to choose between one or the other, it’s important to consider a few factors besides dollar figures alone.

If you go with the wedding:

  • It’s a one-time, fixed cost

  • You’ll make special memories with friends and family

  • You might receive financial assistance from family

  • You may opt out of gifts and ask for cash instead (to put toward your home later on!)

  • You won’t see a return on the money you put into it

If you go with the mortgage:

  • You’ll have the down payment plus the long-term financial responsibility of a mortgage

  • You may be able to make a larger down payment — saving on interest in the long run and scoring lower monthly payments

  • You can still get married without a lavish ceremony (and perhaps throw a party down the road)

  • Your home will likely appreciate over time, making it a valuable asset you could earn a return on

Have your wedding cake and a home to eat it in, too

As the saying goes, you only live once. If throwing a wedding and buying a home are meaningful experiences you want to have, you don’t necessarily have to make it an either/or situation. While you might need to make some concessions, like having a smaller wedding or putting off your home journey for a few extra months, you can do both by being strategic (and tag-teaming the savings effort).

The key to achieving multiple savings goals is organization and prioritization, which can be done with an Ally Bank Online Savings Account . Our tools let you divvy up your savings into virtual envelopes called buckets , where you can set individual dollar amount targets and timelines. Then you can put a savings plan into action.

Here’s an example: Say you hope to get married in two years and buy a home in three. You and your partner can save $800 a month — putting $500 in your wedding bucket and the remaining cash in your down payment fund until you reach your wedding date. Then, you add the $500 to your home bucket, bringing your down payment savings to a total of $800 a month. In the end, you’ll have saved $12,000 for a wedding and nearly $17,000 for your down payment.

“I do” meets “I’m a homeowner”

You shouldn’t have to choose between marriage or a mortgage. If both are goals you and your partner care about when building your future together, know you have options to make it work. Whether you choose a mortgage with flexible down payment options, take extra time to save, downsize your wedding or a combo of all three, you can walk down the aisle and up to a home of your own as well.

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Save Home Marriage

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