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Mortgage or marriage? Create a savings plan for both

What we'll cover

  • Tips on creating a wedding spending plan

  • Some options for your down payment

  • Ways to budget for a wedding and a house

After all the butterfly-inducing crushes and story-worthy dates, you found the love of your life. Now, you might face a decision: Throw a lavish wedding to celebrate your forever person? Or put those funds toward a forever home?

With smart saving, plenty of planning and the right mortgage loan, you can kick off your marriage and homeowning journeys at the same time.

Wedding spending

From venues to outfits, food and décor, weddings can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. But you don't need to rack up high bills to have an amazing day. Consider ways to cut wedding costs such as creating a smaller guest list or opting for a hometown celebration.

Before you dive into wedding planning, decide with your partner how much you both want to spend. Researching costs could help set up a realistic wedding budget . Include any extra expenses like a bachelor/bachelorette trip and how much you'll tip your vendors .

Once you have a number you and your partner feel good about, get a gut check by dividing that figure by how many months of your engagement you have to save. For example, if you want a $25,000 wedding and you have 12 months until the big day, you'd need to save more than $2,000 each month. If that number seems too high, now you can make adjustments.

Down payment options

Contrary to the popular real estate misconception , a 20% down payment isn't always required to buy a home. There are several mortgage programs that accept lower down payments.

For example, those who qualify for a HomeReady® mortgage from Ally Home can purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3%. Think of it this way: A 20% down payment on a $300,000 home is $60,000, but a 3% payment cuts the amount needed to $9,000.

Contrary to the popular real estate misconception, a 20% down payment isn't always required to buy a home.

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

If throwing a wedding and buying a home are meaningful experiences you want to have, you don't necessarily have to choose. While you might need to make some concessions, like trimming the amount of floral decorations or waiting to buy a home for a few extra months, you can have both by being strategic.

An Ally Bank Savings Account features a tool called  savings buckets that lets you divvy up your money. For each bucket, you can set individual dollar amount targets and timelines.

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 $300 in your home bucket. After your wedding, you add over the money that went to your wedding bucket to your home bucket, bringing your down payment savings to a total of $800 a month. At the end of three years, you would have saved $12,000 for a wedding and nearly $17,000 for your down payment.

“I do” meets “I’m a homeowner”

Whether you go with a mortgage with flexible down payment options, take extra time to save, downsize your wedding or a combo of all three, you have options you can take so you can walk down the aisle and into a home of your own.

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