In March, I published the article Wedding Update – Up To $20,000. In it, I mentioned that we were able to save over $6,000 in wedding expenses by bartering, exchanging services, and discounts.
Weddings are expensive, and since the very beginning I knew that I didn’t want to spend anywhere near the national average of $26,000 on our wedding.
That is just a crazy amount of money, especially since we are paying for it all (and I am rather cheap).
Even though we are at around $14,000 in costs that we have paid, it is nice to know that we are going to have a great wedding on a great budget.
I forgot to also mention that we are saving around $3,000 to $4,000 in venue fees since we don’t need to pay for our venue as well (similar venues that we looked at were that price). So, in total we are saving over $10,000 on our wedding!
The main way that I was able to save so much on our wedding is because I tried to barter for services and products as much as I could. There are negatives to bartering (such as paying taxes on the amount received – read this to learn more), but for the most part it is a great thing.
Here are my tips to save money by bartering:
What I did first was find companies that I was interested in working with.
I then sent them an e-mail to their marketing/media department, or their direct e-mail if they did not have a marketing department.
You need to have courage and be outgoing in order to barter effectively. Remember that the only “bad” thing that can happen is that a person will say no. However, they might say yes!
When bartering, you are opening yourself to new opportunities that people may not know about.
You need to know what you can barter with. Do you have some sort of service or product that people want?
If so, you need to craft the perfect wording (whether you send an e-mail or speak with the company directly) for why this person will want your service or product.
You need to know how to sell your product because that is what you are doing!
I offer a wide range of online services, and because of this I knew that I had many different services that I could offer to potential wedding companies. For some of the companies that I worked with, I offered services such as:
You should always be reasonable when bartering, and keep in mind that time is money.
If the value of your product/service is $100, then you probably shouldn’t expect to get something from your bartering partner that is worth $1,000. Always be fair, because you want your partner to feel that they got a good value out of the exchange as well.
You should always be fair with yourself as well.
Just because actual money is not being exchanged does not mean that you should short yourself. If you are doing 10 hours of work, you probably don’t want something that is $20 in exchange for your time. Be realistic and try to think of things in dollar terms if you are unsure.
Whatever you do, make sure it is clear what is being bartered.
Always try to have a contract if you can, but at least have it in an email where both parties agree to what is being done and exchanged.
If you do decide to use e-mail as your contract, try to create an e-mail that summarizes exactly what is being exchanged and have both parties reply to the e-mail in agreement. It’s always a good idea to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
This past week, I have received many e-mails asking for steps that a person should take if they are interested in starting their own online business. This is normal though, especially since I published my latest income report, $12,100 in March Business Income, on Wednesday.
I started my business very slowly and I definitely didn’t follow any steps. I made many mistakes and I had to learned things the hard and slow way.
However, hopefully with this post I can help others start an online business. Of course, reading blog posts will not mean that your business will be successful. Even if you have a plan, how you approach your business and the amount of time and effort you put into it is important.
Read further on Diversified Finances.
March seemed like a busy month, but it didn’t live up to February even though there were three more days in March.
In March of 2014, I made $13,119 in business income, before expenses. This is still a great amount, do not get me wrong, however, I thought it would be a little bit higher.
In May of 2012, I made $672 in extra income. $672 is still a great amount of extra income to be making, but my progress over the past 2 years is something that I am very proud of. This August will mark three years of blogging for me, and when I started I never thought this is where I would be.
Like I say every month, when I first started blogging, I didn’t think this level of income was possible. I read (and still read) income reports from bloggers such as Pat at Smart Passive Income, and it always gives me crazy motivation to do better.
When I first started side hustling, I used it as a way to earn extra spending money and so that I could also put extra money towards my student loans. I never thought that I would leave my day job and pursue full-time freelancing.
I am so glad that I am self-employed. I was terrified back in September of 2013 when I told my employer that I would be leaving. I debated what I should do every single day, and there were many restless nights because I was afraid about what would happen if I made the wrong decision.
This is for the month of March and before fees and expenses (expenses that lower the amount above are approximately $1,020, which includes VAs and writers for my other websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.
After all expenses and fees, I made approximately $12,100. In the amount above, I do not include the amount that I bring in to blogs that I help run, I only include the amounts that are my actual earnings from my services. So, if a website that I manage makes $2,000, I only include my payment – not the full $2,000.