Putting everything on the credit card might seem like an easy way to fund your wedding. But unless you pay your balance off every month, you could be headed for a negative credit cycle.
Around 18 per cent of Australian couples pay for their weddings by credit card. But according to recent research by SocietyOne, eleven per cent of millennials regret doing so. Couples can spend years paying the interest off – which isn’t the ideal start to married life.
According to ASIC’s MoneySmart website, the average Aussie wedding costs around $36,000. If you were to pay this off with a credit card with an average interest rate of 17.22 per cent, you could expect to pay $14,000 interest – and that’s if you make repayments of $1000 per month for four years and three months. The longer it takes you to pay the debt back, the more interest you’ll end up paying.
You should view a credit card as a short-term cash flow tool that can help finance your wedding, but you need to be savvy about it. Make the most of features like interest-free periods, balance transfers and rewards, but don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Some of the mistakes to avoid are:
1. Spending more than you will be able to pay back.
An ASIC wedding survey found that more than 35% of couples end up spending beyond their budget for their wedding day.
It’s easy to put stuff on the credit card when you’ve blown your budget… today’s problem can be dealt with some other day. But that other day can drag on for years if you overdo it on the plastic.
2. High interest charges
When you keep a balance on your credit card, the debt balloons because of interest charges. When you are budgeting for your wedding you really should factor in the interest to get a true picture of what your wedding is going to cost. If you have no choice but to use your cards for some or all of your wedding, shop around and make sure you have a card with the lowest rate that’s out there.
3. Late repayments
Making your credit card repayments every month will help you to avoid late payment fees. But the more financially stretched you are and the bigger the monthly repayments, the harder that might be to achieve in reality all the time – especially if life throws you unforeseen circumstances down the track like health issues, job losses and so on. Not only that, but if you have a history of late credit card payments, you can damage your credit rating and that might make it hard to get finance for other things – like a home loan – later on.