Wedding by the big numbers: Tips to help save money


Dear Heloise: Recently on the news, I heard that the AVERAGE PRICE OF A WEDDING in America is $35,000! Just how many engaged couples have that kind of money to invest in their big day? — Carmon H., Trenton, Ohio

Carmon, weddings today have gotten very expensive, but there are ways to save money on your big day. Costs can be kept down by budgeting, trimming the guest list and settling for less show and more intimacy. Sometimes it’s not the bride and groom who want an elaborate wedding, but their families. Spend a little or spend a lot, you are just as married either way. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: We put our home on the market after putting in new flooring, painting the exterior, replacing the dishwasher and scrubbing the house from stem to stern. However, none of the real estate agents want to list it for what we feel it’s worth. How do they determine a house’s worth? — Carolyn S., Prescott, Ariz.

Carolyn, it’s not that your renovations aren’t important — they are. However, prices are determined by market value, which is based on local data and comparable sales. Real estate agents usually know what price will entice buyers to look at your home and what buyers are looking for in homes today. We all value our homes because to us they hold memories, but you can’t place a price tag on those memories. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: My husband is showing signs of memory loss. I know it’s normal as we age, but how can we slow down that process? — Ruth F., Tillamook, Ore.

Ruth, sadly, we all get a little forgetful as we age, but keeping our brains active helps slow down the process. Before you do anything, talk to your husband’s doctor to see what he or she recommends. Many people do crossword puzzles or write stories or poetry to keep their minds busy. Still others feel that diet can play a part, and they turn to a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and poultry.

Science is still studying the effects of aging on the human brain, so stay informed about cognitive decline. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: When packing for a cruise, there are a few items I always take along, but no one tells you about how handy these things are when you need them. Believe me, you’ll need them at some point:

¯ power strip

¯ extension cord

¯ sticky-backed notes

¯ antibacterial wipes

¯ over-the-door organizer

¯ clothespins.

— Maggie J., Orlando, Fla.

Maggie, these are excellent items to have along on any trip. To your list I would add a refillable water bottle and a coffee thermos. You can refill the thermos and take your coffee anywhere. — Heloise