Not Sure What to Do With Your Wedding Gift Money? We’ve Got Some Smart Ideas

If you’re lucky enough to make it out of wedding planning in the black, here’s how to spend or save that extra dough.
by Kate Traverson
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Whether your relatives were especially generous with their checks or you intentionally set up a cash registry, let’s be perfectly clear: There’s no right or wrong way to spend your wedding gift money. All that matters is the two of you are in agreement—you definitely don’t want to start your marriage revealing you spent $5,000 on your own personal pinball machine without discussing it first. So sit down and start talking to ensure you’re both on the same page, then check out some of our favorite ideas for spending (and saving) those dollars wisely.

Be Sensible About the Long Run

Sometimes it pays to be a responsible adult, even if it seems boring on the surface. Before that cash starts burning a hole in your pocket, it’s a good idea to “pay yourselves first.” That means paying down debt (especially if you racked up any for the wedding itself), starting a rainy day savings fund, or even contributing to your retirement accounts. It might feel like a lifetime away, but one day you’ll both be glad you made such a sound investment.

Bright idea: You could simply add wedding cash to an IRA, but if you have a 401(k) and aren’t on track to max it out for the year (that’s $18,500 for 2018), why not take advantage of pretax contributions? Since that money comes out of your paycheck before taxes, you’ll get more bang for your buck—especially if you get an employer match. Determine how much you’d like to sock away and change your contributions temporarily to equal that amount, then pay yourselves back with the wedding stash.

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Save Up for Something Big

A wedding windfall offers the perfect opportunity to get the two of you closer to a future goal you’ve been dreaming of. It can be as immediate as investing in much-needed new furniture (you can finally dump that lumpy old mattress!), or as far down the road as saving up for a home. Or maybe you want to buy a new car—especially if that sporty two-seater you’re currently driving doesn’t exactly match up with your plans to have kids. Whatever the goal, working toward something together will only serve to strengthen your relationship.

Bright idea: Want to put your wedding nest egg toward a down payment on a house? Consider opening a certificate of deposit (CD), especially if you’re not planning to buy for a few years. CDs tend to offer higher interest rates than savings accounts—and since you can’t touch the money for a set period of time, it’s useful if you’re usually tempted to tap into your savings for more immediate needs.

Have a Little Fun

Once you’ve got the future squared away, it’s okay to treat yourselves—so go ahead and enjoy a mini splurge that’ll benefit both of you. Reserve a small amount to put toward a shared interest, like a high-tech wine fridge or top-of-the-line home theater system. Or if the two of you have been texting each other pictures of goldendoodle puppies for weeks, and you’re serious about raising a dog or cat, visit your local shelter or check out reputable breeders to find a new four-legged friend. Allocating a bit of the funds for something exciting maintains a healthy balance in your spending habits, making long-term financial wellness more achievable. (You know what they say about all work and no play.)

Bright idea: Take a class together. Having a common interest helps you grow as a couple, so pick something you both want to learn, like a foreign language, and enjoy that extra quality time. 

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*Disclaimer: Consider consulting a financial professional before making any major money decisions.

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The Knot and Ally present We’re in This, Together, a sponsored content series featuring smart money-saving tips and advice to help achieve your future goals, including how to spend (and save) your wedding gift money. Learn how Ally’s digital financial services can help you do it right.

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