MORE than one person you know is getting married, which means you have to buy gifts.
You've known for months about the weddings but you didn't add up the costs.
For guests, cutting corners can take a little strategising, from chipping in with others to helping pay for the entertainment.
"Everybody is in a tough bind and everyone is worried, but people are going to continue to get married and they're still going to invite you," says Samantha Goldberg, an event planner.
If you know other guests who are attending the wedding, you should all consider chipping in together.
If there are five of you, you might contribute R100 apiece.
The bride and groom will be able to look at the value of the gift and divide by the number of givers, so you're not pulling a fast one.
But you will be able to give a more expensive gift than a single guest is likely to take on.
Bigger group buys can also pool funds to help cover some wedding expenses.
If it is family or a very close friend, you might be able to donate towards the wedding or honeymoon .
CHECK THE WEDDING GIFT REGISTRY EARLY AND OFTEN
Shopping early can also save you money on the gift. Check the wedding shower list and catch sales and other promotions early.
But beware: It might be tempting to see if you can find items on the registry at other places for less.
After all, your friends probably weren't looking for the best deal when they registered. If it's the same exact product, that's fine, but just double check that someone else hasn't already bought it. Otherwise, you risk someone buying it off the registry after you have bought it somewhere else.
CARD OR CASH
Maybe there just wasn't something on the registry that you wanted to get and you've decided to leave it up to the bride and groom.
Gift card or cash? Definitely gift card, says Goldberg.
If you want to personalise your present, buy something small and supplement it with a gift card. That can save the couple money too if the items they registered for are discounted later.
If the couple are conscientious, they can use the gift card during sales and get more for their money.
Another option is contributing to a restaurant dinner or a prepaid credit card or gift card the newlyweds can take on their honeymoon, says Goldberg.
"You have to worry about envelopes walking out, and there is a little more security when there's a credit card, rather than cash attached to it," she says.
If you're going to the bridal shower and the wedding, that equals two presents. But they shouldn't be equal in cost.
This is an unnecessary mistake that could cost you big.
A general rule is to first come up with a total sum that feels right to you. Keep in mind, if you're travelling great distances, you may be expected to spend less.
NOT GOING TO MAKE IT
If you're not going to make it for the wedding, but you'd still like to send something, the rules above don't apply.
Don't feel obligated to open your wallet wider to make up for your absence - especially if you were staying home because you couldn't afford to go.
You can send something small.
You can send something like a wine opener with their favourite bottle of wine or a cake stand with their favourite recipe. That way you can connect with the couple, without going overboard. - smartmoney.com