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Maxed Out 2008-04-07 14:36:10

Maxed Out: Engaged to be Married, But Wedded in Debt

Since we just finished up Engagement Week here on the Sugar Network, this episode of Maxed Out especially stood out to me. It featured Valerie and Jason, an engaged couple in their 20s whose existing combined debt and additional wedding debt was making them frantic. They say that their goal is to start their marriage off on the right foot, but they're pushing themselves even further into debt with a $25,000 wedding and no budget to speak of — Jason says they're winging the wedding expenses and hoping that their guests will be generous with cash gifts. To see how financial guru Allison Griffiths helps the couple overcome their money-related stresses and live happily-ever-after just


Since Valerie and Jason didn't approach Alison for help until very close to their wedding date, it was too late for her to help them establish a budget for their big day. Their money issues consisted of much more than the new debt from their wedding, in fact they had $54,000 combined debt, so she had plenty of problems to tackle. Their most expensive problem was their so-called income property that wasn't actually profitable. They rented out a house in hope that the house would pay for itself, but didn't account for property tax payments and owe $8,000 in back-taxes alone. On top of that, the tenants were constantly defaulting on rent payments, which left Valerie and Jason liable for those monthly payments.

Alison makes a plan for the couple to evict the current tenants and turn the rental property into their own home, builds them a budget, and tells them they must find a way to make more money. In the end, they're on their way to being debt free and having a monthly surplus instead of a monthly shortfall.

My biggest takeaway from this episode was Valerie and Jason's nonchalant attitude about their wedding costs. Valerie had said that there's an "unspoken rule that wedding guests should pay for the value of their own plate," so in effect she was hoping the wedding, just like their rental property, would pay for itself. That didn't turn out to be the case and they had $13,000 of debt from their wedding day. Instead of winging the wedding costs like they did, come up with a hard number for your budget and do you best to save up for your wedding day.

To see all of our wedding coverage, check out


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