Skip to Main Content

Dave Says: Go into Debt for a Wedding? Nope!

NOVEMBER 13, 2023

Dear Dave,
Our daughter’s college education is pretty much paid for already through grants and scholarships, and my wife and I make good money. We just started your plan, so when we get to Baby Step 5, saving for college, can we substitute that with saving for a wedding?

Dear Benton,
I’m glad you’re thinking ahead, buddy. And I don’t have a problem with your idea. It’s always a good plan to save for a wedding, if you have the financial resources to do so.

Did you know the average wedding in America this year, according to, ran around $29,000? Of course, you don’t have to pay anything close to that amount to make a wedding a beautiful and memorable occasion. Your household income, debt, savings and other factors will all play a part in how much you can legitimately afford.

Sit down with your wife, crunch some numbers and see what makes sense in your situation. Just remember to pay cash for the wedding. If you have to go into debt to make it happen, you’re spending way too much!

Don't Panic, You Have Plenty of Time

My husband and I have just $12,000 to pay off before we’re debt-free. We’ve paid off almost $70,000 in debt in the last two years, and we both just turned 50. We would like to buy a house soon, but we know we need an emergency fund. It would take us over a year to build up an emergency fund, so since we’re getting older, should we make adjustments to the Baby Steps?

Dear Debbie,
You’ve been making great progress, and you obviously have a good income to be able to pay off debt that quickly. But it shouldn’t take you two a year to build up an emergency fund, considering the rate at which you’ve been paying off debt.

Yes, you need a fully funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses set aside before you start saving a down payment for a home. Maybe in your case, you could lean a little more toward the three-month side with your emergency fund. Then, after you’re all moved in, you could revisit the emergency fund and beef it up to six months.

Fifty isn’t old, Debbie. Just stay on course and stick with the plan. You two have plenty of time to get your finances in order and find a great home!

* Dave Ramsey is an eight-time national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.