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Before you say, "I do," be sure you say you've looked far and wide for a wedding location you can afford. Your wedding will be one of the most important moments in your life, but you needn't go broke for it to be special.

Did you know that couples spend an average of $35,000+ on their wedding, as per the personal finance website, WalletHub? That's a lot of loot for a one-day affair, but Americans are willing to shell it out for their ceremonies and receptions, from photos to food to venue to of course, saying "yes" to the dress. But starting off your life together shouldn't put you in the hole when you've surely got bills to pay and plans for the future.

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Perhaps Americans ought to take a cue from the Europeans. According to Brides magazine, "Americans tend to spend six times as much money on their ceremony and reception as Europeans do." They'd rather save their hard-earned dough on more practical things like a house. Sensible? Sure. Romantic? It all depends on how you look at it.

Because we all know that money matters can create tension and stress. The last things a soon-to-be-married couple need during a time that is supposed to be full of joy and excitement. Brides notes, "42% of women and 32% of men feel overwhelmed by the wedding planning process, which, as you can imagine, puts a damper on the whole 'we're going to spend the rest of our lives together!' idea."

One way to cut down on costs as well as the accompanying stress? Find an affordable wedding location. WalletHub recently released a report – 2018's Best Places to Get Married - where their team of experts, "compared more than 180 of the biggest U.S. cities across 23 key indicators of cost-effectiveness, convenience and enjoyment."

These key indicators of "wedding-friendliness" include lowest (and highest) average wedding cost, number of wedding chapels and churches per capita, number of event planners per capita, number of bridal shops per capita, number of flower shops per capita, number of event spaces per capita, cities with the most attractions, foodie-friendliness, popularity as a travel destination, where you'll find the best (and worst) weather, hotel availability, etc.

Using their unique methodology after compiling their findings, the 182 U.S. cities were ranked from best to worst. The top five cities: Orlando, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; and Miami, FL all fared well in the various areas WalletHub considered. On the other hand, Bridgeport, CT; Warwick, RI; South Burlington, VT; Worcester, MA; and Juneau, AK ranked at the bottom of the barrel for their failure to meet WalletHub's standards of wedding-friendliness.

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Let's get to some specifics. The top-ranking city, Orlando, is full of flower shops. Flowers are a must-have at nearly every wedding. The fresh and fragrant decorations can be pricy, but with so many shops in the area it's all about supply and demand, bringing costs down while still providing floral flair for a beautiful setting.

City number 3, Los Angeles, has plenty of bridal shops all over the city, allowing brides-to-be to price shop and still find a gorgeous gown that dazzles. Although New York City (ranked #9) has the most bridal shops of all cities compared, other factors brought L.A. to a higher spot on WalletHub's list, like NYC's super-high average cost for weddings.

As for the lower-ranking cities, Juneau and Warwick's bad weather caused their spots to plummet, and Bridgeport's high average wedding cost made it an undesirable place for those seeking to spend less. The city with the lowest average wedding cost of all is El Paso, TX, which ranked #29 overall. Texans may "do it bigger" but in El Paso, they manage to count their pennies.

To see WalletHub's full 182-city ranking as well as additional findings, see their full report.

Along with the city itself, the venue in which you choose to tie the knot can be a money-saver too. Nerd Wallet compiled a list of affordable wedding venue ideas for those who want to get hitched without breaking the bank. They offer less-expensive solutions than the average $2,197 spent on a ceremony site and $16,107 on a reception venue, as per The Knot's Real Weddings Study.

Some of Nerd Wallet's suggestions for weddings are libraries and museums, restaurants, boats, and theaters. They also offer advice including choosing an off-peak time (or day of the week) to hold the wedding, having the ceremony and reception at the same location, and trimming the guest list. See more of their money-saving tips.

"For richer or for poorer" shouldn't start out with you in debt. Spend wisely from the get-go and kick off your marriage with money in your pocket.

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

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