In a year without wedding invites, these are all the things I can now afford

"If you want the guacamole on your salad, it's going to be $5 extra," the waiter informed me.

"Oh, I shouldn't. Oh wait… yes, YES I SHOULD!" I exclaimed exuberantly.

This year I'm back on regular budgeting

This year I’m back on regular budgeting

Why this over-the-top attitude toward spending a measly additional $5? Because this year I'm back on regular budgeting, not the panicked "I have two weddings, two destination bachelorette parties, two engagement parties and two showers" budgeting. It feels like a gigantic weight has been lifted off my decidedly unimpressive freelance earnings.

Which means that if I want to spend some hard-earned money on avocado, I can at least do it biweekly now. By 35 I was supposed to have saved the equivalent of two years of my salary for retirement, but avocado toast is the reason I haven't. Oh no wait, that's the reason I don't own a home. But I digress.

It's no secret that attending a wedding is expensive. According to a 2016 survey from American Express, the average millennial guest spends $US893 ($1,180) to attend a wedding; members of the bridal party, on average, spend $US928 ($1226).

By my own accounting, fulfilling the honour of being a bridesmaid has cost me $1,050 to $3,370. The dress has run me $130 to $460, with alterations costing another $80 to $200. Showers have ranged from $130 to $400. Hens nights, $330 to $1,000. The actual wedding, $400 to $1,300. No amount of avocado toast can do the kind of damage to your bank account that a wedding can.

This is not meant to be a complaint. I love my friends and my family and being there for their weddings – and the multiple preceding events – fills me with happiness (and free booze). However, while these couples are rejoicing in their newlywed status, I am basking in the extra financial freedom of not having any weddings to attend this year.

In honour of having a year off from celebrating other people's nuptials, I have compiled a list of the things I have been able to afford in a year without any weddings:

Dresses I like and will wear again. Several times.

More than the minimum payment on my credit card. Thank you for sticking with me, MasterCard, though you wouldn't lower my interest rate even when I called begging, drunk and crying from a bar mid-hens night.

A weekend away to a destination of my choosing with people I know where no one is screaming that we're not keeping to some itinerary, which inexplicably includes a wax museum.

Avocado on all my sandwiches and salads. And prawns on my Caesar salads if I'm feeling especially decadent.

Streaming service subscriptions! You'd think spending four hours making flower arrangements for a bridal shower would endear you enough to be able to borrow a password or two from the bride or groom, but nooooo.

The good toothpaste. You know the one I'm talking about.

Subscriptions to major newspapers – hope I haven't missed too much coverage on too many major world events.

Shoes I like! At a heel height that pleases me and doesn't have to be approved for photography aesthetics.

Goodbye to Uber Pool! No more 45-minute rides to go 10 blocks because it's only going to cost $5! I will lounge in the luxury of my $15 personal back seat and get home so much faster.

If I can't pass that next level on Candy Crush, I will buy my way through if I so choose!

So I'm thankful for 2018 for bringing me this embarrassment of riches! It's good to be able to spend a little money on myself again. And I'm truly happy for my friends who have found their life partners and are enjoying their post-wedding bliss. I just ask that you all wait a few more months to start rolling into my mailbox with your baby shower invitations. I'm trying to go to the dentist this year.

The Washington Post

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