Weddings Have Never Been More Expensive

Marriage is crazy expensive, and it only seems to be getting pricier and pricier. Nowadays, your average couple will spend roughly $31,213. Yep, that’s not a typo.

For the cost of a brand new car, or a downpayment on a house, you can officially tie the knot with your significant other in style. Venues for the occasion alone can run you about $14,000 on average.

How much you’ll end up paying has a lot to do with your state too. For instance, a Manhattan wedding will run you on average roughly $76,328. Again, that isn’t a typo.

So why all this money? Well, aside from the costs of engagement rings, dresses, catering, venue, etc, people want to have a memorable, unique wedding. Often this means hiring entertainment, commissioning custom work, and in some cases, paying for wedding planners to come and facilitate your special day. Of course, the wedding cake also takes up a substantial portion of the wedding budget too. Every year, the cakes get bigger, more intricate, and more expensive.

Lastly, in this new digital era, a social media consultant to help document your special day is a must, or at least, a valuable expense.

Nobody want’s to compromise a (hopefully) once in a lifetime occasion to save a few bucks, so when it comes to weddings, people tend to spend a bit more liberally. In addition, if you have parents and family members contributing to the wedding funds, ~$31,000 becomes a bit more manageable.

Now You Can Tip Your Doctor

When was the last time you tipped your dentist or doctor?

If you’re like 99.9% of people, probably never. And you probably don’t plan on doing that anytime soon. Outside of waiters, cab drivers, and valets, most professions don’t enjoy tips from the customers. At least, until now.

Square, a leading payment processing company, is now allowing business to accept tips through their point of sale systems. Tipping is quickly becoming a more accepted way of expressing gratitude in industries where tipping isn’t really all that common. Through the system, a business can chose where to prompt the user to tip, and how much to suggest.

Surprisingly enough, this feature is becoming increasingly properly among professional services providers. Would you tip your lawyer or accountant? Even if you never have, consider if that was because there was never any encouragement to do so.

This feature is all about giving customers and business more options. Customers can elect not to tip, and business can elect whether or not this option is presented to the customer at all.

So far, this feature has been something of a hit, with tip frequencies increasing 35%.

Woman Often Pay More Then Men

Did you know that the female versions of some products actually cost more than the male versions. It’s true, and many people refer to this as the pink tax.

According to the New York Department of Consumer Affairs, women pay this pink tax 42% of the time for the same items that men buy. On one hand, these price difference can somewhat be explained by differences in demand and production costs, but is sexism and price gouging involved?

Well, this is where the debate lies, and it isn’t as clear cut as one might think. To start with, it’s very difficult to follow the production metrics for a particular product. How much does an item cost to produce? How much is the inventory bought for? What contracts are in place?

There are way more questions than answers, but according to Ted Potrikus, President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, retails are not to blame for these price discrepancies. Retailers have to price competitively, so it makes zero sense for them to price gouge normal commodity items.  

While evidence and information on this issue is limited, many individual states and cities are taking steps towards preventing the “pink tax”. California for instance banned gender based price discrimination in 1995. Many other cities and states have followed suit since then. Hopefully, as more information and awareness is brought around this topic, a solution can be reached.

Property Insurance Claims Can Hike Up Your Premiums

No one like paying for insurance, but the only thing worse than paying insurance typically ends up being paying for repair bills in full. With that being said, filing an insurance claim will likely cost you more than you’re already paying for that coverage.

In fact an average clim can raise your monthly premium by ~9% according to Additional claims can increase your premium even further. To make matters worse, you claim doesn’t even have to be approved for this to happen. Even denied claims can result in higher premiums.

These are all things you should keep in mind when filing claims. Also keep in mind that certain claims will result in higher premiums than others. Liability claims for instance can raise your premium by ~14%.

Your state also heavily affects your premium increases. For instance, some states such as Texas don’t allow insurance providers to increase premiums due to one claim. Other states have higher and lower average premium increases.

If you find your premiums to be unbearable high, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news? Your claims history goes back several years, and potential insurers will take your past claims into account when deciding your payment. The good news? You can still lower your premiums.

You can raise your deductible for instance, which can encourage your providers to give you a better premium. You can also make sure to avoid making small claims that you can fix relatively inexpensively. Lastly, shop around. You can’t get better deals if you aren’t looking for them.

Cashless Isn’t Convenient For Everyone

Thanks to debit cards, cryptocurrencies, Apple and Samsung Pay, etc, it’s easier than ever to make purchases without ever having to have cash. In fact, most people don’t even like the idea of carrying cash. It’s not safer than say, using a debit card, and it doesn’t come with skymiles for cash back either.

The cashless lifestyle however, is ultimately reserved for the wealthy. Not everyone has the luxury of a bank account, or a fancy credit card. Furthermore, not everyone has a smartphone to utilize contactless payment options, and even fewer people can tell you what a cryptocurrency is. This is something that’s pretty easy to forget for the rich and successful.

It’s also worth pointing out that a cashless lifestyle isn’t convenient for everyone. A waiter would much rather be tipped in cash, and most independent store owners prefer cash payments. Their margins are already paper thin, and accepting credit/debit card means digging into their profits from each sale. This doesn’t generally seem like a big deal, but consider a store that pays ~3% in credit card fees on one million in sales with a 10% profit margin (pre-fee). Yikes.

So what can you do? Nothing really, but you can be aware and you can definitely be considerate. For example, try paying smaller, mom and pop establishments in cash. You help their bottom line, and you don’t risk putting your credit card info out there in a less reputable establishment either.