How Lady Gaga can help you save up money for your wedding

March 9 | Guest post by Dora Figueiredo
Craig Gleason's Gaga dollars.
Craig Gleason's Gaga dollars.
Joey, my fiancée, and I weren't officially engaged until September 2010, but we knew early on in our relationship that we were headed towards marriage. We also knew that paying for a wedding would be one of the most annoying financial undertakings of our lives.

Then in July 2009, a Lady Gaga song came on the radio and changed everything.

No, seriously. I was incredibly sick of the song, so I changed the station… right to another Lady Gaga song. I changed the station again… to yet ANOTHER Lady Gaga song. I sent a text to Joey:

Geez. 3 Gaga songs on at a time. We should put a dollar in a jar every time we hear one.

And so started our so-called Wedding Jar.

The song game came to include any song by the Black Eyed Peas, Fall Out Boy and Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop." "Lollipop" and Fall Out Boy were worth $5 each, because they are played on the radio less. Eventually, we also added $1 for every time we saw someone wearing camouflage (not military-issued). We would also have bonus weeks with $1 for things like seeing yellow plaid shirts or hearing Madonna songs from before 1996.

Saving money is like working out: much easier when you have
(a) a partner
(b) a goal
and
(c) a fun way to do it.

Our friends thought it was hilarious and I would regularly get texts with things like, "Lady Gaga on Z-100!" or "Old guy next door wearing camo today." And, in the spirit of saving money, we decided to actually put money in the Jar for whenever our friends saw/heard them too. We kept the Jar going until September 2010.

How much money did we save between July 2009 and September 2010?

$6,730.00!

That's an average of $480 per month. This means we each put about $3,365 or an average of $240 each per month in the Jar in just over a year. I don't think I've ever saved so much money for a specific purpose so quickly in my life!

There was an actual jar and on the first of every month I would take our money and put it into a savings account at my local bank with a crappy interest rate.

[related_post align="right"]In September 2010 we stopped putting money into the jar and we researched CDs with high interest rates until we would really need the cash–which would be mid-late spring 2011 when payments for venues, flowers, etc, would be due.

We went with Ally Bank's High Yield 6-Month CD (an online bank) because they consistently had the highest CD rate. We got a 1.3% interest rate and so far we have netted about $40 in interest on our Jar fund. Not much but better than the .05% from the savings account (about the same as keeping it in a jar).

Saving money is like working out: much easier when you have (a) a partner (b) a goal and (c) a fun way to do it.

In case you're curious, we got the most money from seeing people wearing camo — about 40% of our Jar fund.

  1. Awesome! As a Little Monster, I approve of this technique. Also, my Pandora suspiciously started playing "Telephone" when I clicked on this.

    19 agree
  2. This is awesome.
    What's funny is if you had each said "I'm going to put away $240 each month", it would've seemed so impossible and a huge burden. But when it's fun, when it comes in small pops and when it is a source of positive encouragement… SO EASY! You probably didn't even notice that there was less money circulating through your budget.

    14 agree
    • Totally true! Saving money can be so daunting, but when you do it without realizing you're doing it, the result can be amazing.

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    • You're absolutely right! It was easy enough to just grab cash from the ATM at the end of each month and put it into the jar.. and it was nice to watch it add up. I don't think we would have put away as much money if we had done it any other way.

      1 agrees
  3. Super great idea! ING.com also has great savings rates (not quite as good as CD) but you can take your money in and out at any time.

    1 agrees
    • Ah but then if you're willing to not take any money out you can do a GIC with ING for even more interest ;)

      1 agrees
  4. I love this idea, so clever. I really love that their friends got involved and they honored the 'text spotting' :)

    Sharing this with others, thank you!!

    Stacey D

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  5. I don't think this would work for us because we never have cash – we use our debit cards for everything! But it's really cool that it worked for you – it sounds like a great way to save some money!

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    • We actually primarily use our debit cards as well. We made it a point to go to the ATM on the last day of each month and take out the money for that month's Jar deposit. It was kind of a pain to take all the money out at first, but after we saw how much we were saving, it was exciting!

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  6. That is too funny :-) .

    Though, if you're "seeing" so much camo, then the camo's not doing its job.
    *ba-dum ching*
    (I kid, I kid).

    34 agree
  7. What a brilliant idea…!! Unfortunately from the moment we got engaged we only had 3 months to the wedding (no Im not pregnant!) so yeah at this point, anything that comes in goes out to the wedding savings!

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  8. I really love this idea. We both listen to rock stations for nearly 14 hours a day combined so there has to be a lot of money to save in that right? All we have to do is think of what bands to pay the ££ into.

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  9. How great to know that the imginative spirit is alive and well…and able to produce big dividends. Dave Ramsey could learn a little something from you!

    3 agree
  10. This is a very clever idea. Saving a little bit at a time can really add up and this a good example.
    It reminds me of math class when we calculated the 'cost' of a daily Starbucks run. Turn's out that the $4 a day spent on a latte really 'costs' a lot–> a lot of new shoes or a lot of the energy bill! :D

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  11. I loved this idea so much I already created guidelines for my fiance and I.

    Any time one of these songs is heard, the amount associated goes into a jar:
    • Your Sex is On Fire = $5 each (This is an inside joke. When this song came out my fiance said he hated it so our entire group of friends now texts the name of the song to him any time they hear it. So if I hear it, I text him, we both pay. Same if he hears it.)
    • Black Keys = $1
    • Weezer = $1
    • Muse = $1
    • Kesha = $1
    • Lady Gaga = $1
    • Rihanna = $1

    Any time we see any of the following, the amount associated goes into a jar:
    • A Mark Sighting = $2 (Mark is our rarely seen, 24-and-living-with-mom, nocturnal neighbor.)

    Any time one of the following happens, the amount associated goes into a jar:
    • Gordie pees inside = $1 (Our new puppy. He only peed inside twice today.)

    By these guidelines my total today is $5.

    9 agree
    • The "Mark Sighting" thing made me laugh so hard!

      14 agree
  12. This is seriously the most fantastic idea ever. I'm going to implement this in my life immediately!

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  13. Such a cute story!! Especially because I am a little monster too!! So inspiring! Congrats guys I'm sure now there's nothing you both can't do!

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  14. I am officially doing this from now on! My guys' favorite thing is to brag about his "eye spy" skills and his least favorite is to save money. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea!!!

    1 agrees
  15. Thanks so much for sharing! What a great idea! My fiance loves to listen to top 40 radio where if we run errands for an hour and a half, we hear the same songs getting in and out of the car every time! This will work perfectly!

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  16. um agreed. Brilliant. This will be my saving strategy in the future FOR SURE. Perhaps we should start doing it for the honeymoon fund….I'm floating this to the fiance tonight!!! Thank you for this divine inspiration lol

    2 agree
  17. This is such a neat way to save money! I'm currently saving towards several things by refusing to spend any of my $1 bills. I divide them evenly at the end of each week between a House fund, Wedding Fund, and Emergency Fund. I was able to save $120 the first month of doing this (and working part-time, going to school full time, and paying bills & gas this is quite an accomplishment for me.)

    3 agree
  18. What a great idea – I just sent this to a friend, thinking they can do this to save for their baby.

    1 agrees
  19. This is probably UK specific but for about a year before our family holiday my Mum would put every £2 coin she got into a jar and after 12 months she had £800 in the jar just from £2 coins, I thought that was amazing!
    I might start that actually…

    3 agree
  20. This is such a cool idea! We're going to try something similar to save for a vacation:)

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  21. Wow, such a great way to save money! Thanks so much for sharing! :) My fiancé and I will most likely be implementing this or a similar system. We both have trouble saving money, and this sounds like it should be super fun and easy!

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  22. Thanks for the awesome idea!!
    I'm on a pretty tight budget so I don't think I could quite pull this off. But I have decided to start using cash whenever I go to the store and not spend any of the coins I get in change. Hopefully over the next year it'll add up so I can contribute to our big day :)

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  23. This is SUCH an awesome idea! I'm not yet engaged, but I think I may do this. We have a cruise planned for September, and if we both do this, we'll be able to have the vacation of our dreams!! Thanks for the awesome idea!

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  24. Each time Nate and I come across a dollar bill printed from a reserve represented by one of our initials (E, K, L, J) we put it aside. My Mom and Dad always did that for their rainy day jar–amazing how fast it adds up!

    1 agrees
  25. we have already started the game and are up to $6. thank you SOOOO much for the inspiration! Ours include: seeing dachshunds (we have one and get excited when we see them around the city), seeing GA license plates (from GA, live in DC), hearing Miley Cyrus songs, and seeing "homo haters" (anti-gay protesters.. we wanted them to indirectly contribute to our wedding fund. :-)

    6 agree
    • anti-gay protesters?! For real, that's an actual thing?

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      • As a girl who just got engaged to another girl, the $1 for the homo-haters is my new favourite thing. If I can talk the fiance into doing this saving thing, that's so going to be one of ours. :D

        1 agrees
    • Love that you're useing protester-spotting for your fund!

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  26. My partner and I are doing this only we do it with "bad" jokes. Not dirty jokes just the jokes that are so bad that no one laughs.
    I like the idea of assigning a value to certain things, maybe puns will be worth $5 now.

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  27. I saw this post a week ago – what a fantastic idea! We adapted the game to include items that work for us, with the starting point being "Put a quarter into the jar every time the cat sneezes" (poor guy has some allergy issues..) – we plan on adding items and increasing amounts whenever we think of something good. Thanks for the fun and simple savings idea!

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  28. I started doing this a month ago. I work in a small lab and got my co-workers in on it, we added a $5 song of the week and keep tally marks on our dry-erase board. So far, I'm up to $45!! Thank you for this article!

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  29. What a Camo-tastic idea! We're pretty much a cash free household as well, but perhaps it's time to revise that….

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  30. Love this!!
    My Fiancee is in the military and we have been putting a dollar in a jar everyday he's been overseas. It started as a joke that when we'd have an amzing date when he got back state-side but its better used for the wedding….
    Now I think i am going to suggest that we add extra things to the list.. like everytime we play our song or something…
    Thanks so Much!!!

    1 agrees
  31. Just told my fiance about this and he loved it! We both love Lady Gaga, so we decided to stick with any Gaga song, plus a number of other specific songs that come on regularly (Last Friday Night by Katy Perry and Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 just to name a few). We are also going to add a dollar for every time we see a girl wearing shorts and a hoodie, when he leaves the toilet seat up, and I laugh so hard I snort. Our $5 things are hearing Bohemian Rhapsody and seeing a mullet. (We couldn't do camo, living in Oklahoma, we wouldn't be able to afford our monthly bills lol)

    1 agrees
    • Awesome! I Love that you made me laugh about the girl in the hoodie and shorts! My Fianc'e HATES girls in shorts and UGG boots! Lol…that should ours!

      2 agree
  32. I am so excited about this idea! I listen to the radio all day at work!

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  33. This is the best idea ever! My fiance and I are thrilled to try this out! Some of ours…we have this joke about how neither one of us have ever seen a dalmatian in real life but we have seen pandas! So any dalmatian sighting and it's an automatic $20 in the jar! LOL we are also quitting fast food and anytime we want to eat out we are going to calculate what we would order and put that money in the jar, another joke we have is about people ALWAYS being in the neighbors driveway so anytime we see no one out there $5 in the jar! We are zeppelin freaks and we always do the "zeppelin" search on the radio $1 per song and we will pay for our wedding in no time! I'm so excited to start!

    0 agree
  34. My partner are saving for baby-making (sperm costs add up when you're dykes) by putting every $5 bill we get in a jar. We started maybe three months ago and we're up to $500 now. Some weeks there will be no new money because we do everything on debit, so I like the idea of adding something like this ($1 per certain thing that happens) to savings plan, as well.

    1 agrees
  35. I LOVE YOU! We have saved almost $200 in two weeks. Because the money gets transferred from checking to savings as soon as we see a uhaul truck/hear Katy, Adele, Coldplay, Swift we don't notice that the money is gone. Thank you!

    2 agree
  36. This is…brilliant. It's like a drinking game in reverse. I think I will have to do $1 for every time my toddler asks "why?" and a quarter for every time someone says "culture" or "ideology" in my Literary and Cultural Studies MA program lolol I will be RICH.

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  37. This may actually be the best idea I have ever heard.

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  38. LOVE THIS , will do for the wedding coming up and I think it's also great for maybe some nest money for the year up to having/adopting a child or something :)

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  39. My Dad hates change so he used to chuck all of it in big jars. My first ever bank deposit was my half of his saved coinage – $150! It's a good way to go unless you need change for parking (or coffee!).
    I like one of the commenter's ideas of saving the money they would have spent on dining out – I should have made the fella do that when he quit smoking last year!

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  40. I can't believe that this post has been up for over three years and I'm the first one to say…

    Bang bang! We're beautiful and dirty rich.

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  41. This is really cute! FH and I are doing a 'savings challenge' where in week 1 we put £1 in the jar, week 2 £2, etc up to week 52. It sounded do-able at the time but not so sure now -and I've been paying off the last weeks in advance and cheating! but this sounds way more fun!!

    0 agree

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