A special occasion—like a wedding, big birthday, or anniversary—often comes with a big price tag. Planning for how to pay for these events doesn’t have to drag down the excitement of the day. Here are some ways you can keep costs down and plan a great celebration without stressing about the cost.

1. Set a clear budget

The first step in saving for a special occasion is to figure out how much you’ll need. Consider all the details of the event, like venue, food, gifts, and entertainment. Once you have an estimate, set your budget. Be realistic about what you can afford, and stick to it. That’ll help you avoid overspending and being blindsided by big bills later.

2. Start early

The earlier you start saving, the less financial pressure you’ll feel as the event approaches. As soon as you have a date for your special occasion, begin setting aside money. Creating a dedicated savings account for the event can help you track your progress and prevent you from dipping into these funds for other expenses.

3. Automate your savings

Automating your savings is a hassle-free way to ensure you consistently set aside money each month. Set up a direct deposit from your paycheck or an automatic transfer from your checking account to your special occasion savings account. Even small, regular contributions can grow significantly over time, especially if you start saving well in advance.

4. Cut back on non-essentials

Look for areas in your daily spending where you can cut back and redirect those funds to your savings. This might mean dining out less frequently, skipping expensive coffee runs, or cutting down on subscription services you rarely use. Every little bit you save adds up and gets you closer to your financial goal for the occasion.

5. Look for additional income streams

If your budget is tight, look for ways to earn some extra money. This could be anything from selling items you no longer need, picking up a side hustle, or taking on a part-time job. You can put the additional income into your savings for the special occasion, speeding up your financial readiness.