If you’re recently married, congratulations! Here are six ideas for using your wedding gifts in service of a happy, secure financial future.

If you’re recently married, congratulations! With the big day behind you, hopefully the only immediate thing on your to-do list is to relax. Eventually though, you’ve got to get to work on those thank you cards, reflecting on how generous your guests were with their time, support, and love. If they were generous with their wallets, too, then your planning isn’t quite done yet.

When it comes to using your wedding gifts, you have as many choices as there are cake flavors and color schemes. Below, we’ve shared six ideas for using this money in service of a happy, secure financial future.

Pay off a debt.

Whether it’s student loans, credit cards, car loans, or even personal loans or debt resulting from your wedding day, debt is a part of life. Most of us have some kind of debt; it’s a useful tool for helping us obtain the things we value most. But it can also be an anchor holding you back from being able to realize other financial priorities. If your debt is keeping you up at night, consider using a portion of your wedding gifts to pay it down. There are many different payoff strategies and techniques to consider, but first: get organized. Compare interest rates, remaining balances, and monthly minimum payments in order to make an informed decision as to which to prioritize. Our Loan Repayment Calculator can help with this.

Plan for emergencies.

As you begin your married life together, it’s a smart idea to prepare for the unexpected. Consider stashing some of your money away into an emergency fund to be used in the event of job loss, health scare, or other significant financial roadblock.

Improve your home.

Whether you just moved in with your spouse after saying “I do” or have been living together for years, use your marriage as an excuse to declutter, redecorate, or renovate. If you’re homeowners, maybe there’s that nagging repair or improvement that you’ve been hoping to get around to. Maybe you’ve been wanting to upgrade your furniture, or buy a new piece of technology. Whatever it may be, consider using some of your gifts toward making your house a home that reflects both of your tastes. And remember, many gift registries offer post-wedding completion discounts for the bride and groom, so if you truly covet that KitchenAid mixer and it’s still on your registry, use some of your gift money to buy it for yourself—at a deal.

Invest.

May your marriage last a lifetime. Wait, that’s a really long time. Consider stashing some of your gift money in an investment account earmarked for future goals, so you can spend that lifetime together reaping the rewards of compounded growth. Consider saving for retirement, a child’s college fund, or just padding your life savings. Entering the stock market comes with risk, but also opportunity for reward. Choose a strategy that matches your timeline, and take the plunge! Learn more about investing in our online course.

Splurge (within reason).

Whether you had an intimate gathering, huge celebration, or skipped the usual traditions altogether, it’s likely that your wedding still required it’s share of planning, thought, and stress. My husband and I decided to take the month after the wedding “off” from adulting. We splurged on a couple of things—a nice dinner out, a day at the spa, and a trip to visit friends in LA. We were so financially responsible leading up to the big day, that we decided to give ourselves a little break. Our wedding gifts took the pressure off of having to save every dollar. So if there’s a material item, trip, or experience the two of you have been craving, maybe let yourselves have it. The ability to go with the flow and say “yes” to unexpected plans can feel like a splurge in itself.

Travel.

If traveling has always been important to you and your partner, make room in your marital budget to continue the tradition, and use some of your wedding money to jumpstart this effort by creating a savings account earmarked for adventure. If you’re not avid travelers, marriage can be a great time to adopt new hobbies and traditions as a family. Give it a whirl! You’ll be surprised at how much you can gain from experiencing new sights, cultures, and customs. Maybe you’ll even find a new cuisine to love—ask for the recipe and try it out at home using those new pots and pans you got from your registry.

No matter how you spend it, remember that receiving money for your wedding is a huge gift. So after you’ve figured out how to spend it, don’t forget to get back to those thank you cards!

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Ariel is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who believes that good financial advice starts with asking the right questions and determining how each Grownup personally defines success.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner professional.

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