Hide caption Mary Hunt Dear Mary: I offered to do flower arrangements for a very small family wedding. The bride donated $100 for the flowers. I offered to pay for any additional floral costs as my wedding gift to the couple. Unfortunately, I underestimated the additional cost for the flowers, and it looks as if I will be going way over my budget for this gift. Do you have the social etiquette solution for me so I do not have to invest any more of my own money? I do not know how to say my wedding gift is completed but the cost of flowers is not. — Name Withheld

Dear Name Withheld: This is a tough situation and an expensive lesson you will never have to learn again. Ethically, you have no choice but to complete the task and your gift to the couple as you offered in the beginning. Is there a chance you could find another to assist in paying for this gift? If so, be sure to write a note to let the bride and groom know that person participated in their gift. Next time, decide on a limit at the beginning so everyone has the same expectations.

Dear Mary: I have started a contingency fund for unexpected events and emergencies in the top drawer of my dresser. Where do you recommend I keep it? Thanks. — Julie M.

Dear Julie: Good for you! While that drawer might keep your money safe from outsiders, it’s very convenient for you. Maybe too convenient. I suggest that you open a savings account as soon as possible to put some space between you and the stash.

A bank or a credit union are good options, but there will be a minimum required amount to get started. An online savings account is a great idea, because you will earn the highest rate of interest without any minimum deposits or balance requirements. I like Ally Bank. Check them out. You’ll see how easy it is to open an online savings account. Then you can start feeding it regularly.

Dear Mary: We will need a new stove soon. According to preliminary pricing, it will cost about $1,200 to replace. We’ve just moved in, and I am not sure when (or whether) we will be remodeling the kitchen. What are your suggestions for a cheap stopgap option? Sears wants $600 to fix the problems with the current oven. They advised getting a new one instead, because it is 15 years old. — Cristy M.

Dear Cristy: I’d go with getting your current stove repaired. Let’s say you remodel in five years. If you opt for a new stove now, you may feel compelled to design your new kitchen around a five-year-old stove you purchased to fit an existing space. By repairing your current stove, you’ll save money now and also give yourselves more options when it’s time to start over. A lot can happen in five years. I wonder whether your salesman was […]