Most people in the UK are feeling the credit crunch at the moment. Fuel has gone up, mortgages, if you can get one, are more expensive, house prices are down, jobs are harder to come by and the cost of food and general living has risen. That said, life still goes on.
Births, deaths, marriages - all carries on regardless.
Penny pinching is a necessity at some point in everyone's life and if you do not wish to lose the will to live during this period then it's a good idea to make the best of everything possible. Take a wedding for instance. Regardless of finances, finding love in such a cold world should be an event that is celebrated to the full. The joining of two people who are in love enough to dedicate the rest of their lives to each other is an event that should be held up as one of the highlights in a climate that is otherwise quite depressing.
But how to marry the two - an event that calls for a decent amount of celebrating and a time that needs marking as special with the constraints of a tight budget?
Well, budgets may be tight but they are not non-existent. All it takes is a little imagination. A top notch wedding in a hotel followed by a Caribbean cruise are all very nice but what is the point if you cannot afford the house to live in for the rest of your married days? It's important to weigh up what is necessary, what is wanted and what can be afforded and like I said, do it all with imagination and you will have a day to remember for the rest of your lives.
There is much to be seen in this country, beautiful landscapes, scenery, sunrises and sunsets, all to be absorbed and enjoyed without the expense of travelling abroad. But who wants to begin their honeymoon sat in traffic on the M25 to get to these sights? Well, there is no need. Let me set for you a mental picture.
You wake up on the first morning of married life and as far as your new wife is concerned, a honeymoon was unaffordable. Little does she know that, at a tiny fraction of the cost, you have a surprise planned for her in the form of a mornings hot air ballooning. You don't think that sounds exciting?
Well, it's a summer's morning. You arrive at the hot air ballooning pick up point and stepping out of the car, you breath in that summer dawn air. You know the one, the one that is full of anticipation of what the day holds, the one that tells you anything is possible, a day packed with potential. You climb into that wicker basket beneath the balloon. The feel of natural wicker under your hands is another sensation to be absorbed. There's nothing like being skint to ensure you appreciate the finer, natural things in life.
Wicker itself has a smell and texture that is unique and for evermore your new wife will smell wicker and be reminded of the first day of her married life. The basket will creak as you climb in, full of excited uncertainty and your pilot will expertly lift you off the ground. This is the most exhilarating moment of hot air ballooning, that feeling of are you going to make it or not.
Once in the air, you will drift along on the airwaves, feeling nothing but the sensation of each others arms around each other. You will see your world like you have never seen it before. You will see a sunrise that will be embedded onto your memory for the rest of your days. You will soak up sights, smells and sensations that can only be experienced through hot air ballooning.
So, this may not be a Mediterranean cruise or tropical holiday but it will be a moment etched in the mind forever and surely, for such a monumental event, that is what counts?
Financial expert Catherine Harvey looks at how hot air ballooning is a perfect way to celebrate when trips abroad are out of the budget range.