The last thing any engaged couple wants is to start their new life together by going into debt. And yet, the costs can easily add up fast. First, there’s the wedding and all the events leading up to the big day. Then, there’s finding a place to live and making it your home.
Next, there’s the honeymoon—your chance to really relax and enjoy yourselves before married life gets real. You should remember this trip for the rest of your lives because it was a wonderful time spent together—not because you’re still paying for it. Here are some tips to make financing your honeymoon the least of your worries:
Setting a Limit on How Much You Can Spend
Maybe you’ve saved up for this dream trip, or Mom and Dad have floated you some cash. Boom. You’re done.
If not, you’ll have to come up with a realistic number and make it work. Sit down with your betrothed and have a frank discussion about what you want to do and how you’re going to pay for it. Talk about whether you’re willing to take on some debt, if necessary, and how you’ll pay it back if you do.
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Setting Priorities & Making Trade-offs
For example: Would you be willing to cut the trip short a few days if it meant you could stay at a nicer resort? Would you be willing to pass on a day at the spa if it meant you could go snorkeling or skydiving? Can you do without room service breakfasts so you can have dinner at the Eiffel Tower?
Breaking Down Your Expected Costs on a Budget Worksheet
You can use Excel or any other spreadsheet program, or a simple checklist could do. Just keep in mind that your costs will start before you ever leave for your trip. You may need a passport or specific vaccines if you’re traveling overseas.
You might want new clothes or better luggage. Also consider where you’ll stay, how you’ll get around, what you’ll eat and drink, things you’ll do for fun—and don’t forget about taxes and tip.
Finding Ways to Save
If you have enough set aside in your honeymoon fund to pay for everything you want, good for you—start making reservations. But what if you’ve got a shortfall?
Before you start arguing, crying, or crossing off some of the most appealing plans on your list, start searching for savings:
Talking to a Travel Agent: A good travel agent can help you find honeymoon destinations on a budget and steer you to experiences that will make your trip special without costing a fortune. Yes, you could do hours of research online and book it all yourself, but don’t you have enough on your plate?
Booking early: Not only will you have a chance at better choices for cruise cabins, hotel rooms, and airline seats that fit within your budget, you can stop sweating those details.
Considering an all-inclusive resort: If you don’t have time to hunt down individual deals, consider searching for all-inclusive resorts or cruises, which usually include lodging, meals, soft drinks, gratuities, and some activities and services in the price.
Go on a “mini-moon”: If your honeymoon budget just can’t handle a blowout trip, plan a shorter excursion, maybe closer to home. You can still go luxe with spa days and gourmet dinners at a five-star hotel; just tighten up on other details.
You can always take a longer honeymoon later, when your financial reserves (and vacation days) have had a chance to replenish.
Promoting You Are On Your Honeymoon: Whenever you make a call, be sure to mention this is for your H-O-N-E-Y-M-O-O-N. It might get you a better room, a better table, a free bottle of champagne or some extra attention from staff. If they don’t offer a discount or freebies, ask.
Making a Plan for How You’ll Pay
When you’ve done all you can to close the gap between what you want and what you can afford, it’s time to figure out how you’ll cover the difference.
Creating a honeymoon registry: You can use all the cash gifts you receive to augment your vacation stash, or you can set up a registry (like The Knot’s Newlywed Fund ), where wedding guests can contribute to a general honeymoon fund or make a gift of specific honeymoon activities.
This way, family and friends know where their money is going, and you get to go horseback-riding on the beach or shushing down the slopes in Aspen.
Pillaging your credit card points: If ever there was a time to use up every credit card point and frequent flier mile you’ve ever earned, this is it. If you plan ahead you could get strategic—use cards that earn you points to pay for wedding expenses, then use the points you just earned for the honeymoon, flights, upgrades and more.
Be sure you can make the monthly payments on those cards as you go—or better yet, pay off the balances. Otherwise, you’ll be racking up interest.
Looking into a personal loan: Maybe your finances are temporarily flagging because of the wedding, but you and your spouse-to-be both have a good credit record, excellent salaries, and the wherewithal to make payments on time. If your shortfall will be short-lived, taking out a personal loan might help.
Sure, you could pile those travel costs onto a credit card. But think about it: If the interest rate is high or variable and you can’t pay off the balance on your card as soon as you get back home, you could ultimately be spending far more for every souvenir and spa visit than you planned.
With a personal loan, you can borrow just what you need at a competitive rate and make manageable payments. Knowing upfront what you’ve borrowed could even help you keep better control of what you spend.
Another plus: You can sign on as co-borrowers and have the funds delivered to a joint account, so the loan will belong to both of you—you won’t have to fret or fume about who’s paying for what.
Personal Loans with SoFi
Arguing about finances can put stress on many a relationship—but that doesn’t have to be you.
If a vacation loan sounds like a good option, shop for the best deal you can get. SoFi’s Personal Loans offer competitive rates, great member benefits, and customer service that’s there whenever you need it.
You can pay back the loan early if you like—there are no prepayment fees. And as a SoFi member, you’ll also have access to the financial services you’ll need in the future, from home loans to investing.
If you plan well, cut costs where you can, and borrow wisely if needed, you can start your life together on sound financial footing.
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