Matt Reiner, co-founder and CEO of Wela – a startup changing how people interact with their finances – shares tips to help continue the wedding bliss for a couple more weeks, all from his own personal experience as a newlywed.
The honeymoon is meant to give the newlyweds the ability to decompress, reflect on the wedding day and enjoy each other. This is supposed to be a very special vacation, similar to how special the wedding was. But just because it is meant to be an extremely special moment to us, it doesn’t mean we have to break the bank for the trip.
We need to take the same mentality we had while planning the wedding and put it towards the honeymoon.
Plan, plan and plan some more.
Very early in the wedding planning phase, the future Mr. and Mrs. need to take a second and dream past their special night.
What would be a special and memorable vacation for the two of them after they tie the knot?
A targeted timeline to have made this decision would be (if possible) about nine months before the wedding date or before you plan to take the trip. But ideally, make this decision well before the wedding… more on this below.
Ok, so this sounds a little counterintuitive coming from a financial dude. I get it. But hear me out on this one.
We really need a couple more words after the heading — a credit card “with a good rewards program.” The idea here is to help reduce the future cost of your honeymoon with your current spending, You reap its maximum potential the earlier you start using the great rewarding credit card.
It would be best to look into this rewards credit card right after you get engaged so you have the maximum number of months to rack up the points. But notice how I said “rack up the points.” I didn’t say “rack up the debt.” Because the only way you can actually get these points is if you make your payments for the credit card. Put your spending on your credit card, but pay off the entire balance every month.
One that I like (and no I don’t get any benefits from them, they have yet to contact me) is the Venture card from Capital One. Many of us probably know this one from the Alec Baldwin commercials. Whether you like Alec Baldwin or not, the card has a good points system. And most importantly, it’s easy to benefit (cash in) from the points.
Now it’s time to think outside the box.
Yeah, it would be easier to just find that nice lavish hotel room in the city we are honeymooning. But easiest may not always be the most affordable.
And this doesn’t mean that to be affordable we have to scrimp on lavishness… it just means we may need to work a little harder.
With the rise of the “Uber Economy,” many different services have emerged and one that many use when traveling is Airbnb. Given that it has housing options for over 190+ countries, I am sure you will find your destination on the list.
The benefit here is that you can find more affordable accommodations while still getting quality living quarters on your trip. And an even deeper benefit is you will be able to experience the city from a different perspective—a perspective of one who is actually living in the city as a resident, rather than necessarily being pampered by the hotel staff. This can help to make the trip even more memorable!
Get ready, because now is the moment I take my financial nerd cap out!
But this one could be really beneficial for you. When you and your significant other start listing out the dream honeymoons, be sure to take a look at exchange rates.
This doesn’t mean you have to go back to ECON 101 to understand supply and demand or exchange rates. It’s simple.
Just check out this site: (http://www.wsj.com/public/page/news-currency-currencies-trading.html). Look for the currency overview and find the currency for the country where you plan to travel.
A simple way to read this is if you see “USD” on the right side of the “/”, then the lower the number, the better for us in the States. But if the “USD” letters are on the right side of the “/” then we want the number to be higher. Confused?
Here is a general example… let’s say we are deciding between Australia and Europe. And we look at this page and see EUR/USD at $1.12 for the Euro and the Australian dollar shows AUD/USD is $0.79… then this means our dollar will go farther in Australia relative to Europe.
So, take a look at whether or not one of the countries you are interested in visiting will allow for your dollar to go further than another… this could make the difference between two massages or just one!
When it comes time to register, why not register for the fun stuff?
Honeyfund.com is a great resource that allows couples to register for their upcoming honeymoon. Couples can separate out things like plane tickets, hotel stays, meals, excursions, etc. And these can be broken down into manageable increments for your guests.
For instance, a $400 flight can be broken down into eight different gifts at $50 a piece.
The platform does all the work for you, and you get money for your dream vacation.
Planning for your budget friendly honeymoon isn’t the time to be shy – tell the world that you are getting married.
Be sure to reach out to each place you are visiting on your honeymoon to let them know you will be there for this special occasion, and that you have chosen to spend time at their restaurant, hotel, excursion, etc. You may find that dessert will be on the house, drinks will be paid for or even better, dinners or nights at the hotel could be taken care of.
Either way, what do you have to lose?! By openly telling everyone that you will be with them on your honeymoon, there is only upside. Most of all, this could cut your costs when you get to the destination.
Have I mentioned that it is a good idea to plan your budget friendly honeymoon ahead?!
Well, this is a different planning… rather than deciding what country to visit, it’s time to decide what restaurants, museums, parks, monuments, etc., that you want to go to.
There is a great tool to help you determine what you should do and where you should eat – Stay.com.
What’s cool about this tool? Well, it allows you to search tour guides that others have put together in different cities. More importantly, you can search all the attractions in a city and create your own guide.
Once you plan what you want to see/do, you can locate where everything is on the map and plan your days out.
Why does this help make the honeymoon more affordable? Well, you can plan out how you want to get to each location and better plan your transportation expenses while in the city, as opposed to waiting last minute. And finally, you can look to try and plan days where you walk to each location, which will help to save costs for cabs or rental cars.
So, we have planned where we are going, what we are seeing and also what we want others to help pay for.
But we know that not everything is going to be able to get paid for via our honeymoon registry. We may will still have to come out of pocket.
And that’s where Wela can be very handy. We allow users to set goals and link these goals to actual savings, checking or investment accounts that they already have.
This way, you can have a partner helping you strive towards all of your honeymoon financial goals.
And along the way, you can start seeing how you are doing financially. By getting a holistic view of your financial situation via linking your accounts to the platform, planning for your financial future will already be in stride when you get back from your honeymoon as Mr. and Mrs.
Now go have fun.
Here is to love, happiness and prosperity. Congrats on your upcoming wedding!
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