Budgeting Tips for Your Honeymoon

More than a million newly married couples take a honeymoon each year, according to the Real Size Bride website's 2016 report. Paying for a honeymoon right after a wedding can put a strain on anyone's finances, but budgeting too tightly can spoil the magic. If you plan and budget carefully, it's easier to afford a honeymoon you'll remember without coming home to a pile of bills you can't forget.

Budget the Honeymoon With the Wedding

If you spend all your disposable cash on the wedding, you're going to have trouble paying for the honeymoon. Certified public accountant Cheryl Smith recommends working on your budget for both at the same time. If you're determined to have an amazing honeymoon, you may have to compromise on your wedding budget. Depending on the size of your guest list and the resources of your guests, you might also consider a destination wedding, located in the same place you plan to honeymoon. This can cut travel costs. 

Set Up a Spreadsheet

It's easier to stay within your budget if you use financial-planning software to track your projected spending. A spreadsheet or other software lets you list the different categories of honeymoon and wedding spending, set amounts, and adjust them as you adjust your priorities. Smith says good budgets keep in mind the number of days of travel involved; the cost of airfare, rental cars and other transportation; and any plans for special sight-seeing or other events.

Expect to Spend Extra

The honeymoon is a special celebration and you may want to spend money accordingly. For example, Smith says, eating out is a common expense: "You're going to probably want to have more of those celebration meals than you do on a normal basis. The amount that you'll spend on dining will be much greater." Newlyweds often discover local boutiques or stores that sell clothes or souvenirs unavailable at home, and buy them to commemorate the trip. Including money for discretionary spending in the budget can help keep you from going overboard.

Think About After the Honeymoon

The wedding and the honeymoon aren't the end of your newlywed spending. As soon as you return home, you'll be faced with the regular monthly bills and possibly extra spending for your new life. "Just being married is going to cause extra expenses, even if you've been living together already," Smith says, as you may need a new bed, new living room furniture or new kitchen appliances. Your new everyday life will go easier if you still have money left after the honeymoon. Even if you don't have a budget for your post-honeymoon life, it can help to keep in mind it exists.

Adjust the Timing

You may be able to create some flexibility in your budget by timing your honeymoon carefully. If you're getting married in summer, when some vacation trips are at their most expensive, postponing the honeymoon until fall can save money. Cutting the length of the trip short may allow you to enjoy a more expensive hotel and extra luxuries. If you have some flexibility in your plans, waiting as late as two weeks before the trip to book can land you a good rate.

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