How to Save for the Honeymoon of Your Dreams

Dreaming of the Maldives or an African safari? Here’s how to make it happen.

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Overwater bungalows with manta rays gliding below. Romantic safari tents in the company of elephants and leopards. Candlelit dinners in Paris or Positano. Honeymoons can be a lot of things, and expensive is usually one of them. Still, there’s no shame in wanting to go big—real big—for that most romantic trip of your lives, especially now that travel is once again possible.

These sorts of once-in-a-lifetime honeymoons don’t plan themselves, and accordingly, you should focus on a long game when it comes to saving. “Time is the biggest factor when it comes to saving,” says certified financial planner Peyton Jamison of Jamison Private Wealth Management near Atlanta, Georgia. “The earlier you start saving, the easier it is to save for a big expense.” 

Ahead, the financial expert shares tips to make the epic trip you’ve been fantasizing over an actual possibility.

Plan Ahead

The modern approach to honeymooning is not necessarily departing the morning after you say exchange vows. You could wait months or even years to embark on your big, seductive vacation. Mini-moons are a thing for a reason—take one immediately, then give yourself time to get finances in order for your true honeymoon. That way, you aren't charging it on your credit card and gathering huge amounts of interest that only add stress to a new marriage. “If you did charge a $20,000 honeymoon on a 12-percent credit card that would be $2,400 in interest alone in the first year you would have to pay,” points out Jamison. “Over the years that $20,000 honeymoon could easily turn into $30,000!"

So, if you’re not putting it on a credit card, how are you paying for it? “If you know the amount, you’ll need in two years, let’s say $20,000 for example, then divide it by 24 months and determine the monthly savings needed,” says Jamison. “Saving is easier said than done,” he adds. “If you’re saving for something big in the future, one way is cut expenses. That is the bottom line.” 

Cut Costs

Nowadays, it’s so easy to spend without thinking about it on numerable streaming services or tapping your card for that daily morning cappuccino. Just think: if you get a $5 cup of coffee daily, that’s $1,825 spent over the course of a year. So, start combing through your bank statements to identify expenses that can be cut or scaled back. The monthly payments for digital services and unnecessary luxuries are a quick thing to cut with low impact on your lifestyle, and they add up to savings quickly. “Make a budget and you’ll find out you can save money relatively fast,” says Jamison, “Basically the key is really cutting expenses, because otherwise income has to go up.” 

When cutting expenses yielding enough savings, Jamison suggests considering getting an easy second job—maybe one day a week or every other Saturday—with the idea that all that income goes straight to the honeymoon fund

If your heart is set on a blowout of a honeymoon and you’re willing to wait until, say, your fifth anniversary to take it, his advice is a bit different. “For a timeline of five years or more, I would take those anticipated monthly savings and dollar-cost average in an S&P 500 Index Fund,” says Jamison. “If it’s three to five years, you can maybe get away with it, but under three I would not invest it.”

Have a Honeymoon Fund

Of course, there’s no reason to take on your honeymoon costs alone. Many couples choose to prioritize trip-related gifts on their registries over more old-fashioned items. “I know we’ve probably used our dinnerware once or twice in 15 years,” laughs Jamison. According to the wedding website Zola, registry additions of travel-related products have increased exponentially since the end of 2020, with airline gift cards increasing by 162%, hotel and lodging gift cards by 166% and luggage increasing by 292%. Couples are ready to travel, but they know the value in having their friends and family help make it possible. Sums up Jamison, “having individuals donate to your honeymoon instead of buying gifts for the wedding is a great idea, and more people should do that.”

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