In the frenzy that is wedding planning — Pinterest boards, wedding magazines, brainstorming sessions and, most importantly, counting the pennies to pay for it all — the exotic honeymoon can seem like a pie-in-the-sky dream.
But a big trip is a great way to kick off married life — sort of like breaking a champagne bottle on the side of a ship for its maiden voyage. So take the trip you’ve always wanted by saving. You can start with these 10 tips.
1. Give Up the Cup o’ Joe
Whether you go to the barista once a day or five, skip it and save big. Every time you forgo purchasing a half-caf, double-vanilla latte — or whatever fancy concoction you prefer — put the money you saved into a container at home — an empty coffee can is fitting. My husband and I did this, and in less than four months we saved enough for a week-long scuba-diving trip in Honduras.
2. Stop Unnecessary Splurges
Feel the need to buy the latest iPhone when your old one is still in fine working condition? Do you covet your friends’ new jeans and buy yourself a pair despite having a drawer full at home? Deny yourself these shopping pleasures for a few months, and watch your savings add up.
3. Don’t Forget to Use Coupons
Get into the habit of using coupons when you shop. I’m not talking about grocery coupons — 10 cents here, 50 cents there — though that helps, too. Think bigger. Use a coupon site or app to buy everything from electronics to clothing and appliances, online or in-store, and save some serious cash every time.
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4. Do It Yourself
Most people pay for something that they could do themselves. Do you get a monthly pedicure? Do you go to the car wash? Does someone mow your lawn? These are things that you could do yourself if need be, right? Now’s the time to try. Think about how much you are paying someone else every month and funnel that money into savings.
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5. Stop Indulging Your Sweet Tooth
How much do you spend on sugary treats? If you usually get dessert when you eat out or pay a weekly visit to the Mister Softee truck after walking the dog, skip it and save it. A happy bonus: You’ll fit into your wedding attire on the big day.
6. Stay In for Dinner
Estimate how many times per month you go out for dinner. Then, determine how many you can skip, and ballpark how much you typically spend — and therefore can save. Every month, just like you are paying a bill, deposit that savings in a bank account or wherever you stash cash.
7. Take Advantage of Bonus Time
Do you have a chunk of cash coming from commissions, dividends, the IRS? Rather than spending it on everyday things, an indulgence or even home improvement — sorry, Home Depot — set it aside for your trip.
8. Save Your Spare Change
Leave a big glass jar by the front door. When you arrive home each day, dump in the change from your pocket or wallet. The see-through container isn’t a requirement, but it is fun — and motivating — to watch it fill up.
9. Put the Bank to Work
See if your bank has a spare change program, like Bank of America’s Keep the Change. With each debit card purchase, the “change” — any amount under $1 — is automatically credited to your savings account. Some banks even match a percentage. There are also many apps that can help you save up. I also just learned about the highly-rated Acorns app, which for a $1 monthly fee, invests the change from all debit card purchases. I just started testing it, so no feedback yet.
10. Skip the Gifts
Instead of setting up a conventional wedding registry with a retailer, establish a DepositAGift or GoFundMe account so that family and friends can contribute toward your honeymoon. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we didn’t need more dishes or vases. What we really wanted was to travel in Southeast Asia. Since digital registries didn’t exist yet, my maid of honor collected monetary gifts for our honeymoon fund. The result: three and a half weeks in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. One of the most amazing experiences we’ve ever had as a couple.
Try one of these tricks, or try them all, and you’ll have your honeymoon fund before you know it.