How to Create A Romantic Couple’s Trip That Works for Your Budget

Have you ever been on a group trip where everyone’s budget wasn’t aligned?  For example, when one friend is suggesting a luxury villa experience when the group’s median budget for this trip is a 4-star hotel?  Or when no one can agree on activities so you end up doing everything just to keep the peace? What’s that sound?  Oh…it’s your credit card being swiped for something you probably can’t afford to pay for in cash and something you probably didn’t want to experience in the first place. Unlike any other type a trip you take, a couple’s trip can be one of the best ones for your budget.  This is true if you and your partner are pulling your money together, have shared money goals, and agree on a budget even before planning your vacation.How to Create A Romantic Couple’s Trip That Works for Your Budget from Millennial Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Selecting Your Travel Destination

It’s time for a romantic getaway but you have no idea where to go.  First, you and bae should figure out what type of experience you want.  Are you looking to be adventurous? Do you want to relax and decompress under palm trees and listen to the ocean?  Are you even planning to leave the room?  You have to consider the experience and then pick a location accordingly.  If you never plan on leaving the room, then you should consider splurging on your accommodations and try to save on getting there. Think about where your money will go the furthest to giving you the travel vibes you are seeking.

Another thing to consider is the season.  Sure, that Groupon vacation deal to the Caribbean looks great in October. You think to yourself how great it would be to have one last beach vacay before the end of the year.  Well, the Caribbean is super cheap in the fall because it’s hurricane season and their bookings are sparse.  You may be getting a great deal, but if you are planning to lounge on the beach and soak up some sun, you will be there in the wrong season. Moral of the story- do your research before settling on a location. It will save you money, time, and frustrations.  Another thing to consider when traveling the world is to consider the regional and religious seasons of your destination.  Channeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and tripping to the UAE for a luxury vacay will not give you the same experience if you travel during the religious season of Ramadan. Learn your seasons and travel accordingly.

Finally, while you are doing your research, take a moment to learn about the culture.  Want to frolic around in a sexy bikini on the beaches of Dubai?  Well, good luck with that.  While women aren’t expected to wear a hijab, you are expected to respect their culture and cover up.  Your sexy bikini just turned into a one-piece swimsuit…and not those high French cut ones that the Kardashians have been rocking lately.

Getting There. Drive or Fly

Driving: I like a good road trip, especially when the Mr. and I let the top down, have a great playlist going, and only are traveling to a destination that we can get to in 4 hours or less.  Apparently, for road trips, 4 hours is the magic number.  According to personal finance site Mint, car drives that are four hours or under in length are usually more cost-effective than flying.  If you are ever trying to figure out which option is best for your budget, try googling “Fly or Drive Calculators”.  There you will find a few options that will help you determine how you will get there for the least amount of money.  Related Post: Lyft Riders Earn Free Skymiles

Flying: A few years back we researched the best day to buy plane tickets and that information still rings true. Every time we buy plane tickets, I stalk Delta and watch the rates for about 2 weeks. The Mr. and I rarely will fly other airlines, because our goal is to bank as many Skymiles as possible so that when the time is right, we can use Skymiles to pay for our tickets.  A few years ago when we were dating, I flew roundtrip FREE because my ticket was paid for entirely out of his Skymiles.   Last month, I was able to fly to from Atlanta to St. Lucia by combining both of our Skymiles  to get one FREE roundtrip ticket to our international destination.

 

{Money & Friendships} The Real Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

It starts with a question that leads to a ring, which ends up as a picture on Instagram, and is shared on Facebook. Yep, he asked and she said yes! Weeks later, you find a charming note in your mailbox asking you to stand beside her on the most important day of her life. You, my dear, are a chosen one… also known as a bridesmaid.The Real Cost of Being A Bridesmaid from Top Atlanta Blogger and Wedding Designer, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents Since 2010, I have been in seven weddings and I witnessed at least twenty of my girlfriends walk down the aisle toward wedded bliss. In fact, when the Mr. and I got married in 2015, we were the 13th wedding that year of our friend group.  Like many of you, I have taken off work and flown clear across the country in support of LOVE.  Too bad that the support of LOVE often comes at a hefty price tag. 

She Said Yes, But Should You?

It is truly an honor to be asked to be in someone’s wedding, but before you say “yes”, you need to understand what you are getting yourself into before you make that commitment. Just like in a romantic relationship, money can throw a major wrench into your friendship if you are not honest with yourself and the bride about your financial situation.  As a bridesmaid, I have paid for gowns, shoes, hair, mani/pedi, makeup packages, jewelry, liquor, plane tickets, hotels, car service, chipped in for engagement parties, hosted bridal showers, lingerie parties (apparently that is different from the bridal shower and the bachelorette party), oh yeah…bachelorette parties, bridal teas and even décor elements for the actual wedding. Nowadays, you have to add the matching bride tribe outfits for the bridal party photoshoot to the list of expenses you have to think about when saying yes. Did I even mention the wedding gift…eek? Once you accept the invitation to become a member of the bridal party, you are committing to this experience for richer or poorer.

I will admit, that years ago I declined the request to be in a friend’s wedding because the costs of being in the wedding would have been a strain on my finances.  That bride thankfully understood.  I often think, if we didn’t have that conversation and I participated in her bridal party, she could have very easily interpreted my reluctance to spend money as a lack of support and enthusiasm for her big day.  Not having that conversation would have cost me more than financial security, it could have cost me our friendship. 

How Much Does It Cost To Be A Bridesmaid?

Back in 2011, the Wedding Channel estimated the cost of being a bridesmaid averages around $1695.00.  Based on this estimate, I could have very well spent almost $12,000.00 on other people’s weddings.  Can you imagine what the average is now?  It always makes me wonder how Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses  could afford to be in 27 weddings, plus her own, on a personal assistant’s salary. To pay for my expenses as a bridesmaid, I used the envelope system before I even knew exactly what that meant. I set aside a certain amount of money each check for each bride.  

Brides, be nice to your bridesmaids…your “chosen ones”. They are the ones who are holding you down during one of the most beautiful and possibly stressful times of your life.  They do far more for you than you realize.  Bridesmaids, remember that your bride is a bride only once (fingers crossed) and she has a vision for her day. If you are both honest from the beginning, then you lessen the chance of unrealistic expectations from both sides.Bridal Party Costs


Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps Explained

Hey #SMCmoneytribe!  Yesterday I took a little time out of my day to create an infographic for you that provides a quick overview into Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps.  I wanted to do this for you because I reference these steps in a lot of my writing because they have become the meat and potatoes of my financial plan.  If you are a long time reader of She Makes Cents, you might remember when I was so excited to get to the second part of Baby Step 2 that I tried a risky financial move of playing financial Russian Roulette.  Let’s just say the outcome was not what I expected when my car broke down one week later and I only had half of an emergency fund to help me out.  (P.S. According to Ramsey, car maintenance is not an emergency and rather something that should be budgeted for).she makes cents

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