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Make your honeymoon memorable, but don't break the bank

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Robert Harbison/The Christian Science Monitor/File

(Read caption) A couple sits on rocks and watches a sunset at Manhattan Beach, Calif. Hamm recommends planning your honeymoon early, to avoid last minute expenses.

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Sarah and I went to London for our honeymoon. It was cripplingly expensive, and we were still dealing with the debt four years later.

It was a wonderful trip, though. We have wonderful memories and a photo album full of great pictures.

The thing is, almost every memory I have from that trip focuses on Sarah. Sure, I remember seeing a few sights, but the trip was about the two of us, not about some expensive destination.

Our honeymoon could have been very close to home and it still would have been incredibly memorable without the weight of all that debt crushing us during the first few years of marriage.

In my own experience – and in the experience of others I’ve discussed the idea of honeymoons with –honeymoons are about the people involved. It’s not about the expensive trip or the incredible location. It’s about you and your partner getting the marriage off on the right foot.

So, how do you plan this?

First, start from scratch. Make a list of locations near you that you’d like to visit with your spouse-to-be for a few days. My list, for example, would involve a lot of national parks. Have your spouse do the same.

While you’re considering your lists, talk about the advantages of staying local. It will save you money for your marriage. It will allow you to focus on each other instead of on the location. It doesn’t prevent you from going somewhere that you both enjoy.

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After that, compare the lists. If you have a place in common, then your decision is pretty easy. If there’s nothing in common, swap lists and circle one or two that you would enjoy the most, which will leave you with just a few candidates.

The most useful tactic is to start early. Talk about this shortly after you set a date for your wedding. The longer you have, the easier it is to find discounts and other savings on your honeymoon.

Keep your honeymoon focused on the two of you and you’ll leave with a healthy financial base for your marriage as well as a powerful connection between you.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. 

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