Broke-Ass Category: Guest Bloggers


Hey-o! Today we’ve got Michael from The Honeymoon Guy here to talk about how you, yes you Broke-Asses, can (wisely) use those rewards credit cards to rack up some serious mileage to get you a luxurious but low-cost honeymoon. Now, we never EVER advocate going into debt for your wedding day (work with the dollaz you’ve got, yo!) but if you’re smart with your credit and are able to make the appropriate payments, this is a really wise way to get the most bang for your buck.

Hi, BABs!

When my wife Patty and I returned from our around-the-world honeymoon, we got a lot of questions from friends and family on how we did it without breaking the bank. So I created The Honeymoon Guy website to provide tips and guidance to help others get a champagne honeymoon on a beer budget.  The site is useful whether you want to take an elaborate trip like ours or you’re a broke-ass just hoping for a week-on-the-beach honeymoon.

Our honeymoon included a visit to Malcapuya Beach in the Philippines. The white sand beach was powdery, the snorkeling was spectacular and the fresh mangoes were delicious. Oh, and our flights and lodging were nearly free!Our honeymoon included a visit to Malcapuya Beach in the Philippines. The white sand beach was powdery, the snorkeling was spectacular and the fresh mangoes were delicious. And our flights and lodging were nearly free!

For most honeymoons, the two biggest costs are lodging and air travel, in that order.  So to minimize the cost of a honeymoon while maintaining luxury, you’ll want to focus on reducing the cost of accommodations and flights.

Frequent flyer miles, hotel points and free night awards earned via credit cards are key to doing so.  Now, that probably doesn’t seem surprising.  It may even be a letdown to read that as you’ve certainly heard of frequent flier programs and you may be thinking, “I’ve been religiously putting all my spending on a single airline-branded credit card for years and I barely have enough for a single flight.”  If so, you’ve been doing it all wrong.

Here’s why: Banks that issue credit cards know that a key to their business is getting new accounts.  They offer incredibly lucrative bonuses such as two free nights at any hotel in their chain worldwide (total value often exceeding $1,000) or even 100,000 frequent flier miles, just for signing up for a new card.

By taking advantage of these offers, Patty and I were able to honeymoon in Maui, Tokyo, the Philippines and South Africa and almost all of our lodging and flights (many in business/first class) were free!

You can do what we did – strategically earn such large signup bonuses that you can nearly eliminate the main costs of your honeymoon.

Here are a few specific tips to get started:

  • Once you’ve determined your desired honeymoon location(s), survey the airlines that fly to/from your desired destination(s) and the lodging options.  You’ll want to look for hotels owned by companies like Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, etc. as they have rewards programs.  Note that these brands do have some all-inclusive properties.
  • Research the rewards programs for the relevant airlines and hotels to determine the number of frequent flyer miles and rewards points you’ll need.  Then search the Internet or visit my site to find the best credit card signup bonuses for the relevant rewards program.

Andaz Maui Lobby View

With free night awards from credit card signup bonuses you can stay at hotels such as the Andaz Maui, shown here, or even at all-inclusive hotels in Jamaica, Cancun and Los Cabos!

  • Sign up for the credit cards with the best bonuses and be certain to meet the promotion requirements.  Some cards may have minimum spending requirements which can seem intimidating at first but there are various ways to time-shift your purchases, use the cards to pay your rent or mortgage, or “manufacture spending” to meet the requirements.
  • Realize that both you and your fiance can get the same credit card.  For example, if a card offers a signup bonus of two free nights at any hotel, by both getting it you can earn four consecutive nights at a luxurious hotel for free!
  • Keep track of your credit card signups using a spreadsheet.  You can create your own or simply download a free spreadsheet I created.
  • Divide and conquer.  If you’re taking the lead on the wedding planning, let your fiance take the lead on the honeymoon planning. That way the tasks are split evenly-ish and everything gets done!

With the miles, points and free night awards you earn, book your dream honeymoon!

One key note: Though many people may think so, having a lot of credit cards does not hurt your credit score and in many cases it will actually increase your credit score in the long run (see my Credit Score page for further explanation).

With just a few hours of research – a fraction of the time you’re devoting to wedding planning – you can save thousands of dollars and elevate your honeymoon from standard to unforgettable.

For many more details, tips and guidance check out The Honeymoon Guy or contact me directly at or via Facebook.

  • 2/23

    8 DIY Steps to Handling a Conflict with Your Wedding Vendor

    One thing I see over and over again are couples who have issues with a vendor’s performance, and don’t quite know how to proceed. For instance, I just heard about a wedding photographer who has not delivered prints for a wedding that happened two years ago. Can you imagine?

    Here are the steps I suggest you take when you have a conflict with your vendor, and you are not yet ready to hire a wedding lawyer. Please note that these are general steps. Every case is different.

    1) Gather all of your supporting documents. Hopefully you have a contract with your vendor. This will likely be the most important document. Whether you have a contract or not, gather all of your emails, text messages and voicemails. You really want to organize whatever correspondence you have with your vendor. If you have a relevant voicemail on your phone, note that you may need to have that message officially recorded so that a court may listen to it. At the very least, be sure to transcribe it for now.

    2) Review the documents. Try to find the place where the vendor agreed to do whatever s/he did not do, or did negligently. For instance, with the wedding photographer example, you would try to find the place in the documents where the photographer agreed to deliver the photos by date “x.”

    3) Draft up a demand letter. Draft a letter, and attach all relevant documentation. Keep the letter professional, and leave your emotions out of it. Even when there is conflict, you will still catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be polite, but firm. Be sure you clearly spell out all relevant facts in chronological order. In your concluding paragraph, specify what you want. For instance, using the above example, if you want your photographs, then specifically ask for those. If you want your money back, then ask for that.

    4) Include a response time. Give the vendor a reasonable deadline to respond to your letter. I personally, generally, like 2 weeks. Make it clear to the vendor that if the conflict is not appropriately handled, then you will proceed with contacting an attorney or filing a lawsuit.

    5) Send the letter. Send the letter via fax (yes, fax machines still exist!), or email and send a hard copy. You might also consider sending it via certified mail. You want some kind of verification that your letter was received.

    6) Be patient. Wait for a response. Hopefully you will get one, by your deadline. This can be a frustrating time. Also, demand letters are the first step, and not always productive. Try not to think about the wait too much. During the wait, catch up on your blog reading.

    7) Follow up. If you don’t get a response by the deadline, follow up. You can follow up by sending a concise letter or email and attaching the initial demand letter. Simply stating something to the effect of

    “Dear Vendor: I have not received a response to my letter of December 28. I remain prepared to file a lawsuit. Kindly let me know if you have any response.”

    You know your vendor, so apply the follow up principle according to his or her personality and what you think will be the most effective language. Don’t forget to be polite, though!

    8) Consider your next steps. If you still don’t receive a response, or the response isn’t what you wanted, considering filing a lawsuit or consulting with an attorney. Contact your local small claims office to determine if the amount of damages fits into the jurisdictional cap, which varies by state. In California, for instance, the cap is $10,000, with some exceptions. Other states have caps of $5,000. The information will likely be set forth on the court website.

    If your claim is more than the jurisdictional amount, then it would be advisable to consult with counsel. Although small claims cases are generally informal, and friendly to non-lawyers, non- small claims cases are much more complex.

    You should not hesitate to move forward if you feel you’ve been wronged. There are finite time limitations on causes of action. So, don’t delay in proceeding with whatever course of action you

    As always, you can consult with an attorney. Your case may be too complex for small claims court. And, if you do go to small claims court, the key to winning is having an organized and succinct argument with supporting evidence. A wedding lawyer can help coach you to success.

    Happy weddings!

    Christie Asselin

    Christie Asselin is a sixth year, California licensed, litigation attorney with a background in personal injury and business disputes. In 2012, she began to explore legal issues related to weddings including vendor negotiation, and contract review.  She loves all things weddings and has a personal and deep love of Gwen Stefani’s wedding gown. She also adores Oceana roses, and cathedral-length wedding veils. You may visit her website at:

    Disclaimer: Please note that the information stated above is general legal information, and not legal advice. Please also note that the author is admitted only to the California State Bar, and to no other state. Attorney Advertising. This communication may be considered attorney advertising. Previous results are not a guarantee of future outcome. No Attorney Client Relationship. The use of any content provided in this article and your provision or submission of any information while using this site will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Ms. Asselin. Please be aware that any information that you provide by reason of your use of this article is not privileged or confidential. The content of this article is provided solely for informational purposes: it is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax, career and/or other professional
  • 1/9

    I believe that it’s not enough to simply survive planning your wedding, you should thrive and feel like a Boss while you're doing it.  Here are five wedding planning habits to start practicing now that will help. Let’s start with the money, first: 1.Multiplication. Avoid sticker shock that every couple goes through, and  remember that you are buying in bulk. For example, Chiavari chairs  for  $10…

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    Real Bride Kate's  Aussie fiance, Daniel Gullotta, used to work in fine jewelry and was kind enough to provide our readers with insider's tips on how to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to wedding jewelry. This guide is the next best thing to having him with you when you go shopping! And when it's all said and done, don't forget to get…

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    Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I found out that the current number of Mrs. Coopersmiths would soon be increased by one  -- my husband’s little brother got engaged. Yay! But then I looked at the calendar again and frowned. Two weeks before Thanksgiving. Seven weeks before New Years. Here we go. The best part of the Holiday season is the number of chances you'll have to spend…

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  • 11/26

    Confession: I suck at writing thank you notes. It wasn't something that was a thing, really, as I was growing up -- I suspect my mother wrote them for me. Though, admittedly, this is NO excuse for not extending appreciation for someone else's graciousness. I've recently been trying to change my stubborn ol' ways (30 does that to you, y'all) and I found that if…

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    Image courtesy of Larry Donoso Dear Heather, Is, "where the heck do we even start?" a sufficient question? Jessica Dear Jessica, Absolutely! I suggest starting with the trifecta of guest list, venue, and budget, as all of them directly impact the other in non-negotiable ways. The absolute first thing I recommend doing is making an all-inclusive, "if we get to invite absolutely everyone we want,"…

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    PopShopAmerica_Logo_Updated copy

    Have you guys heard of PopShop? Well, it's a really cool little design fair where you can browse around for arts and crafts and other goods, as well as get your mitts dirty with a little DIY craftiness of your own. This weekend, PopShop Houston is hosting a Handmade Weddings event, where you can get down with some rad crafts with a wedding-y slant, find other…

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  • 9/15

    From Bridget & Steve's Intimate, Beautiful Palm Springs Wedding. Credit: EPLove I talk to a lot of brides every week, as you can imagine. I’ve watched a lot of you exhibit two very disturbing emotions when it comes to your weddings: Fear and Shame. It’s in the way it takes me at least a couple of tries to find out how much your budget is.…

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