Broke-Ass Tag: guest blogger

4/21

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 michael@thehoneymoonguy.com or via Facebook.

christen
  • 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: yourweddinglawyer.com.

    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
  • 6/10

    Guys guys guys! As we continue the hunt for our new Wedding Inspiration Guru (application period closes June 20!), Gee from KnotsVilla approached me about making a broke-ass style board featuring metallic sheen -- and y'all know I can't turn my back on some shiny stuff. So without further ado, here's Gee! Hi Broke-Ass Brides and guests! It's a pleasure to be showing one of my…

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    7/13

    I saw a meme today about the consequences of using fabric scissors to cut paper. I laughed. I laughed because it reminds me of my mother, Roxana. She’s a remarkable seamstress and, though my brothers and I were a rowdy bunch, we knew to stay the f*ck away from the fabric scissors. Build a fire in the backyard and you will be scolded. Use the pinking shears on your…

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    9/1

    'Memba those fabulous DIY Louboutin-inspired petal sandals we featured from Love, Maegan a few weeks ago? Well, today we're feeding to your fix with a matching petal bag that's as simple as it is sexy. Thanks again to Maegan for sharing! Make sure to check out her fabulous site and love her long time. Trust me, you'll be glad you did!  .....and away we go!…

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    9/20

    Sasha Souza is a celebrity wedding expert, Modern Bride wedding consultant, and all around bad-ass of the wedding world and she's here to talk wedding costs. She's also my friend, and I'm honored to have her grace this blog with her view from the inside of weddings.  Please welcome Sasha warmly! -D. Designate a jar just for stashing wedding cash. Vinyl decal available from Etsy…

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    9/18

    Meg is known as the holy grail in helping us all remember the true meaning of weddings -- the marriage! She kept me sane throughout my planning process, and I love her honest and thoughtful approach to ... Well, just about everything. Please welcome the most Practical Bride I know to BAB today! -D. Credit: Sarah Deragon of Portraits to the People. When Dana asked…

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    9/17

    Hello there! My name is Jessica and I am so honored to be guest blogging here at The Broke-Ass Bride! I have big a long-time fan of Dana's fabulous blog and was thrilled when she asked me to write a guest post! I write a blog called The Budget Savvy Bride, which is the perfect counterpart to Dana's blog here -- cuz when you're a…

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