Honeymoon or Forever House?

A few weeks ago, B and I decided that for our registry, we’re primarily using Honeyfund since we’re already living in sin cohabitating and don’t need actual stuff for the house.  We threw honeymoon ideas out there, and we both agreed that South America is where we would most likely go.  Since it’s a fairly long flight plan, we thought we’d explore 2 or so weeks, so it would cost a few grand to do so.  Lately, though, he’s been mentioning that we should put any gifts towards our “forever” house instead.  I was caught a little off-guard, and responded that it would only be a small percentage towards the house, to which he stated something to the effect of, “Well like you always say, something is better than nothing!”

My only rebuttal was, “So that saying is only effective when it works towards my favor.” 😉

So I’d like to ask the reader – what would you choose?  A honeymoon or house?

First off, we don’t plan on incurring debt with our wedding, but in the event we do, we would for sure pay that off first.  But here’s some reasons for each choice:

Honeymoon:

1) We plan on starting a family fairly quickly, so I’d like to go on a nice adventure with just the two of us while we’re able-bodied before doing so (i.e., lots and lots of hiking!  Or at least sightseeing by foot).

2) I would try to find the most economical way of going to our destinations, and if we had to supplement, we’d make sure to save up for it since we’ll probably go a bit later after the wedding.  Plus, it’s South America, we would stay in modest lodging, we eat on the cheap, not big drinkers, and I don’t really buy souvenirs (though we do buy one artsy piece from international destinations), so we’d get our money’s worth.

3) We could easily squeeze in a kid in our current “starter” place if we’re blessed with one, though we’d most likely need a bigger place after that if we hopefully have more.

4) I value experiences and travel over things, though realize my partner might value long-term things more than experiences.

House:

1) We’d be able to get to our goal for our forever house faster.

2) A house is a long-term investment versus a fleeting two weeks.

3) We could still go on a honeymoon, but perhaps a domestic one. (digression: we have kind of an aeronautical theme, and when I suggested having passports as our invites, B responded with “but you don’t need a passport for domestic flights.”  Darn his pragmatism for dashing my creativity! ;))

4) I suppose it’s the more fiscally responsible thing to do, especially with how expensive it is to raise children these days.

So readers, what do you think or what would you do?  I’d really like to know (unless you’re on Team Forever House, then you can sit this one out.  Kidding, of course – I’m curious at others’ reasoning with their choices!).

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57 thoughts on “Honeymoon or Forever House?

  1. Talk about a difficult decision! I don’t really want kids, and I think we are pretty far from buying a house, so I would have no issue choosing honeymoon immediately. What makes you happier – leaving your wedding knowing you’ll get to spend two exciting weeks together enjoying South America, or buying your first house together and preparing for a baby?

    It might be worth exploring houses (as the date gets closer) near the area you want to settle in to get a feel for the market as well, and what type of houses they have to offer. If you can’t find anything you love, then you have an answer! Personally, even if I was in your position, I might opt for the honeymoon. Having that last adventure together kid-free may be worth it.

    • Very analytical approach with the housing part, E.M.! We’re definitely “casually” looking, but it’s a seller’s market for sure… timing is everything! Both prospects make me happy, but I think I’m having major YOLO moments when I pick South America. 😉 Thanks for your input!

  2. Realistically, a couple grand isn’t going to drastically change your home buying timeline, since you’ve shown you can pay down that much in debt pretty quickly on your own! But if feeling like the trip is a misuse of money is going to cause B to not enjoy it, then that’s not how I’d want to start off married life.

    • Compelling last statement, Mrs. PoP, I agree I don’t want to start the marriage off already fighting about money. I think if I’m able to cut the costs down, that he’ll find it reasonable, especially if it just means a slight delay in our long-term goal (and not even years, but a month or something). Thanks for your thoughts, it does make me reassess about looking at things marriage-wise!

  3. I am firmly team honeymoon but I think that’s because I want a 2 week one in Greece and Italy myself lol. Joking aside, team forever house is probably more “practical” but love and weddings is meant to be romantic! You have the rest of your lives to be practical. Tell B I said that 😛

    • Haha, I *knew* I could count on my twinsie!! Greece and Italy sound like so much fun, I have nothing but faith you’ll make it happen! Haha, I’ll show him that statement about being practical, maybe it’ll resonate coming from an outside source. 😉

  4. Honeymoon. As someone with a 14month old I’m glad I travelled a bit before having her bc travelling with kids is 1) more expensive and 2) very different. I don’t want to say not fun but very different. They dictate how plans unfold now. If you don’t take a honeymoon amd end up knocked up you may regret it! You can sqeeze a kid in your starter home I’m sure. Ours slept in our room for 9monts!

    • I’m so on board with Catherine! Do it now….and enjoy every last second as fully as you can. Travelling with kids is a ton of fun, but you won’t get to go as often or enjoy things for yourself the way you will now. We’ve got one of our kids sleeping in our room, too. The forever home will be great, but it will be there. A honeymoon is once. And if you’re thinking about kids right away, it might be the last trip with just you and your hubby for a while.

      • Thanks so much, FF! That’s for sure one of my concerns – we might not travel much if we have kids right away (which I hope happens), so I’d really like to explore a couple of countries that I’m really fascinated-slash-mildly-obsessed about. And I agree about a kid sleeping in the same room as parents – I grew up like that (though B didn’t), so for me it seems like the natural thing to do.

    • Thanks so much for commenting, Catherine, especially with your experience! I for sure don’t want to regret not having a honeymoon, and I agree that our current place is sufficient for an addition to the family. That’s a good point about how kids dictate how a trip unfolds, thanks for that!

  5. I’d go for house because I think interest rates and home prices are on an upward trajectory. The longer you wait, the more expensive it will be. San Diego and Seattle both have very healthy housing markets.

    With that said, go nuts on your honeymoon, just without spending a lot of $$! Hiking is free. Go out to dinner once in a while, but try to eat in. Can’t wait to hear about the South American adventures!

    • You and B are cut from the same cloth, Mr. 1500! Those are exactly his points when it comes to getting a forever house now (hrm, I suppose I should have included that in the points above lol). I know, I figure once we’re in South America, there’s a lot of on-the-cheap things we can do, plus I’m never one to shy away from street tacos or eats – they’re delicious! I just have to get him on board. 🙂

      • Ha, I think you can find a happy medium,

        WARNING, unsolicited advice!: Regarding houses, I’d always get a fixer upper (solid home, but cosmetically ugly) in a great neighborhood and fix it up. Stuff like tile, replacing pink toilets and new cabinets are really easy to do yourself. You’ll save a bundle.

  6. We faced this same dilemma and solved it by postponing our wedding, buying the house, and then asking others to fund our honeymoon via Honeyfund. But if we really had to choose, I’d take the honeymoon. I’m positive you’ll find a way to fund your house, so that goal is getting knocked out regardless, IMO.

    In a culture starved for rites of passage, I love ones we do have around engagements, weddings, & honeymoons. I personally would be hard pressed to pass up those moments.

    • Thanks for the encouragement and talking about your experience, DBF! I agree it’s a nice rite of passage that I tend to be more traditional on (babymoons, though, are kinda foreign to me), plus I don’t feel I’m getting too overboard on where I want to go (though I suppose that’s relative). Sorry if I’m having a senior moment and already know this, but I’m curious to know where you and the Mrs. went on your honeymoon! 🙂

      • We went to Ireland for two weeks, and fell in love with the place. We rented a little red hatchback and drove around the circumference of the entire country. So much music, so much beer!

      • Oh, and we’re going to South America soon, so we may be able to provide some tips (if nothing else, some stories). My wife is working in Peru for 4-5 months, and I’ll be visiting her in Peru for a week and we’re taking a week excursion somewhere else (Ecuador, I think…maybe Chile or Argentina). I’m sure a post or three will come out of it but if we find any travel tips or cheap/amazing locales, I’ll pass them along.

  7. Maybe you can do both? There are plenty of bloggers who have talked about going on vacation using credit card bonuses. Not sure how comfortable you are with that. I was able to 2 roundtrip flights (domestic though) as well as a couple nights at a really nice hotel with those bonuses. It’s a tough choice. My wife and I made travel plans before the baby came because it is much harder afterwards. But now with the baby, we’re still in a 1 bedroom apt…not that saving on the vacation would have changed it though. South America may not be too expensive with the help of those rewards…check it out.

    • Oh man, I don’t know why I was having a “brain hiccup” on credit card churning, what a great idea! That’s so awesome you were able to get flights on the bonuses, that’s a great deal! Thanks for the idea and for stopping by, Andrew 🙂

    • Compromise? What is this compromise? Kidding, of course… I do agree it’s key, and I’m confident we’ll reach a decision based on that. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa!

  8. I think you know what my response will be 🙂 South America all the way! If I had to choose, this is what my argument would be 1) I only get one honeymoon and I imagine it should be unforgettable 2) once this is out of the way, I can concentrate on family life and raising children (I imagine it is much harder to travel with them and it’s not “just the two of us” any longer) 3) a honeymoon will not set me back by that much anyway, and once this is out of the way I can concentrate on saving for a house. I’m sure you’ll make the right choice 😉

    • Haha, you forgot 4) Eva will have gone on her amazing South American adventures prior to us, and I’ll get tips and insight on the things to do while we’re there. 😉 Thanks for the great points, I’ll definitely show B!

  9. Go to South America! Research has shown that we treasure experiences more than stuff. Most of the time id vote for saving and investing, but you gotta go on a honeymoon adventure! Have fun.

    • Oh man, you don’t know how elated I am to hear that as I was wondering what your choice would be (as you and B are very similar). This is awesome, thanks Ross! 🙂

  10. TRAVEL BEFORE YOU HAVE KIDS!

    We have two kids and LOVE to travel but it’s much more difficult once you have kids. We still travel without the kids once or twice a year but we have to get my mom to watch them for a week and make a bunch of arrangements since we’ll be gone.

    • Thanks so much for the input, Holly! Andrew above actually reminded me, as well, about one of the things I learned from you – credit card churning! I’m going to look into that now that we’re getting into bigger ticket item expenses, but thanks for your wise words and experience, too! 🙂

  11. Also living in “sin” here 😉 Ugg, this is a tough call. I’d do the honeymoon. It will be much more difficult to do South America with a little one in tow. Plus I know how dedicated you are to saving so you’ll reach that house goal before you know it.

    • Haha, I love how you caught that sin part! Thanks for the kind words in regard to my dedication to saving and long-term goals – I do look at the bigger picture now than needlessly spending thanks to the awesome PF community! 🙂

  12. Honeymoon, all the way. If you do some good research, you should be able to find great travel deals to reduce expenses. Compromise by reducing the cost of your honeymoon as much as possible without sacrificing your destination – you should already been in great shape as South America is a fairly inexpensive place to travel. As Planting Our Pennies pointed out, $2,000-$3,000 should not set you back very far in your saving for a home down payment, especially if your honeymoon is being partially funded by guests (in lieu of gifts as you said).

    • Agreed, I think if we even go off-season, that we’ll be able to reduce expenses even more, and I agree South America is pretty inexpensive if you do some research. Thanks for your thoughtful input and for stopping by! 🙂

  13. I’d probably pick the honeymoon since that’s always a memory you are going to have after you get married. LIke POP said, I don’t think a couple grand is going to put a huge dent in your home savings process. Of course this is socal. My other question is are you going to move from socal? I know you talked about seattle before.

    • Ugh, we’re still deciding that – we checked out houses while we were in Seattle and for the same price, you can either get a beautiful house in Seattle or an older fixer-upper in SD! I understand it’s location, though, and I think my biggest concerns are 1) job and 2) if I can hang with Seattle weather for the long haul. I remembered you said you probably won’t live there again, but what was your take on it while you were there?

  14. Tough question, Anna! They are both worthy goals! Honestly, I say why not both? Is the $2-3k honeymoon price the total cost for the trip, or the amount you anticipate paying after you add-in any gifts from your wedding? I was surprised by the amount of cash we received and we did ask for gifts as we were young and had nothing. 🙂 And even if the $2-3k is out of pocket, it’s a fairly small amount when it comes to a home down payment, especially in SoCal. How quickly could earn back the honeymoon costs afterwards or even before you go since it sounded like you weren’t leaving immediately after your wedding for your honeymoon? I love my girls but traveling with them is different from when it was just my husband and me. And this your honeymoon too, so it’s kind of a once in a lifetime experience.

    • We’re probably projecting that much per person unfortunately, especially when taking account airfare, but I agree especially with SoCal prices that it’s a small percentage. I’m relieved to hear that you feel it is a once in a lifetime experience – I feel that, as well, but I’m prone to YOLO moments. haha I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Shannon, thanks for your input!

  15. I can only say what we did and what worked for us. We choose to go with getting a house. Though these days you hardly ever hear someone mention FOREVER home. Seems like no sooner then they buy one they move to the next. I vote for just a little wedding and honeymoon and going for the home. But if you not spending much on the honeymoon a few thousand wont kill you i think and now we have 3 kids a honeymoon is out unless we get grandma to visit.

    • Oh my gosh, I LOVE your avatar, Thomas!! That is such a precious picture!! Indeed, hopefully the house we choose next will be one that live with through retirement, since I hate the prospect of moving! I’m starting to agree that perhaps we can do a happy medium where we won’t spend too much on the honeymoon, or at the very least score great deals. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  16. I already own a starter apartment. So my feeling would be to have a honeymoon, to really celebrate the start of married life (and de-stress post wedding, cause I hear the planning can be NUTS!). And I think, in many ways, the honeymoon is a great memory when you’re knee deep in nappies and sleepless nights. So I’m in your camp :p

    However, if I didn’t have a home, I might be different…

    • Yes, I love it when someone’s in Camp Honeymoon. 😉 Agreed, the planning is getting kind of nuts (mostly with communicating things to make sure everyone’s on the same page, since I’m a little neurotic with keeping everyone in the loop), so I think it’ll be a nice decompression from it. Maybe I can stress him out a lot prior so he’ll have a change of heart?? 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!!

  17. I’m for the honeymoon. Like others have said, once you have kids, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to have that opportunity again. We spent $2,400 on ours that is an all inclusive trip to Jamaica for one week next month. Haven’t taken it yet, but I assume it’ll be worth every penny!

    • Sorry for the delay, your comment went to spam for some reason. Does the $2400 include airfare? If so, that’s a great deal! I hope you’re able to go on it sooner than later 🙂

  18. I think you should go on vacation. It’s your honeymoon and you will CHERISH those memories when you are stressed out and changing diapers. A few grand won’t help you THAT much on a down payment for a house. But what do I know? I don’t want kids or a house, and I’m addicted to traveling, so probably not the best person to ask 🙂

    • Haha, but you agreed with me, so clearly you’re the best person to ask. 😉 I agree about cherishing this time together, though I think I’m the one that gets excited more than him. I can’t wait to hear about your travel adventures in the future, you’ve already had some amazing ones!

  19. Pingback: YAY it’s Friday – What you may have missed last week: | Streets Ahead Living

  20. Honeymoon for sure. Even if you weren’t having kids, I think you should go on a honeymoon. Honeymoon is different than any other trips in my mind. Like you said, unless you were going to spend a crazy amount of money on the honeymoon, it wouldn’t delay buying a house by that much.
    You also mentioned that you’re already in the same house now. I think going on a honeymoon will help you really feel married. I don’t know if that makes sense.
    Some people even go on a babymoon before the baby comes since it’ll be awhile until they’ll be able to travel. So why don’t you skip the babymoon, but go on a honeymoon.

    • I hope that’s the case (that the honeymoon will make it feel like we’re married) – I just don’t want it to go back to status quo, I’d like some sort of symbolic trip for starting our marriage! I’m curious where you went for your honeymoon? Maybe I can get alternatives that he might like better! Thanks, as always, for your input, Michelle. 🙂

      • My husband was born in Korea like me, but never visited since he moved to the states when he was little. So we went to Korea to meet both of our families, get our studio pictures done, and eat lots of great food. But the real honeymoon was to Phuket Thailand for a week while we were in Korea. The total trip costed us a lot of money and that’s why we’re in debt. But just the actual honeymoon part was not that much.

  21. Definitely go for the honeymoon! 20 years from now you’ll wish you could pay $5k+ for the chance to go back in time and do that honeymoon in South America. I can’t imagine you sitting on the couch years from now saying “man am I glad we skipped out on that honeymoon and instead have $5k less on our mortgage.” Take advantage of the free time and your health while you have it!

    • I LOVED your point in quotes, Roger, I’m so gonna tell him that! Because it’s true, I don’t think anyone would ever say “man, I traveled for fun WAY too much.” Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it. 🙂

    • Thanks for the differing perspective, Mochimac! I do agree that’s a fair compromise (to split the difference). It’s an ongoing discussion, but I’m confident we’ll reach a fair solution. )

  22. We’re definitely doing a big honeymoon before house fund 🙂 However, I think it’s a very personal decision. Our best friends were married last summer, and then immediately bought a house, and they regret spending so much on their honeymoon. So there ya go: deeply personal. IMO, houses will always be there, but a honeymoon to celebrate just the two of you is kind of once in a lifetime

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