By Nick True, True Tightwad
So, I have a confession to make.
I ruined my honeymoon.
This is hard to admit since most people don’t know this (not even my mom, who’s reading this for the first time).
It’s hard because this story has the potential to paint me in an extremely negative light.
But I’m writing this article anyways because I want to share what I learned with you.
How I Ruined My Honeymoon
My wife and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon, I naively thought that cruises were “all inclusive,” but got a quick reality check.
Once you arrive there are tons of extra costs:
- Drink Packages
- Anything that’s actually fun — AKA excursions
Did you realize that you can’t even get free soft drinks??
We bought the cheapest drink package available and it was still over $100 each!
And don’t get me started on tipping.
This caused me to freak out. And that’s when things took a turn for the worse.
Less than 2 hours into my honeymoon cruise, and I became what can best be described as the opposite of Prince Charming.
I was so stressed about money that I became a hateful, fun-sucker. Worst of all, I took it out on my beautiful bride.
We fought on and off the entire time and spent long hours ignoring each other.
This trip turned out to be nowhere close an ideal honeymoon. We didn’t have fun and we didn’t sail off into the sunset in romantic bliss.
All because I decided to let a few hundred dollars ruin one of the best weeks of my life.
Looking back, I obviously regret the way I acted, and will always remember how I ruined the first week of my marriage by having an unhealthy financial mindset.
I’m sure Hanna wanted to do this.
Luckily, she is extremely gracious and always forgiving.
So I’m still here to dig into why this honeymoon from hell happened.
I Ruined The Trip Because I Wasn’t Financially Healthy
Being financially healthy is about practicing daily habits that set you up for financial success.
There are lots of factors that affect your financial health like spending, saving, and borrowing. I failed specifically in the planning aspect.
I was already stressing because I knew money would be extremely tight during our first year of marriage.
And when unexpected expenses came up, it pushed me over the edge.
But the problem wasn’t spending the money, the problem was not expecting to spend the money.
I had two major issues:
- I didn’t know what financial health meant to me
- I didn’t plan for the unexpected
Financial Health Is All About Knowing Yourself
I have a tendency to irrationally think we are going broke when the unexpected happens.
Now that I know this about myself, Hanna and I specifically plan for “unexpected expenses” in our monthly budget.
Today, I choose financial health by:
- Planning for the unexpected (especially on vacations), so it’s never a surprise
- Recognizing when I’m stressing about money
- Realizing that I’m being overdramatic and forcing myself to relax
Although I’ve still got a long way to go, acknowledging my tendencies helps me be a better leader for my family.
For me, financial health means having a plan.
It means setting aside money from every paycheck to cover the inevitable unexpected expenses.
So, what does financial health mean to you?
This blog post originally appeared June 29, 2016 on True Tightwad. It was part of a national #FinHealthMatters Day essay contest created by Financial Health Network. MetLife Foundation is a major sponsor of Financial Health Network’s ongoing consumer financial health work. To learn more about FinHealthMatters from Financial Health Network, sign up here.