Ask Zeta: “How can I build a budget for an anniversary vacation and not overspend?”

Aditi Shekar
July 29th, 2021 | 5 mins

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“How can I build a budget for an anniversary vacation and not overspend?”

I love this question. Planning for an anniversary vacation has never been easy in my household—mostly because my husband and I always want the other person to do it. So when we got this question, let’s just say—I could relate.

When I’m tasked with planning duties, I try to break up my approach into three parts:

  1. Pre-plan the location/activity/event of where we’d like to spend our anniversary vacation
  2. Then figure out the budget we’ll need in order to make it happen
  3. And finally create a plan to save for it

While this approach might seem backwards to some, this is just how my brain works. For others, it might be helpful to start with a budget and then pick the location and savings plan. Whatever your approach, the key thing is to follow each step.

For example, a few years ago, I planned an anniversary trip to wine country. It involved a cute B&B which was somewhere I had been wanting to go for a while. That said, we didn’t want to go too crazy. So after discussing a rough budget with my partner, I put together a set of activities that wouldn’t break the bank. In the end, our biggest expense was the B&B, the caretaker for our dogs (yes, I budgeted for that too) and our anniversary dinner. The rest was mostly low-key and free. And because we drove there, we managed to turn the drive into a part of the romantic getaway. This planned approach made sure we stuck to our budget while still doing all the things we wanted to do.

While the first two steps might seem obvious, the last one is where I tend to see couples skip out. Because your anniversary happens every year, it’s easy to plan for it long before the date comes up and mitigate overspending. Ideally, you should integrate your anniversary budget into your overall savings plan. For example, we generally budget a higher amount for our anniversary because we usually treat it like a mini-vacation. If we’re feeling extra adventurous (watch out 2022), we’ll pull savings from somewhere else to cover the difference. And if we’re feeling low-key, we put the extra cash towards something else. That way, the stress of navigating those awkward how-much-should-we-spend conversations are a thing of the past!

Now if only Zeta would plan the perfect anniversary for me...

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