Monday, July 30, 2007

I can't believe how honest I am...

I was just at the store buying a few things. The total was $3.11, I handed the guy a $5 bill.
Well, he started to hand me back .89 cents and the $5 bill!
There was a part of me that wanted to take it. But the rest of me was screaming "This is a test!" I mean, his mistake was so obvious, that I thought I was on a hidden camera show or something. So I fessed up. And he was clearly confused about it, so I realized that it wasn't a real test.
Maybe it was just a test from the universe...

Friday, July 27, 2007

For Richer or Poorer--When to Spend and When to Save

Ah weddings. Many sources quote the average wedding in the US costing well over $20,000, which is, of course, ridiculous. A wedding is just one day, and despite what people say, it's probably not going to be "the most important day of your life".
My husband and I were trying to plan our wedding for $5000 or less. As mentioned before, suddenly his parents were expecting us to pay for all their travel costs (from Japan) which would have more than doubled our expenses, so we gave up and had a good ol Elvis wedding.
However, in the time before we decided to cancel the "big wedding", I did do quite a bit of planning on how to go about saving on costs. I also felt that there were some things that you just shouldn't scrimp on. I decided to share these ideas with you...

For Richer
1. One of the first things that I did was buy the ebook Fire Your Wedding Planner. This book describes the ways that the author, Stephi Stewart, saved over $10,000 on her own wedding. It had a ton of great ideas and was well worth the money (well, if I had actually had a wedding...), but even if you don't have the money to spend on the book, there's a free newsletter that gives out some great tips!
2. I think just about everyone always mentions paring down your guest list as a way to save money on your wedding. Now, if your initial guest list includes some guy from work whose name you don't know, then can cut down a bit on your guest list. However, I think that it's important to be surrounded by all of the people that you love. I know that I didn't want to limit the number of friends that I could invite. So I say keep everyone that you really want to invite. You can save money in other places. (e.g. It's better to spend $50/person on food with 100 guests than $100/person and only be able to invite 50 guests.
3. Don't forget to give gifts to the important people in your life. This means that bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, siblings, and anyone else who's doing something special for you should receive a gift. It doesn't have to be expensive. It's the thought that counts. A nice picture in a frame is a great gift.
4. Pay for drinks. I don't know why, but cash bars just make me uncomfortable. It's like saying "OK, I invited you here for this party. You're giving me a present. But you have to pay for your own drinks." I just think it's rude (Though I know some people feel different...). If you need to save money on drinks, you could try serving only beer and wine, serving only a "signiture drink", serving punch, or (*gasp*) not serving alcohol at all.
5. YOU MUST SEND REAL THANK YOU NOTES! *whew* That needed to be yelled. Whatever you do, you must send thank you notes, on real paper, handwritten individually, preferably with a mention of the gift received. I've heard horror stories of people sending out emails, sending out photocopied thank yous, or just thinking that saying thank you at the wedding is enough. I even heard of one bridezilla who, after inviting 200 people to her wedding, wouldn't send thank you notes because "the postage would cost too much"!!! This is simply unacceptable. Every guest who comes to your wedding deserves a thank you note.

For Poorer
1. Consider your food choices. It's not necessary to have a 7 course sit-down meal. You can easily save money by having your wedding during lunch time instead of dinner, by offering a buffet instead of a sit-down meal, or simply choosing to serve chicken instead of filet mignon. More creative options might be having a "tea and cakes" or "champagne and chocolates" reception.
2. Get creative with your centerpieces. Fresh flowers are expensive. Instead of using fresh flowers as a centerpiece, think about what else you could use. We were going to have cupcake trees as our centerpieces (These cupcakes would be instead of a big wedding cake). You can also use candles, meaningful framed pictures, or fake flowers.
3. Hire a "new" photographer. You can often find photographers on Craigslist who are looking to build their portfolios. These photographers will offer photography at a fraction of the cost of a "wedding photographer".
4. Consider alternate dates. We were going to get married at Belhurst Castle, which is near my hometown. During the spring and summer dates, there is a minimum charge of $10,000. Yet on March 31, when we were planning our wedding, there was no minimum charge. Many other places offer similar deals.
5. Choose cheaper rings. Don't even get me started on how stupid the "3 months salary" rule for engagement rings is. And platinum isn't really that much better than the other metals. Few people can tell the difference. The only reason I have a diamond engagement ring is because it was passed down to be from my grandmother. And I got a white gold wedding band to match. My husband, on the other hand, was easily influenced by the ring sales ladies who told him that platinum is the best. I mentioned to him that titanium is even more strong, and much cheaper and that's what we got...about a $1000 price difference. Lucky that, too, because he lost his ring...Go for something cheaper and look around online for the best deals.

Well, I hope that you've enjoyed reading my tips on when to spend and when to save for your wedding day!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

July Mid-Month Money Pickup

(In case you don't know...the mid-month money pickup is where I let everyone know how much money I've picked up off the ground over the past month.)
This month's total was 99 cents. Not too shabby. Not great either.
The interesting thing is that 3 times I picked up 11 cents, a dime and a penny, from the same general area. It's almost as though someone was intentionally leaving that money there.
Hopefully next month will be better!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sometimes I Wish We Weren't Frugal

I hate printed toilet paper, but that's what was on sale the other day. I didn't complain too much when my husband put it in the cart. I thought "Well, it's just 24 rolls..."
But the next time we went to the store he threw another set in the cart. He wants to start stocking up on things. Grrrrrr.
Again, I don't complain, because I know that it's cheaper....
But if I had lots of money, I certainly wouldn't scrimp on the toilet paper.