Sunday, February 21, 2016

5 Things I am Loving This Week

I know that Money Saving Mom does this every week and I wanted to implement this challenge myself because I think it is such a great way to reflect on the previous week and stay encouraged as you go into the next week.

1. Making Time to Read
Now that I am settling into my routine I have finally made more time to read. I just started reading a book that I received for my birthday and I have really enjoyed the quietness of reading before I go to bed rather than watching TV.
2. Being More Active
I have diligently been working out 3-4 days per week! The last time I was able to do that was... well, I can't even remember :) It feels great to get a workout in before I go to work or get in a short run after dinner in the evenings. The weather has been gorgeous lately which I am so grateful for.

3. Eating at Home
Pre-marriage I was eating out multiple times per week for either lunch or dinner (sometimes both when wedding planning was so crazy!) but can honestly say that I rarely eat out now. Yes, I do still treat myself to coffee frequently but even that is much less than the pre-marriage days. I enjoy eating at home. Truth: Eric and I ordered a pizza on Friday night and watch the OJ Simpson mini series but other than that we have both been really diligent about eating at home.

4. Tracking Our Expenses
I am very diligent about tracking our expenses in Quicken and truthfully its something I really enjoy. Thankfully Eric and I see eye to eye on 98% of financial decisions so coming up and implementing a budget is pretty easy for us! We both agree on the areas we can cut from (i.e. food hah!) and have the same saving goals.

5. I am loving this quote this week:

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

5 Tips to Cut Wedding Costs!

Up front Eric and I decided that we needed to prioritize what we were willing to spend more on and what we weren't. For example, we were willing to pay more for photography because we felt like that was one aspect of our wedding that we could easily benefit from now and in the future when we wanted to look back at all of the little details that you forget. We were not willing to spend money on invitations and favors simply because we had a large number of guests (we planned for about 200) and we felt like those were details and no one would really take notice of. Now remember, this is just what we as a couple agreed on, for you it could be totally different and that's completely okay!

1. DIY Invitations and Favors
Eric and I bought our invitations from a craft store similar to Michaels for 50% off and used a template that they had on the manufacturer's website to customize the invitation to our liking. This literally saved us SO MUCH MONEY and no one knew how cheap we were about it! Yes, we ended up at Kinkos late at night printing invitations but it was well worth the savings! I think we paid about $60 for 150 invitations/response cards plus about $30-40 for printing. **One aspect of the invitation I think many people forget to consider is the cost of postage so don't forget to include that as well!
{A picture of our home-made tag bag favors... "Love is Brewing"} 
I think I made 200 of these for around $80!

2. USE COUPONS to Save $$$
There is absolutely no shame in "coupon-ing" and I actually find it quite fun. We had many of Michael's coupons that we strategically used (I literally don't think we paid full price for one item from Michaels!) when we needed our sand ceremony stuff, votive candles, ribbon, etc. There is pretty much always a coupon deal going on so keep up with the ads. They even have a "text alert" deal that I used to find coupons as well!
 3. Borrow as much as you can!
I was able to borrow linens from family and friends which saved us serious money on top of the venue already providing standard linens. We went with a vintage theme, and my aunt who runs a vintage/antique Etsy store kindly decorated many aspects of our venue using her own items. I also recommend buying second hand items and trying to resell them after the wedding. There are tons of future brides on the prowl for discounted items year round!

4. All Inclusive Weddings Are Sometimes Worth It
Our venue wasn't all inclusive but it was pretty close! We didn't have a venue fee (nearly unheard of now-a-days) and simply paid a head count fee which included food/alcohol. We had the entire mansion to ourselves for virtually the whole day. The only aspect of the venue we were required to use their services was for the food.
5. Keep Track of Expenses
Seriously. It sounds like the most boring, straight-forward tip ever but its the truth! Keeping track of your expenses allows you to see how much money you are really spending. It allows you to reality check yourself. Remember that budget I suggested to make at the beginning of your engagement process? Well keep it handy throughout the entire process leading up to the big day. Eric and I simply used an Excel spreadsheet to track our expenses against our goals and surprisingly it worked out very well at keeping us within our budget.

These are just a couple of things we did to help save money! What tips do you have?
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