Thursday, June 13, 2013

The 100 Item Challenge

I'm back! My apologies for lack of posting, but in the process of planning a wedding (see those chronicles here I've had very limited time to update this blog. But I'm back, and our newest venture is going to be moving into our own home. The last time we moved it was a pain because my favorite gentleman has this need to "save things for reference!" or not throw anything out unless it's completely unusable.

Suffice to say the first week of us living together consisted of me throwing out/donating 2-3 trashbags a day of stuff. We have not bought much, but in the 12 months since living together my parents cleared out their storage units (which contained stuff that was originally held in a 4 bedroom house) and our apartment got more items that we didn't really need. Also, after getting married, we got SO many gifts because folks are generous when you get married (who knew?).

But we decided that we're going to the 100 Item challenge before we move into a new place because I really don't like the idea of transporting stuff that we never use. And after our last move, I really don't think our friends are willing to help us again because we weren't exactly ... the easiest people to help move.

So this'll force me to update regularly! I'll be writing about what we plan on getting rid of, what we're deciding to keep, and if we are going to sell anything. Enjoy! My next post will be about how our wedding stuff was all upgraded versions of existing stuff and what we plan on doing about it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wedding on a budget: Time = money

People apparently don't like getting rid of plates, or so it seems that way based on the yard sales and thrift shops that we've been going to. Originally I had planned on stocking up on 25 cent plates from the Goodwill, and borrowing extra plates from our friends. Only, when I went to three separate stores on two separate occassions, plates were costing 60-85 cents each and weren't even that high quality. So I thought I'd wait until yard sale season, only time and time again we were dissapointed with the complete lack of plate selection.

Since this was taking up way more time than I cared to be spending on something as mundane as plates, we decided to bite the bullet and buy 96 plates from the Dollar Tree, at yes, $1 a piece. So just over $100 will be spent on dishes, but then we realized that we're actually saving as we'll

1) not have to spend money and time on going to all those garage sales (cost of gasoline, you know)
2) never have to buy paper plates again
3) lend them out to our friends if they ever choose to get married and don't want to spend dollars on plates.

So just remember, don't get so caught up in trying to save, that you lose track of how much these saving endeavors are costing you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Couponing Endeavors: part 1

*in our efforts to pay for our wedding, while also incurring $0 in debt, I've started kicking my couponing up a notch. Chronicling such when I save upwards of 70%.

I spent $1.56 at CVS yesterday; for 6 boxes of 100 count Puffs tissue, 2 nine-ounce bottles of dish soap, and an impulse purchase of Hershey's Simple Pleasures. I find that this is where my couponing efforts seem to hit the biggest jackpots; their everyday prices are just rediculous ($1.29 for an INDIVIDUAL not even king size candy bar? Come on!), but their sale prices end up getting pretty frickin' low.

Also, you can buy a card for 99 cents, attach it to your reusable bag, and for every 4 times you use your own bag, you get a $1 credit. Plus, this Sunday, apparently, the sales gods were on my team, because there was upwards of $100 in coupons in regards to items that I would normally purchase for myself and my family and most were in the $2 range too, and they all happened to be on sale at CVS too.

Here are a few more items not to spend full price on, continuing from my last post.
*Laundry Detergent; I'm particular to Tide, usually I can get a 50 oz. bottle down to $3, sometimes less. If you're not brand conscious, you could easily get detergent for $1 for a 50 oz. bottle.

*Shampoo; just this week alone, there were at least 5 shampoo coupons; Suave, Head & Shoulders, Clear, Dove, Pantene. There were more, but I didn't cut them out, since I didn't use those brands. If you aren't particular to salon brands, shampoo gets dirt cheap... likewise with

*Soap and Body Wash

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Couponing Tips : part 1

If you've ever seen that TV show Extreme Couponing, the assumption would be that you should hoard 40 coupons for mustard even though your family never eats it, and then wait for it to go on sale for that to become nearly free. The thing is though; mustard isn't an everyday item, you can give or take, just like you can any condiment... except salt, which I feel is an essential item to keep in your kitchen.

At any given point in time, you can find a coupon for the following items on this list in a Sunday newspaper or available to print online. Depending on your feelings about Wal-mart, they price match any sale price, so if you have no qualms about shopping there, feel free to bring your coupons, and the dozen fliers from the Sunday paper so you can get all your sale items in one place. If you do in fact hate Wal-mart and refuse to shop there, try to shop during the time that Extra Care Bucks coupons pop out when you shop at CVS, even though their prices are universally more expensive, sale prices + coupons + extra care bucks = potentially earning $5 for buying 12 tubes of toothpaste.

Each week, I'll be posted a few items, along with the absolute maximum price you should pay.

1) Crest or Colgate Toothpaste: 45 cents for a 4.2 oz. tube, if you really are diligent, you should be able to get this free

2) Palmolive or Dawn Dishsoap: 50 cents for 12 oz. ; usually Palmolive gets down to 77 cents, and then you can have a 50 cents off 2 coupon, which doubles at most retail locations.

3) Bounty Paper Towels : 50 cents a roll ; this is one of those situations where buying in bulk is not the smartest plan. A lot of times coupons are 75 cents to $1 off of 2 paper towels OR one multipacks. The thing is, 75 cents gets doubled, and individual rolls occasionally go on sale for $1 each.

More to follow!

Friday, July 13, 2012

wedding on a budget: Centerpieces

We're having a carnival themed wedding... on a budget. We itemize our purchases to the penny, and after hearing that the average centerpiece runs between $100-$200 PER TABLE, I realized that we needed to find an alternative to flowers; find an alternative to the jacked up price of $30 a dozen for roses. First I considered plant alternatives, like a shrub, only those aren't as cheap as I thought and the fiance wasn't having it.

Then, I considered paper flowers, the cardstock type, making them because I was looking on Etsy and they cost the same as fresh or even more. So I bought took some cardstock and tried; I watched some YouTube tutorials and googled DIY paper flowers. I wasted dozens of sheets of cardstock because I kept thinking that the next one would look awesome. It never did. So that was out.

Again, back to the drawing board; we saw crepe paper flowers at a town fair. My little girl got a huge one, for $6, so I thought that 3 small ones would be fine and we could make them at home. When I suggested this to my husband to be, he said that they looked like feather dusters and that he wasn't going to have his center pieces look like dirt magnets.

Finally, it hit me. Pinwheels! In matching colors to the Ferris Wheel prints, we had made by The Sneaky Penguin for our table number alternatives. I had some double sided square cardstock that I had intended to use for origami, only they were much too hard. I tried using one for a pinwheel, and it took all of 3 minutes, and I had it perfect on my first try. I kept my fingers crossed that the groom would be as thrilled as I was. The second I showed it to him, he kissed me on the cheek and said *Sweet, ninja stars!* ... I'll take what I can get.

We're saving glass jars from food we buy; like instant coffee and tomato sauce. We'll put the pinwheels in those, next to the ferris wheel prints.

Average cost of centerpieces for 10 tables = $1000 - $2000
Centerpieces for us = $76 (table number alternatives) + $0 (jars) + $10 (cardstock and sticks, from TJ Maxx and AC Moore) = $86 total

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Choosing a venue: Part 2

We found a place to have our wedding; ceremony and reception. It's little, there are claims that it can accomodate 102 people, but that's without a dance floor or a buffet and having 6 people sit at chairs without any tables. Realistically, it can hold 88 folks, if we want our guests to have enough space to move around and mingle.

We love it because it's simple, and cheap, and we now have an actual viable excuse as to why we can't invite everyone and their brother, because there simply just isn't enough space. I love that tables and chairs and outdoor space is included in the price. The space is $200 for the hall & $200 for the sanctuary. We're so in love with the fact that we can have a church feel wedding without actually being religious. They're letting us use a Justice of the Peace in their sanctuary. I love how they're not charging us hourly, and how there's no secret pricing.

I never wanted a big wedding, mainly because my social circle is small and I get uncomfortable in large crowds. My favorite gentleman in the world whispers to me that he wants to elope... only he does it when he thinks I'm sleeping because he knows that despite my cheapskate ways, I want a wedding so bad. 

So in less than a year, we will be wed! And here is more info on our finally chosen venue.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is it worth it? Novelty Card Games

When I was a kid, I remember learning and inventing countless card games. My buddies and I would play classic games like Gin Rummy, Spades, Hearts and Poker. Then we would play newer games like *Egyptian Rat Screw* and *BS*; I learned alternative types of Poker from my cousins in the Philippines, and when I was in my first semester of college in upstate New York, I learned how to play Euchre. Everything was played with a classic 52 card deck, or a portion of one.

The only card game that I heard of that was played with an alternative deck was *Uno* and even then we recognized that that game could be played with a standard deck. I loved the versatility of it all; 4 suits, 10 number cards and 3 face cards. The fact that they were easily accessible (you can get them at any supermarket, drug store, or gas station), and cheap only sweetened the deal.

This summer I was introduced to Monopoly Deal, which was played expertly by my 12 year old cousin, and was a favorite game among the teenagers in the family. It is also loosely based on Gin Rummy, but still somehow completely different, and retails at around $11.99. At our housewarming party, my little lady got a gift of *Slamwich*. It was cute, cards shaped like slices of bread with various sandwich fillings printed on.

The second I read the rules, I realized it was a glorified version of Egyptian Rat Screw; for those of you who don't know how to play, it takes all of 2 seconds to learn; the jist being that you flip cards from your deck to a center pile and slap the deck when you see doubles or a sandwich (2 same numbers separated by a single card). The deck surprisingly has won 2 awards and has a 4.5 star review on Amazon, and a $9.99 price tag to match. The cards were made out of card-stock, not plastic coated at all.

She loves it though, my little girl. She laughs at the different sandwich fillings, and decides that she wants to play with alternate rules that allow you to slap when you get a *BLT* or a peanut butter & jelly. So do I think these fancy card games are worth it? I'd never pay the exorbitant price tags myself, considering on a good day, you can get two plastic coated standard 52 card decks for $1 at the Dollar Tree, but as a gift, I'm not going to go through the trouble of returning those games.

Worth it rating : 3 out of 5 (1 being not worth it at all, 5 being completely worth it)