Friday, May 16, 2008

Tips for the Frugal Bride

I confess: I wasn't the most frugal bride in the world. My parents were helping me pay, I was planning my wedding from a different state, and I really just wanted to do everything the easiest way possible, instead of doing it the most frugal way possible. Don't get me wrong: I wasn't wasteful. Neither I nor my parents would have been able to stand spending what some of the wedding shows suggest, even if we could afford it. Looking back, though, there are many ways I could have saved money and been a much more frugal bride, without in any way sacrificing the blessings and the happiness I experienced that day.

1. Don't get married on a Saturday.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for me was the fact that the hall where I had my wedding had a 100 person minimum. We hardly could find 100 people that we really wanted to celebrate our wedding with us. Had we chosen to get married on a Friday or Sunday, this minimum would have been waived and we would have gotten a 10% discount on the whole affair.

2. Don't fall for the "Oh mommy" effect.

I don't think of myself as high maintenance. When I went to shop for my wedding dress, I actually preferred the large bridal warehouse to the small boutique. The dresses, to me, were just as beautiful, were easier to find, and arrived more quickly. The place where I faltered, though, was on my headpieces. Bridal consultants are trained to wait for the "Oh mommy" moment: when the bride tries on that perfect dress that makes her say "oh mommy!" that's when the headpieces come out. My consultant had a tiera and a crystal-studded veil on my head before I even knew what had happened, and in the moment we agreed to buy it all. The headpieces, put together, cost almost as much as the dress! Not very frugal at all.

3. Skimp on stationery.

To me, a traditional wedding invitation was important, but I didn't care about save the date cards or programs, so we skipped them entirely. Since we were only inviting close friends and family, we were pretty confident that they were planning to come and that they knew who we were. If you don't care about invitations, consider paring down to one page invitations, post cards, or even e-vites. If you have a wedding webpage, there's no need for a double stamp sized invitation anymore.

4. Shop around.

Even if you do go for full invitations, you can save a bunch of money by buying them online instead of from a local store. Most of your extras: your cake topper, your garter, your guestbook, can also be bought more cheaply online, and you'll have more selection.

5. Pare down centerpieces.

A truly frugal bride could eliminate these altogether, but if you want something nice, try mirrored plates with tea lights, or a single floating orchid. Elaborate floral arrangements will probably just go to waste.

I know there is probably many a more frugal bride reading this, so if you have any other tips to share, please do!

For more frugal tips, check out Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood Online.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


It's very popular in the personal finance community to ask the question "Which is more important, making more money or spending less money?" I've also heard the delineation as "Spending less than you earn" vs. "Making more than you spend."

I've said before that I think the answer requires a little commonsense. I'm not going to work for 80 hours a week to buy a BMW, nor can I get my spending down to zero or pay my rent by clipping coupons and unplugging appliances. I need a more balanced approach. I need something that works for me.

But still. But still.

But still I find myself on this treadmill. I have a tendency to hyperfocus on things, to discover something and become completely obsessed with it. I consume information like crazy, like I'm starving for it, like it's going to solve some problem I didn't know I had or fill some whole that I can't quite name. And then I run out of information on this very specific topic, I start to encounter repeats, and I get frustrated. Why doesn't anyone have anything new to say??

My latest obsession, it seems, has been with the concept of passive income. I've been searching and reading, watching videos, signing up for email lists. I've glutted myself on information. I wondered if it would be the solution to all of my problems, if it would make my life suddenly better, solve my finances, pay off my debt, and allow me to quit my job, have tons of babies, and read ever novel in the world.


It's time for me to regain a sense of perspective. I need to regain my balance, to fit more time for me and what I love back into my life, and to get back to hanging laundry, cooking fresh food, and reading and writing. There is room in my life for a bit more income, and for learning a few new skills, and once I find that space, I would love to share that information with you. But the truth is, until it's real for me, until I'm writing from a place of strength and truth, it's not going to mean anything to anyone else either. We need time to process quality information, and I've bombarded myself with so much information (quality or otherwise), that I haven't had the proper time.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Free Money

In case I'm not the last person in the blogging community to sign up, you can get a free $25 (and earn me a free $10) by signing up for Revolution Money Exchange with the link below:

Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How to grocery coupon - Week 2

Do everything you did week 1, and:


Begin a pricebook. From your receipts and sales ads, keep track of the best prices on various items. Create a page for each category of items you buy and record the price, size, brand, store, and date. You will eventually look for trends in this, but right now, just record it.

Clip more coupons. This week you’re going to start clipping coupons for items that you don’t buy all the time too, but might like to buy. Don’t use these coupons yet but start filing them. Consider creating an alphabetical or categorical filing system.


Consider doing your “sale list” shopping at more than one grocery store. This means reading more sales ads and going to more stores, but if you are strict and only buy things on your sales list at each store, you will probably save more money. A trick to remember is that the store which has lower everyday prices (for your need list) will probably not have the best sales. Expensive stores use deep discounts to lure people in. Take advantage, without getting tricked.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tricks grocery stores use to get your money

1. Phantom Sales. Sometimes items are listed in the circular, or have a sales tag on the shelf, but are really only discounted by a penny or two. Keep accurate records in order to see what a real sale is.

2. End caps/displays. Is what's on the endcap the item that was on your list? Sometimes another brand of an item that is an advertised sale will be displayed. Make sure you're getting the one that's on sale!

3. Cross promotion. When you buy your sale item, is there a related item on a huge display next to it? Just because you're stocking up on peanut butter doesn't mean you need to stock up on jelly if it's not on sale. Do you really need to buy a new corkscrew?

4. X for $X deals. My grocery store often has things listed 3/$5, 5/$10 or 10/$10. Unless it says so, you don't need to buy that many to get the deal. My husband used to do this and was actually convinced by the end that he'd wanted exactly three boxes of granola bars. Do the math and buy however many you want/need.

5. Impulse purchases. Prepared meals (like roasted chickens) tend to be near the entrance so when you are frantic at 5:00, you see them as you walk in the door. Is that what you intended to buy? Is something else a better deal? Also, did you really want that candy or magazine?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Carnival of Personal Finance 151 is up!

Check out this week's Carnival of Personal Finance at Alpha Consumer.

I haven't had a chance to read much, but I will post a summary of my favorite articles some time in the next few days.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Heart of Frugality

Crystal, at Money Saving Mom, has been talking about how Less is more, and that kind of made me get back to the heart of my frugality and think about what really matters.

It matters to me that I live lightly on the planet, that I am a good steward of my environment, use resources wisely, protect and improve around me. I want to treat the Earth and the other people on it with respect, and so I want to make sure that I don't waste energy, water, food, or space. All of these things are really quite scarce in the grand scheme of it, and by being frugal I can conserve and protect them.

It matters to me that I make positive progress towards getting out of debt. I want to be able to live a life in line with my values and to be able to do work that I believe in, so I don't ever want to be in a position where I NEED to have a certain job to pay my bills. I want the freedom that comes with being debt free and by being frugal now, when our income is lower, I can give myself certain gifts for the future.

It matters to me that we have good food, healthy delicious food that nourishes us and brings us pleasure. I don't want to eat hot dogs or Ramen noodles every night, nor do I want to eat things that come from a box or a bag. I want to eat as much organic, local food as possible. Frugal cooking allows me to have fresh, high quality home cooked meals.

It doesn't matter to me that I catch every deal on shampoo, that I have a fancy car, that I have new copies of every book I've ever read. It doesn't matter to me that I have lots of stuff; it just matters to me that the stuff I have makes me happy.

And that, for me, is the heart of frugality.

For more articles on frugality, visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood