Ways to Save on Wedding Invitations

With wedding season in full swing I felt it was extremely important to share ways to save. Now remember the easiest way to save money is to cut your guest list down. I understand that might not be the best option to many people because you might have too many family or friends. So if you have already thought about that and are still trying to stay in a budget I am here to help.

Let’s start with the easy things like invitations. They are just paper, envelopes, and stamps, right? WRONG! Invitations are what your guests need to be able to read, to hang up, and to reference easily when they are trying to get to your wedding. They need to provide the addresses of the ceremony and reception, and driving directions between the two if needed.

So the best piece of advice is to buy standard rectangular invitations that can be mailed out with forever stamps. This is the cheapest most efficient way to inform your guests about your big event without breaking the bank.

I had a budget of $500.00 for my invitations and I tried my hardest to stick to my budget since I knew there would be many other places that I wanted to splurge a little more. For my wedding of 312 people invited, I spent $513.60 with invitations and envelopes. I had to spend an additional $103.00 on postage because I wanted to be different and get square invitations (BIG MISTAKE). Square invitations mean that you are moved to a different postage bracket, which ended up costing more money just to mail them. That is why I strongly recommend standard rectangular envelopes.

Save the Dates are the best way to inform guests of when your big day will be so they can plan their trip and/or weekend accordingly. Another cost efficient way to inform guests but not break the bank is to send an evite. Some older guests might find it a little tacky, but anyone under the age of 40 would love to receive an electronic way of adding to their digital calendar. For many of us at this time in our lives, we have WAY too many invites that we often misplace and/or lose before the event even happens.

Apps that give you cash back through eating, drinking, and shopping

There are tons of apps out there that advertise cash back, but are any of them really worth downloading? Well I am going to tell you about the three apps that I use to get more money in my pocket. I do not have the time to be the crazy coupon lady, but I also do not want to overpay for everything I buy.

Bevrage: Have you ever wanted to drink alcohol and get money back for doing it? Well look no further than the app called Bevrage. I downloaded the app March 1st and have already made $28.75. I just ordered what I wanted to drink from ANY restaurant or bar and took a picture of the receipt at the end. The only issue is if you drink more of the same drink throughout the night, you don’t make more money. For instance, if you ordered a light draft beer and Bevrage is giving you $0.75 for that, you can only claim it on one drink. You get paid through a paper check mailed to your house or through paypal. My opinion is that this app rocks and you should download it ASAP!

If you do decide to download Bevrage feel free to use my reference code of XHTPJMMN

Ibotta: This is probably one of my FAVORITE apps on my phone. You can shop at any store and take a picture of your receipt. It’s almost like coupon clipping after you have shopped. (You could of course look to see what they are offering before you shop, but you don’t have to). The app works by categories such as grocery, pharmacy, clothing, beer, wine, and spirits, beauty and wellness, and more. They even make it easier by being able to shop at specific stores like Target, Meijer, Walmart, etc. I love that I can shop at my favorite stores and take a photo of my receipt to unlock cashback. The money gets deposited into my paypal account once I reach a minimum of $20.00. You could also set up a Venmo account to have the money deposited.

If you decide to download Ibotta feel free to use my reference code of KWWBWHA

Ebates: Once again, getting money back for doing your everyday shopping. This time it is through online shopping. I usually do my Christmas shopping through ebates to get the most money back at the hardest time of the year financially for me. You shop through ebates, but can buy from stores such as Kohl’s, Best Buy, Macy’s, Loft, Lord and Taylor, Michael Kors, Toms, Old Navy, and many more. It is just online shopping with the perks of getting cash back!

If you decide to download Ebates feel free to use my referral of https://www.ebates.com/r/BRITTN1604?eeid=28187

If you have any apps or websites that will give you cash back please comment with the app and how much you have made already. I am always looking for more ways to save, so please let me know what you do.

How I ate dinner for 7 days on $18.64 and you can too!

So maybe you have decided to save some money, or you had a recent life event make you scale back on your spending. Whatever your reason for wanting to grocery shop on a budget you have come to the right place. I love getting deals and saving money. The extra cash I have at the end of a grocery trip makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

Last week my grocery bill was $24.61 for a whole week of breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two people. That comes out to a $1.76 per day per person! Could you imagine living on that much per day? Now let me tell you, I am not a big eater. I usually have three meals a day, and about 1-2 snacks, but my husband eats about four meals a day and has 3-4 snacks.

Establish a budget — Okay so first thing’s first. You need to establish a budget. Look at what you are spending on groceries, restaurants, etc. and decide how much you want to save. Do you want to just cut back on your grocery bill, restaurants, or both? Once you decide what you want to cut back, then decide how much you want to cut it back. If you usually spend about $100 a week on food, maybe your target goal would be to spend $60 a week. Once you realize how easy it is to do that you can continue to scale back your spending.

Look through sales ads to plan meals — This is pretty easy since they get sent to your house once a week. All you have to do is look to see what is on sale for the week and then plan meals around that. It usually helps to add variety in the dinner schedule too. For example in my freezer I have 1lb of turkey bacon, 4 chicken breasts, 1 lb of turkey sausage. In my refrigerator I have lettuce, mild cheddar cheese, and eggs. My meal planning would be:

Monday: Tacos ( tortillas $3.14)
Tuesday: Bacon & Cheese omelette
Wednesday: Grilled chicken (broccoli $1.44 and rice $2.29)
Thursday: Leftover Tacos
Friday: BLT (bread $2.89)
Saturday: Leftover grilled chicken wraps
Sunday: Sandwich (turkey breast $ 4.99 lb & provolone $3.89 lb)

Your dinner this week is costing you a grand total of $18.64.

Make a list — Once you see what is on sale. Take inventory of your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Try to use what you already have and then maybe buy a side to go with it. Of course I will need to purchase the staples of milk, cereal, and fruit every week, but I try to really buy what is on sale for the week so the brand name doesn’t matter.

Stick to the list — When you go to the store try to stay in the produce section only. When you start going through the center aisles is when your list starts to add up. You also are purchasing the not-so-healthy food too.

Well, there you have it. Eating on a budget is not so bad, and for me it actually helps my meal planning. I end up eating healthier options because they are planned out ahead of time instead of last minute binging on whatever I can get my hands on.

Workweek Breakfast To-Go

I don’t know about you but I seem to NEVER have enough time in the morning to eat breakfast. When I get up a little earlier I end up spending more time in the bathroom putting on make-up. I usually will grab a cereal or granola bar (which never really fills me up), and then when I get to work I feel like I am starving. Sometimes if I didn’t have anything in the house I would run to the local coffee shop and spend around $5.00 for a “protein pack”. After realizing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day I have decided to meal prep breakfasts for the week.

When going to the grocery on Sunday (like every other person in the world) make a list of what to get. This week I am going to purchase a dozen eggs, 1 lb of grapes, a package of babybel cheese, and a package of unsalted almonds.

When you get home hard boil the eggs. I usually fill up a pot with water and place the eggs inside and put the lid on. When the water starts to boil I turn the burner down to the lowest setting and put a timer on for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, I turn the burner off and run the eggs under cold water for about 1 minute. THAT’S IT!

The next part is when you get the meal portions ready. This is seriously the easiest thing to do guys. I use five containers for each day of the week and the container holds about 3 cups. Place two hard boiled eggs in each container, 12 almonds, 1 babybel cheese, and about 4 oz of grapes. Your breakfast is done for the week. Now you don’t have to worry about it in the morning and the best part is….it’s healthy too! Happy Eating!

5 Simple changes to save money

I know there are a ton of blogs out there explaining how you can save money, but if you’re anything like me you want to know more! I want to know how I can save as much as I can to be able to have choices in my life. I do not want to live paycheck to paycheck with stresses of if I am going to be able to pay my mortgage or not.

 

  1. Buy a large water bottle and bring it EVERYWHERE! I used to buy bottled water for $5.00 for a case of 24 bottles. I usually drank about 3 water bottles a day which would make it so I had to buy a new case every 8 days. When I cut out the water bottle purchases I saved about $20.00 a month. (Of course when guests came over they would drink a few water bottles too!)
  2. Eat at home! I know eating at a restaurant helps to take your mind off of things, but it’s crazy how much it costs just to eat outside the house. If you want to get together with family or friends, invite them over for a nice meal. It’s more cost effective and healthier too! We even have a meal once a week with family so we travel to another relative’s house every other week.
  3. Make your own Coffee/Tea– This is a REALLY important one! I know as a millennial we absolutely LOVE our coffee shops, but it is crazy how much this adds up. If you are craving a latte, or a flavored drink, spend the $3.00 at your local grocery store to get a flavored creamer. Believe me, if you didn’t drink at a coffee shop for a whole month you would save about $125.00.
  4. Utilize resale shops. This is one of my favorite things to do now. I love finding something that is great quality for a quarter of the price it would be at a department/furniture store. My husband and I will go out to estate sales, garage sales, and resale shops to see what they have and how much the product is really worth. Most of the time we leave empty handed, but when we find that piece of furniture that fits our taste it is worth it.
  5. Wear your clothes until you can’t anymore. Believe me this one was tough for me. I feel whenever I would walk into a store I ALWAYS found something I NEEDED to have. It was extremely hard to tell myself I don’t need it right now. I had to avoid clothing stores altogether because it was that hard for me. Now I know how much I am saving and will wait to buy clothes on clearance for the next season (only when I really feel my outfits are out of date)

 

Well, there you have it. If you try these 5 simple steps for one month, please comment back and let me know how much you saved! Everyday that I save money, is another day of happiness for me.

Meal prepping for the working woman

Let’s face it. Meal prepping is the cool new thing happening around us. Everyone everywhere is talking about how they are meal prepping. They are posting pictures of their meals on facebook, instagram, twitter, and just when you thought you didn’t have to see it anymore you receive a snapchat on how wonderful meal prepping is. So what’s so great about it anyways? I mean does making your meals on a Sunday night really have that many benefits? Well, I didn’t think so until I started doing it, and now I totally get it. I have so much more energy on Sunday than I do any other day during the workweek. I don’t really want to make a ton of food on Sunday (since it is the day of rest like my husband always says), but if I compare how tired I am on Sunday compared to a long day at work on a Tuesday, it makes total sense.

Meal prepping 101- plan your lunches accordingly.

Eating the same thing for lunch for five days is going to make you hate having your meals prepped , even though it is easier to make the same thing. Make about 2-3 different lunches to add some variety. For example, grilled chicken with green beans and potatoes, strawberry pecan salad, and Italian sausage with green peppers would be a great week’s worth of lunches. If you are grilling the chicken and Italian sausage at the same time, you can begin putting your salad together. All of this meal prep took me 38 minutes from start to finish. Although I was reluctant to get off of the couch on Sunday, it was well worth it when Wednesday came around and all I had to do in the morning was reach in the refrigerator to grab my lunch and go.

Weekly meal prep schedule:

Monday — Grilled Chicken with green beans and potatoes
Tuesday — Italian sausage with green peppers
Wednesday — Strawberry Pecan Salad
Thursday –Grilled Chicken with green beans and potatoes
Friday — Strawberry Pecan Salad

Once all of your lunches are made you can put them in your refrigerator for the week. All of these meals will last for the week and taste delicious when you’re eating them. They will even make your coworkers wonder how you have so much time on your hands to make such savory lunches.