Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wrap Leftovers- Fast!

On family trips, collect the shower caps from the hotel room. When you get home, keep them in a kitchen drawer and use them to cover bowls and plates of leftover food when you're in a hurry. You don't have to wrestle with stubborn plastic wrap and you will also save time by not using extra dishes to use a container with a lid.

Mail Fragile Gifts with Confidence

Are you getting a package ready to mail and realize that you don't have any shipping peanuts or packing material to cushion the items? Try this trick: First, slip a drinking straw in an almost-sealed zip-top plastic bag. Next, blow into the straw to inflate the bag like a balloon. Then remove the straw and seal the bag immediately. The resulting air-filled plastic "bubble" will create a soft barrier for contents in the box, protecting the precious presents from breakage so everything is sure to arrive in one piece.

Money Saved: $10 per large roll of bubble wrap

Space-Saving Spice Storage

You don't have to splurge on a spice rack to free up space in your crowded kitchen cabinets and pantry. Instead, hang a clear plastic shoe organizer on the inside of the pantry door and slide your assortment of spice bottles into the individual pockets. They will fit comfortably in the slots, creating much-needed space on cabinet shelves. And thanks to the shoe organizer's translucent material, you'll be able to locate the seasoning you need at a glance.

*Note: I have tried this idea in my bathroom on the back of the closet door to hold hair sprays, shampoos, make up, etc.
It worked very good and I was able to find at a quick glance what I needed.

Polish Patent Leather for Pennies

Is your patent-leather purse anything but shiny? To fix: Coat a cloth with a dallop of petroleum jelly. Buff the surface, wait 5 minutes, then wipe off with a clean cloth. The medicine-cabinet staple makes everything glisten and is hydrophobic (water repelling), so it forms a protective barrier on your bag's exterior, leaving it good-as-new gorgeous!

Money Saved: $6 per can of patent-leather polish

Soak Away Menstrual Cramps

Your cramps are terrible, and the ibuprofen you took hasn't kicked in yet. Run yourself a hot bath and soak for 15 minutes, holding an ice pack against your lower abdomen. This hydrotherapy technique uses heat and cold simultaneously to draw built-up blood in your tummy outward to your lower extremities, easing discomfort fast.

Egg-celent Ideas

Have you ever wondered what to do with those left over egg cartons? There are dozens of uses for them such as a toolshed organizer, loose change holder, travel container for jewelry, seed starters, desk organizer. The possibilities are endless.

Source: www.quickandsimple.com/diva

Save Big $$$ With Small Mouse Clicks

Is your car, computer or appliance on the fritz? Before opting for an expensive repair or replacement, log on to the Internet to find do-it-yourself solutions


Say your car's "check tire pressure" light keeps coming on. You can see that the tires are properly inflated, so the real problem is getting rid of the message. A mechanic could help- at a price. Instead, go to a Web search engine and type in, for example, "Toyota check tire pressure light". Seconds later, you'll get a link to material (that may not be in the car manual) that explains how to disable the light. Car blogging sites can also offer advice.

Smart Savings: $100 for the dealer to diagnose the problem, plus the cost of any repair.

* I do this all the time! Whatever the problem is, I always go to my favorite search engine and almost always find the solution and step by step instructions sometimes on how to fix the problem. Our hot water heater was not working properly and I searched for it and determined the thermostat was needing replacing. We went to the local hardware store and bought what we needed for around $30 for both thermostats and we even got step by step directions online on how to replace it ourselves. Savings- AT LEAST $200.


Problems with your computer or printer? Someone we know had an Epson printer that got huffy, flashing an "align print cartridges" message. The cartridges seemed aligned, yet the printer wasn't working. He turned to Google and typed in: "Epson align print cartridges." The responses included a link to a site with the you'd-never-figure-this-out solution (press two buttons at once to make the printer believe the faux problem is fixed).

Smart Savings: $200 (cost of a new printer).


Another friend consulted Google when her digital camera stopped shooting. A manufacturer's troubleshooting page popped up and explained that she likely had a defective memory card.

Smart Savings: About $265 (she ended up spending $35 for a memory card instead of $300 for a new camera).


Order repair parts for appliances through the Web. For example, a co-worker needed a new refrigerator-door bracket. She entered "GE replacement refrigerator parts" and quickly learned where to find the necessary model numbers. The $17 bracket arrived in five days, and she easily
installed it herself.

Smart Savings: $90, plus the cost of labor

Source: Good Housekeeping's Quick & Simple Magazine, Nov. 2007

Free Copy of Credit Report

Did You Know?

You can get a free copy of your credit report, which lists all your credit-related activity, by going to annualcreditreport.com.

Shopping Tip

When you intend to pick up just a few things at a grocery store, grab a handheld basket- and not a shopping cart. Not only will you be able to navigate more swiftly through the aisles, but the small-size container curbs impulse buys!

SafeLink Wireless- Free Cellphone to Qualifying People

Lifeline Benefits

Lifeline Assistance is part of a program that was created by the government to provide discounted or free telephone service to income-eligible consumers. To help bring you this important benefit, SafeLink Wireless is proud to offer Lifeline Service. Through our Lifeline Service you will receive FREE cellular service, a FREE cell phone, and FREE Minutes every month! SafeLink Wireless Service does not cost anything – there are no contracts, no recurring fees and no monthly charges.

Any Minutes you do not use will roll-over. Features such as caller ID, call waiting and voicemail are all also included with your service. If you need additional Minutes, you can buy TracFone Airtime Cards at any TracFone retailer Walmart, Walgreens, Family Dollar, etc). SafeLink Airtime Cards will be available soon.

Your exact benefits, including the number of free Minutes you will receive, depend on the state you live in. Please enter your ZIP code to get the details for your state.

How to Qualify

The process to qualify for Lifeline Service depends on the State you live in. In general, you may qualify if...

  1. You already participate in other State or Federal assistance program such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid.


  2. Your total household income is at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines set by your State and/or the Federal Government.


  3. No one in your household currently receives Lifeline Service through another phone carrier.
  4. You have a valid United States Postal Address. In order for us to ship you your free phone you must live at a residence that can receive mail from the US Post Office. Sorry, but P.O. Boxes cannot be accepted.

In addition to meeting the guidelines above you will also be required to provide proof of your participation in an assistance program, or proof of your income level.

Enroll in Lifeline

To begin receiving Lifeline Service through SafeLink Wireless, which includes benefits such as FREE cellular service, a FREE cell phone, and FREE Minutes, you must enroll in the program.

Source: Safelink Wireless

Lift Stubborn Stains from Whites

To remove a fresh bloodstain that rubbed off on your husband's T-shirt when he cut himself shaving, pour a mixture of equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water directly onto the affected area. Let sit for 30 minutes then launder as usual. Unlike bleach, which can turn whites gray if used too often, hydrogen peroxide breaks down the proteins in blood through the process of oxidation, gently erasing unsightly grime and stains without damaging or darkening the fabric.

Rinse Pesticides from Fresh Produce

Water alone may not effectively remove the waxxy film, chemicals and bacteria on fruit and veggies. Instead, fill a large bowl with cold water and add 1/4 cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Soak fruits and vegetables for about 1 minute, then rinse with running water. Scientists have found that the medicine-cabinet hero effectively kills E. coli and other bacteria by creating an oxygen-rich environment in which the organisms cannot survive.

We often hear that organic produce is "cleaner" than conventional (non-organic) produce and free of pesticides; however, organic remains more expensive and isn't available everywhere.

Which conventional fruits and vegetables contain more pesticide residue? Which ones have the least?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently completed an analysis of conventional produce to measure pesticide residue levels. Based on the results of almost 43,000 tests, EWG estimates that consumers could reduce their pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent if they avoid the most contaminated foods and ate the least contaminated foods instead. Eating the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables, referred to as “The Dirty Dozen,” exposes the average person to about 15 different pesticides each day, while someone eating the least contaminated will be exposed to fewer than two pesticides each day. (Download a pocket guide to the Dirty Dozen here.)

The Dirty Dozen: Top 12 Foods to Buy Organic

If you have budget constraints, your money is doing more for your health when you put it towards organic varieties of the following fruits and vegetables (listed in descending order, starting with greatest levels pesticide contamination):

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Bell peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Kale
9. Lettuce
10. Imported grapes
11. Carrots
12. Pears

The Clean 15: Save Your Money & Buy Conventional

If going totally organic is too difficult or pricey, play it safe and eat the following conventional produce items to minimize your exposure. These are known to have the least amount of pesticide residue (listed in ascending order, starting with of lowest levels of pesticide contamination):

1. Onions
2. Avocados
3. Sweet corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mangoes
6. Asparagus
7. Sweet peas
8. Kiwis
9. Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Papaya
12. Watermelon
13. Broccoli
14. Tomatoes
15. Sweet potatoes

When eating conventional foods, be certain to peel away edible skins and outer leaves (such as those on lettuce) as pesticides are often concentrated there. Remember to wash all produce (conventional and organic) thoroughly with a natural fruit and vegetable cleanser. Peeling and washing can help reduce (not eliminate) pesticide exposure, but also results in the loss of valuable vitamins and nutrients (like fiber). When you have the choice between an organic item and one that’s conventionally grown, choose organic as much as possible. To see EWG's complete study results, and the rankings of 43 different produce items, visit their website, www.FoodNews.org.

For more information on eating organic foods on a budget, read this article.

Keep a copy of the list with you and consult when you go to the grocery store.

Prevent Liquids from Leaking in Transit

When you travel, a good way to keep your liquids, such as shampoos and conditioners from leaking in your bag is to unscrew the tops and wrap a small square of plastic wrap over the mouth of each bottle. Then reseal. The durable cellophane will prevent liquids from oozing out from the caps while the package is enroute.

I have tried this tip several times and it has always worked for me.

Softer Laundry- for Less

Running through box after box of dryer sheets can become costly. Instead, dip a clean washcloth in your favorite liquid fabric softener and hang to dry. Then, toss the washcloth in the dryer with the next load. The steam created by the wet clothes in the heat of the dryer will cause the washcloth to mimic a dryer sheet, giving your clothes a wonderfully fresh scent for up to 30 loads.

Money Saved: $6 per box of dryer sheeets

Defog a Windshield in Seconds

Are you tired of a thick layer of fog coating the inside of your windshield on your car? Rather than wait for your car's defroster to kick in, get an eraser from a chalkboard and give your windshield a wipe. The compact eraser is absorbent and easier to maneuver than a squeegee. Keep it in your glove box so you're prepared the next time fog presents a challenge.

Revive a Worn Cutting Board

Don't throw out that worn cutting board! After time, water and food seep into the pores of the wood, drying it out and creating spaces where bacteria can hide. Instead of throwing it away, moisturize the surface with a coat of mineral oil- not cooking oil, which turns rancid- will rehydrate the board and fill crevices to keep liquids from penetrating the surface for up to three months. The luster will come back in minutes! Your board will be super clean and free of nasty germs!

The Laundry Staple that Soothes Bug Bites

Summer is quickly approaching and that means the dreaded mosquito! Use a cotton ball to dab a small amount of liquid detergent on the itchy area. Let dry and forget about it. The chemicals in liquid laundry detergent will dry the bite, in turn reducing itchy irritation. Plus, the product acts as a seal on your skin, protecting the area from outside irritants and allowing it to heal faster.

Lift Mud Stains from Carpeting

Got freshly tracked mud on your carpet? No problem! Sprinkle the affected area with a generous amount of cornstarch. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, allowing the starch to soak up the moisture. Then simply vaccum the residue to reveal a spotless rug.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

Maintain a Shine-Free Complexion

No matter how many times you wash your face, the unflattering shine on your T-zone is back in mere minutes. The problem? Facial cleansers strip the skin of moisture, sending your oil glands into overdrive. To put an end to the vicious cycle, combine 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch and a sprinkle of salt in a small bowl. Smooth over skin and leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. The astringent quality of the citric acid in the juice cleanses pores, while the cornstarch-and-salt combo lifts oil without drying out skin. You'll be left with a flawless finish that lasts for hours.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

A Brilliant Way to Avoid Paper Jams

Your overworked paper shredder has come down with a bout of "the jams" from all those bills, bank statements and personal documents. Get it running smoothly again by squirting baby oil onto a piece of printer paper. Allow it to soak in, then shred. Repeat with a second sheet. As the oil-drenched paper passes through the mechanism, it will lubricate the shredder's grooves, preventing future files from getting stuck. Plus, this tactic will extend the life of your trusty appliance.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

Never Buy Household Wipes Again

Sure, you love the convenience of use-and-toss cleaning cloths. But purchasing box after box can add up to a small fortune. To save time and money, layer coffee filters in a sealable container and pour in enough window or multi-surface cleaner to coat the filters. Made out of longer fibers than regular paper, the coffee filters are super durable and won't tear when wet. Simply seal the container and you'll have ready-to-use wipes on hand at all times.

Money saved: $7 per box of wipes

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

*SideNote: To save more money, make your own window cleaner out of vinegar and water.

Double Closet Space in a Pinch with this Trick

Spring's fluctuating temperatures have your fashion-conscious tween hanging sweaters along with her warm-weather clothes in her already crowded closet. Create more room by twisting a thick rubber band around the hook of each hanger so it forms a loop. Then hang a second hanger from that loop. The resulting two-in-one clothes organizer will give your daughter twice the rod space. Bonus: This trick can also help keep her tops and bottoms paired up.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

Restore Rich Luster to Wood in Seconds

The antique dresser in your guest room has seen better days, and no amount of furniture polish is able to rejuvenate the dull wood. To regain the gleam, try this pro trick: Toss two tea bags in hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Let cool, then dampen a soft cloth with the liquid and use it to wipe down the dresser. The tea's tannic acid, commonly used in commercial products to polish and protect wood furniture, brings out the wood's natural color and shine without the sticky coating that chemical-based cleaners leave behind. Best of all, it's safe for all finished wood.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

Erase Stubborn Coffee Mug Stains with Ease

Don't throw out those lemon peels! Stow them in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge and use them to eliminate the rings that your dishwasher missed. Sprinkle salt onto the pith of lemon peel and use it to scrub a stained mug. The alkaline fruit easily dissolves an acid-based java stain. Plus, this citrus acts as a natural bleaching agent to quickly lighten the dark pigments in coffee.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

Come Home to Lush Houseplants

Remember last year when you returned from vacation to a dried-out fern? Next time your family goes on a weeklong getaway, make sure your potted plants stay perky by lining the bottom of the bathtub with an old towel before filling it with two inches of lukewarm water. Then sit your potted plant in the tub and go away without a care. Your blooms will soap up water from the tub while the towel barrier slows the rate of absorption. When you return from your vacation, your greenery will be flourishing just as much as the day you left.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

Safeguard a favorite sewing pattern

This suggestion comes from the April 20, 2009 edition of First Magazine.

Proof that you're an avid seamstress: The templates for your well-loved patterns look worn from repeated snipping. Next time you replace your plastic shower curtain, wash the old one, then use it to cut fresh templates. Unlike thin, flimsy paper, the sturdy yet flexible plastic can be used indefinately without losing its shape or tearing, so your creations will always be flawless- guaranteed!

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine

Old Fashioned Cleaners Safer than "Green" Ones

My husband brought me home the "First" Magazine from the news stand at the grocery store last night. As I was reading through it, they offer some good things I thought I would share with you.

Sales of environmentally friendly household cleaners jumped by 23 percent last year, in part because savvy women caught wind of health threats associated with conventional cleaning products. But now experts caution that even supposedly nontoxic cleaners can cause trouble. "The use of terms such as 'eco-friendly,' 'green' and 'natural' on product labels is not regulated by law, so products that sound safe can harbor chemicals, known to trigger headaches, dizziness, respiratory problems, fatigue and more," explains naturopathic physician Holly Lucille, N.D., head of Healing From Within Healthcare in Los Angeles. "In fact, a 'green' cleaner sold in stores today could be the same conventional cleaner that was sold last year-the only difference being a new, seductively worded label."

That's worrisome news since research already shows that harsh chemicals in traditional air fresheners, furniture polishes, glass cleaners and all-purpose cleaners can cause damage nerve function, disrupt hormone levels and may even raise the risk of cancer and other serious diseases. Fortunately, these simple, natural homemade cleaners make it easy to slash exposure and sail through spring-cleaning symptom-free.

For countertops, sinks and tubs: Baking Soda

The gently abrasive particles in baking soda make this kitchen staple an excellent non-scratch scouring agent for kitchen counters, sinks and other frequently sullied surfaces, says cleaning expert Debra Lynn Dadd, author of "Home Safe Home" (Tarcher). Plus, baking soda's alkaline action quickly neutralizes the acidity of odor-causing molecules to eliminate sour smells. To deodorize the air, place open containers of baking soda in smelly areas (like behind the toilet). To scrub away grime, Dadd advises sprinkling baking soda directly on surfaces and rubbing with a damp sponge.

For glass: White Vinegar

"The simple combination of white vinegar and water is better at cleaning glass than anything else I've tried," reports Dr. Lucille. That's because the acetic acid in vinegar cuts through smudgy buildup (like oil) yet evaporates quickly to leave no visible residue. Just fill an empty spray bottle with 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water, then use as you would your usual glass cleaner.

For wood furniture: Lemon Juice and Olive Oil

A mixture of 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice and 2 Tbsp. of olive oil yields a wipe-on, wipe-off polish that leaves wood furniture gleaming. "The citric acid in the juice cuts through buildup and helps the oil penetrate the wood, hydrating it to bring out its natural glow," explains Dadd. Lemon juice is also great at degreasing kitchen cabinets, she adds. To do: Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to 1 qt. of hot water, then rub on wood surfaces.

For stubborn jobs: Borax

When combined with water, borax (sodium borate) forms a mild hydrogen peroxide solution that kills germs and cuts through even the nastiest gunk. "I use borax for all my tough jobs, like cleaning the floor around the cat box," reveals Dr. Lucille. Her go-to recipe: Dissolve 1/4 cup of borax (like 20 Mule Team Borax, $6 for 76 oz., at amazon.com) in 1 qt. of hot water, then transfer the needed amount to a spray bottle. Wipe off any residue with a damp cloth.

Source: April 20, 2009 First Magazine (on your news stands)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Save One

*Note: This posting has nothing to do with "being frugal". It is on a much serious note about abortion. This is a topic that I am against. I am merely posting for those that would be interested. If you are not interested, or if you are for abortion, please do NOT contact me with hate mail. I am simply trying to be informative with people that would like the information.

I urge everyone to "go one better" and make a donation to a local faith-based crisis pregnancy center or Childrens home, and then add this sentence to their envelope "A donation of $__ has been made to a faith based crisis pregnancy center in memorial of those lives lost to abortion."

If you have been touched by abortion, please visit the SaveOne site.

SaveOne is a life-changing and life-saving ministry touching lives all over the world. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to helping men and women spiritually, mentally, and emotionally heal after making the choice of abortion. SaveOne brings new life into a dead body through the restoration of Jesus Christ. SaveOne will focus on providing answers to life's most difficult questions; Is there life after an abortion? Can you really overcome and be set free? What happens to your unborn child? Where do you go from here?

SaveOne offers a Bible Study that teaches men and women how to recover after making the choice of abortion. At SaveOne your privacy is of utmost importance. This class is taught in a group setting with others who have experienced the hurt that is brought on by abortion. We also have an online class that is offered one on one if there is not a chapter in your area.

Check out our chapters for availability in your area or call us. At SaveOne there is always someone who cares. Let us help you.

RED ENVELOPE DAY- Please Participate

*Note: This posting has nothing to do with "being frugal". It is on a much serious note about abortion. This is a topic that I am against. I am merely posting for those that would be interested. If you are not interested, or if you are for abortion, please do NOT contact me with hate mail. I am simply trying to be informative with people that would like the information.

Red Envelope Day

This is an event on March 31, 2009 everyone who opposes abortion and wants to let President Obama know about it will send a Red envelope addressed to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back you should write:

"This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion.
It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world."

This would be a great way for all your pro-life people out there to let President Obama know that you don't approve of killing innocent babies.

If you would like to participate just send in an envelope.

It has also been suggested that we should also remind President Obama that he campaigned on "HOPE" and that it is our HOPE that he will give those in the womb an opportunity to share in that HOPE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saving on Water

I just found this article on a blog called, "Living on a Dime". Run on over there and see what else they have to say. :-)

Living on a Dime

I have a tip that is helpful for people on town
or city water ( not for those with wells). I
cut 45$ a month off my bill (combined
elec/water//sewage/garbage bill). It is really
simple but takes guts to keep trying when
forgetting it.

First, we saved all our juice/water/milk type bottles.

Second, we washed them.

Third, when we run the water for
any reason we fill jugs up (kitchen for hot or
cold water/ Bathroom to heat up shower
water/hose outside to get cooler or warmer water
depending on the season).

Fourth, whenever we
need water for anything we use it from the jugs:
water for boiling/ adding to rice/ filling ice
trays/ filling pet dish/ brushing teeth/ washing
faces/ From the hose for watering plants when
there’s no rain and for “cleaning outside

It takes perseverance to do this and
there are times when we forget. We keep jugs on
a rack and rotate through. We use a lot more in
the summer and save a lot more in the

When we run tap water for doing
dishes we always save in jugs and only rinse a
lot at a time on minimal water stream. The
water comes in handy for flushing when the power
goes out and for filling water balloons in summer
( tell kids that each time they remember to run
into a jug they get to use one of the small ones
for water fights!!!). or for making chicken
stock or soup. Plus this method takes all the
chemicals out.

Once we really got into it we
found that most of the time we could have water
at least 2 days ahead of what we needed to
use. Hope others can use this.

Source: Living on a Dime

Monday, March 23, 2009

Free Business Cards

I have used Vista Print many times. You can get free business cards as well as special discounts and offers. Sign up for their emails and they will send you special promotions.

Vista Print

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age-old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, don’t pollute and save you money. Most are found in your kitchen cupboards. Mix and match with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.

Non-toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification in knowing that your family’s health is protected, and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than promote harm.

Making your own nontoxic cleaning kit will take you no time at all with these simple, straightforward directions, and with this kit you will be supplied with enough cleaning product for months of cleaning.

As an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart—and that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.

Baking soda
Washing soda
White distilled vinegar
A good liquid soap or detergent
Tea tree oil
6 clean spray bottles
2 glass jars

Read more about these 5 basic cleaning ingredients, and a vinegar update.

Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.

Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work for you it is probably because you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.

1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.


Tea Tree Treasure
Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.

Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

Source: Care 2 Make A Difference

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saving Money on the Groom's Tuxedo

The traditional choice of wedding attire for the groom is a tuxedo. However, buying a tuxedo is virtually unheard of in many places. Renting is probably the way to go to realize the ultimate savings on the groom’s attire. If you were to buy a tuxedo, the average cost would be somewhere between $300 and $500. This is not exactly the way to go when trying to save money on a wedding!

If you do want to buy a tux, check in thrift stores, consignment shops and online to find discounted tuxes. Buying off the rack will cost you a lot more money.

Typically, renting a tux will cost you anywhere from $50 to $100. That rental will include everything the groom will need to look like Prince Charming. This means cuff links, shoes, vest and tie.

Many places offer the groom’s tux rental free when the wedding party rents from the same store. Be sure to ask about a perk like this.

If the groom wants to own his own tuxedo, we suggest a local thrift store or consignment shop. You may also want to consider a discount wedding store or you could even buy online e.g. at eBay.

Yet another great consideration when outfitting the guys in the wedding party is to have them wear nice suits or even casual slacks and a nice shirt. Not every wedding party has to be ultra formal - it’s all up to you!

Source: Zimbio


With all the expenses involved in planning a wedding, you will want to save money wherever you can. Unlike the wedding dress, the groom’s tuxedo is usually rented, making the expense much less. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, you can save money on the groom’s rental by following these steps.

Start looking for tuxedo rentals early. The longer you wait to rent the groom’s tuxedo, the less chance you will have to find a good deal. Start looking for the groom’s tuxedo as soon as you begin planning for the wedding.

Wear your own shoes. When you have black dress shoes, wear these instead of the rental shoes. This can save you a lot of money and rental shoes tend to be uncomfortable.

Borrow a tuxedo from someone that owns one. When you have a friend that owns a tuxedo in the same size as the groom, borrowing the tux would be a great way to cut costs.

Watch for specials and coupons for tuxedo rentals. Keep an eye on the newspaper for specials on tuxedo rental. Check expos for coupons that could save money on the groom’s tuxedo rental.

Get the package discount. Have the groom and the groomsmen rent their tuxedos together. Most tuxedo rental stores offer package discounts when you rent multiple tuxedos at one time.

Source: eHow: Weddings

Saving on the Wedding Cake

♥ Fresh finds
Top your cake with fresh fruit or flowers. Sugar-icing and marzipan decorations are labor-intensive and costly. Think lightweight fruits that won't sink into the cake, such as cherries, strawberries or small bunches of sugared grapes.

♥ Simple designs
An easy-to-make Swiss dot pattern, for example, is less expensive than labor-intensive basket weaves or lace patterns. Cut costs even more by asking for a perfectly smooth surface with strips of wide ribbon tied around each tier.

♥ Just for show
Have a small, beautiful wedding cake on display for the ceremonial cutting with extra sheet cakes waiting in the kitchen to serve your guests.

♥ Delicious desserts
Do away with the traditional wedding cake in favor of cupcakes, pies, cheesecakes or pastries stacked on trays in tiers.

♥ Fake it
If you want a tall, dramatic cake but don't have the cash to pay for it, ask your confectioner to make the bottom tiers out of real cake and the rest out of iced Styrofoam.

♥ Nix the groom's cake
Though a fun tradition, groom's cakes can be pricey—especially if you're going for an elaborate theme.

♥ Stick to one flavor
Variety is nice, but you'll save money if your baker only has to create one type of cake and filling.

♥ Sizing it up
The savings are in the shape. A square cake will serve 10 to 30 percent more people than a round cake of the same dimensions.

♥ Go with a pro
Novices, even a well-meaning friend, could end up costing you more in failed attempts.

♥ Treasured toppers
An heirloom antique topper adds a personal touch—and a free way to decorate your cake.

Source: TeamSugar

Save Money on a Wedding Photographer

The top three wedding expenses are usually the wedding location, the wedding dress, and the photographer. When so much time, effort, money and love have gone into this one special day, it's understandable that one would want it to be preserved beautifully on film. There are ways however
to save significant money on a wedding photographer without sacrificing quality.

College Students- If your local college has an art program, it's highly likely they have photography program within it. By calling the college directory, you can get the names of photography professors or department heads. When you reach them, ask if they have senior level students who are excelling at action and portrait photography. More than likely, they will be able to give you the contact information for a few bright and talented students who have the training to take beautiful pictures, yet not charge you an arm and a leg.

Craig's List- Many fledgling photographers advertise on this site. These photographers often offer great deals if allow them to use your photographs to help build up their professional photographers.

The Knot- This website is an incredible wedding resource, and includes listings for local photographers, both who have a studio and who are freelance. This will give you a great idea of who's out there in your area so that you can compare prices. If you're looking to save money, your best bet is to go with a freelance photographer who doesn't have a studio. This avoids raised rates due to high overhead.

Ask around- More than likely, you have a friend, relative or co-worker who knows a good photographer. This could be someone they've used in the past, or know personally. A personal connection can often help to get you a great price reduction, or give you a lead to a photographer who might not advertise to the general public.

When dealing with an amateur photographer or student, there are a few things you can do to ensure you still get professional grade photos at a reasonable rate.

Source: Associated Content

Ways to Save Money on the Honeymoon

Some couples worry that they can't afford a great honeymoon, especially after footing the bill for parts of the wedding and the reception. However, there are a number of ways you can save money on your honeymoon plans.

First, choose a closer location. It is much cheaper to fly to Mexico than Italy, for example. Many places in the continental United States or just outside its boundaries can be wonderful honeymoon locales. Another option is to opt on driving to your destination � you'll save money on airfare.Second, pick a cheaper room in a nicer hotel. No one wants to spend their honeymoon in a dumpy motel on the side of the road, but you can usually find very affordable rates for some rooms in the more upscale hotels. Sure, you may not have a view of the beach or the mountains or whatever, but you're not really going to spend much time in your room looking out the window, right?

Third, look for package deals. Package deals often include everything � meals, room, local transportation, etc. In the long run, these packages may cost you a few extra hundred dollars but that's a lot less than you would be paying if you paid for each thing separately. Packages can often be booked online which might spell even bigger savings.

Fourth, choose off-season destinations. Almost every location you could choose has a time when they are more packed with tourists. Everyone in the tourism business knows this and raises rates during that time in order to increase their profits. By going during the off-season, you can save hundreds of dollars on the cost of your hotel.

Fifth, if your budget is limited then you may want to consider using a honeymoon registry. With the registry, you plan the details of your honeymoon through a travel site or agent, then your guests contribute money to cover those costs. This is especially effective if you don't really need traditional wedding gifts.

Sixth, if you're planning on a stay of more than a couple of days, you should book a room that includes kitchen facilities. You can save a ton of money by preparing your own food and having romantic dinners or breakfasts in the coziness of your romantic hideaway. You might still want to take away some money for a few restaurant splurges, but not dining out two to three times a day can save you almost $100 daily on the costs of your vacation.

Seventh, you should let everyone know you're on your honeymoon. You might not save money this way but many hotels will provide you with bonuses just because you're a newly married couple. For example, some hotels will include a free bottle of champagne in your room while others will upgrade your room to a suite free of charge. When you're dining out, talking up the fact that you're on your honeymoon could get you a better table, free wine, and maybe even a free dessert.

Even if you're low on money now, you can still book a room in your city for a couple of nights and spend that time alone together without interruptions from the outside world. It may not be Aruba or an African safari, but it will be a magical honeymoon. Then, maybe a few years down the road, you can save up the money to go on a fabulous trip as a second honeymoon.

Source: Your Honeymoon

Biggest Wedding Money Wasters

It's great to find ways of throwing a lavish bash without a lavish budget. But the best way to save money on your wedding is to avoid the things that aren't worth it at any price.

Regardless of budget size, brides of all kinds say that after the wedding, there were several things on which they wished that they hadn't wasted their money. For every person, this list will be different of course. But here is a brutally honest look at what I think are simply not worth it.

Top 5 Biggest Wedding Money Wasters

1. Meaningless and Expensive Wedding Favors Wedding favors can be a thoughtful way of saying thank you to your guests. But far too often they're a meaningless knickknack. Your guests don't need a candy dish, or a little silver bell. Don't think their cute place card holder doubles as a favor; what are they going to do with one place card? And do you really want a plastic Frisbee with your friends' wedding date on it?

You're going to spend a lot of money on things that will just collect dust, or end up in the trash. I think it's far better to not give favors, or to make a donation to a charity. But cute favors include ones that are personal to the bride and groom. You might give food favors from the city you live in, or a box of your very favorite chocolates.

One of my favorite ideas is a breakfast bag. Send guests home with some beautiful muffins, a couple of good quality tea bags, and perhaps a little pot of jam or honey. The next morning they'll be sure to enjoy your treat as they reminisce about everything that happened.

Money Saving Tip: Some of the most thoughtful wedding favors can be handmade. Put together a booklet of family recipes, or create a CD with an insert explaining why you chose each song.

2. Endless Bride and Groom Swag It may be fun to have a pair of track pants that say "Bride" across your butt, but how long are you really going to wear them? You certainly don't need to own multiple pieces of clothing that say "bride" or "groom" because they've got a limited shelf-life. And, you do have an identity beyond that of a bride. You don't own a sweatshirt that trumpets your profession, do you? So why would you want people out in public to see you first and foremost as a bride?

Perhaps the biggest money waster of all is giving your bridal party "bridesmaid" and "groomsman" gear. Do you really think that groomsman is ever going to wear that tacky hat ever again? Do you think he'll even enjoy wearing it the first time?

Money Saving Tip Buy a pair of pajama pants or underwear that says "bride" or "groom." Rather than feeling embarrassed about wearing a bride sweatshirt out in public, clothing meant for the home will remind the two of you of your wedding day. Leave the other bridal swag at the store.

3. Huge Wedding Cakes Some couples only invite 50 guests, but they still order a cake that serves 300. With cakes going for $2-$15 a slice, that extra size adds up quickly. While a large cake looks impressive, a small cake can be charming. If height is a priority, consider asking your baker to use a separator set, and adding fresh flowers between the layers. Or, use a large cake topper, such as this tiered floral centerpiece.

Money Saving Tip If you are having more than 100 guests, ask for a display cake that only feeds 100 people. Use inexpensive sheet cakes in the back to feed the extra guests. No one will know the difference!

Read More: Questions to Ask Your Wedding Cake Designer

4. Too Many Mementos The wedding industry loves to sell you goods by promising they will be keepsakes you can pass down to your children. Having mementos of your special day is a good thing, but you don't need very many. Put together a wedding album, and perhaps preserve your wedding dress. But deeply consider every other item. Do you really need a personalized pen to sign the guest book? Is preserving your bouquet worth the money and the space in your home? You don't need to have a wedding video, unless you will really watch it and enjoy it regularly. And not every toasting glass, picture frame, and photo album needs to be monogrammed with your wedding date.

Rather than filling up your house with tons of wedding mementos, leave room for creating new memories.

Money Saving Tip If an album is not included in your wedding photography package, consider doing it for yourself! That way, you can include the shots that are most important to you, as well as any mementos like your wedding program.

Read More: Capture those memories on film with a Wedding Photography Shot Checklist

5. Too Many Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Have you ever seen a wedding with more than a dozen attendants? It starts to look like a wedding army. Of course, if you are inviting lots of guests, it makes sense to have a large wedding party. But before you start adding your friend who you haven't seen since high school, and all of your cousins, consider what the role of the wedding party should be.

Even if you're not paying for the wedding party's attire, each of those attendants requires a bouquet or boutonniere, a thank you gift, and an invitation to the rehearsal dinner and other parties. Tack on just a few unnecessary bridesmaids or groomsmen and you're potentially talking about hundreds of dollars.

Money Saving Tip Give some of your friends and loved ones different roles in the wedding. Consider asking them to read during the ceremony or give them a special role at the reception. You might even just thank them in the program for helping to support you during the wedding planning process.

Source: About.com: Weddings

Do It Yourself- Save Money on Your Wedding

Many brides, especially those on a budget, want to save money by making things for their weddings themselves. But what is really feasible for the average bride to handle on her own? Here is a list of things you can do yourself, and what you should call in the experts for.
DIY It: Wedding tasks you can do yourself

* Wedding Favors
* Simple Floral and Candle Centerpieces
* Cupcakes (instead of a wedding cake)
* Ring Pillow
* Flower Girl Basket
* Using an Ipod instead of an MP3 player. (Enlist a tech-savvy friend to make sure your first dance song, entrance music, cake cutting music etc. is playing at the right time)
* Bridal Hair and Makeup
* Save the Date Cards, Programs, and Seating Cards
* A decorated guest book, card box, photo album, or other keepsake

For the Pros: Wedding tasks that should be left to the professionals

* Large Flower Arrangements and Centerpieces
* Bridal and Bridesmaid bouquets
* Your Wedding Dress
* A Wedding Cake
* Catering
* Photography

If your aim is to save money on your wedding, start out by making a budget for each DIY project. You'll be surprised to find that some projects are cheaper for the experts to do, and others can be either extremely inexpensive or breaking the bank, depending on the materials you use. (If you want to DIY it because you love crafts and want to show off your handiwork, then stick to your original wedding budget.)

I also recommend that any DIY bride limit the amount of projects she is taking on. Limit yourself to one DIY project per month, and make sure you are done with any projects at least a week before the wedding. DIY stands for Do it Yourself, not Drive Yourself Insane!

Source: About.com: Weddings

Save Money on Your Wedding Flower Arrangements

Question: Can I make my own flower arrangements and boutonnieres?

Answer: If you are someone who has done flower arrangements before (or you have a willing friend or wedding consultant who has) you might consider creating your own wedding flowers. The benefits are of course that you could save a considerable amount of money and that you'll be sure of having creative control to get what you want.

You'll want to find a bulk flower provider - you can find these on the internet, such as at freshroses.com or at freshflowersandmore.com. If you're working with a wedding consultant, he or she probably has a wholesaler id and may be able to purchase the flowers for you at your city's flower market.

Keep in mind that your job will entail more than just arranging the flowers. Bulk flowers arrive with a lot of work needing to be done- you'll need to remove outer petals, work to open the flowers at the right time, and keep them watered and misted. (each kind of flower needs a different kind of care.) You'll typically get the flowers three days before you need to have them, so that you have time to force them open and care for them. You'll need a cool dark place for this time.

When you're thinking about how much this will save you, consider that you'll need to purchase not only the flowers, but also containers for both caring for them and for arranging them, floral tape, wire, and oasis, and other incidentals. Also remember that florists build in overage costs, assuming that they won't be able to use every flower they buy. In the end, it may be easier and not much more expensive to find an inexpensive florist who is willing to work within your budget.

Source: About.com: Weddings

Save Money on Wedding Flowers

While the average price of weddings in the United States has risen to more than $20,000 (and $40,000 in large cities such as New York), brides are finding creative ways to spend that money more wisely, and discovering cheap wedding ideas that help them save money. Here are some cheap wedding ideas for the flowers -- ways to have a beautiful visual impact without spending a fortune.

* Use only in season and readily available flowers. Be honest with your florist about your budget, and have them recommend the most inexpensive flowers.

* Give your florist a general style and color scheme, and any “banned” flowers that you hate, but generally allow them flexibility so they can use what is in season and cheapest. There are some times when peonies cost a fortune, and other times when they are so cheap you can fill your hall with them. Make sure this flexibility will be reflected in your final price tag.

* Hold your wedding during the Christmas season or immediately after Easter when a church will already be decorated.

* Avoid holding your wedding in February when flower prices are at an annual high due to Valentine's Day.

* Large arrangements on an altar will only be seen from far away. Use inexpensive flowers such as carnations, or large filling flowers such as snowball mums.

* Some people think they can save money by moving the ceremony flowers to the reception. However, keep in mind that many churches and houses of worship require you to leave any flowers. Florists also hate to do this because large arrangements are hard to transport, and can become easily bruised or damaged in transit. (It's probably also least partially because it does cut down their bill.) You also will need to coordinate it so that the reception will not be held up by waiting for the ceremony flowers to arrive.

* Find a venue such as a park or garden that is already lush and beautiful.

* Talk to your venues and see if any other brides have booked for the same day. If the two of you can coordinate flowers and split the cost, you’ll save a lot of money.

* Carnations are one of the cheapest flowers out there. A lot of people, myself included, really dislike them. But when they are used in abundance so that the blooms are packed together, they can be quite striking. Consider a low square table centerpiece of 20 carnation blooms with all of their stems and greenery removed.

* Talk to party rental suppliers about renting large potted plants such as tropical palms or ficus. They visually fill a lot of space, and will help frame your ceremony site or warm up your reception. Best of all, renting a potted plant is far cheaper than buying large flower arrangements. Also, you may consider purchasing these large plants and using them in your home afterwards to get more use out of them.

* More and more brides these days are arranging their own flowers such as bouquets of simple roses tied with a ribbon. Four or five pillar candles on top of rose petals makes an easy and cheap centerpiece. You can also easily create a centerpiece using wide shallow bowls filled with water and several floating gerber daisy blooms. If making boutonnieres and corsages intimidates you, these are generally inexpensive to order from a florist.

* Consider ordering flowers from an online wholesaler where you can get some of the best prices. Unlike at a florist, you will be responsible for all of the prep work of cleaning and trimming them, and keeping them alive until the wedding.

Source: About.com: Weddings

Save Money on Wedding Location

If you're a bride or groom on a small budget, you might have gotten sticker shock at the location rental charges and catering prices of most popular wedding locations. A friend of mine is newly engaged in New York City, and we've been scouting inexpensive wedding locations that won't eat her whole budget. She's determined to save enough for that fabulous wedding dress! Here are some places to look for that might save you money:

* Restaurants~ Talk to your favorite restaurant to see how much it would cost to rent a private room or even the whole place. Look for a restaurant with a pretty back garden that you can set up for the ceremony, and can be used for dancing later. This is an option that works best during non-peak hours, as the restaurant might not want to lose their busy Saturday night crowd.

* Parks~ Many city parks allow you to have a wedding there for a nominal fee. Look for ones that have a covered pation, special details like fountains, or grassy picnic areas.

* Theaters and Performance Venues~ Here in Brooklyn, the majestic Brooklyn Academy of Music is available for rental. You can have your wedding ceremony in a number of locations, and your reception in the grand second-floor lobby. The bonus is that there are steep discounts for Brooklyn residents. Look for similar venues in your town, especially old-fashioned theaters. Getting married on a stage can make you feel like a star!

* Your College~ Remember that charming chapel and alumni house at your college? It's usually very cheap for alumni to have their weddings on campus. If your school is picturesque, why not see how much it would be?

* Creative and Unusual Places~ Whether it's the top of a rollercoaster, an old mill, or the unique place you met, a creative wedding location will instantly give your wedding lots of personality. Because these places aren't used to having weddings, you might be able to snag them for a steal, though you'll often have to bring in extra rentals. (200 people and one bathroom isn't pretty.) I know one couple who got married in a rustic and charming beer brewery, and another who got hitched in the landromat where they met!

Source: About.com: Weddings

Top 10 Ways to Save Money on a Wedding

Do you have champagne taste and caviar dreams, on a white bread and soda pop budget? Don't worry, you can still have a beautiful but cheap wedding. Check out these great ways to cut costs and save money.

1. Trim Your Wedding Guest List
Each time you add a name to your invitation list, you're increasing your budget significantly. It's not just the catering costs, but also the extra centerpieces, favors, rentals, etc. Don't invite anyone you haven't talked to in five years. Don't feel obligated to let single people bring a date. Avoid feeling pressured to invite all your work colleagues. And don't let your friends bring their children. You can also decide to eliminate categories like "relatives more distant than first cousins" or "friends from volunteer work." By not inviting anyone from that group, you'll help avoid hurt feelings.

2. Save Postage on Your Wedding Invitations
Forgo the inner envelope and blotter paper, which are leftover relics from times when ink needed time to dry, and people wanted a pristine envelope. Rather than having a reply card, ask guests to reply online or by the telephone. Not only will you save money from the printer bill, it should also reduce your postage expense.

3. Shop Sample Sales and the Internet for Cheap Wedding Dresses
If you wear a 6, 8, or 10, check out sample sales, which generally happen once a year. It's a great opportunity to get a designer dress at rock-bottom prices. You can also look on eBay, Craigslist and other websites for deals on used wedding dresses. Remember that cleaning the delicate fabric of a wedding dress may cost up to $250, so avoid the cheap dress with the filthy hem. And many towns have a shop where you can rent a wedding dress, saving you hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

4. Change the Day of the Week
Have your wedding on a weeknight or a Sunday. There is less demand for these dates, so vendors will often be willing to give you a better rate.

5. Save Money on Church Decorations
For religious weddings, consider having your wedding near a major holiday. The church will already be decorated, saving you lots of money on flowers. On other days, look for simplicity. A candlelit ceremony can be romantic, gorgeous, and inexpensive.

Not having your wedding in a church?

6. Learn to Ask for Help to Save Money
If you want to have a cheap wedding, pool your friends' and family's resources. Think of musicians you know, well-spoken friends who could be your officiant, and crafty people who can help you assemble things. They will generally be honored to be a special part of your big day. Also look for money-saving tips everywhere. Check websites such as wedfrugal.com and frugalbride.com, and ask friends and family members for what they did to save money on their big day.

7. Get Crafty - Do It Yourself
Throw a "pitch-in party," where you ask your friends to be a special part of your wedding by helping you assemble favors and make invitations, centerpieces, and other homemade inexpensive touches. Be sure to put out delicious snacks and have inspiring tunes on the stereo, so that your friends feel like they're at a party, not just part of an assembly line. Click the link below for DIY wedding projects.

8. Look for Cheap Wedding Food and Drink
Be honest with your caterer about your need to save money. Ask them which are the least expensive entrees and whether a buffet is cheaper than a seated dinner. See if they'll let you provide your own liquor, or if serving only wine and beer will be cheaper than a full bar. Also consider only having the bar open during your cocktail hour, then serving an inexpensive wine with dinner. Especially if you and your fiance don't drink, consider having a dry wedding.

9. Make the Most of eBay
eBay, eBay, eBay. It's a great source for everything from second-hand dresses to wedding favors, cake toppers, ring pillows and more. Be sure to allow ample time for the auction to end, and for shipping. Look for trusted sellers whose feedback indicates they have accurately represented what they have sold.

10. Consider Cheap Wedding Invitations
Don't go for engraving - regular printed invites work just as well. There are a variety of cheap wedding invitations available on the internet. For a casual wedding, consider printing your own invites from your home computer. Stationery stores now sell printed paper meant to use in a home printer as cheap wedding invitations.

Source: About.com: Weddings

Wedding Tips

Wedding Tips:

* Plan the time of your wedding so that it falls in between meals if possible. That way if your wedding is at 2:00 in the afternoon most people will have eaten lunch and will be leaving the wedding before dinner.

* Don't worry if you can only afford to serve cake, punch, coffee, mints and nuts at your wedding. Having been a guest at many weddings, I have never given a second thought to what I was served. There is always that one person who will have something negative to say, but if you had had an expensive sit down dinner that person would have had something negative to say about it, too.

* Delegate, delegate, delegate. I could never have pulled off my wedding or my daughter's wedding if I hadn't had a lot of help from friends and family. Don't be afraid to ask for help. People love weddings and usually enjoy being a part of one. Pick one person to be in charge of the food, especially for the day of the wedding, and ask others to help you to prepare it.


I will mostly be giving hints for what I call a "finger food buffet". It is a happy medium between just cake and punch and a sit-down dinner. Be sure to pick things that can be prepared in advance to make it easier.

The things I list are just a few ideas of things that you could use. Some things will be more expensive than others. Use only what will fit into your budget.

Large platters of fruit with or without dips

* Use in-season fruit that can be prepared ahead of time without turning brown. Strawberries, kiwi, oranges and pineapple work well.

Large platters of veggies with or without dip

* Check out a garnish book at the library to learn how to make them special instead of just making the usual carrot sticks. You can also serve olives, pickles, pickled veggies, etcetera with your veggie platter.


* Sandwiches should be like "tea" sandwiches, with the crusts cut off and cut into shapes like triangles, circles or diamonds.

* Most sandwiches can be made way ahead of time and frozen. Spread each side of the bread with softened butter to prevent it from becoming soggy. This really works great. Wrap well before freezing.

Inexpensive Cold Cut Platters

Cheese and Cracker Platter

* Use a variety of cheeses. Once again, these should be cut into shapes like bells, hearts or cubes.

* Use a variety of crackers, too, not only in various shapes (round, square or rectangle), but also different colors.

Cold Cut Platter

* In place of sandwiches, you can have a platter of cold cuts (attractively arranged by rolling them up) and served with a variety of small rolls or breads.

Use Mints*, nuts or spiced nuts

Additional Tips:

If you want to go one step further than just finger foods, you can add in any number of different types of salads.

Everything you serve should be attractively cut, arranged on platters and garnished. You can buy some very nice silver or crystal like platters at party stores. Don't forget to plan for decorations for the food table.

This all may seem like a lot of work but remember, you can do a good portion ahead of time, you don't have to serve everything listed and enlist help. Also you can cut corners in some areas. For example I will be giving you a recipe for wedding mints to make but if you don't have time for those, just substitute some of those pastel party mints that you can buy. In the same way if you don't want the work of "tea" sandwiches, just have a cold cut platter.

*Molded Mints

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 (3oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. peppermint flavoring
Food coloring
Candy mold

Mix first 4 ingredients. Knead several times. When dough is smooth, roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours. Roll into small balls, dip in sugar and press into mold. If mints stick to mold, knead in more powdered sugar. Remove from mold and let dry 1/2 hour. Store in airtight container. Can be frozen or refrigerated. Makes 100 one inch mints.

Use food coloring to match the bride's colors. You can buy molds in the craft section at Wal-Mart, or a cake decorating shop. Use anything you like - hearts, leaves and shells all work well.
From A Reader:

"I wanted to add a tip to your "Molded Mints" recipe. If you don't have molds for your mints, you can roll them into balls and use an initial imprint stamp with the bride and groom's last name. Just push the stamp down in the center of the mint and use even pressure. It makes them look like designer mints. If you powder the mints with more sugar, do so before you stamp the mint. Thanks for letting me put in my two cents."


Source: Living on a Dime

Saving on the Decorations for your Wedding

The Decorations

We paid almost nothing for the flowers even though we had lots of them. One of the best kept secrets is to go to a vo-tech school where they teach horticulture and flower arranging to get your flowers. Tawra bought the flowers there that the students had grown and they even arranged the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages. It cost very little because they used the experience to train the students, all supervised by an instructor who made sure everything turned out well.

Tawra loves dried flowers, so she used half fresh and half dried flowers. All the things I mentioned above were done using fresh flowers and then a lot of the decorations were done using dried arrangements. That way she was able to get the decorations done way ahead of time.

If you will be using dried flowers, don't forget that you can go to some florists and at the end of the day they are usually very willing to give you the rejects from their fresh flowers for you to dry. Often, flowers that are no longer fresh enough to sell fresh make great dried flowers.

Since the church Tawra and Mike were getting married in was a log cabin in the Rocky Mountains, we saved quite a bit by using what we had on hand. We cut pieces of evergreens (for free) and draped them on the hand rails going into the church, on the pew ends and everywhere else on the inside. We added white Christmas lights that we already had, white bows, and bunches of dried flowers tucked in here and there. We threw in some white candles and it really looked amazing.

Tawra made two huge dried wreaths for the front doors of the church and that completed most of the decorating.

The Bouquets

I have seen some beautiful and elegant weddings where the bridesmaids carried just one flower. This is one case where "less is more" really works. Something so simple can make any wedding look very elegant. For my own wedding I was able to have a smaller bouquet because I carried a small lace covered Bible that my mom had carried at her wedding (and later, Tawra carried it). I also had my bouquet made so that it could be split apart; one part to toss to the single gals and the other for me to save. That saved us from buying an extra bouquet to toss.

Time Out: I know there will be some of you who will say, "None of these things will work for me. I don't live in the mountains where I can gather evergreens, I don't know of anyone who knows how to sew who can help me with my dresses, etc."

I understand you won't probably do exactly what we did, but I am giving you these examples to help you to start thinking of your own ways that you might be able to save, and part of that savings comes from using things from your own environment. Do you live by the ocean or where wild flowers grow profusely? Have an outdoor wedding by the ocean and save the expense of a building or use wild flowers as part of your decorating.

Where I got married, we had a strange but attractive thistle type weed that grew everywhere. For my wedding, we spray painted them to match my wedding colors and used them for pew markers and mixed them in the flower arrangements. If you have a wedding at a time when you have lots of cat tails growing wild, use them in your decorations.

If you don't have anyone to help you sew, you may have to buy your dress but maybe you know someone who is a professional photographer where I didn't.

If all else fails keep your wedding simple and small. That doesn't mean that you are any less in love or less married. It will just mean that at the end of your honeymoon you will get to come home and start working on building a good solid marriage instead of spending all your time working to pay off thousands of dollars of debt.

The Cake

Most of the time, the smaller the cake and the less elaborately decorated it is, the less expensive it will be. That's not to say that you have to have a 6" undecorated cake. One way to save on a cake is to have a reasonably sized main cake and then sheet cakes to serve to the guests. You also don't have to have a cake where every inch of it is highly decorated. Like the bridesmaids carrying a single flower, some of the most beautiful cakes that I have seen have been where they were covered in plain white frosting with flowers laid on them.

If you want something more elaborate but don't have the money to buy an expensive cake, you might consider making it yourself or having a friend or family member do it. If that doesn't work and you have plenty of time to plan your wedding, you could pay for a friend, family member or yourself to take cake decorating lessons and make your own. Most people don't realize that the cakes are usually baked far in advance of the wedding and frozen, with last minute touches added a day or two before the wedding. It is much less expensive to pay $25 for a cake decorating class than a couple of hundred dollars for a cake.

The Food

Decide how much budget you have to spend for the food and then plan accordingly. If you can afford a sit down dinner with lobster then so be it. If you can only afford cake and punch, that is fine too.

The main reasons couples overspend on the food at a wedding are that they are trying to impress the guests or that making it big it is the "in thing" and they assume that they have to do it. Neither one of these are good motives for planning the food for your wedding. Here are some personal examples that illustrate why.

At the time my daughter got married there were a couple of other weddings that the same group of guests attended. We could only afford to serve a finger food buffet with cake and punch. The other weddings had very nice and expensive sit down dinners. For a very long time after Tawra's wedding, people would come to me out of the blue and mention once again how much more they enjoyed Tawra's wedding compared to the other weddings.

They would always try and be nice about it but would say that, even though the other weddings were nice and beautiful, they really enjoyed Tawra's because it seemed warmer, friendlier and more intimate. I was very surprised because some of the other weddings had cost thousands of dollars and were very elaborate ones with all the trimmings. Then I got to wondering why. (There I go thinking again!)

After thinking about my own experiences at weddings, I finally figured out that when the guests go to a sit down dinner, they spend a great deal of time at the one table talking to a hand full of people and maybe, if they are lucky, get to say a quick word or two the newlyweds. When we had our finger food buffet, everyone mingled. People were able to walk around and visit with many different groups other than the six or eight people they would have been locked in with while seated at a table. Another big plus was that the newlyweds weren't sitting at their own special table, but were walking around totally accessible to everyone the whole time.

I'm not saying "Don't have a sit down dinner or your wedding won't be as nice." What I am saying is that I wouldn't panic if you can't afford a fancy sit down dinner. Each arrangement has its own benefits and drawbacks and one is not necessarily better than the other. Again, it is not how much you spend that creates a special atmosphere, but how much thought goes into it.

For those who feel pressured to have the expense of a sit down dinner is because it is the "in thing" to do: At the risk of sounding too blunt, if you are old enough to be getting married, you should be old enough to be learning to do what is best for you and your future family rather than simply following the crowd. Spending more than you can afford for your wedding and going into debt in order to impress people is not doing what is best for you and your future family.

They Lived Happily Ever After

Remember that starting married life can be stressful even in the best of circumstances. Don't sabotage yours before you even get started by bringing unnecessary debt into the situation and causing even more stress. Now is a good time to learn and put into practice the verse that says "The wise woman builds her house but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." (Proverbs 14:1) Spending more than you know you can reasonably afford is a perfect example of the warning in this verse. You know when you are spending more than you should but you do it anyway. If you do it, you are tearing your home and your marriage apart with your own hands. Don't do it. Start now practicing being a wise woman.

Final Thoughts

Even with careful planning, most people's budgets and guest lists tend to get out of control and sometimes even double in size before all is said and done. Be aware of that in advance and try to plan accordingly.

Remember that even though you want your wedding day to be the best, it is only one day but your marriage will be for a lifetime. Be sure you keep things in perspective about what is really important at this time when many others will try to drag you away from that perspective.

Source: Living on a Dime