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saving money

How we saved money on our wedding invitations

I love weddings. Actually. I LOOOOVE weddings. Prior to Pinterest, I bought wedding magazines regularly because I loved looking at all of the beautiful things. In my mind, my wedding would be big and elegant and fancy but somewhere along the way my dreams for my own wedding departed the land of fairytale romance and landed in the realm of frugal reality.

Once we locked in our wedding date, I immediately went online to find wedding invitations. We found some really beautiful ones that totally go with the theme of our wedding. I was so excited about them… until I realized that they were like $1.75 EACH at the cheapest. A huge part of how we’re doing our wedding is that we want to invite EVERYONE, and thinking about sending 500 invitations at $1.75 each… that’s $875! Then I thought, “I’ll just design our own wedding invitations!” and that lasted for about 1.5 hours before I realized I’m actually too lazy to do that.

Cheap Wedding invitations, DIY Wedding invitations // stephanieorefice.net

That’s when we decided to order them and go about it in the most inexpensive way possible. Here’s the way we’ve done that:

ONE // VISTAPRINT

We decided to go with Vistaprint. They always have sales and coupon codes plus we were able to combine it with Ebates and get cash back for our purchase. Their site has a bunch of different invitation designs that would fit a variety of themes, and their bulk prices are really reasonable. If you’re frugal and way less lazy than I am, you can even upload your own designs and they’ll print them. After the 30% off code, we paid $0.46 per printed invitation (they came with envelopes!). We ordered matching return labels, which were $13.38 for 280 (or $.05 each). Total = $.51 per invitation.

TWO // NO SUITE

While the part of me that LOVES receiving mail really wanted RSVP cards, the part of me that LOVES saving money really didn’t want to buy them, so we didn’t. We didn’t include any of the “suite” ideas – RSVP cards, ceremony details, etc. Instead we decided to utilize the back side of the invitation and filled it with those details. We added an RSVP page to justenandstephanie.com (Justen built it – I love it!) and said you could rsvp there or to either of us. The back also has our ceremony and registry information. Boom. One piece of paper.

THREE // ADD YOUR OWN SPECIAL TOUCH

Once we received the invitations, I spent days staring at them and actually wishing they were a little more fancy. They had printed glitter, but no real glitter or shiny gold or anything that made them feel personal. After receiving multiple clear messages that I should not fill each envelope with glitter, I realized I could maybe somehow add a bag of glitter. I looked everywhere for clear envelopes of some sort. They were all too expensive. I carried an invitation in my purse and went into store after store holding it up to treat bags of various sizes and trying to find SOMETHING so that I wouldn’t have to resort to the Pinterest pins I’d seen about making your own envelopes using wax paper because I AM JUST SO LAZY!

Then one day at Party City, I found the perfect size Wilton treat bags and bought a couple hundred. Then I embarked on the journey of finding the stuff to fill the bags with. Did you realize that finding a bulk bag of gold confetti glitter mix isn’t really easy? I finally caved and ordered thousands of sequins from some sequins supplier and then some tissue paper holes from Amazon and sat around and waited. While I was waiting, I discovered a bunch of Target Easter grass, paid $1.69/lb for some and then went home to experiment. I had a random jar of chunky gold glitter, which I then supplemented with more gold glitter and sequins from Target. If you’re doing the math, yes I have way more loose sequins than I can even figure out what to do with.

Thanks to binge watching Are You The One? (don’t get started on my taste in classy television) I was able to sit down and spend HOURS cutting up easter grass and sprinkling that, glitter + sequins into little treat bags, folding them and taping them and then taping them to the top of the invitations with washi tape.

sorry that ones so grainy 

FOUR // HAND DELIVER

Since owning an owl to deliver mail has yet to become a thing in muggle world, and stamps can add up quickly, we’re hand delivering as many invitations as possible. My dad will get all of the invitations for my stepfamily, my mom will keep the ones from her friends, and we’ll make sure to keep the invitations with us when we see people. Stamps add up.

Now that the invitations are starting to be delivered people, it’s starting to become so real. We’re going to promise in front of our friends and family to choose each other every single day, and then we’re going to have a party! I’m excited to continue sharing with you ways we’re saving money on our wedding. 😀

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Living Fabulously on a Budget

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and thoughts are mine. 

Have y’all ever seen High School Musical (1, 2 or 3)? Did you know that there was another installment all about Sharpay Evans called Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure? If you didn’t know… you’re missing out. East High School’s sassiest wildcat moves to New York City, and she has this huge expectation of her fabulous life in New York City, but the reality is that she is one of those broke, starving artist types living in a shoebox that looks like this:


But Sharpay makes the best with what she has and turns this drab studio apartment into a Fabulous oasis:


(okay really the magic was done by Mark Hofeling, an art director, who had these photos on his site)

But here’s the point:

Sometimes we really want fabulous but we just don’t have the resources for it. Instead of giving up, whining, and being frustrated we can take a hint from Sharpay Evans and work within our resources.

That’s true for so many areas in life, but one area that this is particularly helpful for is the area of taking care of yourself. and this is ESPECIALLY true for those of you moms out there, because moms always think of themselves last and have a hard time justifying spending money on themselves, AMIRIGHT!?

and THAT, my friends, is where the Health, Beauty & Wellness Groupons come in. Hair stylings, workout/gym discounts and wellness services all at a lower rate?

YES. PLEASE.

Groupon really is the place to go when you’re needing to save money but still want to treat yourself. That is, living fabulously on a budget while still treating yourself – but not SPLURGING – every once in awhile. Sometimes when you’re saving and/or paying off debt, you get exhausted with constantly denying yourself – it’s almost like dieting without ever allowing yourself to eat cake at a wedding. Moderation, right? 🙂

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Treasure hunting at the Goodwill outlet

If you know me, you know I love thrift stores. Like… if I was President, 1/2 off Wednesdays at The Salvation Army would be a national holiday. Every Wednesday.

I’ve always known about the Goodwill Outlet (AKA The Bins), but I’ve never really understood it. Many years ago, I remember walking in, picking up a shirt and trying to find a price tag on it. After being unable to figure out what to do, I put it down and left ASAP.

and now I. am. obsessed.

There’s treasure hunting, and then there’s TREASURE HUNTING. Like… you walk in the outlet with grubby clothes, make sure your hair is up, grab a cart and then start DIGGING THROUGH STUFF. Bins and bins of stuff. I want to share with y’all what I’ve found in my last two trips to Goodwill Outlet. At the bins, you pay $1.69/pound for whatever you get so I can’t tell you how much I paid for each item.

My mom and I spent time guessing how much the retail of these items are, so I’m going to do my best to find the retail prices of these items or at least share what Goodwill was originally listing them at, and if I can’t find anything I’m just going to say it’s $1. Anything with a ** denotes the item is brand new in/with packaging or tag.

Treasure hunting at the Goodwill Outlet // stephanieorefice.net

  • Tommy Bahamas sequins pineapple shirt  (similar, $26.97)
  • OK, but first coffee Brandy Melville t-shirt (similar, $9.99)
  • 1/2 of a Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint Candle (retail $20, so $10)
  • Betsey Johnson floral laptop case (being sold on eBay for $30)
  • Replacement decanter for Mr. Coffee Espresso machine (on Target.com for $14.99)
  • Stitched heart pillow (just going to assume it’s homemade because there’s no brand)
  • *Tanamachi Goods iPhone 6 case (Target clearance price tag  $7.48)
  • *Yankee Candle Wax Melts (.99 each, so $1.98)
  • *Yankee Candle Wax melter (Kohl’s clearance tag $6.47)
  • *Target paper banners x4 (priced at $3, so $12)
  • *Pack of pink napkins ($1)
  • *Pack of popcorn bags ($1)
  • Replacement NutriBullet blade (just the blade, $14.99)
  • *Room Essentials plastic shower hooks (on Target.com for $1.04 a pack, so $2.08)
  • Victoria’s Secret Pink Slider Sandals (being sold around the internet for $30)
  • Acrylic organizer ($1)
  • *Paper baking cups x2 ($2)
  • Martha Stewart kitchen towel ($1)
  • *Heart Treat boxes ($2)
  • *3 packages of tissue paper ($4)

Treasure hunting at the Goodwill Outlet // stephanieorefice.net

  • *USA temporary tattoos (because duh. $3)
  • 1 Easter egg plate ($1)
  • *Room Essentials Apron ($1)
  • Square cooling rack (on Amazon.com $7.39 for 2 so )
  • Small milk frother (similar on Amazon.com for $8.99)
  • 2 copies of Real Simple ($3.95 x2)
  • 2 copies of Eating Well ($4.99 x2)
  • Seven7 Legging Jeans (at Nordstrom Rack for $39.97)
  • Arizona Super Skinny jeans (at JCPenney for $48)
  • Stovetop Popcorn Popper (on Amazon for$17.97)
  • *Pack of Happy New Year cards ($4.99 price on back)
  • *Handmade greeting card ($1)
  • *Paper fan banner kit ($5 price on back)
  • *5 gift bags (4 x .88 one at .50 )
  • One metal container ($1)
  • *Cinderella kite (because my 101 list! on Amazon for $4.29)
  • *2 packs of treat bags ($2)
  • Purple plaid shirt (Goodwill listed at $4.99)
  • *1 pack of Christmas plates ($1)
  • *1 pack of coupon binder inserts (on Amazon.com for $9.95)
  • Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas (on Amazon.com for $13.98)
  • *Mickey Gift Wrap ($1)
  • *Plus an unpictured Cupcake stand($12.99)
  • and a paperback novel, My Fair Lazy (seems perfect)

 

$359.66 is the suggested value of my treasures.

I paid..

wait for it….

$30.61

 

That’s 8.51% of the suggested value.

PLUS I get the added satisfaction of digging out treasures. Some of the things I got were for my mom (the PINK sliders, the cupcake stand, the Mickey Mouse gift wrap, the Yankee candle wax melter + melts, the Martha Stewart Kitchen towel & Betsey Johnson laptop case) and others were for a project I’m about to start working on. The Seven7 jeans are AMAZING. They’re my new favorite jeans.

So.

Have you ever braved the bins (the Goodwill Outlet)? What are your thoughts on thrift stores?

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Updating your wardrobe without breaking the bank

This post was sponsored by Groupon. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

A few days ago, I shared with you one of my newest favorite outfits, and I humble bragged about how it only cost me $17. Because here’s the thing, y’all: I. am. cheap… maybe even cheaper than cheap. To give you an example, I was at a thrift store and saw a pair of shoes I liked well enough for $10. But I didn’t get them because I thought $10 was too much for a like-new pair of shoes. I seriously am that cheap.

Like I also mentioned, I LOVE clothes. I love pinning outfits on Pinterest, I love trying clothes on, and I love hanging clothes up and putting them in my dresser (not to be confused with laundry, mind you). Clothes very well might be my love language, if that’s even possible. The 6th one nobody really talks about because they don’t want to be misunderstood. Come let me give you a hug and tell you that your shirt is cute, because I have your back.

I see people post outfits and share that their pants cost $60 or their shirt was $45, and I can’t fathom that. I keep thinking “I spend $20 at a thrift store and I feel like I’m making it rain money.”

You can imagine that when I buy a brand new article of clothing, it is a big freaking deal. I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to make brand new clothes more affordable. When I walk into a store, I walk right past the displays at the front and past the new arrivals and 20% off sales” and I make my way to the “Additional 60% off clearance” racks. I love when my mom gives me the $10 gift cards you get if you spend a certain amount of money, because I can buy a clearance shirt for thrift store prices. I’m crazy about this stuff, y’all!
updatingyourwardrobe

The other day, Justen and I were trying to find a code for Redbox (good news – he’s cheap too!) and suddenly he asked me if I knew there was such a thing as Groupon Coupons, so we spent time looking through all of the different coupons they offer. Lo and freaking behold, guess what they have coupons for? CLOTHING STORES!

Not just lame, irrelevant stores I never shop at. That’s the worst, right? When you stumble on a great deal for stuff you have no interest in. Groupon Coupons has coupons for stores I love like Aerie, Macy’s and… wait for it… Kohl’s (HELLO, LAUREN CONRAD!).

Even if you’re not as crazy cheapskate as I am, Groupon Coupons has plenty of great deals you should always check before you buy anything. As if Groupon couldn’t get any better 🙂

What are your tips/tricks for buying new clothes without making your bank account weep?

 

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Saving money isn’t just about money.

Nothing lights a fire under my butt financially than spending time with Ernie Halter.

I talk about Ernie and his wonderful family a whole freaking lot. The Halters have changed my life in so many ways, and one of the ways Ernie has really influenced me the past few years is by encouraging me to be smart(er) with my money.

For the past few years he’s talked about managing your money and I’ve listened and thought about it, but it wasn’t until earlier this year when I was slowly sinking to rock bottom that I realized it was time to put into practice all that I’d been soaking up.

Here’s what happened, #longstoryshort version. I met a boy who owned a coffee shop. I loved the coffee shop and kinda had a crush on him. Then we dated for a little bit, and then he shut me out of his life in a really overdramatic, immature, and incredibly painful way. and then I had to drive past the exit to his coffee shop, the one I visited 3 or 4 times a week EVERY SINGLE DAY. and you know what I wanted to do? Keep driving. I wanted to drive and never stop and get as far the heck away from that exit, that coffee stand, and that human being as I possibly could.

But I couldn’t, because #carpayment. and #dentalcredit and #creditcard. I had roughly -$24,000 to my name. and that moment is when I realized what Ernie verbalized last week:

Money = freedom.

Saving money isn't just about saving money // stephanieorefice.net

Saving money isn’t about being a hoarder or about having more money than the person next to you just to say you do. It’s about knowing that if your car broke down tomorrow, you’d have enough in a savings account to cover the repairs (or even buy a new one in cash). It’s knowing that you’ve been preparing for your future so that one day you’ll have the freedom to retire. Seeing the end of the light on your mortgage payment. Daring to quit your job to pursue your dreams because you’ve been responsible and have created a safety net.

It’s easy, in the moment, to feel like freedom means “I can buy this $30 scarf in two colors because I work hard and pay my bills on time,” but is freedom about doing what you want when you want, or is freedom what happens when you reach a point where something in your life needs to give and you can choose anything you want without the worry of finances and how you earn the money to live?

I’m not anywhere near perfect in the way I deal with money. As a matter of fact, my debt repayment journey has been experiencing radio silence because I’ve been struggling with it a lot. But each conversation I have about the heart behind repaying debt – each time I tell someone my secret dreams of being self-sufficient (my blog? ebooks? other? professional traveling dish washer/babysitter? any ideas?), I stir up the determination pool of my heart and I am quicker to hard pass on the dollar section at Target.

Buying two cute, polka dotted pens and a basket I don’t need and all the cute notebooks and pens and coffee mugs has a weird sense of freedom… like “hey I’m a grown up, I have a job and I do whatever the bleep I want,” but then every month I send 1/3 of my paycheck to Toyota Financial and I pay $20 in interest fees on my credit card each month and I don’t have much saved or invested. So how free am I, really?

As we enter the new year and you re-visit financial goals, remember that being able to freely spend $30 whenever you feel like it isn’t real freedom if you’re chained down to $800 in payments each month. And for what it’s worth, being free of those $800 monthly payments isn’t so that you can buy all the things at Target. That financial liberation should birth and give way to saving so that you will never have to be anyone’s slave. Prepare for that now so that you don’t go crazy later, because having money isn’t about money. Having money is about investing in freedom by saving it.

 

 

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$0 GIFT GUIDE

My bloglovin feed is FULL of “Gifts under $50” or “Stocking stuffers under $20” or “Gift Guide for the girl who has everything” posts. I get it. It’s a great time to affiliate link the crap out of pinable posts. I get it, 100%. and I’m not mad.

 

But holy crap, guys. Let’s rebel against the consumerism monster a little bit more this year, shall we? This year, my friendships have leveled up. I’ve depended on my friends more than ever, and I feel like there are more people who are on my list for gift giving than ever. Which sucks because I’m also trying to pay down my debt, right?

So here’s my gift guide for all of you this Christmas.

$0 gift guide // stephanieorefice.net

These are, essentially, $0. Some of them might require supplies, but you should be able to make do with what you have.

$0 Gift Guide

$0 gift guide // make breakfast // stephanieorefice.net

MAKE BREAKFAST

When I was on Whole 30, a friend of mine wanted to get breakfast. I was so nervous about ordering from a restaurant so I invited her to my house and said I’d make breakfast. While we were eating our egg scramble she said, “This is great. Nobody does this.” I started thinking about it, and it’s SO TRUE. We don’t often make breakfast with our friends. We go get breakfast with them, for sure. But there’s something really wonderful about having someone over first thing in the morning and making a big, hearty meal. Or even better – offer to do it at their place, and agree to clean up after yourself (extra plus points if you leave it cleaner than you found it)

 

$0 gift guide // get you' craft on // stephanieorefice.net

GET YO’ CRAFT ON

Everyone think about the Pinterest board you have for DIY projects, and think about how many of them you’ve pinned for the sheer simplicity of it. You probably have SOMETHING you could embellish laying somewhere around. Give the gift of crafting together. It doesn’t have to be the same project – it could even be a bunch of random supplies and seeing what comes of it. A lot of the time those projects don’t get finished because they’re more fun to do with friends. Pick a date.

$0 gift guide // no phone date // stephanieorefice.net

NO-PHONE DATE

How about giving someone the gift of two uninterrupted hours of your life? Get coffee with someone and leave your phone in the car. There’s getting coffee with someone and then there’s getting coffee with someone and being completely present.

$0 gift guide // pj movie night // stephanieorefice.net

PJ MOVIE NIGHT

You know that movie your friend is always telling you that you HAVE to watch? or the movie that they’re always saying they would LOVE to see? Invite them over, with the only rule that you MUST wear pajamas. Watch a movie of their choice with them. The cozier the better.

$0 gift guide // share a recipe // stephanieorefice.net

SHARE A RECIPE

Comfort food? Most questionable yet delicious combo of ingredients? Tried and true, could win awards if you entered it in a competition? Whatever you think they would be down to try, give them a recipe (or two or three or color a cover and staple them into a book).
$0 gift guide // take a hike // stephanieorefice.net

TAKE A HIKE

You don’t have to be some sort of insane outdoorsy adventurer for this one. Just ask around for a good hike in your skill level, and make plans to go. I like hiking and it’s okay to do alone but most of what I take back from every hike I go on is the conversation; the experience; the feel of the air and how that made me see someone in a new way. Taking a hike with a friend is a gift for you as well as them.

$0 gift guide // take pictures // stephanieorefice.net

TAKE PICTURES

Thanks to the magic of the iPhone, we’re all freaking photographers…. right?? 😉 We’re always taking pictures of others or sticking our hand out and taking pictures of ourselves… but how much do we really love when someone takes a good picture of us? Even if you only have a phone as a camera, tell them you want to take pictures of them. Find a cool location, pick out a cool outfit. Take some pictures – of them by themselves, or with their significant other, or whomever. Just free someone up from being the one who takes pictures.

 

Some other ideas:

  • BABYSIT FOR FREE
  • ACCOMPANY THEM WHEN THEY RUN ERRANDS
  • SET UP A CLOTHING SWAP
  • LEARN HOW TO KNIT TOGETHER & GIVE EACH OTHER YOUR PROJECTS
  • PEOPLE WATCH
  • INVITE PEOPLE OVER FOR COFFEE (thanks Kim!)

what else?! Add anything else you think of in the comments below and I’ll update the “some other ideas”! 🙂

 

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