DIY Wedding Invitations on a Budget

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When it came to deciding what to do for our wedding invitations, I did a lot of research on prices, styles, sizes, inserts – you get the point. I had no idea going into it just how many options were available and decisions were needed to be made in regard to invitations. It came as quite the surprise. I was overwhelmed. We are inviting 150+ people to our reception!, I thought, as dollar signs flashed through my mind.

Once the reality of the costs involved had sunken in, and I knew that we had to think outside the box due to our very tight wedding budget, I made up my mind that I would make our own wedding invitations – one of the many DIY projects that I decided to take on. After surfing Pinterest for what felt like eternity, I didn’t really see anything that stuck out at me. The invites I saw were crafted to perfection, don’t get me wrong, but the design and overall feel just wasn’t what I was thinking. I just felt like I could go a little bit further in my own direction and create some kickass invitations with a uniquely personal feel.

Before I get into the different tricks I used and tips I have, I want to say that making your own invitations does take quite a bit of time. And I highly suggest that you are familiar, if not proficient, with certain computer publishing and design programs. I used Microsoft Publisher because I already had it on my computer (see also: free).

First, I began the design on the main reception invitation using Publisher. I wanted it to have a semi-rustic feel, but a simple, yet meanignful, visual appeal. Being a poetry-crazed freak (no, really, I am), I wrote a little poem to include here. Since my husband and I were having an intimate, immediate-family-only ceremony, I wanted to make sure that, upon reading the invitation, people knew that our ceremony was private, but also, more importantly, that we truly wanted to share in the moment with them at a party right afterwards. Once the poem was included, and I designed the header of the invitations, I added all of the necessary information (our names, the date, location, etc.). When I was satisfied with the final product, I saved it and went on to the next task.

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Next, I started work on the ceremony information card that I would include for the few people that we were being invited to the ceremony. Knowing that I would be attaching the “inserts cards” that I would be making to the main reception invitation, I made the cards all smaller, close to the size of business cards. Again, I added the necessary information, while this time opting to include one of my favorite love quotes instead of a poem. I also found a free cartoon wedding image online (I made sure that I had the right to use it for my invitations). The picture I chose worked out way better than I could’ve imagined because I swear we have the exact same picture of us from our wedding, pickup truck and all! I used DUMPR Photo Pencil Sketch to turn it into a sketch and – voila! – a snazzy ceremony card.

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Early on in this process, I created our wedding website (I used MyWedding.com) and did some research on online RSVPing and decided that it was something that I wanted to do. I set our website up so that our guests could go right on and RSVP. I created a card that listed our website, directions on how to RSVP and the food options that would be offered. The website even allowed our guests to choose their food options! We saved a lot of money not having to pay for an extra set of enevelopes and stamps for guests to RSVP through the tradtional mail. I also added a sketch image of a mason jar and using the “text” tool in Publisher, overlaid our names onto it.

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Then, I made a card to inform guests that all of the hotel and guest information was on our website. Though I imagined that this would be somewhat assumed with the online RSVPing and all, I also knew that a few of our guests were not tech-savvy and I wanted to make sure that they knew where to go to get all the details. A fan of my new picture-to-sketch tool, I found a picture of the entrance sign to the town where we got married and I turned that into a sketch too.

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Just for fun, I added a card that listed the “celebration rules”. These weren’t meant to be real rules, but just funny, little quips that I thought might make people laugh. But even more so, I added it to try to get across to our guests that we were having a very casual, informal wedding, short of saying “the groom is wearing jeans”. Keeping with the theme, I added a sketch of a funny picture of my husband and I.

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Once the cards were complete, I saved copies of each part as PDFs (you can do this right in Publisher “Save As”). Then I printed them. Please be warned that, if you decide to go this route and make your own invitations, it might take a few tries before you get them to print just right. I had mine set to print two per page, but I had to do some tweaking. If you just focus for a bit, I promise that it’s totally doable.

We borrowed a friend’s paper cutter and we spent $0.99 on a single-hole puncher. It took my husband and I a few hours to do the cutting and the hole-punching, but it allowed us to spend a lot of time together, using our hands to – literally – put our vision onto paper. Once every piece was cut and punched, we used some twine that we already had to tie all of the pieces together for each invitation. With only about ten invitations left, we ran out of twine. My husband went to the store to get more and came back with a roll of candle wick (pictured here). Hey, not what we planned, but it turned out looking nice and was far easier to tie and knot!

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I designed our invitations so that the guests could untie them and all of the cards would fall to the side, but still remain attached, to make sure that all of the pieces of the invitation stayed together, but that the main reception invitation was able to be seen. Note: I would suggest adding another small card that says “untie me”, or some other direction that helps the guest know that it’s okay to untie it. We found that almost none of the guests we asked untied theirs. That was a small oversight on my part, though, no biggie!

My favorite part of this whole process was, not surprisingly, seeing the final product. I was, and am, pretty damn proud of myself for this particular wedding project and I got a little boost of DIY confidence. Stuff these babies in envelopes (we bought ours for very little at Staples) and you’ll be good to go. At the end of the day, from all of my research, I’d say we saved about $300+ with our DIY invitations and the online RSVPing.

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Switch Up Your Wardrobe Without Spending a Penny

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Being a homemaker doesn’t mean that you always have to sacrifice your wants and needs for those of the members in your household; for your family. It’s a common misperception that, when you have a family, you no longer can put yourself first and do any of the things that make you happy. Well, I think that’s a load of bull. If you want something, then make it happen.

In these tough economic times, and at all times for my fellow thrifty folk, most people are stretched thin, as far as what they are and are not willing to spend money on. Or, worse, many times people don’t have a choice; they simply can’t afford certain things. When it comes to their wardrobe, I’ve noticed that people are a lot more likely to cut back in this area than in other areas in their lives. With this in mind, I want to share 5 ways that I have found to switch up your wardrobe without spending a penny. I’m serious. It can be done and here’s how:

1) Get inspired.

The reality is that we all need a little inspiration sometimes; you know, that kick start, that oomph, that push that we all need every now and again. Have you sorted through your clothes, separating them into piles of what you wear and what you never wear, and thought now what? Well, my friends, it is 2014 and we have this lovely tool at our fingertips, called the internet! So use it. Search the web. See how others wear the items in their wardrobe. Or, if you’re a magazine reader, scan through some issues. This will help to spark your creativity and give you ideas which you can implement in your own life. If you can do this, then you are well on your way to reviving your wardrobe.

2) Learn to sew.

Taking sewing in high school (thank you, Mrs. Fogg!) was one of the best things that I could’ve done to benefit my wardrobe… and homemaking in general. Having less going on in my life then allowed me to focus on ensuring that I was learning and retaining everything that I was taught. I instantly fell in love. The types of stitch patterns, the importance of accurate measurements, and the finished products – I was mesmerized. With my newfound knowledge, I started to make clothes for myself. I made purses, quilts, throw pillows, potholders and more. It was like I finally had the key that unlocked the door to endless possibilities.

You can feel this way too! I see sewing machines on sites like Craigslist all the time, and many times they’re free. So, even if you don’t have the money to spend on a sewing machine, you can still get one. Keep checking back and be patient. Your time will come and make sure to act fast because free items go like hotcakes. Once you acquire a sewing machine (borrow one from a friend if you need to), look into free courses and seminars at your local craft and fabric stores, or in your community. Almost all craft stores offer some type of basic 101 courses on sewing and they’re usually free. Learn the basics of sewing and you’ll have more power than you know.

3) Revitalize the items you never wear.

Here’s where the sewing will come in very handy. Once you get some inspiration for those pieces of your wardrobe that you never wear, and you know how to sew, you can get to creating! I’m a huge fan of finding an article of clothing that needs revamping, finding another one that I never wear and am okay with using for material, and then meshing the two together to make something uniquely me. This is super useful in fixing clothes that don’t fit anymore too! Take those pieces that you never wear and add some lace, some trim, some sequins – your imagination is the limit. I recently posted about turning a shrunken sweater into a new and improved sweater that actually fit me. There are also ways to reinvent certain pieces that don’t involve sewing, like dyeing and cutting/tying, so consider those options as well.

4) Sell the items you never wear.

How many times have you thrown clothes out? We might all have been guilty of it at some point in our lives. Luckily, people are getting involved more and more in donating the clothes they never wear to charity. This is a great way to do some good for those less fortunate. While I think it’s very important that everyone donates old clothes, I don’t feel that this needs to be the case every time the closet is reorganized. If you’re like me, you can’t remember the last time that you bought a new article of clothing for yourself. So if you want to be able to buy new clothes, but don’t have the funds, consider selling the clothes you never wear. Consignment shops and boutiques will almost always buy your gently-used clothes from you for a decent price. Referred to nowadays as “neutral shopping”, you can splurge and buy some new duds with all of the money you make from selling your unwanted clothes.

5) Have a swap with friends.

This option is one of my personal favorites. Growing up, I was always getting hand-me-downs, which is actually ironic because I was the oldest sibling (living in the house, at the time). But I had a lot of older neighbors and cousins. Even now, my future sister-in-law will give me a trash bag or two filled with the clothes she never wears and I’ll sort through, usually find some pieces with potential, and then donate the rest. This tool can be priceless. Call up your friends, plan a time when you can all get together and swap away! And you don’t need to feel embarrassed. Embrace it. You’ll be surprised just how much you can improve and refresh your wardrobe without even spending a penny!

5 Easy Tips for Saving Money at Home

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Most of us try to save money and most of us do a decent job of it. We face a lot of external factors (like which store is having a deal, the state of the economy, etc.) on a daily basis. So much so that, often times, we forget about the actions that we can take right in our own homes to save some extra money.

Hurry, hurry, step right up, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – my 5 easy tricks for saving money in the home, that you might not have thought of before:

1) Freeze candles.

There’s no need to clean your ears, you heard me right. Before you plan to use your candles, put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. This will help them to drip less and last longer, while saving you some dough because you won’t have to buy as many or as often!

2) Use the (underestimated) back side of papers.

I am a paper magnet. No, seriously, my apartment is the heaven of trees. Between work, school, mail, writing and my inclination toward reading from actual paper versus a computer screen, I have acquired a ton of paper. Just when I feel proud of one of my recent paper purges, I turn around and there’s more paper stacking up!

Over the years, one way that I’ve found that helps to combat this mess is using the back side of papers. Naturally, it’s not the first thing you’d think to do with that used piece of scrap paper or that newsletter from your child’s school. But, when it comes time for you to make a grocery list (as any thrifty gal should do), leave a note for your husband or print your online coupons, this back side of the paper will come in really handy. Take a moment and think about how many times a day you scribble on a new piece of paper. Now multiply that number by 365. That’s how many pieces of paper you could be saving per year if you just started embracing the long-snubbed back side. And think of how many trees you’ll be saving too!

3) Pry open (get creative) flattened tubes and bottles before throwing them away.

I understand that some of you might find it “cheap” or “below” you to do this, but you’re just missing out! A great way to save money on usually-expensive cosmetics and toiletries is by making sure you’re using them “till the last drop”. If you pay $10 for a bottle of conditioner, then gosh darn it, you should get $10 worth of that smooth and silky hair-gold! By slicing open your used tubes and bottles, you can get several more days – even WEEKS – out of them. What’s that noise, you ask? Oh, that’s music to your ears!

4) Wear clothes twice before washing.

You might be cringing right now. That’s okay – let it out. I mean, this tip goes beyond the borders of what we perceive as “normal”. To most people, my suggestion is unheard-of and precedent-free. But I ask this in all seriousness: if you wear an outfit once, and deem it stain-free and not covered in dirt, why not wear it one more time before you wash it? This will help you save money on laundry detergent, electricity and the cost of water – cha-ching! Even better? Your clothes will last longer this way, with less wear and tear. Go one step further and, if realistic, opt to use the clothesline instead of the dryer and you will save even more mula!

5) Use Freecycle and Craigslist.

Believe it or not, these sites are not only saturated with crazy people and hoodlums, scouring the internet for the most gullible people on the planet. Yes, you need to be careful and mindful when using these sites, but they are truly great tools for anyone trying to stick to a budget. If you haven’t looked at Craigslist lately, please do it. Pay special attention to the section that says “free” – that’s “free”, as in free stuff!

People that don’t need an item anymore will post a listing on these sites and, most times, if you have the means to go pick it up, it’s yours. No questions asked. The best way to get the most out of this tip is to look for items that you need. That being said, if you don’t necessarily need something, but you’re a DIYer (like I am), THIS IS YOUR CAMELOT. You can get all sorts of goodies to inspire your upcycling dreams, and best of all, they’re super cheap (or free)!

Save a Shrunken Sweater in 4 Easy Steps

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So I shrunk the sweater I wore in my engagement session. Oops! BUT I made it even prettier by using the material from an old cardigan that I had laying around and adding a few different embellishments. These details allowed me to “widen” the sweater so that it would actually fit me again!

Note: I always keep old sweaters and cardigans if I think that they’re something that I could use in the future for crafts and sewing. It’s just something I’ve always done. If you don’t do this, start. You never know when an old gem might come in handy!

Read on to find out how to fix a shrunken sweater in 4 easy steps:

1) Grab Your Shrunken Sweater and Another Old Shirt of Your Choosing.

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On the left is my shrunken sweater and on the right is an old cardigan with ruffled trim. You can choose any old shirt you like, depending on the embellishment you want and the look you’re going for.

Note: Turn both shirts inside out, since that’s how you’ll need to sew.

2) Cut Along the Seams of Each Shirt Then Start Pinning.

First order of business is cutting the old shirt you chose so that you can maximize the material that you’ll be able to use from it. Your best bet is to cut along the seam so that everything looks neat. Make sure to keep the back piece intact, as it will give you the most material. Next, cut the trim off of the old shirt. The picture on the right below are the ruffle trim of my old cardigan.

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Now it’s time to cut the shrunken sweater. Since the sweater doesn’t fit no matter how much you suck it in, the only realistic option is to add some extra fabric to the side seams of the sweater. To do this, you need to cut along the side seams, all the way up to the armpit.

Then take the back piece material from the old shirt and cut it into two rectangles, of the same size. You will have to use your best judgement for this, as there are so many variables (some shirts shrink more than others, etc.). Once you have cut along the seams of the shrunken sweater, take the rectangles and line one of the edges up against one of the bottom edges of the sweater side seam [see bottom left picture below].

Note: My post assumes that you have basic sewing knowledge (aka you know what things are and you can work a sewing machine). If you have no idea what you’re doing or if you just need a refresher, check out this Dwell on Joy post on sewing machine basics and this Simply Modern Mom post on sewing tool basics. I frequently refer to these both.

Start pinning along the edges, but you will have to begin to pin the fabric unevenly as you move toward the armpit of the sweater because you have to create triangles where the seams meet at the armpit [see bottom right picture below].

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3) Sew Triangles to Sweater.

Bust out that sewing machine, it’s time to get sewing!

Sew along the pinned edges, making sure that the triangle tips will end up in the armpit when it all comes together. Once you’ve sewed a one side of one of your rectangles to the sweater, take a look at the seam you made. Inspect it. This is your chance to make sure the machine is working correctly and nothing is out of place with the thread [see middle picture below].

Do the same thing you just did – pinning and sewing – with the other side of the already-sewn rectangle to the other edge on that side of the sweater. When done, all of your seams should meet at the armpit and one triangle addition will be complete!

Follow the same steps to complete the triangle on the other side of the sweater.

triangledone4) Pin and Sew the Trim on Sleeves and Bottom Hem.

Next, take the leftover embellishment or trim (or, in my case, ruffles) and cut to the size you will need to become the trim around the sleeves of the sweater and, if you have enough, the bottom hem of the sweater. Pin the edges of the trim to the edges of the sweater sleeves and bottom hem, making sure everything is still inside out. When completed, go ahead and admire those hems… I can wait.

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Now that you’ve done all that, it’s time to admire the finished product!shirtdone

My Budget, DIY Wedding: 6 Ways I Saved a Bunch of Money

I am going to join everyone else in doing a bit of reflecting today, on this past year and all that it has blessed me with. One thing stands out (quite obviously) and that is my wedding. Being admittedly obsessive-compulsive, the fact that I can look back on that day without any worries, anxiety or regrets is truly an amazing feeling.

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*Credit: All photos in this post were taken by John Munson at Beacon Photography.

With that in mind, I want to share a post that I’ve wanted to write for a while now. As I mentioned previously, planning my wedding is what reignited my creativity and inspired the creation of this blog. Since weddings are super expensive and only getting more so, and planning one can be extremely stressful, I want to share the 6 ways that I was able to save a boatload of money in planning my wedding:

1) Discounted and DIY Stationery.

Save the Dates: When it came time to make the save the dates, I was still very new to the whole wedding planning process (or strategy, if you will). I knew we had a very tight budget (I’m talking incredibly tight to the point most would find it unattainable) and large families. So I waited until there was a 50% promo code for save the dates at Minted and I ordered them. Easy enough – and I saved about $150 with the promo code!

Invitations: As the wedding got closer, I started pondering what on earth we were going to do for invitations. Knowing how expensive they are, I panicked a little. Once I got back on my one-minded, budget-planning track, I weighed my options. We could either order really crappy invitations because it would be all we could afford, OR… wait for it… we could make our own! If you can’t already tell by my enthusiasm, we went for the latter.

I had a bunch of leftover envelopes from a friend’s baby shower that I planned a few months earlier, so I decided to use those and then get more of the same. My husband (bless his soul) and I bought the extra envelopes at Staples. I ordered cardstock paper online from The Paper Mill Store in the texture and color I wanted, using a promo code to save me 40% on my order.

Once I had the materials, I used Microsoft Publisher to design the invitations which consisted of a main invitation, guest information card, ceremony info card (for our immediate family, as we had a very intimate ceremony), a silly “celebration rules” card and an RSVP instruction card. We had everyone RSVP online through our wedding website, so we saved money on an entire set of envelopes and stamps! We tied all of the pieces together with some twine and called it a day. *There will be a tutorial on DIY wedding invitations coming soon. In the mean time, check out this printable stationery checklist from DIY Bride. I used this and just adjusted it to fit my own vision.

2) Free Ceremony Venue and Discounted Reception Venue.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We had an intimate ceremony with just our immediate family, and we had it in our backyard, overlooking the ocean with a view of the Boston skyline. And just like that we had the beauty of nature (free décor!) and a budget-friendly venue (free!). Aside from décor and attire, all we shelled out for the ceremony, other than the champagne and beers purchased by my new in-laws (I can’t thank them enough), was the $100 officiant fee.

For our reception, we chose the yacht club down the street from our house, at which my (now) husband is a member. Not only do local function halls tend to be less expensive than the bigger, more popular venues, but, with his member discount, my husband was able to save us over 50% on the fee for the hall! I knew that I would just have to create decorations that would give us the most bang for our buck, so to speak. The amazing views also helped, as they drew a lot of attention away from the hall itself.

3) DIY everything… no, really… everything.

My husband and I made our own photobooth and saved over $600. We also made our own centerpieces, arbor, bouquets, boutonnieres, guestbook, card box and the rest of the décor for both the ceremony and reception. A major way that I found to save money was by not having any real flowers. Yes, you heard me right. We did not have any real flowers at our wedding!

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4) Open Seating Plan and Delicious BBQ.

The key to keeping most any wedding guest happy is good food. It was really important to my husband and me that we choose yummy food options that would keep our guests full and satisfied. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, then you know how terrifyingly expensive catering can be. That being said, we chose a BBQ joint in our area (Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q… yummmmm) to cater our reception. We saved some money by having them drop the food off and having the staff at the reception venue serve it. We also opted to have an open seating plan and let our guests choose where they sat. By doing this, we saved money on place cards. We also decided not to have a cake. Instead, we had a dessert table; I baked a lot of dessert breads and froze them ahead of time, while various friends and family members brought desserts to add to the table.

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5) No Professional Band or DJ.

We paid a friend to be our DJ. This allowed us to create the entire playlist ourselves, so we could ensure that the music being played would be something we liked. This did provide for a bit of a challenge because, as it turns out, we underestimated the length of our playlist, but it was just a minor hiccup in the day and really didn’t make much of a difference. In fact, I’m not sure if anyone else noticed. Since DJs can run upwards of $1,000+, we saved oodles of money in this area.

6) Thrifty and Fun Attire.

The total cost of both my attire and my husband’s, including the boutonniere and bouquet materials, was under $500. And $150 of that was for my cowboy boots (splurge!). Being shy and, I think, sometimes socially inept, I knew I wanted to buy my dress online. This might not be the best option for everyone, but it worked for me. After months of searching, I found my dress at Macy’s for $70 (and I got a promo code for free shipping). My husband and his groomsmen wore jeans and I ordered my birdcage veil and flower clip from Etsy. I chose to do my own nails and my future sister-in-law did my hair and makeup (she’s amazing). All in all, it worked out better and we saved more money than I could have ever hoped!

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5 Practical New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Save Money

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It’s that time of year again! The crisp air, the winter fairytale snow, the holidays; it’s all so beautiful. But this time of year is also the time when most people take a step back, reflect on the past year and decide what changes they want to make in the coming year – gulp – it’s time for the dreaded New Year’s resolution. Call it depressing. Call it horrifying. Yet, the reality is that it is something that we all must face.

But don’t fret! I’m here to help you out. The future is most always uncertain, but there are ways to make things easier. Still feeling overwhelmed and unsure? Well, here is a list of 5 super practical New Year’s resolutions that will undoubtedly help you save money in the new year.

1) Opt for water.

We all know the benefits of drinking our good ol’ friend, H2O. They’ve been touted at us for decades. Roll your eyes all you want, but the truth of the matter is that drinking water is one of the best decisions you can make for your health, both mental and physical. But if you can replace even one of your drinks (soda, iced tea, etc.) each day with water, you will reap the monetary benefits as well! Since water is often cheaper than other sugary drinks, by opting for it, you can keep some extra cash in your wallet and maybe even an extra inch or two off your waist.

2) Brew your own coffee.

This resolution might seem like common sense, but, in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it’s quite possible that it might not even cross your mind: brewing your own coffee instead of buying it from a coffee shop will undoubtedly save you money. Say you buy a cup of coffee each day for around $2. By brewing your own coffee, even just 5 of the 7 days per week, that’s $40 per month that you could be putting toward other things! When you really break it down, it seems like a no-brainer.

3) Use your crockpot.

The cooking gods blessed us with this incredibly useful and time-saving appliance, so we might as well use it! Whether you wake up late and don’t have time to prepare dinner to cook upon your return home from a long day at work or you need a dish to bring to a party, the ever-awesome, lazy man’s crockpot is the answer to your prayers. Just throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot, turn it on and – abracadabra – your dinner will be waiting for you when you get home! And, since crockpot meals are often made in bulk, not only will you have dinner for the night, but you can have lunch and/or dinner for the rest of the week too.

4) Set a limit on social expenses.

Need a resolution that, not only saves you oodles of money, but also helps you get into the habit of making smart, thrifty choices? Well then, my friends, this might just be the one for you. Limits are a necessary part of life, but that doesn’t mean that all New Year’s resolutions need to be robotic promises to ourselves that restrict us from doing something or eating something that we love. Start with smaller limits. My husband and I live a tight-budget lifestyle (and we rock it, might I add). So, being in charge of our finances, I set mental limits on how many times per week we can go out to eat or grab some takeout. This resolution involves some thinking ahead, however – it might not be a smart idea to go out to that Mexican restaurant tonight if you have dinner plans with friends at that nice Italian restaurant in a couple of days. See where I’m going with this? Healthy limits promote thrifty habits. You will save money this way.

5) Research, research, research.

Let me say that again: research, research, research! I saved this one for last because I find this to be the most practical resolution you can make, but it also provides the most benefits if you truly want to live thriftily within your means. Research everything. And don’t take this lightly – we’re talking real money being saved here, and often, a lot of it! I do my research before I do anything. No, I’m not kidding. Ask my husband and my mother, I literally research everything (and sometimes annoy the life out of everyone in the process). This research can be as simples as taking a gander at Groupon or Living Social before making a purchase, in case they might have a sweet deal on what you need. Or this research can be a little more complex, like scanning your local grocery store’s flyer and then scouring the internet for any available coupons before making your shopping list. As I touched upon in a previous post, a little foresight goes a long way, and researching will help you to ensure that you are only buying what you need (and not just because it’s on sale), and that you’re buying it at the best possible price.

Ho-Ho-How to Make a Tree Skirt for Less Than $5

Seeing as it is only 2 days until Christmas, I am feeling rather festive today – in the Christmas spirit full-force! So, to keep the spirit going, today’s post is a tutorial on how you can make a tree skirt for your fabulous Christmas tree for less than $5 and just a couple of hours of your time.

My husband and I got our tree (and by got, I mean CUT DOWN!!! That’s been on my bucket list forever!) pretty early this year. But unfortunately, we have not had a tree skirt – that is, until today! The materials that I ordered were sitting in a box in the corner for a week or so. I woke up this morning and decided that today was the day. I was going to make a tree skirt for our tiny, awesome tree. The following tutorial is for a basic tree skirt, and it assumes that you have access – or even better, you own! – a sewing machine with thread in the color of your choosing. Here’s what you will need:

  • Material: I got 2 yards of 72″ red crafting felt and I had plenty leftover for other crafting needs ($2.50/yd x 2 = $5.00)
  • Scissors (free)
  • Sewing pins (if you need to buy them, they’re under $1.00 for a bunch)
  • Permanent marker (most likely free)

Now, you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll:

1) Draw out the tree skirt. First, lay the fabric out flat on the floor. Then, you have two choices. If you’re pretty artistic, you can draw out the shape of your tree skirt onto the fabric. Or, you can do what I did and use an old tree skirt as a stencil.

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Use a permanent marker for this so that you are able to see the outline better when it comes time to cut the shape out. Keep in mind that you should allot an extra inch or so in all directions when drawing your outline because you will lose some of that when making a hem with the sewing machine.

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2) Cut out your tree skirt. Next, using a good, sharp pair of scissors, cut along your shape until you have your tree skirt outline. This is the part where you can start to see your tree skirt really come to life. Don’t worry if you can see some of the marker outline – this will go away once you hem it!

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3) Pin the hems along the outside edges of your tree skirt. Get the pins out and within easy reach because you’re going to need a bunch of ’em! This is where your eye for detail comes in handy. Decide where you want to make the hem along the outside edge of your tree skirt and start pinning away. If your outline is a bit uneven – as mine was – then this is your chance to correct that. If you have to pin a little bit more on one side of the skirt, then go for it. Do what looks right to you.

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4) Sew the hems! And the bliss that comes with the actual sewing begins! Or maybe it’s only considered bliss by crazy crafty geeks like me… Either way, the time has come to get your hands dirty. Sew along the outer hem, removing the pins as you go, trying to keep the skirt as steady as possible. Using a thread color that is very similar to the skirt material is a great idea here, as you can hide mistakes easier. Once the hem is complete, cut the loose threads because they could get in the way later.

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Now, go ahead and start pinning the inner edges, just as you did the outer edges. Again, overcompensate for mistakes here if you need to.

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Once pinned, sew the inner hem just like you did the outer hem, making sure to cut any loose threads away.

5) Cut away any extra fabric along hemlines. You’re almost there! Now take the scissors and cut away any extra fabric that remains along the hemlines. This will eliminate bulk and give the tree skirt a more finished look.

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Once the extra fabric has been trimmed off, take a minute to admire your hems. It’s okay to feel proud!

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6) Set your tree skirt up and enjoy! Stand back, ooh and aah, whatever you want – this is your time to enjoy the finished product. If you want to go one step further, you can decorate your tree skirt with anything you want. The sky is the limit! I chose to add a simple burlap “N” to mine, using some super glue. If you can think it up, you can do it!

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