Why you should go paperless for your wedding invitations!

budget, DIY crafts, DIY wedding

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Save money

There are packages for any size of guest list so you can start with a smaller list and add on more invitations as needed. This way you don’t end up with left over stationary that you won’t ever use again! I spent a total of $150 for my 200 invitations whereas the average for 150 invitations in the US is $245 before postage. Postage for that many invitations would cost $94 bringing the average total for paper wedding invitations to $339. And that’s for 50 less invitations!

Save time

Once you have designed your invitation, you can also include information for where guests can stay, important addresses and times, and where you are registered. Plus, you can import your guest list automatically via excel. My favorite thing about this app was that I didn’t have to sit and stuff envelopes or write out each person’s address onto their card. It was extremely convenient for my guests to RSVP automatically through the card and have all the information they need to attend the wedding in one place!

Beautiful designs

Greenvelope has a ton of selection for cards for any type of event. Their wedding invitation and save the date selection is exceptional, and I actually had a hard time choosing between all of the beautiful designs! Even though your guests won’t be receiving a paper copy of your invitation, they can still receive something beautiful to commemorate the experience. That is something you can be proud of!

This is my personal design for our Greenvelope invitation for our wedding last summer!

Save the environment

The world is going paperless for a reason! Greenvelope saves a lot of time and resources that can be put to better use elsewhere. Not only will you be saving time with the automated system, but you will also save brain power for yourself as you plan other aspects of the wedding!

Make it easy for your guests

Not only does this system automate your invitation sending process, it also makes it extremely easy to track your guest list as they begin to RSVP. One thing I loved was that it shows when guests receive the invitation which alleviates any stress that a snail mail invitation can add. You can guarantee that your guests are aware that they are invited and you can even set automatic reminders to be sent to them to rsvp.

Planning your own wedding takes a lot of work and attention to detail. It is important to utilize automated systems like this whenever you have the chance. It helps to stay on schedule with the rest of your spectacular wedding details! It was a huge relief for me to be able to utilize this quick and effective system to invite my guests to my dream wedding.

To order your own invitations at a discount click here and use the code: “Leslie” to get 20% any single order!

How to stay organized while planning your DIY wedding!

budget, DIY crafts, DIY wedding

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  • Engagement season is upon us and wedding season will be here so soon! In order to help all you DIY brides out there this month I’m focusing on all aspects of planning your own wedding! First things first: organization! It’s so important to get your ducks in a row first so that you can maintain a low stress level and enjoy your engagement! Here are a few tips I learned last year while I planned my entirely DIY wedding!
    • Download The knot or Zola

    If you don’t know where to start as you begin planning your wedding I highly suggest downloading either Zola or The Knot! I actually used the knott in the first few months of planning my own wedding and it was super helpful for me to reference just to see a breakdown of exactly what I needed to be planning! The app gives you deadlines and resources based on where your wedding will be held which can be super helpful for anyone who does not already have vendors in mind! Both apps have free features that anyone can utilize!

    • Utilize Google sheets

    It is crucial to keep track of your spending from day one of wedding planning in order to ensure you are able to stay within the budget you and your fiancé/ parents have decided on! In order to keep track of all my expenses as well as to-do lists I utilized Google excel sheets! This made it much easier for my mother and I to reference what had been spent so far and what wiggle room we had for other areas of the budget! I planned my wedding from a different state so it was incredibly helpful to have the ability to share any documents with my mom automatically through google docs!

    • Set deadlines for yourself

    Make sure that you are setting deadlines for yourself from the beginning in order to make yourself aware of how much time and effort you will need to put into wedding planning each week. I had about 10 months to plan my wedding and I spent about 3-5 hours average per week planning each aspect of my wedding! I stuck to my deadlines strictly which made my wedding week much less stressful! It also minimized how much others had to help me with coordinating which was important to me! If you are planning your wedding completely on your own I recommend planning in extra time and a small emergency budget for yourself as the big day gets closer because there are always curveballs that you will need to deal with that weren’t accounted for in your original timeline or budget.

    • Utilize the reminder app on your phone!

    Make your life easier, utilize technology to set your deadlines and reminders for you! The knott has a reminder and deadlines automatically built into their software scheduled depending on the amount of time you have until your wedding! I frequently utilized the reminder app on my phone especially when coordinating phone calls with vendors since I was in a different time zone. If you have a full time job these reminders will help you stay in tune with your wedding plans while you juggle your daily routine!

    There are so many aspects of planning and organization that go into planning a wedding and I hope these tips and tricks help you enjoy your engagement and planning process!

    Subscribe to my blog to stay up to date with all my DIY wedding posts! And look out for next week’s post on why you should go paperless for your wedding invites!

    5 smart ways you can make the most of your tax returns!

    Uncategorized

    Tax returns can be an exciting addition to your budget! For a whole year, we have been looking at our paychecks and grumbling about how much money we aren’t receiving due to taxes. Finally, we have the chance to get some of it back (depending on what you’ve claimed)! It’s important to make the most of this money. So, let’s set you up for a successful year rather than spending it frivolously on things you don’t need. Here are a few suggestions on how to do so!

    “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For more information see my Disclaimer

    1. Invest

    Tax returns are an exciting addition to your budget for the new year! I recommend to use this bonus income as a chance to invest in your future and retirement! There are quite a few companies that offer cheap or free consultations to go over your options and the types of long term investments that will benefit you and for your goals the most.

    2. Pay off loans

    This is one of the most productive things you can do with your tax return. Paying off your loans now will save you a lot of money down the road because it reduces the amount of interest you pay in the long run! I recently looked into reducing my loan payments per month and found that doing so would mean I would be paying an extra $20,000 in interest alone! While paying off loans doesn’t yield any fun benefits right away it will allow you to get out of debt much quicker in order to put your paychecks towards more of the things you want.

    3. Divide it into categories

    If you are unable to put your money into only one thing you can try dividing it up into different categories. After Sean and I got married we decided to do this with the money we received from our guests and it helped us budget out the money and not waste it on frivolous expenses. This way you will be able to put money towards investing, paying off your loans, rent, and also fun things like a vacation or something you have been wanting to buy! Even though you won’t be able to make as big of an impact on one area you will still be making an impact on multiple areas that you have been saving money for.

    4. Emergency fund

    An emergency fund is a smart thing to have just in case! There will always be unexpected expenses in life and if you are a planner (or maybe even more so if you ARENT a planner) you will be relieved to have a sum of money that can be put to use in those emergency situations!

    5. House or car maintenance

    Another smart way to use your tax return money is to spend it on improving your living space or maintaining your car! I’m sure we each have a project in mind for our house or apartment that we have been meaning to get to and this sun of money can help you finally prioritize it and get it done! It’s a great time to give your car a tune up as well to prevent any mechanical issues in the future!

    Have other ideas on how to utilize your tax return effectively? Please leave a comment below to share!

    11 ways to cut out monthly spending and stick to your budget!

    budget

    “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For more information see my Disclaimer

    1. Make your coffee/or tea at home

    Instead of buying a coffee on your way to work everyday try making your own at home! This will allow you to save time as well as cut out a lot of extra spending from your week.

    2. Bring your own lunch to work

    If you commit to bringing your own lunch for one full week of the month you’ll see that you save a net savings of anywhere from $20-$50 just from that one week. For example if I buy lunch somewhere near my work the average I’m going to spend is about $10-$15, but if I plan my grocery list to include lunch items I spend about 5$ per lunch. That means I’m only spending $20 compared to the $50-$75 I would be spending otherwise! For more information on how to make this work for your schedule click here.

    3. Drink only water for a week

    Cut out any soda, juice, coffee/tea, or alcohol for a full week! Even if you have some in stock at home you will be able to make that supply last longer so that you don’t have to buy more in the current month! Plus this is great for your body and will give yourself a little detox from the sugar, caffeine or alcohol you are normally consuming.

    4. Use all of your groceries before buying new ones

    I am guilty of buying groceries once, using some and then buying more to supplement what I have left. This leads to waste of some of the ingredients I bought from the first grocery run because I forget about those ingredients or don’t end up using them and have to throw them away later. Instead I have made myself be more creative or plan more thoroughly with my grocery lists to ensure I am using all grocery items!

    5. Give yourself a weekly budget for eating out

    My husband and I do this and it helps us be more intentional with how we plan our meals each week! We give ourselves a set amount of money that we can spend per month towards eating out and break it up by week. We plan out what days we want to eat out with friends or just each other and then stick to that plan for the most part! We also set aside a little of that budget for spontaneous invites from friends or cravings we have!

    6. Use coupons for groceries  and apps like retailmenot/ cartwheel

    With the amount of apps and websites that exist souley to save you money you can’t afford to not utilize at least one of them! If you enjoy shopping at Target you should download the cartwheel app which gives you access to savings and price matching. Retailmenot and other couponing apps allow you to search a company and apply any relevant coupon. The technology exists to help us get a discount with the touch of a button!

    7. Get rid of cable: use Netflix or Hulu!

    My parents recently did this and cut their tv bill in half just by canceling their cable subscription! Plus, most of us don’t fully utilize all of the channels available in our cable subscription so it makes more sense to pay less for the things you will watch more often!

    8. Make your own beauty supplies!

    This is a fun way to save money if you enjoy diy projects! You can make pretty much any type of toiletry from scratch as well as makeup, soap and deodorant! It’s easy to buy the ingredients for these things in bulk and gives you a fun project to work on (maybe even during your no-spend weekends)!

    9. Cancel your gym membership and workout at home!

    Another great thing technology allows us to do is have a personal trainer or yoga coach right at home! You can watch all types of free exercising videos on YouTube that will keep you motivated to work hard during each workout. If participating in a class isn’t your thing you can buy cheap weights and other workout equipment at Ross, or even go for a run through your neighborhood! Plus working out from home saves you the time of driving to your gym and back so you can either fit a longer workout in each time or fit your work out into shorter breaks during the day!

    10. Take shorter showers and turn your lights off!

    It’s so simple but we don’t always think of the impact conserving energy and water can have on our monthly bills. Make sure that everyone in your household is in on this new expectation in order to have a larger impact!

    11. No-spend weekends or weekdays

    This is a great way to save money because most of us, myself included, spend the most money on the weekends! Instead of going out to eat or to do an activity that costs money, try going on a hike and having a picnic! Come up with activities at home or outdoors that don’t cost any money and plan fun meals that you will be happy to make and enjoy to ensure that your weekend is still fun, relaxing and appealing.

    Christmas Sangria

    Easy Christmas recipes

    Try this simple but beautiful cocktail

    Perfect for hosting during the holidays!

    I love Christmas and get really homesick around the holidays so this recipe was a fun way to sidetrack me and try something new! Plus it includes the smell of pine trees which is my favorite!

    I know a lot of us are getting ready to host family and friends this weekend and next week so I wanted to find something you can make yourself to utilize at those Christmas and holiday parties!

    Stun your guests with simplicity!

    This recipe shows ingredients per 1 cocktail. A full bottle of wine will make about 8 cocktails.

    Ingredients

    • 3 oz 7up

    • 2 oz white wine

    • 1/2 oz gin

    • Cranberries

    • A stem from your Christmas tree or wreath to garnish * optional *

    Tips

    For this recipe I used a bottle of white wine from Costco’s Kirkland brand which is perfect for a party because it is affordable and gives you about 2 regular bottles worth of wine in one large bottle. I highly recommend the extra touch of garnishing with the cranberries and pine stem as it gives it such a cute and cozy look.

    Even though it’s a really simple cocktail, the presentation is sure to wow any guest!

    How to make your own wedding or birthday haku from drug store flowers!

    DIY crafts, DIY wedding

    Looking for the perfect flower accessory to add to your wedding ensemble? Skip ordering an expensive lei or Haku from a florist and make one for yourself for $30 or less! My bridesmaids and I made our own flower crowns as a fun activity the day before our wedding and it was such a great way for all of us to relax and de stress from the wedding planning festivities! It was one of my favorite parts of our wedding weekend!

    This is going to be a beginners step by step guide to give you everything you need to know about making a Haku lei by yourself!

    Step one: Supplies

    You will need:

    • 1-2 bouquets of flowers from grocery store. Make sure you get a mix of greenery and flowers
    • Flower wire or thick string for your base (find this at any craft store!)
    • Hemp cord or twine for wrapping the flowers around the base
  • ( here is the one I use! )
  • Step two- prepare your flowers

    You will need to take the time to clip each flower/leaf you want to use to get rid of excess leaves on stems. Leave about 2 inches per stem so that you can properly fasten each flower onto your base. Here are a few examples of length of stem!

    Make sure you are also checking each flower for brown spots and removing those petals. Don’t worry about taking off too much because many of the flowers will continue to bloom and open up more after the first day you buy them which will make up for the petals you have to remove.

    Here is an example of before I removed some of the brown spots:

    And after:

    After you have cleaned your flowers, arrange them into a pattern. I do a base of 1-2 leaves/greens for each flower. I like to alternate 2-3 flowers and save my nicer flowers such as roses for the front of the Haku (middle of your circle base). Arranging in a pattern will make it easier to keep your Haku looking consistent and orderly.

    Take your flower wire or string and create a circle that fits comfortably on the top of your head. Make sure it’s not too tight or too loose and leave some wire at each end to tie it once you are done.

    Step three: begin wrapping process

    Now that you have your base and pattern made you can begin wrapping your flowers around your base. Start with the first leaf/ greenery in your pattern and place the stem on your base, wrap 3-4 times tightly and repeat with the next leaf/stem. I personally prefer to wrap each item separately in order to make sure each stem is fastened tightly to the base.

    Here are a few pictures of what it will look like through out this process

    Step four: tie it off and show it off 💁🏼‍♀️

    To tie off your end once you finish you can just wrap your end of the cord around the base 5-10 times until you feel confident that it’s secure! Then you can twist or tie your ends of your base together and you are good to go!

    I would love to see pictures of your own Haku! Please leave comments with any questions you have and subscribe for more posts like this!

    How to save $75 per week by bringing your own lunch to work!

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    Eating out for lunch everyday can really add up! Most people spend anywhere from $10-$15 per day on their meal. I firmly believe that packing your own lunch is one of the easiest ways to save money and stick to your monthly budget. Plus, it is easier to eat healthy because you have full control of what goes into each meal. I wanted to provide some options for you to try that won’t take up too much of your time on weekends or evenings to meal prep! Both of these options will provide you with ways to make quick and healthy meals while allowing you to save money!

    “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For more information see my Disclaimer

    Find one or two healthy, easy to make recipes

    It is best to find a recipe or combination of ingredients that are easy to change up a little bit to keep you from getting bored throughout the week. For example: if you are using chicken and broccoli you can have them with rice a few days and switch up the sauce each day and then you can switch to a broccoli chicken and spinach salad! I would then arrange the meals so that you aren’t eating the same thing back to back at all through the week.

    Choose protein and veggies that you can buy in bulk! I use Broccoli and chicken as well as butternut squash because I like eating each of them and don’t get tired of eating them easily! I also like to choose to steam my vegetables half way while preparing so that when I pop them in the microwave at work I can put a bit of water on them to fully steam them. This keeps the veggies from getting soggy and makes the whole meal taste more fresh!

    Make sure you include a piece of fruit and something to snack on during the day, especially if you have an office job, in order to prevent yourself from getting hungry and from buying a snack at the vending machine!

    Don’t worry If you don’t have time to meal prep!

    Believe it or not there are some frozen meal options out there that are actually nutritious and filling! Because eating healthier is trending and the market for it is growing, many companies have began to tailor their products to fit a healthy lifestyle. I have tried out a few different company’s healthy frozen meals and found one brand in particular that I love.   Healthy Choice uses at least 1/2 cup of vegetables, 1 cup of protein and brown rice in each meal! It is super flavorful and as an added bonus it uses all environmentally packaging! To supplement this I usually bring yogurt or a piece of fruit and some trail mix to snack on throughout the day! These meals go on sale at Target all the time and you can usually buy 2 for 7$!

    Both of these options will make it easier for you stick to your monthly budget without adding much to your to-do list!

    5 BUDGETING APPS THAT WILL HELP YOU SAVE MONEY IN THE NEW YEAR

    Uncategorized

    2019 came up so fast that I am finding myself scrambling to get things organized for the new year! This month I wanted to focus on all things budgeting and managing money as it is a hot topic in the new year especially with tax returns coming right around the corner! I’m kicking it off with a short and sweet post about some of the best and easiest to use budgeting apps to help you set up your 2019 monthly budget!

    Each of these apps has high user ratings and is at least partially free.

    *All photos used are courtesy of Apple’s App Store*

    “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For more information see my Disclaimer

    1. Mint

    This app is awesome because it allows you to link up your bank account, credit card accounts, and loan accounts into one area so that you can keep track of what bills you need to pay and the amount of each bill each month. It also tracks your spending to keep you accountable of the budget that you set for yourself for the month and breaks it down in a really comprehensive way so that you can see what areas you’re spending too much in. It breaks down your budget into sections so that you can set individual budgets for things like eating out, fuel, clothes and miscellaneous things. On top of that, it tracks what you’ve spent in each category and it will give you an alert when you are coming close to going over budget or if you have gone over budget in order to help you stay accountable with yourself and the goals that you have set!

    It also creates alerts for you to keep track of what bills are due in the coming week/month and as well as when you may be at risk of going over your budget in each section. It’s one of the oldest and more most popular budgeting apps for a reason it’s incredibly thorough and easy to use.

    2. Pocket guard

    Pocket card is similar to mint in that you can attach all of your accounts so that it shows all of your bills in one place. It’s also easy to use and one of its most helpful features is that it tracks each of your bills individually and will search for ways to help you save more money by switching to a cheaper option with a different company. For example, if you’re paying too much on your cable bill it will find other companies with similar plans that cost less! That in itself is worth signing up for this app since most of us don’t revisit our current contracts for things like that often.

    3. Wally

    If you’re looking for an app that can simply help you plan and track your budget then this is the app for you! It doesn’t link your bank accounts like the other apps which keeps the interface simple and extremely easy to use and quick to set up. Many millennials love this app for those specific reasons! The app still tracks your monthly budget progress and can send notifications to you to keep you accountable of how much you have spent and how close you are to reaching your current goals.

    4. Good budget

    This budgeting app is particularly great for couples or families who want to share their budget and the progress they’re making each month. It is simple and allows you to sync your account to your partner’s to track your joint monthly income and expenses. I personally use this app with my husband and find that being able to sync the account to both of our phones helps us each stay accountable and on the same page as far as how we are doing in the current month and what we may need to improve on. This app allows you to link bank accounts, etc so you can each keep track of joint savings and spending accounts.

    5. Albert

    Albert is similar to the other apps as far as budgeting tools go. What makes it unique is its feature for you to pay for financial planning and investments advice from experts right on the app! The feature is built so that you can decide how much money you can afford to pay and tailors the amount of advice you can receive accordingly. The experts are available to you so that you can gain more in depth knowledge on what ever financial topic you are seeking to learn more about to set your finances up for success. I love this app because the option to talk to a Financial expert in this way is much less intimidating and more accessible than setting up a meeting with an expert in a bank or Wealth Management office.

    Any of these apps are sure to get you off to a great start in setting up your budget and keeping you accountable, enjoy!

    10 cheap and easy DIY Christmas presents!

    DIY crafts

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    Struggling to find affordable gifts for coworkers or friends? This list of 10 cheap and easy DIY Christmas presents will fill you with ideas for last minute gifts!

    This Christmas season has been rushing by for me and as a result I realized this week I don’t have hardly any presents prepared yet! After realizing that I jumped on Pinterest and began brainstorming for easy ideas that still show some thought was put into the gift! Here is a list of the my top 10 favorites and tutorials of how to bring the ideas to life!


    1. Peppermint Sugar scrub

    This scrub is great for you to make for yourself as well as friends!

    Ingredients

      • Cup of Sugar
      • 1/4 Cup of Coconut Oil (buy it Here)
        • 15 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (you can buy the one I use Here)
      • Any mason jar or resealable container (find good options Here)
    To get the full tutorial and free printable label click Here

    2. Bath bombs

    Making bath bomb was way easier than I thought using this tutorial!

    Bath bomb Tutorial
    Buy my favorite bath bomb making kit Here

    3. Gold sprayed mugs

    Find the tutorial for this super cute and quick idea Here

    4. Stove top potpourri

    Help fill someone dear to you’d home with the Christmas spirit!

    Get the recipe and free printable tag Here!

    5. Hot chocolate

    This one is pretty common and easy to make for co-workers or neighbors since you can buy marshmallow and hot chocolate in bulk!

    Learn how to make it Here

    6. Fabric covered ornaments

    This one was completely new to me and I can’t wait to try it out! It’s such a simple idea but adds a unique twist to a traditional gift!

    DIY fabric covers ornaments

    7. Snowflake coasters

    This idea is particularly great for teachers as it is easy for kids to make and take home as presents for their family!

    Get the tutorial Here

    8. Gingerbread body butter

    Even if you don’t know anyone who might like this body butter as a gift you can gift it to yourself!

    Learn how to make it Here

    9. Pine cone fire starters

    If you live in a place that gets cold unlike me then these will be perfect gifts to give to help keeps your neighbor’s houses warm!

    Pine cone fire starter Tutorial

    10. Cup of cheer

    This last one is so simple and perfect for your coffee loving friends!

    Get the full idea Here

    Leave comments about what gifts you decide to try and how it goes! I would love to hear about your ideas and ways you make these gifts unique to your style as well!

    Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get more posts like this sent right to your inbox!

    Happy gifting!

    Make your own natural chemical free deodorant with just TWO ingredients!

    DIY health and beauty, Uncategorized


    “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For more information see my Disclaimer

    Most deodorants are filled with chemicals that clog up the glands In your skin. When I first began reading articles on this subject I tried a few other recipes that just didn’t work for me. This one is an effective alternative that is SO easy and cheap to make and will last you a long time! It only takes about 5 minutes to make and it will last you months!


    Plus- it’s made from two things that you probably already have in your pantry!

    What you will need:

    • Coconut oil
    • Baking soda
    • A small, cute and resealable container find a cute, cheap option Here!
    • Scent/ essential oil of your choice (optional)
    • Mixing bowl

    This recipe is more about preference for you and what climate you live in. If you live in a cold or dry climate you will need a bit more coconut oil than if you live in a humid climate like me!


    Instructions:

    1. Start with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the mixing bowl
    2. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of baking soda and stir
    3. Continue to add baking soda until you reach your desired consistency. Here is an example of mine:

    I am lucky enough to have aloe Vera plants in our backyard so I added one stem into mine just for fun!

    If you do want to try adding in some type of scent I recommend testing it on a small portion of the mix as I have had some scents translate weirdly with the combination of ingredients. I personally prefer non- scented and have found that it still neutralizes the odors really well!


    Once you add up your ingredients to the correct consistency you are done! Transfer it to your container and head on your way!

    Share your finished products below! If you chose to add a scent I would love to hear what it is and how you like it!