July 17, 2017

I started back-to-school clothes shopping yesterday (at Goodwill!)

Yesterday my daughter and I stopped into Goodwill to scope out the deals. Our local store has a new colored tag every Sunday, so we like to go early in the day. We ended up finding a handful of items for back to school and paid as little as $0.99 an item!

Girls skirt – $1.99 – 50% = $0.99

Girls sheer top with kitties – $1.99 – 50% off = $0.99

Tank tops for under tops (like new) – $1.99 – 50% off = $0.99 each

NFL-branded Seahawks sweatshirt – $3.99

Boys GAP khaki pants (like new) – $1.99 each

Boys Nike elite dry fit pants (like new) – $3.99

Total = $15.92, plus tax

We always start shopping for back-to-school clothing early in the summer so we have a good collection before school starts. I find that even if the particular tag color isn’t on sale – it’s usually still a better deal than going to the mall.

Here are some of my tips for thrift shopping:

  • Have a list of what you’re looking for. Thrift shops can be overwhelming – but have a plan, for example looking for girls jeans or pants, and you’ll find yourself much less overwhelmed and your success rate goes up.
  • Make sure to look on multiple racks, even if it’s not the size you’re looking for. I often find the treasures accidentally placed in the wrong size grouping.
  • Look a size up. Different brands fit differently. Look a size or two larger and you can either buy ahead of find an item that will fit, even though the size is larger.
  • Look closely for stains, snags, frays. Take the time to look over the clothing. Hold it up to the light. Do you see grease or food stains? Fraying? Missing Buttons, Tears? Check the ends of sleeves and the bottoms of dresses/pants.
  • Pay attention to the tag color on sale. Often thrift stores will discount a particular tag color.
  • Try it on to be certain. If you can, try on clothing at the store – they usually have dressing rooms! Check a store’s return policy.
  • Go often. There are many times I stop into a thrift shop and walk out empty handed. It’s a treasure hunt that is sometimes fruitful and sometimes not. Be patient and you’ll find the deals!

Do you shop thrift shops for school clothes? What are your tips for saving on back-to-school clothes??

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October 12, 2016

My secondhand find – Breville BJS600XL Fountain Crush Masticating Slow Juicer – saved $264!

breville-bjs600xl-juicer

I’ve been on a smoothie kick the last couple weeks – trying to have at least one green smoothie a day to increase my veggie and fruit intake. It’s been wonderful and I feel great! I have been wanting to try juicing, too, but didn’t like the big price tag on juicers, so I’ve been putting it off.

Today I stopped into Goodwill and found this Breville BJS600XL Fountain Crush Masticating Slow Juicer for $34.99! This is the most I’ve ever spent on a secondhand kitchen appliance, but knowing this retails for $299.95 – it was a steal, considering tax alone would have been nearly $20 on it new. This is a savings of $264! I can buy a lot of juicing fruits and veggies with these savings! 🙂

I brought it home, scrubbed it up with hot soapy water and made up a big batch of carrot, kale and apple juice. Works like a charm (if it hadn’t worked Goodwill would have taken it back for store credit).

I could use some juicing recipes. . .please share your favorite fruit and veggie combos for juicing!

Have you found a good secondhand deal lately? 

May 31, 2016

*LAST DAY* Amazon Wedding Registry Sweepstakes – win a Costa Rica honeymoon, Lenox prize package and $1500 Amazon gift card

Amazon Wedding Registry Sweepstakes

Today is the LAST DAY you can enter the Amazon Wedding Registry Sweepstakes for a chance to win a Costa Rica honeymoon, Lenox prize package and $1500 Amazon gift card!  Not only do you get a chance at this great prize package, you’ll also get all the benefits of creating a Amazon Wedding Registry:

* 10%Completion Gift – Receive a wedding gift after your event date. Get 10% off most products on Amazon for a savings up to $100.
* World’s Largest Selection – Register for all the items you both want.
* It’s universal – keep track of what you want from anywhere. Add from other websites to your Wedding Registry with the universal button.
* 180 Days for returns on most items from your registry

To Enter:

  • Create an Amazon Wedding Registry during the contest period (April 1, 2016 – May 31, 2016).  No purchase is necessary, must be 21 or older to enter.
  • Add a minimum of one (1) Lenox item to your registry to be automatically entered into the Sweepstakes.
  • One (1) winner will be selected on or about June 15, 2016.  Winners will be contacted by e-mail within 1 week following the applicable drawing.

What can I win?:

  • Round trip economy class air transportation for winner and one (1) guest
  • Up to five (5) nights standard hotel accommodations for winner and guest in a Master Casita at Hacienda Alta Gracia
  • Daily breakfast for winner and guest throughout stay at Hotel
  • Dinner for winner and guest for one (1) night
  • A ninety (90) minute horseback ride adventure for winner and guest while on trip
  • A Lenox dinnerware package service for eight (8)
  • One (1) $1,500 Amazon.com Gift Card

Create your Amazon Wedding Registry and Enter Sweepstakes here

Weddings-on-A-Budget-Tips

For other great Wedding ideas, check out our seven-part Weddings on a budget series! This series is written by Rebecca Grant owner of New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination, one of Seattle’s Premiere Wedding Coordinators. She’s filled with a wealth of information and she’s a good friend of mine – so I know you’re in good hands.  

Here’s what is covered in this series:

March 19, 2016

Save on Wedding Venues {Week 3 of 7: Weddings on a Budget Series}

Weddings-on-Budget-Venues-Part-1 Pin it here.

Welcome week three (3) of our seven-week series on Weddings on a budget! This Saturday-morning series is written by Rebecca Grant owner of New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination, one of Seattle’s Premiere Wedding Coordinators. She’s filled with a wealth of information and she’s a good friend of mine – so I know you’re in good hands.  

If you’re joining us late, don’t miss our first week when we discussed Wedding Invitations on a Budget and Wedding Flowers on a Budget

This week we will be covering everything you might want to consider when planning for wedding venues!
We’re almost halfway through our seven-week series on getting married on a budget, and this week we’re tackling a big topic – VENUES. In fact, it’s so big, and there’s so much information to share that we are devoting this week and next to cover this topic.

Wedding-Venues-Alante-photography

Your venue can often determine the size, style and feel of your wedding day. Whether it be from a hotel to a barn to anything in-between, there are ways to cut costs when you begin looking for you perfect wedding venue.

Here are some tips and tricks to saving money for your venue on your wedding day:

Chose an off-peak wedding season
Obviously here in Seattle, we are fairly limited to the seasons if you want that full-sunshine, outdoor wedding. However, if you are willing to take a gamble, or looking at having your entire wedding and reception indoors, you will get a lot more bang for your buck. Consider having your wedding from mid-September to mid-April. This is a general range where most venues would consider your wedding to be off-peak. Because you are picking a date that is less popular than the masses, and the venue would rather book that day then lose any potential business, they offer you substantial discounts for booking with them during that time.

Lord-Hills-Garden-wedding

You never know, even if you are looking for that outdoor venue, you could be pleasantly surprised by lucking out and having a beautiful, warm, sunny day in the middle of April. It has happened. 🙂

[Read more…]

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March 5, 2016

ASTC Travel Passport Program – FREE admission to museums nationwide!

ASTC-Passport-Program-550

As we travel around the country we supplement our homeschool curriculum by visiting local children’s museums, history museums, science museums and zoos. Visiting all these institutions could get very expensive but thanks to a program through the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) we are able to use our “home” museum membership to get into other museums nationwide for FREE!

We have saved hundreds of dollars thanks to the ASTC Travel Passport Program, so I wanted to share it with you!

Read our post over on our travel blog – ASTC Passport Program :: FREE admission to museums nationwide

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March 5, 2016

Save on Wedding Flowers {Week 2 of 7: Weddings on a Budget Series}

Wedding-Flowers-Budget-TipsPIN it here

Welcome week two (2) of our seven-week series on Weddings on a budget! This Saturday series is written by Rebecca Grant owner of New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination, one of Seattle’s Premiere Wedding Coordinators. She’s filled with a wealth of information and she’s a good friend of mine – so I know you’re in good hands.  

If you’re joining us late, don’t miss our first week when we discussed Wedding Invitations on a Budget

Seattle-Wedding-flowers-budgetSee it on Pinterest!

This week we will be covering everything you might want to consider when planning for wedding flowers!

Flowers are one of the most integral parts of your wedding day’s overall look and theme. Not only are flowers heavy hitters in the look of your wedding, but they can often bring a heavy hit to your wallet. According to Florist Tiffany Saul from offbeatbride.com, wedding florists work generally work on a 3x markup. Over 75% of florists use a 5x markup on wedding flowers.

I will let you in on some tips and tricks as to how to save money on often, one of the most expensive aspects of your wedding day.

Set a Budget
If you are trying to plan a wedding on a budget, be sure you know how much money you have allocated for floral, and stick to it! Make your florist work within your budget. Don’t hesitate to ask if they have a minimum they work with before you go in for an in-person interview. Especially if you are planning a summer wedding, a lot of florists have minimums. If you are looking at a florist online and they do beautiful work, but their average budget they work with is over $5,000, more than likely this is not your florist. When you find about three (3) florists who you have called and who fit the budget you’ve set aside for flowers, the next step is to set up an in-person appointment. At the appointment, ask to see their portfolios of actual weddings they’ve done, not a FTD floral book – this is not their work, and don’t be fooled that it is. Each florist will have their own unique style and suggestions they can bring to the table. You want to be sure that their style will represent you and the look of your wedding.

Wedding-poppies-flowers

Think Local and In-Season
Once you’ve found a florist who you get along well with, you’ve seen their work, and fits within your budget, the next steps are to discuss your floral design with them. One of the biggest cost saving tips is to use as many locally grown flowers as possible. Ask your florist which blooms will be in season during your wedding month. If it’s a December wedding, you may be limited to using a mixture of berries and greens, which keeps it simple and beautiful! On the other hand, during your summer wedding, using locally grown hydrangeas, or garden roses might be the way to go.

[Read more…]

February 27, 2016

Save on Wedding Invitations {Week 1 of 7: Weddings on a Budget Series}

Weddings-on-A-BudgetWeddings on a Budget on Pinterest

Welcome to the first of our seven-week series on Weddings on a budget! This series is written by Rebecca Grant owner of New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination, one of Seattle’s Premiere Wedding Coordinators. She’s filled with a wealth of information and she’s a good friend of mine – so I know you’re in good hands.  

This week we will be covering the fine art of saving on wedding invitations.

Besides shopping for the wedding dress, deciding on your date, and nailing down your venue(s), invitations are one of the first things within the planning process that should be started.  As a general rule of thumb, wedding invitations should be mailed out no later than 2 months prior to the wedding date (3 months if a lot of guests will be coming in from out of state).

Save-on-Wedding-Invitations-Seattle-Wedding-Planner

Before getting started on your wording or even design, you need to consider what you will need within your invitation. Some things to think about are directions to your venue(s), local hotels close to your venue, fun activities for your guests to do while they’re in town, your RSVP card, and so on. Keep in mind, the more you add to your invitation, the more it will weigh, therefore driving up the cost of postage.

A more modern alternative to the traditional wedding invitation (and growing in popularity) are wedding websites and even totally paperless options such as Paperlesspost.com.  Some popular wedding websites are WeddingWire.com or MyWedding.com.  These are very user-friendly and allow you to share a lot of information to your guests very quickly, and best of all, they’re FREE!!  Within these sites you can download photos of you and your fiancé, update guests on where you’re registered, spread the save-the-date’s, even down to giving your guests a timeline of the wedding day, and keeping track of RSVP’s.

Now if you’re like me and prefer the traditional mailed invitation (there’s just something about opening up a card in the mail), there are ways to cut costs here as well.  There are some great DIY wedding invitation websites out there. I have personally used CardsandPockets.com for my own wedding invitations and loved the outcome!  They offer live chat options via online or actually calling the company. There are about 7 people in the main office, so if you tend to call in a lot (yours truly), you will more than likely get to know them by name, and they offer amazing one-on-one service.  There are countless other invitation sites out there, so just do a Google search, and find the site that fits you best.

One of the hidden secrets with placing an order online to order pretty much anything – but I know it works with wedding invitations – is to find someone with a business license!  Again, for me personally, ordering online through my business saved me 15% on my overall order. That basically saved me my 10% Washington state sales tax with an additional 5% savings!  I’ll take it!  🙂  Also, watch for sites that are offering sales for free shipping or even a local company that will make your invitations and let you come pick them up.  This, of course, will save you a ton on shipping costs.

Wedding-Invite-Greens-Save-Budget

Once you’ve found the site you’re comfortable working with, the next step is to work on design.  Be sure you stay consistent with your overall wedding theme, color palette, and style. Working through online invitation sites allows you to search through thousands of pre-set templates. This can often be a bit overwhelming. Narrow down your search by entering a few boundaries. You can often enter in a cap of the price you want to spend, the size/style you want, and narrow it down even more by choosing your colors. From there, search through the templates and more than likely, you will find one that fits your criteria.  A tip here is to keep in mind the shape of your invitation.  Non-standard shapes such as a square will cost you more in postage than the traditional card size.

Many sites will even do your printing for you. You can choose the font, color, and wording of your invitation and your insets.  This is a HUGE cost savings to you as you won’t need to pay a separate printer or use letter pressing.  Letter press is the most common type of printing on a wedding invitation, but it also is one of the most costly.  Choosing standard black ink will generally be the least expensive option, and cost goes up from there.  If you’re okay with black, use it.  It’s easy to read, and always classic.  You can bring in your wedding colors with the color of template you chose.

Wedding-invites-simple-affordable

As far as inserts are concerned, less is better.  The only thing I might order through your online site would be RSVP cards to keep the look consistent.  A cost-cutting tip here is to order it in a postcard size.  Put the recipients address, your return address and the POSTCARD postage on one side, and the other have your wording for your RSVP.  The cost difference between actually having your RSVP in an envelope versus just making it a postcard style is $0.34 cents versus your standard card cost of $0.49 cents- right there a savings of $0.14 cents per invitation!

If it were me, I would opt to communicate all my other information via my wedding website including where you’re registered, directions to the venue, accommodations, and fun activities.  This is also a great area to put whether children are invited or not –  keeps you from having to tell your cousin, “Sorry, we don’t have space or money for your kids to come too.”

Some other tips are just to keep it simple. The more extravagant your invitation is, the more expensive it will be.  Stick to an un-lined envelope, a standard shaped card, a set template, and minimal inserts. You will be pocketing the savings from the get go!

– Rebecca

Wedding-Invites-Seattle-Wedding-Planner

How did you save on wedding invitations? Do you have questions or suggestions about invitations? You can leave a comment on this post or contact Rebecca through her New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination Facebook page and I definitely recommend following her Wedding Pinterest boards – they are amazing!

Rebbeca-Bradley-Wedding-PlannerAbout Rebecca
Rebecca Grant is owner of New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination. She has been in the wedding business over nine years now, beginning her career in Honolulu, Hawaii, then moving back home to Seattle and launching her business Seattle Wedding Planning business in November 2009. She’s now one of Seattle’s premiere wedding planners. Because of her experience in Hawaii, her specialty is working with Asia-Pacific Brides; specifically, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian and Samoan weddings, however, she also does work a good portion of the time with traditional Western couples.   Rebecca would love to help you with your wedding!

Learn more about Rebecca and what she has to offer at New Creations Website! And seriously, check out her Pinterest boards – amazing ideas! 

As you are planning your wedding, don’t forget to create a registry!  Most stores offer registries and many have online options, making gift giving easier for out of town guests.

These are a few of our favorites:

Amazon Wedding Registry

Amazon Wedding Registry. With an Amazon Wedding Registry you get:
– 10% off most products on Amazon for a savings up to $100
– The World’s largest selection of items – register for all the items you both want.
– Plus keep track of what you want from anywhere. Add items from other websites to your Wedding Registry with the universal button.

Target Wedding Registry.  Some of the great perks of a Target Wedding Registry:
– One year after your event date to return or exchange items from your Registry
– Easy to share with friends and family
– 15% coupon for items remaining on your registry.

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February 15, 2016

Value Village Presidents’ Day Sale – 50% off clothing, shoes, accessories, bed & bath

value village

Just a reminder that Value Village is having its Presidents’ Day Sale today, February 15. Sale prices include 50% off clothing, shoes, accessories and Bed & Bath. We’ve discovered some incredible finds in the past at Value Village’s 50% off sale.

We’d love to hear any great deals you score!

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