Category: Frugal Living Tips

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Photographer

wedding photographerGetting married? Thinking about hiring a wedding photographer to get professional-quality pictures you can thumb through years down the line?

The one obstacle that prevents couples from hiring a photographer is the expensive fee they demand. What’s worse is that this fee continues to rise as time passes on.

As a matter of fact, the average cost of a wedding continues to increase each year. In 2016, the average wedding cost shot up to $35,329. A large portion of this goes to food catering, the wedding dress, and the photographer’s fee.

The good thing is you can reduce the cost for a photographer, saving that cash for something else like your honeymoon! To start, you should book a photographer ahead of time.

Book a Wedding Photographer Early

One good tactic to reduce the costs of a photographer is to book early. By doing so, you’ll have a monopoly on the schedule.The more you wait, the higher the demand becomes and photographers will charge a higher fee if their schedule gets too tight.

Most photographers will also give a discount as long as you can pay some kind of down payment. This discount seems small at first.

However, you’ll see how vital the discount becomes when you consider how you can use the savings to avail other photography features or to pay other wedding expenses.

How early should you book a wedding photographer?

Book as early as six to nine months ahead. If your wedding is in January, for example, book the photographer in July.

Limit the Coverage

Some people can afford a photographer for 10 hours. This often covers everything, from the preparation in the hotel to the wedding ceremony and then the reception dinner at night.

Do you need that much coverage?

If you don’t, discuss with your partner which part of your wedding you’ll need a photographer. Friends could take pictures of the reception but you might want a professional to take photos of the ceremony. Maybe you prefer it the other way around.

Limiting the amount of time you need a photographer will cut down the costs by a big margin. They often charge by the hour and according to the features you request. Take advantage of this and hire a wedding photographer only for a short period.

List People in Your Budget

When budgeting a wedding, you need to start with the costs for the legal procedures first. Got all that done? Work on your budget for the reception, gowns, suits, and floral arrangements.

Once you finish up listing the essentials, you’ll have a better idea how much money you can allocate for the photographers.

The next step is to look for photographers that fit the finalized budget. It’s always a good idea to start locally before broadening your options to photographers out of town. Local photographers won’t charge for their travel fees and accommodation, meaning you get to save cash on that front.

From that point, it’s a matter of looking at their work and seeing which wedding photographer gives you more bang for your buck. They may all cost relatively the same but some might offer better options or more experience and skill in the field.

Ask for Referral Discounts

If a friend or relative referred a photographer, make it a point to ask for referral discounts.

Some photographers will knock off $100 to $200 thanks to a referral. Make it a point to tell them who referred them to you and, if possible, refer the photographer to another couple getting married soon.

This referral system guarantees the photographers that they stay in business. Giving a discount is their way of thanking you and your friends for helping them stay afloat and build their brand.

Reduce the Extended Features

You also want to reconsider getting features like Same Day Edit (SDE) videos. An SDE is a video made using footage taken previously in the day. These videos often play during the evening reception dinner as a way to celebrate the event while the guests are still present.

They’re getting more popular nowadays, especially with social media platforms giving people the opportunity to share content in an instant. As a matter of fact, videos are so popular that over 500 million people watch videos on Facebook per day.

However, SDE videos are expensive. There’s a lot of effort put into these projects, hence the high fee. If you’re on a tight budget, you may need to remove it from your photographer’s to-do list.

While SDE’s are the most popular, there are other extra features you can eliminate to reduce the costs. Some of these include:

  • Group photos for each table
  • Getting both monochrome and color photos
  • Photography with special effects
  • HD video coverage
  • Printed photos

The last bit is one of the most important to consider. If you want to cut down the costs by a significant margin, keep things digital.

Staying Digital

Printed photographers aren’t as popular as they once were. Many film printing shops closed down in the past ten years and even Kodak stopped releasing their brand of cameras in 2012. You’ll only find a few shops that print traditional film.

This means hiring a photographer and asking for printed pictures is going to cost you a hefty amount of money. You can cut down your costs by keeping things digital. Let them send the photographs and videos through the Internet or on a memory card.

If you want printed photos, print them on your own when your budget lightens up. You can also invest instead in turning photos into paintings. You can check here for more info on how this works.

Discover More Tips Today!

With these tips, you can still get a great wedding photographer while saving money for other expenses. Don’t wait further and book a photographer today.

But a photographer is only the beginning.

If you’re looking for more tips to save cash and still have a memorable wedding, visit us today! We can show you how to find the right theme or help you decide if you want an extravagant destination wedding.

5 Types of Clothing to Look out for While Thrift Shopping

thrift shoppingThrift shopping isn’t just for hipster college students and extreme penny pinchers. Getting clothes and accessories from thrift stores can be a fun scavenger hunt that will save you a significant amount of money.

But not all thrift store clothes are going to be gems or ones that are going to save you much in the long run. There are certain items, however, that are almost guaranteed to save you money in both the short and the long term.

Keep reading to learn about the 5 types of clothing that you should look out for when you’re thrifting if you’re looking to save money and look stylish.

1. Brand Name Clothes

High end and brand name clothes are usually quite expensive if you buy them new. Thrift shopping for brand name clothes can save you hundreds of dollars if you can find the brands you’re looking for.

Certain brands are quite trendy nowadays, like Ralph Lauren and Adidas for example. However, brand new clothes from these brands can start at $50 for a t-shirt or even hundreds of dollars for sweaters and jackets. You just can’t justify those prices if you’re on a budget.

These same brands can be found in thrift stores for a fraction of the price. Usually, t-shirts can be as little as a few dollars and even jackets can cost less than 20.

Looking for and buying brand name clothes while thrift shopping can save you hundreds of dollars while still giving you the high-quality and trendy brands you want.

2. Jewelry and Accessories

What outfit is complete without some jewelry or an accessory like a watch or a hat? But nice accessories, especially jewelry, are expensive.

Thrifting for jewelry and accessories is a great way to elevate your style while staying on a budget. While the jewels and metals might not be super high quality, it is often hard to differentiate. That means you can stock up on cheap jewelry and accessories without anyone really knowing that they came from a thrift shop.

Thrift shops usually have huge stocks of jewelry, which gives you access to a wide variety of styles and products. The jewelry at thrift stores is also exceptionally low priced because of the high stock they have.

You can find necklaces, bracelets, watches, vintage pins, brooches, hats, rings, and more all at one location. Take your time sorting through the large selection to find pieces that really stand out and that can add an element of style to any outfit.

3. Men’s and Women’s Clothes

A mistake a lot of beginner thrifters make is only looking in either the men’s or the women’s section. Women tend to avoid the men’s section and men definitely steer clear of the women’s section.

But the fact is, each section has certain gems that would be missed if you didn’t look in both places.

The men’s section is usually home to many interesting graphic t-shirts, sweaters, and athletic wear. The women’s section, on the other hand, is usually much larger than the men’s section, which might give you a wider variety. It is also home to what’s seen as “women’s only” clothing items like skirts, dresses, and more form-fitting and feminine t-shirts.

Check out this website to learn more about women’s t-shirts and clothing items.

4. High-Quality Fabrics and Materials

Besides brand names, another thing you can save big on by thrift shopping is clothes made of certain expensive materials. Real leather, cotton, denim, wool, and linen are all durable and high-quality fabrics that can be expensive if you buy them new.

Getting thrifted items made of these materials will save you a lot of money while also giving you items that will last. Buying cheap, thrifted clothes made of cheaper material might be good in the moment, but chances are those clothes won’t last very long.

You’re better off buying clothes from thrift stores that are made of good quality materials. You’ll save money on the price of the item and you’ll save by getting a product that will last a long time instead of needing to be replaced soon after it’s purchased.

5. Shop Seasonally

This tip is true for both thrift shopping and “regular” retail shopping. You’ll usually get great deals and discounts on seasonal items at the end of that season.

For example, the end of summer would be a good time to go shopping for shorts, t-shirts, and swimwear. The end of winter will be the perfect time to look for thick winter sweaters, winter boots, and jackets.

If you think you get great seasonal deals at retail stores, then you’ll be amazed at the types of deals you’ll get at thrift stores. You’ll be getting huge discounts on already discounted items. You’ll be paying a fraction of what you would at a retail store and getting even more of a break because of the seasonal discounts.

A word of caution on this tip: the end of a season usually will bring a lot of people looking for seasonal deals. You want to get out to the thrift stores sooner rather than later to avoid everything being cleared out by other thrift shoppers.

Thrift Shopping Can Save You Money

Living on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have great style. Thrift shopping means that high-quality and brand name clothes can be yours for a fraction of the retail price.

Thrift shopping isn’t always easy. You’ll probably have to go to a few different thrift shops many different times in order to find some things that are name brand, high-quality, and your style. It can take some dedication, but getting high quality and stylish clothes for a low cost is definitely worth it.

Check out our blog to find more tips on frugal living. You can also find lists of helpful deals, freebies, giveaways, and coupons on our website.

How to Find the Best Caribbean Vacation Deals

caribbean vacation dealsWhat’s not to love about taking a Caribbean vacation? You get to take off work, explore a new area, and not have a worry in the world.

Of course, like anything else, a vacation costs money. So how do you save?

The easiest way is to look online for the best Caribbean vacation deals. Once the costs go down, whip out that credit card and book it! It’s easy, and we’re here to show you some quick tips on how you can do it!

Pick the Right Island

Airfare is going to be the most expensive part of the trip, so pick wisely. JetBlue offers low fares to Nassua, Montego Bay, and Barbados, while Spirit offers trips to Aruba and San Juan.

Southwest goes everywhere, but do they offer the lowest fares?

Maybe not. Keep checking airfare calendars to see when the lowest rates are and plan accordingly.

Have you ever been to Aruba? St. Lucia? Barbados? The opportunities are endless.

Consider going on the Galapagos Islands tours. With all that extra money you’ll save on cheap airfare, why not book another tour You won’t regret it!

Ask for Suggestions

Has any of your family or close friends ever been to the Caribbean? Where did they go?

Ask them how they went about planning the trip. They may have some extremely helpful suggestions that you’ve never even thought of!

How did they check for freebies or any kind of package deals? Ask them and find out how!

Book at the Right Time of Year

Of course, the busiest time to travel to the Caribbean is during the winter. Everyone is trying to get away from the cold and celebrate Christmas in their shorts.

Also, keep in mind of spring breakers. If you can handle the hotter weather and hurricane season, it is best to book over the summer and up until the fall.

Consider a Cruise

Did you know that 43% of people went to the Caribbean on a cruise?

The best part about a cruise are the accommodations, transportation, and all-inclusive meals. Some cruises even go to multiple islands! All you have to do is find the nearest port and book.

The Caribbean Vacation Deals Are out There

It’s all about knowing what you want to do. Consider staying at an all-inclusive resort if you want to be surrounded by the beach and pools.

Weigh out the pros and cons of a resort versus a hotel. Is it kid-friendly? Are meals included? Are there activities on the property for guests?

Rent a Villa or Guesthouse

The cost of people eating out has increased at a rate of 2.7%. The best thing to do is rent a guesthouse or a hotel with a kitchenette so you can cook your own meals.

Evaluate your meal plan and consider eating where the locals do. Eating at usual tourist stops will easily rack up your expenses.

How We Can Help

Sometimes it’s not easy to plan a Caribbean vacation, especially if you’ve never been there.

Are you still not sure about which island to pick? We can help you find the best Caribbean vacation deals!

We’ve got information on how you and your family can all pitch in to help each other plan the tropical vacation of your dreams.

5 Tips To Lower Your Credit Card Debt

credit card debtPaying for your daily coffee and that super cute pair of shoes with your credit card may seem easy at the time. Until the bill comes and you begin to feel the staggering weight of that little plastic card.

Credit card debt is no joke and it feels overwhelming to many people. 45% of Americans have credit card balances and they average about $15,956 per household.

Have no fear! There is a way to get out of debt quickly and I have some tips on how to do just that.

Read on to see how to get out from under the tremendous weight of your credit card debt in record time.

1. Stop Using Your Credit Cards

The most obvious of solutions, yet the most difficult to accomplish.

Many people use their cards for every purchase they make and the little charges can add up quickly.

Instead, pay for things with cash. Doing this will help you realize how much money you are actually spending and will eventually curtail your spending habits.

2. Set a Budget

The next step is to sit down and write out a realistic budget.

Start with your monthly income and subtract all your regular expenses such as rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, and any other bills you pay on a monthly basis.

Now that you see exactly where your money is going, you can see what things can be cut out of the budget so you can use the extra money to pay off your debt.

3. Transfer the Balance to Another Card

If you notice that one or more of your credit cards have extremely high interest rates, you should look into a different card with a lower interest rate.

Compare several different card options, such as a UOB credit card, to find the best deal. Some banks will even offer lower interest rates for a credit card balance transfer from another bank.

By doing this, your overall interest rate will be lowered and it will be much easier to pay off the new card with fewer fees being tacked on each month.

4. Credit Card Debt Consolidation

Another way to help lighten the load of your credit card debt is to consolidate your numerous balances.

You could take out a short-term personal loan to pay off those pesky credit cards. It is much easier to make one payment rather than to manage several bills that come in each month.

Often times a personal loan will also have a lower interest rate than the credit cards you’re trying to pay off.

Remember, lower interest rates means less money that gets added on to your debt each month.

5. Pay More Than the Minimum

The more you pay on your card each month, the better!

By paying more than the minimum required payment you are reducing the total amount owed. Since the interest charges are based on the total amount owed, this reduces the amount of interest being added on.

Aim for making payments that are double the minimum required payment each month. You could see the credit card debt melt away like ice cream in the sun.

Debt Free… Now What?

Now that you are on your way to a debt-free lifestyle, why not discover a way to improve and protect your credit rating?

4 Fun Summer Activities To Do With Your Kids This Year

fun summer activitiesWith the cold weather finally behind us, the school year is just about over. And as every parent knows, finding something fun to do with the kids is easier said than done, especially a few weeks into the break.

While video games and coloring books are fine for a temporary distraction, summer gives you the chance to spend some much-needed mommy time with your kids.

Want some tips on great activities you and your kids will both love? Here are four fun summer activities that will keep the kids busy and help you create long-lasting memories.

1) Go Swimming

Swimming is practically synonymous with summer, so grab some sunblock, towels, water, and beat the heat at your local pool.

If your neighborhood doesn’t have a local pool, check your city’s website. Most municipal areas have at least one public pool.

While splashing and playing Marco Polo can be fun, don’t forget to use pool time as a learning experience. If your kids don’t know how to swim, sign them up for swimming lessons.

It’s important that kids understand the basics of pool safety, and swimming is one of the best forms of exercise out there.

For your truly little ones, start off slow and don’t forget to check out the best life jacket for toddlers.

2) Pack a Picnic

If there are two things kids love, it’s snacking and playing outside. Why not combine the two by packing a cooler of drinks and snacks and going on a picnic?

Sitting with your kids and enjoying tasty treats is a great way to pass the time and keep your kids entertained. You can even have them help you prepare the food to make it an extra fun experience for all involved.

Head to your local playground or park and let the kids eat and play. You’ll get a few quiet moments to yourself while they’re playing and your kids get to burn off energy. It’s a win-win!

3) See a Movie

Of course, there are days where it’s just too hot to be outside. Sometimes all you want to do is sit in a dark theater enjoying the air conditioning.

While the movies can be an expensive outing, theater chains like AMC and Regal Cinemas tend to offer fun, family-friendly film festivals during the summer.

4) Camp Out in The Backyard

Camping is a great experience for people of all ages. But it isn’t always easy to find the time or money to head to the local campground.

Instead, get thrifty and host a staycation camping experience in your own backyard.

All you need is a tent, a flashlight, some healthy treats, and sleeping bags or blankets. Soon you’ll be all set for your evening under the stars!

Fun Summer Activities Don’t Have to Cost a Fortune

These four fun summer activities should keep your kids busy for weeks to come! And best of all, they’re fun for mom and dad, as well.

What are your favorite fun summer activities? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

And don’t forget to check out our Family Life section for more great tips on how to save money while raising a family.

5 Tips for Dating as a Single Parent

single parentLet’s face it, the thought of having to climb out of your comfy spot on the sofa to go on a date as a single parent isn’t one that lights up many peoples thoughts. Dating can be intimidating and something that as single parents, you push away.

After all, you have so many other things to focus on, how could you find time to begin dating again?

With 10 million single mother-led families in the United States, three times the number in 1960, it’s time we recognized that dating is something that you’ve been putting off.

To make the whole process easier, and to help single parent’s everywhere get the motivation they need to ditch the sweatpants in favor of something a little more flattering, we’ve put together this article.

Get ready for the five best tips you need for understanding how to date as a single parent.

Why Is Dating So Hard in 2018?

Before we can dive into understanding the best way to date, it’s first worth looking at why dating seems to be so challenging in 2018. With 19% of brides saying they met their spouse online, you’d think dating in the modern age was all about online dating.

In reality, many people think it’s all about dating apps and swiping, but there are still a lot of people founding relationships in the traditional manners. It takes a wider perspective to realize there are more options available than you think.

Here are The 5 Best Tips on Dating as a Single Parent

Dating doesn’t have to be difficult, use these five different tips to give yourself the best chance of finding the partner you deserve.

1. Don’t Go For The Cyber Checkout

Yep, you heard us, don’t put all your eggs in a cyber basket. In other words, don’t rely on online dating as your only means of dating. You might be asking yourself is eharmony worth it, or should Tinder be the only option?

One of the best ways to get out there and meet somebody who shares your interests is to join a group. You can still use the wonderful world of social to help you in this process.

Apps like Meetup are a great way to meet events and groups going on in your local area. Facebook groups are another fantastic way to become part of a community that meets up regularly.

Don’t be afraid to open the conversation flood-gates anywhere you are. It may seem like the zoo and the toy store aren’t the ideal love making zones, but a simple ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ can go a long way in meeting people outside of your usual circles.

2. Trust Your Gut

If there is one thing that’s true about the human body, it’s that we have an uncanny ability to be right. Often you may find yourself saying, ‘I told you so’ to yourself after a bad situation but don’t forget to follow your instincts.

If your body is telling you to speak to that cute barista in Starbucks, it might be because your gut is right. Remember that as a single parent, your time is precious, valuable and limited.

When you’re out on dates, consciously ask your body “does this feel right?” You need to notice what sensations you feel in your stomach.

Remember that your body holds a lot of wisdom. If you notice anything that’s uncomfortable, trust your body and take note.

3. Don’t Wait to Long To Start Dating Again

Remember that re-entering the dating world can be a scary thing to do. One thing to consider though is that it’s sometimes easier to re-enter the dating world when you haven’t been alone for too long.

Once you’ve taken the necessary time to recover, why not try and get your feet wet? You don’t have to do it at a pace that you’re uncomfortable with, but just getting yourself back out there again can be an important step to take, to begin you back on that journey.

Sometimes people can get overly comfortable, especially as a single parent. This means when they re-enter the dating world, it brings with them a whole host of new complications.

Making sure you aren’t set in your ways and open to change can be a challenging thing to come to terms with, but remember you can start out slowly. Take it one step at a time, give yourself the chance to be in control and go at your pace.

4. Don’t Become Sexually Intimate Too Soon

Experts all over town will tell you this is a big one. Many people have a false understanding that sexual intimacy is a big part of dating.

We sometimes believe that no adult would be willing to wait for sex. Sometimes it’s because you might be craving the attention, other times it’s because we want not to disappoint.

What you need to remember is that sex bonds two people together emotionally. This can make it incredibly difficult to leave the relationship even if other aspects of your connection aren’t matching up.

Remember to not jump into bed with just any suitor, at least not until you are ready. If you want to take your connection emotionally to the next stage, trust your gut. Remember that a good match will wait for you, after all.

5. Nothing But The Truth

There is a very big difference between discretion and lying. This is especially important as a single parent.

If you think it’s ok to have extramarital sex when any questions come up with the kids, you should be able to answer them (appropriately to their age) why and under what terms. If you feel that you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t do it.

As with all things in life, behave as you want your kids to when they reach that early stage of adulthood. Remembering to be completely truthful is also an incredible way to communicate in relationships.

Telling a new partner exactly how you feel and at what pace you want to go helps them to be empathetic towards you and your situation.

Dating As a Single Parent Shouldn’t Be Hard

You know it shouldn’t be hard, but sometimes it is. Finding that fearless faith as a mother or father can be challenging. But, by understanding these five tips and how to implement them into your life could just make that hardship a little easier.

For more tips on everything family, check out our other posts.

How to Build a Steady Income With Freelance Writing

freelance writingIn today’s economy, more people are creating their own jobs than ever before. Freelance workers represent 35 percent of the current workforce.

While these numbers may shock the traditional nine-to-five, the reality of the situation is simple. Freelance work has never been more in demand.

Let’s take freelance writing, for example.

Blogging has become the go-to marketing strategy for businesses. As a result, freelance writers are now highly sought after.

The good news is, with a few key tools, anyone can become a freelance writer.

If the thought of earning money and avoiding the cubicle intrigues you, keep reading.

Today, we outline four proven strategies to build a steady income from freelance writing.

Set up a Portfolio Website

A writer without a website is like a surgeon without a scalpel.

Having an established website to display your portfolio is an essential tool for branding.

Think of it this way: if you want someone to buy your skills, then you need to show them why you are qualified. Describe what sets you apart from the competition, and why they should choose you.

Consider this: a recent study revealed that half of US millennials are taking part in freelancing work. For aspiring freelancers, this means your website must set you apart from the other writers.

Create a website that is eye-catching, easy to read, and displays your best work.

Settle on a Niche

Businesses seek writers who are specialists in their field. The more specialized your field, the more likely you are to be perceived as an expert and land high-paying clients.

Not exactly sure what your niche might be?

Start by reviewing your hobbies, resume, and previous work experience.

Let’s say you studied health and wellness in college, and spent the next five years working as an assistant to a naturopathic doctor. This is all relevant information that can act as the perfect foundation for your first blog post.

Read my tips for creating your first blog post to get started!

Target Repeat Customers

With freelance writing, the ultimate goal is to create stability – and get better at what you do.

The fact of the matter is, freelancing actually has the ability to create even more security than the traditional workforce.

Freelancers report that having a diverse portfolio of clients has created more stability as compared to having one traditional employer.

To do this, it’s essential to find repeat clients who are not just looking for one-time jobs. Instead, seek contract-based clientele that requires long-term projects.

Create a Strict Payment Schedule

The Freelancers Union recommends adhering to a strict payment schedule:

  • 30 percent upfront
  • 30 percent upon completion of first draft
  • 40 percent upon completion of the project

This ensures you are being paid a percentage of the project even if the project is cancelled. It also helps distribute your payments evenly and budget more appropriately.

Be sure to have an established invoice system that is simple and always delivered in a timely matter.

Start here by creating a free pay stub template to get started!

Build a Rewarding Career in Freelance Writing

Do you feel that freelance writing could be the right fit for you?

Whether you’re looking to work remotely or from home, the only thing standing between you and your first writing gig is you.

Start small and read our best tips for freelance productivity to get started!