Category: Frugal Living Tips

How to Save Money on Organic Groceries

how to eat organically

In recent years, the popularity of organic food has increased dramatically. In fact, nearly half of all Americans care about organic food in their diets.

It’s for good reason, too: organic foods, which are free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, don’t put toxic chemicals into our bloodstreams. And, they are often higher in nutritional value since the plant must defend and support itself without the assistance of harmful chemicals.

Okay, okay, you get it: organic is best. But it’s just so expensive, right?

Wrong. Read on to learn our top tips on how to eat organically for a price that won’t bust open your wallet.

Shop Seasonal

This one’s a no-brainer: if you’re interested in how to eat fresh, pesticide-free produce at a reasonable price, you must eat seasonally. Seasonal foods tend to be riper, sweeter, and higher in nutritional content.

Eating seasonally means buying strawberries and tomatoes in the summer when these fruits are in high production for local farmers. And it means winter squashes and Brussel sprouts in autumn when it’s high-time to harvest these delicious goods.

Buying strawberries in the dead of winter means the fruit won’t be as sweet and ripe, and it will likely have traveled farther from its origin. This means higher prices. Why? Because the store needs to pass on these added transportation and storage costs to someone…and that someone is you.

Store Selection is Key

If you want to eat cheap organic food, it’s crucial that you shop at the right places. Not all produce aisles are the same!

Some “big box” stores offer only a handful of organic options; this means the quality is limited and the prices are likely high. Scope out your local stores, and consider those that sell predominantly organic foods, or have large sections devoted to clean eats.

You’ll learn which stores have your favorite products, too. This might mean a bit more time on grocery shopping each week, but if you can save $10 on a package of organic, free-range chicken breasts, that’s well worth the time and gas to make the extra stop!

Also, consider your local Farmer’s market. This is a fun and healthy way to spend a weekend morning and allows you to interact directly with the farmer (no need for the middleman, i.e. grocery store.) It’s also a great way to chat with the grower about the health and quality of his or her organic crops.

Prioritize Like a Pro

If you’re experiencing organic food sticker shock, fret not: spend your money on the highest-priority food items. This includes meats and dairy, which nearly always have added antibiotics and hormones. Yuck.

Next in line is produce, fruits and veggies. Focus on buying those without protective skins or rinds. For example, a grape would be a better product to buy organically than an orange, since any pesticide residue will be removed when you peel the orange.

Finally, your hard-earned money should go to packaged foods last. Since packaged foods, like crackers and cookies, are so highly-processed, you’re already exposing yourself to added, undesirable ingredients. Which brings us to our next point…

Go Part-Time Vegan & Eat Whole Foods

It’s no surprise that some of the most expensive products you can buy at the store are meats, eggs, and dairy products. An organic, grass-fed steak can cost upwards of ten dollars. Simply put, putting meat on the table for most meals isn’t cheap.

Many nutritionists recommend going “part-time” vegan or vegetarian. This is the best of all worlds: you aren’t completely giving up meat or dairy, but you’re certainly cutting back. Some people choose to eat meat only for dinner, and others allow themselves meat or dairy every other day.

There are countless health benefits to this, too: by skipping out on meat, eggs, and dairy, you’re allowing yourself that much more in vegetables, grains and legumes, and fruits. Since these organic food options are cheaper than meat, you’re saving money, too.

And while we’re talking about it, remember that whole foods – unprocessed and often unpackaged – are always best. This is what our body evolved to eat, and whole foods are always preferable to packaged food items.

Plan Meals for the Week

In order to buy cheap organic food, we don’t recommend making a week’s worth of meal decisions while standing at the produce counter. To help with chemical free shopping, spend thirty minutes each week at home with a small notebook and do some meal-planning.

Consider the following when thinking about how to eat organically, in order to save the most cash:

  • What’s about to expire? Do you have fresh, organic produce sitting on your counter, or in your fridge, that needs to be used up?
  • What’s in your pantry? Are there canned or dry goods that you can toss into a pasta, soup, or use as a side dish?
  • Do a bit of coupon-clipping. Check the local papers, social media, or phone apps to see what’s available. Yes, grocers do offer coupons for organic foods!
  • Cook in bulk! Make a large meal and freeze smaller portions for next week’s lunches.

Believe us when we say this, spending a few minutes each week to plan meals will save you time and money in the weeks and months to follow. It means less meals out at restaurants, and fewer purchases of those high-dollar products that you might buy when dinner needs to be on the table in thirty minutes.

Make vs. Buy

Think carefully about the organic “snack” foods that you enjoy. Do you find yourself buying organic seasoned kale chips, organic whole wheat bread, or an organic salad dressing?

These are, unfortunately, still considered processed foods. By making these simple items instead of buying them, you’re cutting out processed ingredients, reducing packaging waste, and, yes, even saving money. A sweet potato is less than a dollar, whereas a bag of organic sweet potato chips might cost five times that.

Making your own “chips” (kale, apple, sweet potato, etc.) is as easy as slicing and baking until crisp. Salad dressings can be whipped up using your own vinegar and oil, and even a fresh bread can be easily made with a few ingredients and a dutch oven.

Waste Nothing

Many organic eaters care greatly about the environment and attempt to reduce their impact on their local and global surroundings. A great way to do this? Composting.

Think of all those food scraps that you toss away on a regular basis: apple cores, banana peels, corn husks, and tomato stems. Did you know that all of that can be “recycled” and broken down into new soil?

Some cities and communities offer cash rewards and incentives to households who either recycle and/or compost their food waste. Check out your local extension office or city government websites to see if you can get cash or rewards for your smart habits. The environment will thank you, too!

One form of “reward” for composting? If you’re part of a compost pickup program, you may get finished compost in return! Perfect to fertilize your own organic garden, which brings us to our next tip…

How to Eat Organically? Grow Your Own!

Don’t be daunted by the prospect of starting your own mini-garden. For those looking at how to eat organically, sometimes this is the cheapest (and most fun!) option available.

Organic seed packets, available online or at any hardware store, are no more than a few dollars and often contain 25+ seeds. Depending on the productivity of your plants, this can save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of a few years.

Learn your local agricultural zone and, as mentioned above, plant seasonally (e.g. berries and zucchini in the summer months.) If you have a “bumper crop” (lucky you!) then freeze or can the extra produce. This is a great way to enjoy cheap organic food any time of the year.

And remember, the key to organic gardening is to use no fertilizer/pesticide, or only organic fertilizer/pesticide. This means getting creative with products like neem oil (a naturally-derived pesticide) and natural fertilizers, like fish emulsion.

It’s No Mystery!

Many health-wise consumers are scared to “go organic” because they assume it’s more hassle and more money. Not true: by following some (or all!) of the tips we’ve included above, anyone can learn how to eat organically without breaking the bank.

For more fun and useful advice about living on a budget and making smart money decisions, check out the rest of our blog!

How to Save Money On a Wedding Photographer

affordable wedding photography

As you gear up for your big day, everyone keeps telling you that the photography services you choose are more important than anything else you purchase for your wedding.

They are completely right.

Your photographer — even more than the wedding decor, venue or dress you choose — can make your wedding day look like a storybook one for all the world to see. And as the years go by, the pictures are all you’ll have to help you to remember the details of your big day.

But how can you hire a photographer without going broke?

Everything about a wedding is ludicrously expensive, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you still need to hire a wedding photographer, here’s a rundown on how to secure affordable wedding photography services.

Let’s get started!

Set a Budget and Negotiate for Affordable Wedding Photography

Before you begin your wedding photography search, you need to develop a budget for your photographer.

If your budget is a bit tight, you may want to search for a photography student or a newer professional photographer.

Then, it’s time to negotiate.

A photographer will likely be open to negotiating with you if you book him or her on a day besides Saturday or if you book off-season.

Of course, you’re fooling yourself if you think you can convince a top-notch photography professional to charge $1,000 for your wedding photos when he or she normally charges $5,000.

To make negotiations work best for you, it’s critical that you find a professional who is as close as possible to your photography budget from the beginning.

And don’t forget to compare various photographers’ costs and packages to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

You should be able to find a photographer’s rates on his or her website. For instance, a company called Professional Portrait Photography clearly spells out rates and pricing on its website. This website also provides galleries of photos so that you can see examples of the photographer’s previous work before you decide to purchase the company’s services.

Book Your Photographer Early

Some photographers will also offer you a discount for booking them early. So, try to find a photographer immediately after you’ve set your wedding date.

Even if a photographer doesn’t necessarily give you a discount, you may still receive a lower price than you would if you booked the photographer closer to your wedding day.

Here’s why.

Budding photographers have a tendency to increase their rates as their reputations grow each year. And even photographers who are established may raise their rates each year to stay ahead of inflation.

Therefore, if you know that you’ll be getting married a year now or a couple of years from now, it only makes sense to secure your photographer now and lock in today’s prices.

Another way to save on costs is to pay for your services upfront, which might lead to a nice discount.

Schedule Your Photographer Wisely

Let’s say that your photography package includes a total of eight hours of video and photography. Chances are that your wedding day will be a virtually all-day affair, so it may be in your best interest to choose the eight-hour period that you definitely want your photographer there with you.

For example, you might prefer to have your photographer there with you more when you’re getting ready at the start of the day. Then, you can have the photographer leave right after your cake cutting.

Sure, you might miss capturing a few awesome moments toward the end of the wedding reception. But you might also save hundreds of dollars in overtime charges, too.

Alternatively, you could have your photographer skip your pre-wedding festivities. Instead, your groomsmen and bridesmaids can take these photos with their digital cameras.

Remember, time is money in the wedding photography world. So, schedule your photographer wisely.

Ask about Referrals

Ask if your prospective photographer offers a referral program.

With such a program, you may receive a discount simply for referring your engaged friends or coworkers to the photographer either in person or through social media. Or instead of a discount, you may receive credits for purchasing photos or albums.

You could convince your friends to sign up with the photographer you’ve used by showing off your wedding photo proofs or posting your final photos online.

Bypass the Album

You may be tempted to have your photographer assemble a wedding album for you. This is an excellent idea if you’ve got the budget for it. If not, don’t worry — it’s not totally necessary.

Sure, your photographer has an excellent eye for selecting the best pictures. But you can also choose the pictures you like the most and put together your own physical or online album.

Besides saving money, the good thing about assembling your own album is that you get to fully control your album’s flow. Plus, you can effortlessly produce copies for friends and family members, too.

Speaking of copies, one of the best ways to save on photography costs is to stick with a digital package.

At the outset, purchasing digital rights to photos may seem more costly. However, once you’ve got a disc filled with your wedding photos, you can freely print off affordable ones for your family members elsewhere — even using your home printer.

You could even simply send your family the photos via email and have them print them off.

Either way, going digital is a smart way to save money on a wedding photographer.

How We Can Help

We offer a wide range of tips and advice for those interested in living frugally and earning money.

For example, in addition to learning affordable wedding photography tips, you can find out how to throw a wedding on a budget. You can also learn how to provide healthy yet cheap snacks for the kids, or how to maximize your tax refund to improve your financial situation each year.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you to save money and thus enjoy a better quality of life long term.

How to Dress Well on a Budget: Everything You Need to Know

how to dress well on a budget

Not all of us are born with great riches. Trying to figure out how to budget all of your money to get to the month can be hard on its own. Trying to do so while looking and feeling good about yourself is a whole other challenge on top of that.

Many consumers seem as if they are committed to buying expensive brand name clothing, and you may feel as if you can’t keep up. Worst of all, these brand name items are only getting more expensive.

But these brands aren’t a necessity in looking good. By following a few easy fashion tips and tricks, you can turn an outfit of any price tag into a wardrobe highlight.

Read on, and we’ll walk you through how to dress well on a budget. Follow these tips, and you can look and feel great without having to empty your bank account.

Think Classy and Classic

There are certain pieces of clothing that never go out of style and should be affordable on any budget. Though there are people who have shelled out over one hundred dollars for a plain white tee before, it should be an easy and affordable buy and a look that works anywhere.

And it can be more versatile than you think.

A class trenchcoat, crisp black or white shirt, or sleek black trousers are appropriate and fashionable choices no matter the season. The “little black dress” is a well-known item for a reason, after all– it’s simple, elegant, and worth investing in. Regardless of their brand or origin, these elegant and simple items look great year round.

Avoid things like jeweled embellishments or pleated tops or distressed and whiskered denim, since details like these are really hard to do well on a budget.

Colors like black, white, and beige are timeless and best of all, they match everything. A great pair of black pants will be far more useful to you than any eccentric pair of purple corduroys. Invest in simplicity and elegance, and it doesn’t have to cost you much.

If you are going to spring extra for something big, make it something that will stand out in your collection, like the Starkiller Jacket or some other statement pieces.

Make Your Clothes Work For You

Looking good on a budget means making your wardrobe work as best as it can for you. Some of this means buying smart at the store, and some of it means good upkeep of clothing at home.

When you purchase new clothes at the store, consider having them tailored to perfectly fit your body. A $10 skirt can look better than a $200 designer one if it’s tailored to better suit you, and usually, all it takes is a few quick stitches. The simpler the garment, the cheaper and easier it usually is to tailor.

There are other steps you can take to make your purchases look fresher on you. Consider doing a little button surgery and switch the buttons out on some of your new items. Ditching plastic buttons for metal or pearl can make a shirt or jacket suddenly feel like new.

These buttons can be bought affordable from sites like eBay, Etsy, or even thrift stores in your town. You could even take buttons from old clothing items that you don’t wear anymore. If replacing them yourself seems stressful, you can take your shirts and new buttons to the local dry cleaner– most places will replace them for you at little cost.

Once you have your clothes at home, try not washing them so much! You, of course, want your clothes to be clean, but over-washing clothes wears down fabric and fades colors. Try spot washing with a sponge or toothbrush, or putting clothing items in the freezer to kill odors.

Invest In A Steamer

One way to ensure that your clothes will look nice when you leave the house is to get a steamer. Wrinkles can make any item of clothing look cheap, so having something that can get those wrinkles out fast can be a lifesaver.

A steamer can blast wrinkles out of a piece of clothing in a few short minutes. Steaming is quicker and easier than ironing, and you can use it on many clothes that otherwise wouldn’t be iron-friendly. It also is much more space friendly and takes up less room in your home.

Using a steamer is easy: you simply hold the garment in one extended hand or hang it on the back of a door. Bring the head of the steamer up and down and within moments you should have a piece of clothing that looks fresh and brand new.

Be A Smart Shopper

There are a number of things to keep in mind that can help you save money on great clothing.

You should be mindful when clothing prices tend to rise and fall. Everyone will start buying summer clothing come April and May, so prices will rise– you can get much better deals if you think to find your summer wardrobe a few months ahead of time.

Places like TJ Maxx are great to find brand name items with major discounts. Exploring thrift stores and consignment shops in your area may be a great way to find amazing items for less, and maybe even discover standout items you’d never find at your local retailer.

Always remember to look out for deals and budgets as well. Stores are always doing some sort of sale, and many offer discounts to students, military or other factions of citizens.

Make sure to take advantage of these deals and cut some money off your bottom line when you can.

How To Dress Well On A Budget

Looking good doesn’t have to a break the bank enterprise. By following the above steps, you can easily spruce up your wardrobe and hit the streets looking amazing, with money left over in your pocket.

Know that you know how to dress well on a budget, the only thing left to decide is what you’ll wear out today.

Need more wardrobe and beauty advice? Check out our blog for more tips and tricks.

How to Make Your Skin Look Younger Without Breaking the Bank

how to make your skin look younger

Every woman, at some point in her life, develops wrinkles, baggy eyes, age spots, or creases.

Contrary to popular belief, age is not the only thing that can make our faces look older. Poor lifestyle, too much sun, and smoking are just some of the things that can age a woman’s face.

People tend to believe that only plastic surgery and expensive cosmetic treatments can reverse aged skin. But this isn’t necessarily the case. There are plenty of cost-effective ways to make skin look young, healthy, and beautiful.

Are you wondering how to make your skin look younger?

In this article, we’ll explain all the secrets to beautiful and vigorous skin. All without breaking the bank!

Adopt a Daily Skin Care Regimen

A daily skincare regimen is the foundation of healthier and younger looking skin. It’s crucial to wash your skin and moisturize once in the morning and again before bedtime.

But not all skin is the same. And your skincare regimen heavily depends on your skin type.

So, which skincare regimens and products are perfect for your skin type?

Normal Skin

Normal skin is supple, clear, and even in tone. Rarely does it break out with blemishes as it’s not sensitive, flaky, or oily.

For normal, balanced skin, all you need is a gentle cleanser. Forget expensive, luxurious soaps and moisturizers. You don’t want to use any ordinary bar of soap, either.

There are plenty of oil-free, gentle cleansers available at affordable prices. Avoid cleansers that contain parabens and other cosmetic additives.

Apply the cleanser with your fingertips and lots of warm water. Pat dry and then afterward, apply a moisturizer every time. No need for scrubbing!

Dry Skin

Things like alcohol and fragrances can easily dry out your skin. If you have dry skin, avoid cleansers that contain these ingredients. Aim for a gentle cleanser with as little artificial ingredients as possible.

Hot water can also deplete your skin of its natural oils. After washing, rinse with warm water that’s not scalding hot. Afterward, use a moisturizer that’s specifically designed for dry skin.

Make sure to exfoliate your skin at least once a week. This will help remove dead skin.

Oily Skin

Some women have greasy skin all over their face or on certain parts of their face, such as their foreheads. Oil-free, gentle foaming cleansers are key to improving oily-looking skin.

People with oily skin tend to have larger pores than normal. Make sure you wash your hands beforehand to keep excess dirt and oil out. You should also use a clean towel to pat dry your skin afterward.

If your skin is excessively greasy, you may want to try using a toner or astringent. These will shrink and constrict your pores and keep excess oil from leaking out.

Toners and astringents can cause irritation. So, you’ll definitely want to apply a moisturizer afterward.

Sensitive Skin

Some women have more sensitive skin than others. Their skin will sting, itch, or burn after applying certain skin products or makeup.

Ingredients and fragrances can cause sensitive skin to flare up. A gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol, acid, parabens and fragrances are key.

Instead, look for cleansers that contain oats, aloe, or green tea. The fewer ingredients, the better.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

No matter your skin type, it’s also important that you wear sunscreen on a consistent basis. Sunburn and excessive exposure to the sun can lead to wrinkled skin. Not to mention, you increase your chances of developing skin cancer later on in life.

Make sure to wear sunscreen that has an SPF of 15, at least. And even if it’s not sunny out, you should still wear some.

Next, we’ll discuss how to have younger looking skin beyond your daily skincare regimen!

Get Enough Exercise

Exercise is not only good for maintaining a healthy weight and a positive well-being but it promotes the flow of nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies. When our skin receives more oxygen and nutrients, it appears more radiant.

But that’s not all. Exercise also enhances collagen production, which helps our skin look younger and fuller. Exercise also promotes fat loss and muscle growth which can all prevent saggy skin.

Stress can disrupt our sleep and cause bags and dark circles to form under our eyes. The more we exercise, the less stressed we feel. And the less stressed we are, the better our skin will look!

Eat Nutritious Foods

Our skin can reflect our diets and how much (or little) of the right foods our bodies receive. After all, “you are what you eat”.

Curious how to make your skin look younger by changing your diet? Next, we’ll explore the types of foods you should start eating every day.

Vitamin C & Antioxidants

Vitamin C enhances collagen production. Wrinkles develop as we age because our bodies don’t produce enough collagen. Foods rich in antioxidants can also reduce inflammation in the skin.

Here are some of the best sources of vitamin C and antioxidants:

  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries, blueberries, & raspberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Pomegranate
  • Pumpkin
  • Tomatoes

Mangoes are also a good source of vitamin C, but they contain plenty of vitamin A, as well!

Salmon contains lots of antioxidants. In addition, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are great for our skin. The antioxidants in olive oil can also reduce inflammation and soften skin as a result.

Keep in mind that adults need between 65 and 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day. However, with permission from your doctor or dermatologist, you may be able to consume up to 2,000 mg.


Certain carotene compounds, such as lutein, are great for hydrating parched, damaged skin.

Lutein, in particular, reduces inflammation and protects our skin against certain cancers. The antioxidant abilities of lutein fight against free radical damage and early aging.

Zeaxanthin is another carotene compound that can promote healthier and radiant skin. Zeaxanthin and lutein together can reverse skin damage caused by the sun.

Leafy greens, like spinach and kale, are the best sources of both zeaxanthin and lutein. Other vegetables contain them, as well. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and carrots are some examples.

Fruits like raspberries, cherries, oranges, and peaches contain zeaxanthin and lutein. Eggs are also a great source of lutein, as well as protein and healthy fat!

How to Reverse Wrinkles

When our skin lacks moisture, we’re more prone to developing wrinkles. So, stepping up your moisturizing game is the first order of business.

Try rubbing small amounts of coconut or olive oil on your skin every day. You can apply these to your face and body using a cotton ball. After letting the oil sit for 15 minutes, rinse off with warm water.

You may also want to consider using a retinoid cream. Retinoid creams promote collagen development, which can help with wrinkles and age spots.

Did you also know that your sleep position may cause wrinkles? Fine lines can easily develop on your face after years of sleeping on one side. Try sleeping on your back to prevent pillow marks.

Alternative Treatment for Wrinkles

If you have excessive wrinkles, you may want to consider wrinkle relaxers. Wrinkle relaxers contain purified proteins made from botulinum toxin. They’re known to relax the muscles that cause wrinkles to develop on our faces.

Wrinkle relaxer treatment can be more on the pricier side. But it’s a worthwhile investment if your skin has already started to age.

Avoid Smoking & Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Smoking cigarettes are not only bad for your heart and lungs but for your skin, as well. For one thing, smoking causes wrinkles and bags to form under the eyes. It also increases a person’s chances of developing psoriasis, a skin condition.

Excessive alcohol use can also speed up the aging process. The more alcohol we drink, the more dehydrated we become.

Often times, the face is the first place where fluid loss will occur due to dehydration. This can lead to not only wrinkles but inflammation in the face, too.

You can also bounce back from the negative effects of excessive alcohol and cigarette use. Once you stop drinking and quit smoking, your skin will often be the first thing to recover.

Drinks Lots of Water Every Day

We all know the amazing effects of drinking water. But did you know that guzzling water won’t have much of an effect on your skin?

However, many experts believe that drinking enough water every day promotes healthier skin. Hydrated skin looks fuller and can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Drinking plenty of water (without going overboard) can also diminish acne lesions.

Everyone should aim to drink at least 8-10 eight ounce servings of water each day. Doing so will ensure that your skin is staying properly hydrated.

Discover How to Make Your Skin Look Younger

Every woman, no matter her age, desires skin that looks young, healthy, and radiant. We may not be able to stop the aging process. But we can take better care of ourselves to get the skin that we want.

That just wraps it up on how to make your skin look younger. Looking for more health and beauty tips that will help your skin? If so, check out more on our blog today!

8 Frugal Wedding Tips You Won’t Want to Miss

frugal wedding

Getting married and planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life. If you’ve recently become engaged, congratulations! And even if you haven’t yet, it’s never too early to start thinking about your future wedding.

Weddings are certainly not cheap. In fact, the average wedding costs around $25,700. But that’s not to say that a wedding can’t cost less, either.

Budget weddings are not uncommon, and more couples opt to have a frugal wedding compared to those who go all out.

Are you aiming to fulfill your dream wedding on a budget? Looking for unique and innovative wedding ideas that’ll help you save more money?

We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll tell you about 8 unique wedding ideas on a budget that you can use for your big day. Let’s get started!

1. Plan Together

Before planning, you and your partner need to discuss the vision you both have in mind for your wedding.

Is there a dream venue you’ve always had in mind? Do you want to host a lavish dinner or would you rather have a bustling cocktail party?

How many guests do you want to invite? Where do you and your partner want to honeymoon?

Most importantly, how much are you willing to spend in total?

These types of questions will help you distinguish which amenities are most important. That way, you can budget appropriately, save money where you can, and splurge in other areas.

2. The Venue

Couples will often spend the most money on their reception venue. By the same token, the venue is where you can also save the most money.

Venues that provide the catering and wait staff are going to be the most expensive. You may be able to find inexpensive wedding venues. But, if you’re looking to have your dream wedding on a budget, it’s time to get creative.

Do you know someone with a large backyard and a beautiful view? If so, consider asking them if you can host your wedding there. You can also rent a large cabin for the day.

Do you know people who work in the food industry? You could hire your own wait staff and get a good deal on catering. This way, you can spend the money on a cheaper venue and provide your own food and staff.

3. The Photographer

If you’re not careful, you could wind up spending lots of money on just the photographer alone. Luckily, we live in the day and age of smartphones and iPhones. So, you can definitely count on your friends and family to snap gorgeous shots of your big day.

There are lots of talented wedding photographers who are willing to be a part of your big day at a reasonable cost. You may even know one! Feel free to barter with them in exchange for their services.

4. The Rings

When it comes to wedding rings, the costs vary significantly. People can spend as little as a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands!

Of course, some metals and materials are much more expensive than others. Gold and diamonds, for example, are often the most desired – and the most expensive.

You don’t necessarily have to shell out tons of money on quality, beautiful rings. For a frugal wedding, focus on durability. You’ll want to spend the money where it counts, which is in the quality of the rings.

Take moissanite, for example. This mineral comes from meteorite and occurs naturally in diamonds. It’s also one of the more affordable materials on the market. You can view here for more of an idea on moissanite wedding ring designs.

5. The Dress

Every bride dreams of finding the perfect gown for her wedding. But often times, brides will spend an unnecessary amount on a dress they’ll only wear once. So, how do you find your dream dress on a budget?

First, think about a close friend or relative who recently got married. Chances are their wedding gown is somewhere tucked away. If you loved their dress, why not ask them to borrow it for your big day? That way, all you would have to worry about are the alterations.

Still, you may want your own wedding gown – and that’s okay! Try searching Etsy for custom-made dresses at budget-friendly prices. Then, expand your online search (you never know what you may be able to find).

6. The Entertainment

Do you want to know a little secret?

You don’t need to hire an expensive DJ or band to have a rocking wedding!

You may know some musicians who are willing to entertain your guests all night long. And if you don’t, start compiling your own wedding playlist. All you’ll need are decent speakers and an auxiliary cord.

On your wedding invitations, ask your guests to jot down their song requests ahead of time!

7. The Invitations

Speaking of invitations. This is an area where you can save a couple hundred dollars and spend that money on catering or your flowers.

Send out digital invitations instead of paper invitations and “Save the Dates”. Facebook makes it easy to plan events and have guests RSVP to them. You can also send out emails to those who are not on social media.

And when in doubt, call up the guests who are harder to reach online than others.

8. The Honeymoon

After budgeting for your frugal wedding, look at the amount of money leftover. You can very well use this money towards booking your flight tickets or the hotel.

You can also register at Honeymoon Wishes. Your guests can fund your honeymoon instead of giving money or gifts. This is the best way to go about traveling far for your honeymoon if you’re on a budget.

You don’t have to necessarily go far or spend a lot of money on the honeymoon, either. Plan a staycation or only travel a couple hours away!

As long as you and your soon-to-be husband or wife are happy, it doesn’t matter where you honeymoon!

Fulfill & Enjoy Your Dream Frugal Wedding

Weddings don’t have to be as expensive as people make them out to be. With detailed budgeting and creativity, you can have your dream wedding on a budget and remember your big day for years to come.

Looking for more tips and ideas on how to save money and have a frugal wedding? Check out our Frugal Living blog for the whole scoop!

6 Make-Ahead Freezer Meals for When You’re Saving Up to Eat Out

make ahead freezer meals

Picture yourself after a long day, trying to come up with a dinner plan. In your head, are you blinking slowly at the contents of your fridge, wondering what meal to make for you and your family that will take the least time possible?

Don’t worry; you’re not the only one. There’s plenty of days where the last thing I want to do is put my remaining energy into cooking and making a huge sink-full of dishes.

Sometimes we all opt to pack the kids into the car and go out to dinner. This is understandable given the amount of work that goes into prepping a meal for your entire family. Chopping, pounding, slicing, stirring, cutting, skewering, and roasting can seem like daunting tasks on exhausting days.

But the truth is, going out to eat isn’t always in the budget. That’s why I love make-ahead freezer meals! Having a handful of delicious, easy-to-reheat meals in the freezer not only saves you time, but it saves your wallet too.

Whether tight on money, time, or both; you need to check out some of these great do-ahead recipes. Pick your favorites and take a few extra hours to get some of them stored away for later. Next Week You will be so thankful that you thought of her!

Freezer Enchiladas

The best part about freezer enchiladas is- no dishes! Prep these delicious tortillas and filling in a disposable aluminum pan, and they’ll stay safely stored and ready to pop right into the oven. You’ll need:

  • 12 six inch tortillas, warmed to soften
  • 2 cups of protein (shredded chicken, ground beef, black beans, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, divided (cheddar or Mexican blend)
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 4 oz can of diced chilies, green
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

The recipe is super quick and simple. Combine protein, half of the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup of cheese, cilantro, chilies, and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Spread a quarter cup of the mixture inside each flat tortilla, rolling up with the seam on the bottom.

Then, pour half of the remaining enchilada sauce in the bottom of your foil pans. Lay the enchiladas in the pans, top with leftover sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. To prep, just cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before freezing.

When you’re ready to cook them, remove the plastic wrap and bake, covered, for 30 minutes at 375. Uncover and cook for another 5-10 minutes so the cheese can get bubbly and slightly browned. You can keep these in the freezer for up to three months.

Easy Stir Fry

There’s nothing better than fresh, delicious veggies. When you make these freezer bags full of pre-made stir-fry mix, you’ll have that fresh taste on hand whenever you want it without having to do all the prep that’s usually involved. Plus, it only takes about ten minutes to cook!

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp, or cubed chicken
  • 5 cups of veggies (try chopped bell betters, broccoli florets, sugar snaps, grated carrots, or your favorites!)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite Asian sauce (such as teriyaki or schezwan)

Simply toss your protein in the sauce of your choice, and put it in the bottom of a freezer bag or two. Add veggies on top, seal, and freeze for up to a month.

When ready to cook, add the entire bag to a tablespoon of olive oil that’s heated in a skillet on medium high. Saute, mixing for around 8-10 minutes until veggies are tender and meat is cooked through. Super easy!

Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken

The easiest do-ahead meals are ones you pop out of the freezer straight into the crockpot. It’s great to have a couple of variations on this theme in your recipe book, but this one is a zippy cilantro lime flavored chicken that’s zero work to cook. Set it and forget it until it’s dinner time!


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • One can of rinsed black beans
  • One can of mild tomatoes with chilies
  • One cup of corn (frozen or canned is fine)
  • One diced onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • Cumin, chili powder, salt/pepper, and garlic to taste

This recipe couldn’t be easier. Just dump all of the ingredients into a large freezer bag and freeze for up to a month. The day before eating, thaw in the fridge for 12-24 hours. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4.

Stir in some fresh lime juice at the end for extra zip, and serve over rice with sour cream and guacamole for instant burrito bowls!

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup

What’s more satisfying than a warm, cheesy bowl of this classic comfort food? Sure, you can find it in eateries listed on this website, but this recipe is so good that you might prefer it over your favorite restaurant version! Frozen in gallon bags, it reheats beautifully for a delicious fall or winter meal that’s a crowd-pleaser. You’ll need:

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli, medium and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • One tsp minced garlic
  • One bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine chicken broth with onion, broccoli, garlic, carrots, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes on low.

In a separate pot, melt the butter and add flour. Whisk it together, cooking over medium heat as you whisk for 3-4 minutes. Strain the chicken stock from the first pot into the flour mixture, whisking until thickened.

Add the veggies from the first pot and mix until heated through. Remove the pot from the heat, mixing in shredded cheese until melted. Season to taste.

Allow the soup to cool, then divide into freezer bags. When ready to eat, just empty the frozen bag into a pot on the stove or a microwave bowl! Fresh, delicious soup that tastes great with a side of bread will be ready whenever you want!

Roast Beef Sandwiches

From the freezer to the crock pot, zero work required! Buy a nice cut of the beef roast when you see it on sale at the store, and freeze it away for later. You’ll need:

  • One beef roast
  • Two cans beef consomme
  • Rolls or buns

Simply take the frozen beef roast out of the freezer and thaw it for 12-24 hours. Put the roast in a crockpot with both cans of consomme on low for 6-8 hours, for the most tender roast.

When it’s done, shred the beef roast with a fork. The tender meat will fall apart with little effort. Serve on a roll or bun with cheese if you like, with a cup of the remaining juice for french dip style!

The easiest freezer meal yet!

Lasagna Roll-Ups

Lasagna is always a crowd-pleaser, but the leftovers can be a pain to store and prepare. Roll-ups are an easy, single serving version that’s much easier to freeze and heat up for later! This is another great use for those disposable aluminum pans as well.


  • 20 lasagna noodles
  • Two 24 oz jars meat or marinara sauce
  • 30 oz ricotta cheese
  • Two eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 pound grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • One tablespoon minced parsley
  • One tablespoon minced basil

Cook lasagna noodles in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain the noodles and lay them flat on a large foil sheet. To make the filling, stir together ricotta, parmesan, eggs, salt & pepper, basil, and parsley.

Spoon a small amount of sauce into the bottom of disposable foil pans to cover. Spread 2 or 3 tablespoons of filling into each noodle, then roll them up. Lay each roll in the pan, fitting as many as possible in a single layer.

Top each pan off with sauce, mozzarella cheese, and the remaining parmesan. Cover your pans with plastic wrap and tin foil.

When ready to eat, cook from the freezer in a 350-degree oven. Cover the pans in foil and bake them for 45 minutes, then uncover for an additional 15 minutes.

Make-Ahead Freezer Meals are a Lifesaver

When you spend a day preparing some of these family-pleasing dishes, you’ll find yourself with so much extra time that you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing it in the first place! Use all that free time to do some fun activities with the family, or catch up on some well-deserved me time- you’ve earned it!

An important note about make-ahead freezer meals is always to label your containers at the time of preparation. Adding the date, contents, and expiration date will take you to superhero status!

Are you looking for some more family-friendly tips on a dime? Visit Thrifty Momma Ramblings for ideas that suit your family’s lifestyle.

Don’t forget to leave us some recipes for your favorite freezer meals in the comments below!

10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s to Look For in Aging Parents

early signs of alzheimersAs our parents age, we need to look after them the way they once looked after us. This includes recognizing signs of illnesses that aren’t especially easy to spot.

Some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, like mood swings and forgetfulness are pretty easy to write off as mom or dad having a bad day. But the truth is, these things should make you watch them a little closer; especially if the disease runs in your family.

Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, patients with it worsen over time. However, an early diagnosis and treatment can help keep them stable.

If you’ve noticed some odd behaviors, you might already be asking yourself if there truly is something going on with your parent. Maybe you’ve even noticed that the topic agitates or causes them to shut you out.

We laid out some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s you should be on the lookout for. Continue reading and we’ll also show you how to deal.

Talking to Your Parent

Conversations with your parents about their health as they age are some of the scariest conversations for adult children to start. We never want to make our parents feel like they’re incapable or watch them become defensive.

Because of all the sensitivity around these topics, it can feel nearly impossible to have these talks. But they are necessary to have. First of all, this conversation will lead to your parent receiving a real diagnosis and treatment.

It also gives you an opportunity to establish a plan. If your parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they will eventually lose their ability to take care of themselves.

Speaking with them early on allows them to share their wishes and concerns. Give them the opportunity to tell you where they’d like to live, how they want their finances handled, what to do with their prized possessions and many other things.

This open dialogue will make your parent feel safe which will become even more important down the road. Don’t wait until there’s a serious crisis or accident. Those circumstances will limit everyone’s choices and add to the stress.

10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

In progressive diseases like Alzheimer’s, a patient’s brain structure and brain chemistry become more severely damaged over time. This is the reason you see people with Alzheimer’s slowly lose who they once were.

It’s important to note that while the early signs listed in this article are the most common symptoms patients will display, not all cases are the same. Meaning those with Alzheimer’s can possibly skip some of these symptoms or display some others early on.

You should also be mindful that some of these symptoms can present themselves in the later stages of the disease.

1. They’re Having Trouble Completing Typical Tasks and Chores

People with Alzheimer’s often experience difficulty completing tasks they didn’t have a problem with before. If your parent is usually pretty tidy and you realize they’ve stopped keeping a clean house, for example, this can be a sign that something is wrong.

The same can be said for a parent who has forgotten some of the steps to a recipe they’d cooked you your entire life, or the rules to a game they already know how to play.

2. Forgetting the Day, Month, Time or Location They’re In

If your parent has gotten lost in a familiar place like their favorite grocery store or their neighborhood, they could have a serious problem. They might call you in a panic over being lost or not knowing what day it is.

In some cases, your parent can even think they’re in a completely different decade. Bringing up old events like your little league soccer game as if it was happening today is a definite red flag.

3. Decreased Judgment

None of us make the right decisions all the time. Lapses in judgment happen to the best of us.

But we’re talking about those times where your parent does something irresponsible that seems to be coming from left field.

For instance, your mother might wear a summer dress on a cold winter’s day. Or your dad can give more money than he can afford to a telemarketer.

4. Losing Things

Has your parent started storing things in strange places? Have you found shoes in the fridge or car keys in the fish tank?

A person with normal cognitive function will misplace things, but they can usually retrace their steps to find them. If your parent is exhibiting more extreme versions of this otherwise normal behavior, it may end up being Alzheimer’s disease.

Patient’s with Alzheimer’s tend to blame others for stealing items they misplaced too.

5. Drastic Moodswings

Drastic mood swings without logical reasoning is an early sign of dementia that shouldn’t be ignored. Your parent can be mellow one minute and cry hysterically the next if they have this disease.

This can also come into play if they’ve suddenly become suspicious or moody around something they enjoyed spending time with before. Sometimes these mood swings stem from the person feeling uncomfortable, maybe being too hot or cold.

Changes in mood also including being calmer or less emotional than they typically would be.

6. Avoiding Social Situations

So, your parent used to be a social butterfly who enjoyed family gatherings and coffee dates with friends, but they’ve recently become withdrawn. This can happen because they’ve become uncomfortable being around people because they are frightened by their own strange behavior.

While becoming withdrawn, you parent can sleep more often than usual, develop passive personality traits, or take several naps throughout the day.

7. Problems with Written and Verbal Communication

People with dementia will forget common words. They may even replace them with words that don’t fit into their sentences, making their speech difficult to understand.

Furthermore, they can have a hard time reading; especially out loud. With dementia, your parent can fall into the reading level of a child during their early years of elementary school.

8. Forgetfulness

Most people classify Alzheimer’s disease with constant forgetfulness. It’s one of the most common symptoms.

Whether your parent is forgetting new information or thing they’ve already known, you should take the action seriously. Absent-minded behavior will also include repeatedly asking the same question.

9. Changes in Vision

Although it isn’t the most popular symptom, it does occur in some patients. Alzheimer’s disease can cause problems with processing colors, space, and reading.

This can weaken their ability to drive safely. If your parent had a recent fender bender where they ran into a nonmoving object like a tree or sign that they say “came out of nowhere” you should have their cognitive skills evaluated.

10. Trouble Thinking Critically

Has your parent recently began struggling to pay their bills without changes in income or commitments? Are invoices piling up and they don’t understand why?

People with dementia have trouble solving problems such as these. Sometimes the problems become so overwhelming that they just put them off instead of facing them.

An expense tracker can help you help your parent stay on top of their finances.

Talking to Your Parent’s Doctor

In the beginning, most patients with Alzheimer’s are uncooperative and display great levels of anger and denial. But if you are truly concerned that your parent has the disease, you should do everything you can to make sure they are correctly diagnosed and helped. This involves talking with their doctor.

HIPAA is set in place to protect patient privacy and information. Because of this, your parent’s doctor isn’t allowed to share things with you pertaining to their health. However, you are still fully able to share your concerns, even if your parent is against it.

Using the information you’ve learned about the early signs of Alzheimer’s, write a letter to their physician. In the letter, you should include your observations with timeframes.

Perhaps your parent called you three times in a single day asking what time your child’s birthday party will be. Maybe you watched them pour salt instead of sugar into a batch of lemonade.

These events should be noted and shared with the doctor. And although the doctor won’t be allowed to tell you specifics about their appointments with your parent, your letter will make them alert.

Your parent might even be more accepting of the conversation about Alzheimer’s or screening for the disease coming from their doctor instead of their child. Think about it, that role reversal can’t be fun for them.

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Although there has yet to be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there is support available to those patients who are living with it. The treatments range from medication, memory care, and lifestyle changes that can include assisted living.

It’s important for the patient to have a loved one who understands all these options as their disease worsens. For example, a lot of people don’t know the difference between assisted living and memory care (compare here.)

Follow our blog for tips about budgeting, health, and family life that can still be implemented if your parent is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s.