Tag: shopping tips

Small Wedding Bands: What to Consider to Find the Right One

small wedding bandsYou’re getting married! That’s exciting news! But now you’ve got a wedding to plan. And that means that there are a million details to plan and take care of. You have to book the wedding venue, the caterer, order the invitations, and the list goes on and on.

Don’t forget the wedding band! Not the kind for your finger, silly, the one that will keep the party rocking while everyone dances the night away.

Believe it or not, there’s plenty to consider when looking at small wedding bands. After all, not all bands are the same, just as not all wedding are the same. Let’s take a look at some things to consider before booking a musical act for your big day.

Small Wedding Bands: What to Consider to Find the Right One

Are you getting married? Congratulations! Before looking for small wedding bands for hire, be sure to consider the factors here.

What’s Your Budget?

Before you starting shopping around for a band to play at your wedding, you’d better know how much money you have to spend on music. The bigger your wedding budget, the more options you’ll have. And make no mistake, good bands generally aren’t cheap. So take a look at the numbers and decide how much you have to work with.

Do Some Research

Do some research online, and then start making some calls. Talk to your wedding planner and get some references. Talk to local bars and clubs that host a lot of live music. These are great sources for finding out the names of some good local bands. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn just by calling up and asking.

Decide What Kind of Band You Want

Keep in mind that the type of music you want will have a huge impact on the energy of the party. Hiring someone to sing Frank Sinatra tunes will be much different from a party band that plays 80s hits.

Knowing the kind of music you want will make searching for the right band much quicker and easier. Some bands play a wide range of covers from a variety of styles and eras, which always makes for a great party.

Ask Lots of Questions

Once you’ve narrowed your list, it’s time to make contact. You’ve gathered a few names and numbers, so now you need to reach out and talk to them.

Before making those calls, sit down and make a list of questions. You need to find out if they have a general playlist they like to work from. Do they take guest song requests? How much do they charge and how many hours will they play for that price? How many performers are there and what do to they typically wear?

This is an important conversation and should give you a good idea of what you can expect on the day of the event. And once you’ve narrowed it down to your top two or three bands, call around to other venues where they’ve performed and ask about those experiences.

To see a great source for booking live entertainment acts check out Alive Network.

Try to See Them Perform Live Before Hiring Them

Most small wedding bands also play other events as well as regular local gigs. This is a great opportunity to hear them live before booking them for the wedding. See how they perform live, the quality of the music, how they interact with the crowd, the kind of energy they bring.

And if you can’t manage to make it to a live gig, see if you can find any live performances on Youtube, or if they have a website with video samples from live performances.

How Far in Advance Should You Book Them?

The short answer to this question is, book the band as soon as possible. A good wedding band is likely going to be in high demand and will get snapped up quickly by another event.

Once you’ve set the date for your wedding, you’ll need to book everything needed for that day ASAP. Keep in mind that venues, caterers, and entertainment options go fast, so don’t risk losing your first choice by hesitating.

The best thing to do is call the band at the top of your list and have a conversation. Let them know your intended date. This way, even if they are booked for that date, they might be able to move some things around on their schedule in order to accommodate your wedding.

Things to Consider Before You Sign the Contract

Before officially booking the band, give some serious consideration to the fact that your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. It’s a momentous event that takes lots of planning, and where many of your closest friends and family will be gathered to celebrate.

Thus it’s important to know the band you hire is going to show up as scheduled. Can you trust them? Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Do they offer a contract and require a deposit?
  • Are they easy to reach by phone or email or return calls promptly?
  • Do they have a high turnover among band members?
  • Do they ask any questions about the event or what you expect from them?
  • Will they bring all of their equipment or is there something you’ll be required to furnish?

Final Details to Consider

The size of the venue also impacts the band size of the musical act you book. You’ll also need to consider the layout of the room, as well as power sources the band will need to plug in their equipment.

Get The Party Started

There’s nothing better than a party with a great band, with everybody dancing and having a great time. Small wedding bands can take a memorable experience to the next level.

Wedding band costs might seem expensive, but ultimately it’s money well spent when you consider the priceless memories that will endure for a lifetime.

Click here to learn 10 essential tips for buying an engagement ring.

5 Secrets You Need to Know When You’re Grocery Shopping on a Budget

grocery shopping on a budgetThe average American spends 11% of their annual budget on food. A massive chunk of those food expenditures are spent at grocery stores.

Groceries can be a pricey and necessary expense. Still, even in the face of inflating prices and undeniable necessity, you can make successful grocery runs without spending an arm and a leg.

In this article, our team shares with you 5 of our favorite non-coupon strategies for grocery shopping on a budget!

1. Pay Attention to Market Circulars

At the beginning of the week, if you’re like most households, your mailbox gets stuffed with ads from our local grocery stores. While most people will take those ads and throw them into the garbage, we recommend that you actually take the time to look them over.

Market circulars showcase real weekly deals on the foods your family loves most which makes grocery shopping on a budget easier. So separate out the market circular from your favorite grocery store and go through it circling deals you’d like to take advantage of.

2. Make a List and Stick to It

After you’ve gone through your market circulars to spot deals and have assessed your fridge to see what you’re missing, it’s time to make a list. Making a list and sticking to it when you go to the grocery store is one of your best strategies to ensure your shopping run is quick and that you don’t fall prey to impulse buys.

We even recommend putting your list in the order of which aisles you’ll bump into first so you can quickly weave through the store and get out.

3. Look Up and Down When Comparing Prices

Grocery stores cleverly place items that represent the most value to them at consumer’s eye level. Sometimes, those items are grossly overpriced.

For that reason, you’ll want to look up and down store shelves when finding the best price on a particular product. Never go for a product simply because it caught your eye the fastest.

4. Stay Away from Name Brands

We get it. Some name brands really do taste different.

If your family likes a particular brand of something that’s a staple in your home, go ahead and splurge on it.

For the most part, though, you’ll want to stay away from name brands and instead opt for store brand products which almost always represent a significantly better value.

5. Keep the Kids at Home

If you can keep your kids at home while shopping, do it. Kids will likely get impatient as you shop which will lead to them to acting up and gives way to you making quick purchases that don’t represent the best deals.

Give yourself adequate time and space from impatient little ones when you shop and you’ll find that your experience is a lot more successful. This is especially true if you are leveraging coupons (check out GSCOP for more information.)

Wrapping Up Grocery Shopping on a Budget

There you have it. 5 grocery shopping on a budget tips.

Utilize as many of them as possible and start seeing how much you can save!

For more content like this grocery shopping on a budget article, check out more of the deal-centric content we have available for you on Thrifty Momma Ramblings today!

7 Tips for Saving Money at Outlet Mall Stores and Factory Stores

outlet mall stores

Americans buy so much clothing that we’re starting to fill up landfills with it.

Because you don’t know what you could end up wearing next year, you might not be the type to spend high prices on trendy clothing. If you want great fashion at a low price, outlet mall stores can give you the bargain you’re looking for.

Here are 7 things to remember when you’re shopping at outlet mall stores.

1. Look for Quality

When you’re walking through an outlet mall, you could be tempted by all the brands on display. Don’t get starry-eyed about all the luxury brand offerings. You need to find quality materials that will last you for years rather than brands that seem trendy now.

Lots of great brands make products that are also high-quality. They’ll also produce a lot of one product that they will sell but isn’t up to their usual quality standards. When you see a high quantity of one product, make sure it’s good quality before you buy it.

You’ll know quality materials, even from lighter fabrics, when you see them. Trust your gut when you’re shopping. Check out Ramco Textiles for some examples of high-quality fabrics.

2. Follow Trends to Come

While you should always be skeptical of trends, if you want to remain stylish, you’ll need to know what’s happening in the world of fashion. When a new style takes hold, every brand will try to jump on the bandwagon. When rompers were a big hit, just about every brand on the planet had overstock the next season.

Keeping an eye on trends means that you can be on the lookout for a brand that tried to be a trendsetter and failed. If a great brand made a version of a type of garment that won’t become a hit for 2 more seasons, there could be a lot of product in outlet stores for cheap.

Combine your love for trends with an appreciation for quality and you’ll be sure to end up with a great deal.

3. Always Plan Ahead

Don’t wait until the first snow storm to buy your winter jacket. If you’re not married to trends, look for great winter deals as soon as winter ends.

If you weren’t happy with what you had for summer or felt unprepared for the weather, look for new items as soon as fall hits. Outlet prices will cause off-season garment prices to plummet.

If you’re shopping for a family, shopping off-season is massively important to make sure that everyone has what they need and is happy with their wardrobe.

4. Avoid the Rush

Everyone wants to get a deal and some people will even call ahead to stores to see when they receive their next shipments. You can go that route if you’ve got to get the latest items, but you could find yourself in a mad dash to get things that there’s no shortage of.

Instead, save yourself the stress of waiting in long lines or dealing with picked-over shelves by going during off-peak hours. Try shopping early in the day on Tuesday-Thursday rather than going on the weekend. If you miss the morning shopping hours, go around dinnertime instead.

You’ll save yourself the stress and might find that the shelves are nicely stocked for your visit.

5. Check Return Policies

Depending on the brand or the store, you could be dealing with a rigid return policy that might leave you suspicious. In fact, if an outlet doesn’t believe in their products or their customers enough to offer a good return policy, they might not be worth working with.

Some stores might have no return policy at all. You might end up buying discounted goods as gifts, and if they don’t fit, your friends or loved ones won’t be able to return them. If they can’t be returned, it’s like you just walked into the store and donated money to them for no reason.

Rather than waste your time and money, make sure that the shop you’re buying from has a strong return policy. If the products are good enough, they’ll know that very few people will be returning but for legitimate reasons.

6. Talk to the Staff

You never know how the quality of one item compares to the items offered last year or even last season. Manufacturing could have changed or the way something is made might be different than it was before.

The people who will know the most are going to be the staff at the outlet mall. Talk to them and see what they recommend. Ask what is selling and what might be getting returned a lot.

If they’ve had problems with one garment, perhaps they can recommend another. Asking the people who work with the items day in and day out will give you the best idea of what to expect when you’re shopping.

7. Sometimes You Have to Come Back

Don’t ever feel guilty if you don’t find anything that you fall in love with at an outlet mall. The great thing about outlets is that the stock turns over so often that you can come back in a few weeks and find a completely new set of items for sale.

While it might take you a few trips to find what you’re looking for, with the savings that you’ll get in the end, it’s always worth being patient. If you pick up an item you don’t think you can love forever, just put it down and come back another time.

Outlet Mall Stores Are More Than Discount Malls

Outlet mall stores are a great place to find a deal, but also a great way to know what trends are going to be out of fashion in a year and which are here to stay. If you love fashion, it’s not all about following what’s in during a given season. It’s also about getting high-quality garments at a good price.

Before you go shopping, check out our guide to make sure you start decluttering before you bring more into your house.

Top 10 Tips for Buying Men’s Jewelry

mens jewelry

Have you ever noticed how much jewelry the man in your life wears? While most people think these kinds of accessories are for women, many men love to wear jewelry.

Whether it be a watch on their wrist, a ring on their finger, or even earrings and chain necklaces, men definitely know how to wear jewelry. In fact, most men feel naked without their go-to pieces!

There’s nothing wrong with expanding your man’s collection, though. Before you get him another bottle of cologne for his birthday or send dad another new wallet for Father’s Day, see what kind of men’s jewelry you can buy.

Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect men’s jewelry piece.

1. Consider His Go-to Style

Some guys wear nothing but gym clothes and simple styles all the time while others can be seen in a suit any day of the week. There’s also the guys who love the laid-back hipster look and those who prefer to be more put-together and preppy.

Which kind of guy is the man in your life? Think about this before you go shopping. Understanding his style will come in handy as you navigate all the options of men’s jewelry in the store.

2. Pay Attention to the Material

Just as there’s a noticeable style difference between a plain t-shirt and a flannel that’s clearly been thrifted, there’s a difference between a leather watch band, a gold watch, or some sort of athletic material. This goes for bracelets and necklaces/chains, too.

Pay attention to your man’s preferred material before you go shopping. The last thing you want to do is find the perfect bracelet only to realize you need something made of metal, not leather.

3. Choose a Color

Another detail worth focusing on right off the bat is the color of men’s jewelry you’re looking at. In the same way that you have a preference between gold and silver or brown and black, your man does, too.

Think about this as you browse men’s rings, bracelets for men, and more. Maybe even consider his favorite pair of dress shoes or the color of the belt he wears every day before narrowing down your options.

4. Understand Proportions

As you start to get a better idea of what your man might like, think about what will actually look good on him. Not every guy can pull off a huge watch with a big, flashy face. On the other hand, some guys are built too thick for thin watch bands or small necklace chains.

You have to imagine the men’s jewelry on him. This way, you’re not just shopping for what catches your eye the most in the store, but what will look perfect for his body.

5. Know His Fit

Have you ever had to get a ring resized because your boyfriend didn’t know what it was? Your man is going to have to go through the same thing if you don’t know his size.

You’re also going to need his wrist measurement for a watch or bracelet, and it wouldn’t hurt to have some sort of idea about how long he likes his chains.

6. Stick with the Classics

Maybe you already have the right sizes written down and you know exactly the kind of color and material your guy likes. Shopping for men’s jewelry should be smooth sailing, right? Not necessarily.

The next thing to consider is how flashy you want to be. Even if your boyfriend is known for lavish suits and over the top tie patterns, he needs something that’s going to complement all of his looks.

Always go with the classic jewelry pieces over the flashy ones. Such a move makes it easy for your man to wear his new jewelry when going to work, on a night out, and sometimes, even to the gym!

7. Consult a Jeweler

If you’re really at a loss for what to buy or where to even begin, consult a jeweler. Whether the person behind the counter is a man or a woman, he or she has seen plenty of ladies like you come into their store. They know how to take a description of your man and his style and run with it.

Before you know it, the jeweler has all kinds of men’s necklaces, earrings for men, plenty of watches, and much more for you to choose from. Not to mention, they can help you make the final decision if you’re stuck between two options.

8. Ask a Guy Friend

While it’s always great to make friends with the jeweler, another thing you can do is bring a guy friend along. Bring your man’s best friend when you go shopping or ask one of your buddies to join you.

Either way, make sure you have a man present. He can help point you in the right direction and offer the kind of male perspective you need to make the best choice.

9. Look at the Price

Just when you think you’ve found what you’re looking for, check the price tag. It’s one thing to discover an amazing piece of men’s jewelry and another to be able to afford it!

More often than not, you don’t have to break the bank. Simply keep looking until you find the best jewelry item that fits your budget.

10. Consider How Long It Will Last

The final thing to think about is how long the jewelry will last. This is both in terms of style and durability.

Style comes down to what is hot now and what is always timeless. Keep this in mind when you’re tempted to go for something trendy over a classic item.

More so, take a second to consider how strong the materials are. Invest in real precious metals and strong diamonds/stones whenever you can. This way, you can trust the jewelry you buy will last for many years to come.

You can click for more about different diamond cuts, strengths, and sizes.

Styling Men’s Jewelry with Different Outfits

Whether you’re shopping for the most stylish man you know or you’re looking for men’s jewelry to give him a bit of a fashion boost, your guy needs to know how to pair his new jewelry with various outfits. This way, he can go from the office to the dancefloor to a casual date night while wearing what you’ve bought him.

But, being fashionable doesn’t mean breaking the bank! For tips on saving money on men’s jewelry like chains, rings, and more, click here.

Tips for Choosing the Best Baby Stroller

best baby stroller

Are you a busy parent who’s looking for a better way to travel with your child? Strollers are a necessity that can cost a pretty penny, and with so many options on the market it can be confusing to know what to look for.

Fortunately, we’ve got some tips on what makes the best baby stroller. Whether you’re on your first stroller or you’re just looking to upgrade, don’t invest in one without these essential features.

Ready to make your checklist? Read on!

Make Sure Your Stroller is Safe

The most important aspect of a stroller is that it should be 100% safe for your child. A stroller that meets JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) safety standards will be certified and should come with the following features:

Position Locking

The frame should lock firmly into position so it can’t accidentally collapse. Check for pinch points or any sharp or protruding edges.

Harnessing

Restraint systems are vital. Your safest option is a five-point harness, much like the ones in car seats. It should loop around the shoulders and legs, fasten around the waist, and buckle securely and easily.

Adjustable

A child will sit in a different safety position depending on age. Newborns need a reclining position until the age where they can sit up on their own. Your stroller should feature a locking seat adjustment that is easy to use one-handed.

Ergonomics and Ease of Use

A stroller needs to be comfortable for the child and parent, with intuitive features that suit your lifestyle. Check for these requirements:

Maneuverable

Push the stroller with one hand to make sure you can guide it in a straight line and turn it easily. Wheels with a 360-degree swivel are the most effective. If you plan to jog or navigate bumpy terrain, look for models with hefty tires.

Brakes

Your stroller should have secure, easy to operate breaks that lock into place with a simple press of any kind of shoe. Some breaking mechanisms lock both back wheels or just one; choose whichever is more effective for you. Some systems also include a hand break, which is great for jogging.

Handle Height

Test the height of the handlebar to make sure the stroller is comfortable for you to push and does not cause back pain or arm fatigue. Strollers are build for average sized women, so you may want to choose a model that offers adjustable height.

Convenience Features

Versatility

If you have multiple children or are planning to, consider a stroller that has longevity. Some models convert to double or triple seating arrangements, which can be useful for growing families. Strollers that take a universal stroller board, for example, can allow your older children to hitch a ride while you push their younger siblings.

Easy Cleanup

Choose a stroller that can be disassembled for washing. Fabric, pads, and other easily soiled elements should be easy to remove and wash so you can keep your stroller clean and hygienic after snacks and spills.

Storage Space

Strollers that feature a bottom basket can really reduce your carry load. Check the stroller for places to store cups, diaper bags, and other carrying options so it can do the work for you.

Shade Canopies

Foldable canopies increase the mileage you get out of your stroller. Fabric canopies can shade children from UV rays, wind, and inclement weather. Some strollers feature a rotating canopy so you can adjust the position based on the seating setup.

Final Notes on the Best Baby Stroller Options

Some older strollers have faced recalls due to pinching, risk of amputation, and choking hazards. Check for online information on any used or gifted stroller to make sure it wasn’t part of a mass recall. No matter where you get one, the best baby stroller will carry a JPMA safety certification.

If you’re looking for more frugal, no-nonsense parenting advice, visit the Thrifty Momma Ramblings blog today!

How to Find Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses

affordable bridesmaid dresses

Wedding planning is such an exciting time!

It can also be an expensive time. The average wedding costs over $35,000!

Between venue, wedding gown, flowers, and caterers, it’s easy to rack up a big bill. If you have to have 12 bridesmaids, then you’re going to want to find beautiful bridesmaids dresses at reasonable prices. Check out these 5 tips or finding affordable bridesmaid dresses.

1) Start with the Budget

First things first. What will be your budget? Just like you set a budget for your wedding gown, you want to have one for the bridesmaid dresses as well. If you want, discuss this with your bridesmaids.

Find out what their budget is and stick to it. You can find inexpensive bridesmaid dresses. You don’t want to overwhelm anyone with a big price tag if they can’t afford it.

Also, don’t forget to accessories to your budget. Shoes and jewelry can add up too. Consider gifting each bridesmaid with some accessories they can wear for the day. Bonus, if it’s something they can wear on other occasions.

2) Discuss Styles

Discuss style options with your bridesmaids. Assuming that your bridesmaids aren’t all the same shape and size, you should choose styles that flatter each lady.

Be flexible. You want them to feel beautiful on your big day too. You can get dresses that can be tied different ways or choose one color and find dresses that flatter each figure. Read more about buying bridesmaid dresses with confidence and ease.

3) Be Patient

It’s good to be patient when it comes to finding the best deals on bridesmaid dresses. Don’t buy the first dress you see. If you find one that you like, check back to see if it goes on sale or look for promotional codes to get it at a better price. Obviously, you don’t want to wait too long for one dress. Have a few options in mind so you can find the most affordable bridesmaid dresses.

4) What Is the Return Policy

Before you buy bridesmaid dresses, it’s important to check the return policy. All sales final? Must return within 30 days? These things are important to know because if something comes up or the dress doesn’t fit, you don’t want your friends stuck with a dress that they can’t wear, so only buy dresses that you can return.

5) Remember to Have Fun

This may be the most important tip. Have fun! You are getting married and your bridesmaids are some of the most important people in your life. Enjoy the wedding planning process. Pop some champagne and have fun picking out beautiful dresses with your beautiful bridesmaids.

Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses Are Possible

It is possible to find inexpensive dresses. Finding affordable bridesmaid dresses is a great way to keep the costs of your wedding down for you and your bridal party.

If you pride yourself on frugality, you can still have a beautiful wedding without spending a ton of money. Check out our blog to find more money saving tips for not only your wedding but also everyday life.