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Feb 29, 2012

Cheap Freezer Dinner-Cranberry Apricot Chicken

(great dish for guests!)
1 lb. chicken (raw, any kind)
1 can whole cranberry sauce (not just for Thanksgiving!:))
1/2 apricot preserves
1 C. french or catalina dressing
1 pkg. onion soup mix
Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bag
Put all ingredients except chicken in ziploc freezer bag and squash and mash to mix (this the the kids' favorite part!). Add chicken and mix well. Pour into 9 x 13 greased pan at 350 for 35-40 minutes and serve over rice. If are preparing this for later use, simply put ziploc bag with the sauce and chicken directly in the freezer, defrost when ready to use and bake as directed above.

Cheap Freezer Dinner-Kalua Pork

Large Pork Loin (around 8 lbs., about $1.58 per lb. at Sams)
coarse Kosher Salt
liquid smoke (in the spice aisle)
Sandwich rolls, any kind
Plastic Wrap
Aluminum Foil
Directions:Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Cut pork loin in half. Lay out two large sheets of aluminum foil. Lay two large sheets of plastic wrap on top of foil. Place half of pork loin on the plastic wrap (this keeps the moisture in! It's an amazing slow-roasting secret!:)). Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and liquid smoke, rub all over pork loin. Wrap up plastic wrap tightly around pork loin and then wrap with aluminum foil. Place in large roasting pan. Repeat with other loin half. Bake at 225 degrees 7-10 hrs. until done. Serve with soft rolls, cheese, bbq sauce, whatever your family likes. YUM!

Cheap Freezer Dinner-Crab-Stuffed Pork Loin

Large Pork Loin (around 8 lbs., about $1.58 per lb. at Sams), cut into just under 1" slices--the butcher at Sams Club can do this for you. You'll get about 18 slices.
1 lb. lump imitation crab meat
1 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup french dressing

Marinade Ingredients:
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. garlic
dash red pepper flakes
dash black pepper
3 Tbsp. tomato sauce (or ketchup if you're in a pinch)

Place all marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziploc Freezer bag and mix well. Slide through side of pork loin to make a pocket (see video tutorial). Mix crab meat, bread crumbs, crushed pineapple, and french dressing in a medium bowl. Stuff about 2-3 heaping tablespoons crab mixture into pork loin pocket and place in marinade bag. Repeat with all pork loin pieces (you can fit about 6 in a bag). Place directly in freezer. When ready to cook, defrost and grill 7-10 minutes on each side.

Feb 28, 2012

Money Tales

Most of us are probably a combination of money types. I could see small traits of all them in myself. At times I am The Innocent, because I would rather not pay attention to the money details, and sometimes I'm The Victim, who likes to blame the economic downturn, but then The Warrior in me will emerge briefly, until The Martyr takes over and I spend too much money on my kids, then I truly feel like The Fool, and crawl into The Creator/Artist who wonders why we need money anyway, until the Tyrant emerges reminding me that the one with the gold makes the rules. Unfortunately, cycling through all these types has never lead to The Magician, who I am sure resides somewhere in my mind.

Ms. Price starts by explaining about the energy of money and why there are winners and loser in the money game. The most interesting part of the book was Price's description of the eight money types:
  • The Innocent
  • The Victim
  • The Warrior
  • The Martyr
  • The Fool
  • The Creator/Artist
  • The Tyrant
  • The Magician
So how do we recognize these types, and identify which type we are? I am sure we've all known people like these.
For instance my friend who has no clue of what her take home pay is and how much her monthly expenses are, she'd be The Innocent. Or my relative, The Victim, who continually makes bad choices with her money then blames everyone else and gets her mother to bail her out. And oh boy, you know The Warrior type, he is so focused on money, he sets out to conquer the world, all in an effort to prove his own self-worth. Then there's The Martyr, poor thing she spends all her time, energy and money on everyone else.
I think I dated The Fool once or twice, they play by a different set of money rules, usually rules they tried to stack in their favor! The Creator/Artist type just finds it difficult to live in the material world and would rather not have to think about money. I think we've all known The Tyrant, he dedicates his whole life to making money so he can use it to feel superior and control those in his life. Finally, there is The Magician, these are probably the millionaires and billionaires, because they know how to transform and manifest their own financial reality!

If you want to learn about "Unleashing Your True Potential for Prosperity and Fulfillment" then read Money Magic by Deborah L. Price! This book is chocked full of insightful, useful information.

Amazing Money Spells

Are you ready to become the most powerful witch you can? Do you want to learn what it means to be a witch, and how to create your own spells at the drop of a dime? Do you want more free spells and the best resource for ancient witchcraft and Wiccan knowledge?

Here are 2 money magic spells that anyone can use to help attract more of the green stuff into their lives.The first isn't a money magic spell as much as it is an exercise, and one that works extremely well. Anyone who practices magic knows that their will creates and effects their life and the world around them. With proper application, one no longer needs spells as much as they need to direct their thoughts, energy, and attention properly in order to manifest what they want.

Start by taking the time daily to imagine what you want in your minds eye. You have to do this as though you are right there doing it yourself. If you just need money to pay the electric bill, imagine yourself writing the check over and over again and having the money to pay it. Feel as though it is real, think as though it is real, and believe that it is real. This is the key to all of it. If you want more, like a trip to Europe, imagine that you are there doing stuff, and feel as though you are in the moment and are actually there.

Here is the second of the money magic spells. Start by taking two green candles and place them on a table. Take a twenty dollar bill and rub it on the candles as you imagine loads of money coming to you. Now, place the bill in between the two candles. Before all of this, you should have created a circle around you to help focus the energy.
Now, light the candles when you are ready. Be sure to clear you mind and aura of anything other than your focus on the task at hand. Recite out loud three times the following. "Bring to me all I need, money, comfort, and dreams. Bring to me all I need, as quickly as can be."

We all want more of the green stuff in our lives. People say that money can't make you happy. They may be right, however, these people have never had it. Regardless, we all have basic needs that have to be taken care of, and a good collection of money magic spells can be useful to take care of these needs.

Magic Money Button?

It is an uncomplicated push button system that enables you to make quick money online. Even people having zero technical knowledge can utilize this system. Joining the websites such as money magic button by entering your email address and certain other information will enable you to be a success in online business world.

The people trying to step into online business will be wondering from where to start. However, the best solution for this problem can be the inbox cash technique. Money magic button makes use of this technique to help people make money online.
You must understand that starting an online business without a clear-cut business plan can be suicidal. Even though you are spending a lot of money and time on researching about the various techniques through which you can make good amounts of money online, you may not be successful.

You must understand the fact that making it big in the online marketing scenario is not about using the latest technology and formulating great plans.
Being successful in the online marketing world can only be through establishing a system that helps you in making good amounts of money. The system must be able to offer you results quickly as you cannot survive in this world without making profits for a long period.
Even the beginners can attain great results through the inbox cash technique. The major benefit of this system is that you do not require any sort of technical knowledge for making use of this system. You do not require the expensive hosting services, programming knowledge and payment processes too.

Most of the people will not have any idea about what money magic button is. The people who are searching for the effective techniques for making money online should have a basic understanding about the working of this website as it offers you an amazing technique through which you can make money online.

Make Money Tricks

Perhaps, because of this, when money is used in magic, spectators invest a little more emotions in the effect than they normally would with a card trick for example. Especially if you are using money belong to them. For example, if you borrow a banknote from someone, and do a torn and restored banknote trick, chances are at the moment the spectator believes that their bill is genuinely being torn, you will get a strong emotional response from that spectator. The spectator cannot help but react emotionally if they believe their money is being destroyed because they see it as a desirable item of value that belongs to them that is being destroyed.
It is the emotional investment behind money magic tricks that makes them so powerful. If you compare that with a torn and restored playing card, whilst the spectators may be impressed with the effect, the emotional reaction will not be as strong as the item being destroyed is of little interest to them.

Coins in particular are very popular props for magicians to use. They are readily available and there is a wide variety of magic tricks that can be performed with them. Like card tricks, there are a wide variety of skills involved and tricks range from self working tricks to ones involving complex and sometimes difficult sleight of hand moves.
Emotional response to money magic tricks
Everyone these days, like it or not, is obsessed with money. Our lives revolve around it. Many of us dream of having lots of it. Its both a status symbol and the key that can be used to obtain virtually anything desirable in your life.

Many magicians like to use money as a prop when performing magic tricks. Money magic tricks with coins and with banknotes prove very popular with both magicians and spectators alike. But why is this?


What is one action you will take today that shows you're committed to this mindset?
By having read and worked through each of these 5 steps, you will have begun the process of shifting your relationship with money and ultimately achieving greater financial success. Congratulations on taking the plunge!

The key to success in any relationship is a willingness to work at it, grow in our awareness and become empowered in our choices - this is also true in our relationship with money. You can begin to transform your relationship with money by following these 5 powerful steps -The 5 Steps to Money MAGIC.
MONEY MYTHS: The first step is to become aware of the money myths that are floating around in your mind. What do I believe about money? What do I believe about people with money? What did my parents teach me about money? What were some of the messages about money when I was growing up? These are all important questions to explore in understanding your history with money, back to your earliest memory about it. Your money myths have been created by your money story i.e. your experience and influences around money that have created your beliefs about it. Once you've done this, ask yourself "Is this really what I believe?".

AWARENESS: As you begin to explore questions about your beliefs about money, your awareness will grow. Ask yourself "How does this belief about money impact how I am with money today?" For example, you may have grown up in a family that saw money as a status symbol, or that somehow there was a pecking order according to the size of a person's bank account. To drive a nice car had more to do with power and position than it did with necessity. As you explore these messages, you will begin to understand and become aware of your underlying belief patterns and behaviours around money. More importantly, you will become aware of how those patterns are influencing your life today both personally and financially.
What are you becoming aware of?

GRATITUDE AND GIVE AWAYS: Gratitude plays a big part in the magic. What would it be like to stop striving for more and more and begin to notice all that you have? Often we are so caught up in the pursuit of more, we forget to notice and decide what is enough. Who said that more is always better? Make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Begin to spend more time in a place of gratitude and your life will change. All those powerful positive messages and experiences with money? Be grateful to those people in your life that have had a significant impact on you. All those negative or distorted messages? Give them back to their origin and let it go.

INVENTORY: We are often so focused on our financial assets contributing to our net worth, but what about all of those non-financial assets? Do an accounting of all of your assets, financial and non-financial - things like experience, credentials, your unique qualities, things that you're good at. Separate your net worth from your self-worth, and watch your assets grow and your relationship with money begin to shift.

CHOOSE: Once you have identified your beliefs about money, and understand their impact on your financial decisions and relationship with money, you can begin to be more mindful by choosing the beliefs and behaviours that serve in the achievement of your financial goals.. Choose your mindset. You'll begin to feel more empowered in your choices and in control of your money. You always are in control of your choices; choose gratitude over scarcity and you'll change your relationship with money. Choose beliefs about money that are positive and serving and trust in your self-worth to grow and sustain your net-worth.

Ever wonder what it would be like to feel in control and at peace when it comes to money? Magic, right? Often, immediately what comes to mind for most people is a response, something like "I need to have a lot of money before I can feel in control and at peace when it comes to dealing with it". While abundance does bring a momentary sense of peace - as does a good relationship with our financial advisors -a healthy relationship with money itself is key to feeling in control and at peace with what you have, regardless of the amount.

Feb 23, 2012

My Top Copper Age Comics To Invest In!

Whether you consider copper age comic books as part of the modern age or not, there are some, although very few, wise key issues to invest in. These are a tad more affordable than bronze or silver age books, but they are well worth owning to bring more value to your collection.
There are quite a few copies floating around at high grades, especially in the 9.8 area. Unlike many high demand silver age books, in which mid to low grades are still investment worthy, these copper age selections on my list are best to invest in at high grades. I'm advising no lower than low NM or 9.2 according to CGC universal standards.
So, without further a due, here are just a few of my top copper age comics to invest in:
  1. G.I. Joe A Real American Hero #21 (1st Storm Shadow/Silent issue).
  2. G.I Joe A Real American Hero #26 & 27 ( Snake Eyes origin, 2 part story).
  3. G.I. Joe A Real American Hero #150 through #155 (Low Print run. Issue 155 is last issue).
  4. Amazing Spider-Man #299 (1st brief appearance of Venom. Todd McFarlane art.)
  5. Amazing Spider-Man #300 (1st full appearance of Venom. Todd McFarlane art.)
  6. Marvel, The Transformers, 1984 #1 (1st Transformers comic based off Hasbro Toys.)
  7. New Mutants Vol 1 #98 (1st appearance of Deadpool).
  8. Uncanny X-Men #221 (1st appearance of Cable as baby Nathan.)
  9. Uncanny X-Men #244 (1st appearance of Jubilee.)
  10. Uncanny X-Men #248 (1st Jim Lee artwork on X-Men.)
Of course there are more from the copper age that are well-worth investing in. These are just my first-round picks, as you could say. The great thing about many of these issues is that they are still well under a hundred dollars for many copies that are over 9.4 NM (near mint).
All the issues here are in demand, and ones like the last five issues of G.I. Joe A Real American Hero by Marvel Comics have low print runs. That means that they're pretty scarce and some hunting for those issues at a high grade may be needed. Be sure to see the links below for even more fantastic invest in comics advice and picks from all comic book ages.

Investing In Times Of Uncertainty And Volatility Part 3 - Investing When The Market Is Bad

Am I wasting my money investing when the market is so bad?
This is a common concern you hear from people that have been salary sacrificing (investing) into superannuation in a declining share market. They see contributions being taken from their salary each week but their superannuation balance (investment) is stagnant or even going down. Should they stop investing or put it in cash?
Dollar cost averaging.
The advantage of ongoing salary sacrifice is that you are "dollar cost averaging" into the share market. By this we mean that you are investing the same amount into the share market on a periodic basis however if the share market is declining you are actual getting more for your money, more units or shares, which will recover in value if they are quality assets.
Dollar cost averaging does require a disciplined approach. You must invest the same amount at the same time of the month regardless of whether the share market has gone up or down. If the share market has gone up you were able to have purchased some assets at a lower price but the if the share market goes down you are now able to get more quality assets at an even better price!
Buy when shares are on sale.
A good example is if you are shopping for a new suit or dress. You can go to your favourite store before Christmas and pay full price or wait until the Boxing Day sales and get the same suit or dress for half price. It is the identical article of clothing but it is now on sale.
This is the same as buying quality assets when investing during times of uncertainty and volatility. You are getting blue chip shares on sale. Values do return to quality assets.
The share market can move quickly!
One final point about being out of the share market at the wrong time. The market can move a large amount in a single day. Missing out on just a handful of these significant trading days can have a large impact on investment returns. Some of the biggest trading days in the Australian share market are listed below:
6.71% - 2 Jan 2000, 6.10% - 29 Oct 1997, 5.76% - 13 Nov 1987, 5.5% - 25 Nov 2008
There is no bell that rings at the bottom of the market. Missing the biggest half dozen "up days" in a year makes a significant impact on your investment return for that year.

Invest in Your Business or Retirement?

Whether To Invest in Your Business or Retirement. It's Not an Either-Or.
I get this question all the time from business owners about where to invest.
Should you invest in your business or should you invest in an IRA for retirement?
My simple shpiel? You have to do both.
Then I hear this from other clients: Justin, I feel like I have no control over what happens to the stock market! I'd rather just put my money back into my business.
I get it. I feel your sense of having more control in your business but...
You still need to diversify. You can't put all of your eggs in one basket and only invest in your business — even if you think your biz will be worth tons down the road.
Here's why. Let's say you regularly invest in your business for many years. So the value of your business is the only thing you have set aside for retirement. But what happens if you can't sell your biz for the amount you want? Or even worse, what if it is worth zero by the time you try to sell it? You will be kaput. We don't want that.
But what if you could develop an investment plan that wasn't just tied to the stock market! Woohoo! Now we are talking. Wondering how to do that? Email me.
So how do you do both? Try reinvesting 5-10% of your revenue back into your business. Try saving 5-10% of your revenue for retirement.
To save, you need to set up a system and it needs to be automated. Not the willy nilly stuff where you do manual transfers from your business account to your savings account every month or two. We need to take things to DefCon 4. (Who saw War Games?) Take more control and automate your savings.
One of the first types of accounts you may want to set up for retirement is a Roth IRA. You fund it with after tax dollars. It grows tax deferred and as long as you keep it in till you are 59 1/2 the money you take out is tax free. Saweeet!
If you are single and your earned income is under $110,000, you should be able to contribute to a Roth. If you are married and your earned income is under $173,000, you should be able to contribute to a Roth. Please double check with your accountant.

How To Successfully Invest In Mutual Funds Online

When it comes to investing in mutual funds online, you're going to want to have the fastest Internet connection you can get your hands on. Several accounts and brokers offer information about trading in within milliseconds of it becoming important. Having a slow connection or suffering from frequent delays will only throw off the timing of your account and hurt your chances of success. The faster your Internet connection, the better.
Deciding On An Account
Before selecting a broker, go over the requirements of enlisting with each one you are considering. What is the initial deposit? Some brokers may require quite a large amount of money, while others will suffice for a simple hundred dollars. You should consider all the information you can gather about each broker before deciding. The same goes for picking an investment - make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you proceed. Many investors new to the trade market make the mistake of choosing the fund that has done the best in the recent past, forgetting that there are other extremely important factors to examine. Sometimes the fund that is best for you may be one that only has mediocre results in recent reports, but that comes along with great benefits.
Keeping Those Fees Down
If you are investing online in mutual funds, you are going to want to go after the fund with the lowest possible fees. Brokers charge differently depending on who they are, and two brokers might charge totally different prices for the same investment. Look for the account that will charge the least per trade. The higher your fees and expenses, the lower the return will be on your precious investment, and these charges will only snowball on you. Also be sure to thoroughly examine the fine print, as you never know what extra charges may be included inside those clauses that so many people merely glance over. Know the tax consequences of any mutual fund you are considering. Tax liabilities can be affected in different ways.
No-Load Funds And Load Funds
You have two main choices when it comes to selecting your mutual fund: you can go with a load fund, or you can choose a no-load fund. Load funds essentially come with a mandatory commission that you must pay to your broker for leading you to your fund. Financial experts are still unsure of whether load funds are any better than load funds. But professional investment advice comes in quite handy if you find yourself in a situation where you aren't confidence in the decision you want to make. If you are using past performance as a way to judge a fund, don't think you can simply look at the past year and make your choice that way. A mutual fund's performance must be analyzed back at least ten years in order for the research to truly be of any use. Investigating the thorough way will help you to decide whether or not the mutual fund is right for you.

The Top Commodities to Invest In

The top commodities to invest in, this is the most important question if you are thinking about investing in commodities. The two top most commodities that you must seriously consider investing in are gold and silver also known as the yellow metal and the white metal. Both these commodities are experiencing unprecedented boom for the last many years.
In 2011, gold prices made huge gains. The debasing of paper currencies is going on unabated. FED has lowered the interest rates on USD to the lowest level and plans to keep this low level for 2012. When interest rates fall, inflation rises in the economy. Inflation is considered to be the destroyer of wealth. Wealthy people in times of inflation always seek a safe haven for their wealth.
Gold has always been considered to a store of wealth in human history. It still holds this position in human mind. Gold prices historically have been observed to rise when the inflation in the global economy rises. This is precisely what has been happening in the past few years.
Gold prices started as low as $800 few years back. Last year, gold prices hit the historical high of $1,920 per troy ounce in September 2011. During 2011, this market saw unprecedented price hike. After reaching $1,920 per troy ounce, the price made a retracement and is now hovering around $1,700 per ounce.
It is being predicted by many market analyst that gold prices can reach $2,200 per ounce in 2012. This is in fact a conservative prediction. There are some market analyst who are bullish and say that gold prices can reach as high as $3,000 per ounce in 2012. Now, this can be a bold prediction. But most including Morgan Stanley is putting their reputation on the line by predicting that the gold price will hit $2,200 per ounce in 2012.
Keeping in view what happened in 2011, this is very much possible. Now consider the fact that the prices right now are hovering around $1,700 ounce. If the price does hit $2,200 per ounce in 2012, it means a capital gain of $500 on each ounce that you invested in.
Suppose, you had bought 10 ounces of gold costing you $17K. If the price does hit $2,200 per ounce, your investment will grow to $22K giving you a gain of 29%. Now, you can amplify this gain by using leverage. If you just use leverage of 5:1, you can turn this $17K into $110K in 2012. But always keep this in mind that prices can go up as well as go down. So, always use leverage with caution.

Feb 21, 2012

55 Painless Money Saving Tips

  1. Use Ebates for up to 25% cash back: Ebates is a free online coupon site that offers up to 25% cash back from top online stores like Target, eBay, Barnes & Noble, and the Gap. Registering on Ebates is free and takes just seconds. You can get more details at the Ebates website.
  2. Combine your cable, internet and telephone service. Companies now offer combined services that not only cost less, but offer the convenience of a single bill. Called a Triple Play Package (Cable, Internet, and Phone), these combined service deals can save you a bundle. Resource: Check out these current Verizon Triple Play Coupons and Discounts
  3. Slow down your internet service. I went to the slower internet service option with my cable company and saved $15 per month. And I haven’t noticed a difference when surfing the Net.
  4. Learn the one trick to cutting your electric bill. You can build your own solar panels to generate power for your home, and it’s easier and cheaper than you may think. To learn more, Click Here.
  5. Improve your credit score. A good credit score can save you thousands of dollar in interest on everything from a home loan to a car loan, and from school loans to credit cards. If you’ve never focused on your credit score before, the place to start is to get your free FICO score. Once you know where you stand, you can begin to improve your score and lower your interest payments.
  6. Send away for and follow up on rebates. After you buy a product with a rebate, send in the form that day. Then mark your calendar to remind yourself to follow up with the rebate company if the check hasn’t show up.
  7. Buy Your Next Cell Phone from Amazon: It may seem odd to buy a cell phone from Amazon, but they offer all of the newest phones (e.g., Droid, Storm 2, Vibrant) from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Amazon offers free 2-day shipping and low prices without the hassle of mail-in rebate forms. To check out the deals, visit AmazonWireless.
  8. Buy a refurbished Mac: I’ve written about this before because it is a great way to buy not only computers, but iPods and iPhones as well. You can check out the details on how to buy a refurbished iPhone here.
  9. Convert to a gas water heater. They are more efficient and will save you money in the long run. Better yet, build your own solar water heater.
  10. Request a reduction in the interest rate for your home equity line of credit. I did and my mortgage company agreed to reduce the rate by more than 0.50%. And if you are looking for a home equity loan,LendingTree Home Equity Loansis a great place to check out available options.
  11. Request a reduction in the interest rate on your credit cards. As with home equity loans, credit card companies sometimes are willing to reduce the interest rate. It can’t hurt to ask. If your credit card company won’t help you, switch to a low interest credit card or a one of several 0% APR credit cards
  12. Refinance you mortgage. If you can reduce your interest rate by one percent or more, it is often beneficial to refinance. This is particularly true for those with high rates due to less than stellar credit scores. If your score has improved, you may qualify for a better rate. I would start by asking your current mortgage lender about lower rates. Here’s a table of refinance rates that is updated daily.
  13. Get rid of Private Mortgage Insurance. If your down payment was less than 20%, you are probably paying PMI. Once you have a 20% cushion through reducing your debt and home appreciation (yes, prices do go up from time to time), contact your mortgage company to start the process of removing the PMI.
  14. Get your books from the library. I love books and read every day. While I buy some of the books I read, most come from the library. Simply put, it’s hard to beat free.
  15. Get DVDs from the library. Many libraries now have movies on DVD that can be checked out. If your library offers this service, it sure beats paying Blockbuster or Netflix.
  16. Get DVDs from Red Box. If your library doesn’t offer DVDs, get your moves from Red Box. It costs just one dollar per night. You find Red Box locations here. Netflix is also a great, low cost and convenient alternative.
  17. Read magazines at the library or online. Too many magazines can cost a fortune. And how many times have you bought a magazine based on the cover and been disappointed by the lack of substance. At the library you can read magazines for free. And many magazines now offer their content for free online.
  18. Subscribe to magazines that are must reads. If you must have a certain magazine each month, subscribe. Subscriptions offer substantial savings over the cost at the newsstand. Update: Amazon offers some great deals on personal finance magazines.
  19. Buy your car over the internet: Search the internet for information on the car you want and then send e-mail requests to dealers for the best price. Even if the dealer is located in another state, the cost to have the car delivered may still be worth it. I paid $500 to have a Honda Odyssey shipped 500 miles and still saved $1,000 over the best local price available.
  20. Request a discount on trash service. For some reason this is a highly competitive business. If you get a better offer in the mail for trash service, call your current trash company and ask them to beat the offer. My trash service has reduced its rates twice in six months to match competing offers.
  21. Never pay checking account fees. I hate bank fees. With so many free checking account plans available, there’s no reason to pay a fee. And if the bank happens to charge you one, ask them to reverse the fee or take your business to another bank.
  22. Get a rewards card. There are many reward cards that pay out in cash or points that can be redeemed for travel or products. Many of these cards don’t have an annual fee. I recently traveled to my college reunion for free using points earned from a credit card. My favorite rewards card is American Express Gold Card. It does have an annual fee, and the first year fee is waived. You can also check out my review of several travel reward credit cards.
  23. Don’t pay interest on credit cards. This is obvious, but I soon as you fail to pay off the credit card in full, the high interest payments start to eat away at your monthly budget. If the temptation to spend more than you can pay on a credit card is to great, get rid of the credit card (and ignore the previous tip!).
  24. Take advantage of 0% credit card offers. I’ve saved thousands of dollars using 0% balance transfer credit cards. Again, as long as the cards won’t cause you to spend more, they can offer substantial savings. Make sure, however, that you keep an eye on the balance transfer fee, which can wipe out your savings.
  25. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. They do take some getting used to, and they won’t work in every light fixture. But use them where it makes sense and save energy and money.
  26. Drive your car longer. The buy new versus used debate often overlooks the most important factor–how long you own your car. Drive it as long as you safely can for substantial savings.
  27. Pay your life insurance annually. Insurance companies charge you more if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. Pay once a year and you’ll pay less.
  28. Pay car insurance semi-annually. At least with my car insurance, they offer quarterly and semi-annual payment options. It costs more to pay quarterly, and twice a year is more convenient anyway.
  29. Increase insurance deductibles. Most of us don’t need to be insured for all losses over $100 on our car, for example. Although we wouldn’t want to pay a $250 or even $500 deductible, we could. If that’s you, find out how much you’d save from raising your deductible. I’ve raised my deductibles on my auto insurance and home owner’s insurance and saved a considerable amount.
  30. Think before submitting an insurance claim. My rule of thumb is that I won’t submit a claim on a loss that is less than twice my deductible. So for a $250 deductible on an auto loss, I’ll pay out of pocket any loss up to $500. Why? The $250 I’d receive from my insurance company is not worth the increased premiums I’m likely to pay. You may want to call your insurance agent to find out how a claim will impact your premiums before filing the claim.
  31. Get rid of your home telephone. This is a great way to save money. Many don’t do it because of the 911 service, and that’s understandable. But if you’re comfortable relying on a cell phone, there’s no reason to keep a land line. If you do, consider reducing your service to the minimum and only use the phone in an emergency.
  32. Consider VOiP telephone service. We use Internet phone service and have saved substantial money over Verizon service. The phone service has been very reliable, and you’d never even know the signal was being carried over the Internet. Phone Power is a great option for internet telephone service, which costs as little as $9.95 a month. Note that the Phone Power sign-up page will have an entry for a promo code. I’ve talked to the good folks at Phone Power, and they tell me there are no promo codes; they offer the best price to everybody!
  33. Shut vents in unused rooms. This isn’t advisable if you have forced air heating, but shutting vents in unused rooms can save on your heating and cooling bill.
  34. Eliminate some cable service. Note that I’m not recommending getting rid of cable completely, although that’s certainly a way to save money. If you must have cable, take a look at all the charges on your cable bill and consider getting rid of some of the service. Try it for a month and see if you really miss those last 500 channels.
  35. Agree to limit gift giving. At Christmas our extended family and we go overboard when it comes to gift giving. Agree in advance to limit the gifts and save everybody some money.
  36. Get healthy. Your health will directly impact the cost of life insurance and, in some cases, can reduce the cost of your health insurance.
  37. Cancel the health club membership. Seems to contradict the previous tip, but evaluate how much you really use your health club. Less expensive options may include a gym at your work or a gym at your local parks and recreation center. Some offer pay as you go options rather than monthly fees, which can be great for those of us who aren’t as consistent in our routines as we’d like to be.
  38. Pass on extended warranties. A $129 two year extension on a $300 product is just not worth it. Warranties are insurance, and we rarely need to insure such a small amount.
  39. Take your lunch to work one more day a week than you do now. Eating out at lunch is fun, so I wouldn’t eliminate it completely. But taking lunch just one more day a week will keep money in your pocket.
  40. Buy low cost mutual funds. This is easy to miss because the money doesn’t come out of your pocket each month. But keep an eye on the cost of the mutual funds in your 401(k) and other investments. My rule of thumb is that no fund should cost more than 1% and the combined cost for all your funds should be less than 0.50%. If you don’t believe that even a half percent can make a big difference, read this.
  41. Take advantage of employer 401(k) matches. If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, do everything you can to take full advantage of that match.
  42. Use flexible spending accounts. FSAs allow you to pay certain medical, dental and child care expenses using pre-tax dollars. If your not taking advantage of these accounts, you’re wasting money. Enrollment at many companies is occurring now, so check with your HR department if you have any questions about FSAs.
  43. Get tires from Costco or other wholesale clubs. Simply put, they cost a lot less than buying them at the dealer or even a chain tire store.
  44. Keep tires properly inflated. It keeps you safe and costs less on gas.
  45. Stop smoking. Need I say more?
  46. Drink less alcohol. It costs money and adds calories.
  47. Buy term life insurance. Any other life insurance product is just not worth the extra cost.
  48. Buy generic over-the-counter medicines. They are exactly the same as their branded counterparts and cost less.
  49. Get organized and avoid missed payments. I’ve missed a payment or two because the bill got buried beneath a stack of papers. Get organized and avoid those late payment penalties. If you do miss a payment, call your creditor and ask to have the penalty removed. They’ll usually accommodate the request, at least the first time.
  50. Buy online when it saves you money. I’ve used Amazon to buy more than just books. It sells just about anything and sometimes at substantial savings.
  51. Consider MythTV PVR in replace of TiVo type services. I just ran across MythTV and am still investigating it. I pay $15 a month to my cable company for a DVR box and would love to save the money. If you’ve used MythTV, let us know how well it works. You can get more information about MythTV here.
  52. Use Open Source software when possible. I use GIMP instead of Photoshop. GIMP is free; Photoshop ain’t.
  53. Check the insulation in your home. Extra insulation can easily pay for itself in one or two years, and it helps save the environment, too.
  54. Buy energy efficient appliances. Look for the Energy Star on appliances and consider the annual energy cost before buying. More efficient appliances cost more, but you make up the extra cost and then some over the life of the product.
  55. Stay married. Yes, I did say 54 “painless” money-saving tips. Yes, I know that some marriages end because of abuse and other extreme circumstances. “Isn’t marriage about love”, you ask. Sometimes. “You don’t know my situation”, you say. True. But I lived through the emotional and financial pain of two divorces as a child, and I’ve been married to the same woman for more than 23 years, so I know plenty. Am I telling you not to get a divorce? Of course not. I am telling you that divorce will wreck your finances and your spouse’s finances. And if you want some tips on how to get your ex back, click here.

List of Ways to Save Money

Start with the tips below and then proceed to our ten step checklist to save money.

Get car insurance quotes and make sure that you have health insurance.
Clip coupons at, SmartSource and
Buy generic everything. Many generics are exactly the same as brand names.
Get a mortgage refinance quote to see if you pay too much for home payments.
Get free offers here.
Buy in bulk and get rewards cards at the supermarket.
Insulate your home and use fans and ventilation instead of AC.
Walk or take the bus and sell your car.
Create a budget.
Use if you talk on the phone a lot, especially internationally.
Travel cheap. Stay at hostels, Couch Surf or Air BnB.
Use an online savings account that pays better interest, like ING Direct.
Pack lunch and bring coffee to work.
Have a drink at home before going to the bar.
Get a rewards credit or debit card.
Invest your money. Vanguard or Scottrade is a good place to start.
Get a credit report at, the government sponsored credit reporting website.
Ask for a discount on large purchases like a refrigerator or washing machine.
Take advantage of federal tax credits for energy efficiency with Energy Star.
Use the library. They have plenty of books, CD’s and DVDs. You can also request that the library buy certain books.
Make saving a game. Set goals and give yourself a reward if you reach them.
Don’t follow your impulse. If you feel the urge to buy something, wait a few days and see if you still want it.
At the grocery store look down. Items below eye level are often cheaper.
Print a grocery list and stick to it.
Take up hobbies that don’t cost money.
Set the thermostat when you’re not home to save energy.
Use open source software. It’s free and usually as good. For example use Open Office instead of Microsoft Word or Excel.
Quit smoking. This calculator shows you how much you could save.
Buy a quality used car instead of new. A new car is worth thousands less as soon as it leaves the lot.
Food Bank. If you cannot afford food, find a food bank that gives out bags of groceries.
Get rid of credit card debt. A $20 shirt could actually cost $200 with fees and interest if you don’t pay your credit card bill right away.
Donate and have yard sales for the stuff that you don’t use.
Watch for fees. Fees are everywhere; bank fees, atm fees, cash checking fees, late fees. These can add up over time.
Group discounts. Try to get a bargain on everything and ask if you can get a discount, especially if you have a large group.
Instead of buying things new, get them used or for free on Craig’s List.
Lotto and Gambling. Generally, people lose money on the lotto and especially gambling. If you quit or limit this, you will save money.

Feb 20, 2012

Can You Really Have a Cheap Las Vegas Wedding?

Can You Really Have a Cheap Las Vegas Wedding?

Also see Las Vegas wedding package deals, and advice for Vegas weddings

cheap las vegas weddings, cheap vegas wedding, wedding vegas cheapOne of the main reasons for getting married in Las Vegas is that you can have a cheap Vegas wedding for only a few hundred dollars.

Since most weddings cost over fifty times more than that, planning your wedding in Vegas can save you a lot of money when compared to having a traditional wedding in your hometown. And Vegas weddings have a certain allure to them - an element of fun that other weddings just don't have.

Why is it that Vegas weddings are so inexpensive? There are a few reasons.

Las Vegas Weddings are Cheap Because...

There are Fewer Guests

As with any destination wedding, only a certain number of your friends and family will be able to make the trip to Las Vegas. When your guest list dwindles, so do the costs of your ceremony and reception.

Chapels, and casino hotels often have more intimate settings that can rented at a cheaper price and allow for fewer guests. If you are set on inviting lots of people to your wedding, consider having an intimate gathering in Vegas and then have a larger post-wedding party when you return home.

cheap las vegas weddingsThey are Less Elaborate

For a wedding with no frills, you can get married in Las Vegas cheap, for about $150. Unless you're going down to the courthouse, there aren't a lot of other places where you can married so cheaply. A basic wedding package at around the $100 mark is very bare bones.

But even if you do opt to have the deluxe package, your wedding probably won't be as complex as a wedding planned at home. Small things (like wedding favors for example) won't be included in your wedding package. Will you miss all of those details? Probably not. Vegas weddings do cover all of the bases like flowers and music.

They are Packaged

Because nearly every aspect of your wedding will be handled through the chapel or casino hotel you choose, the price will be lower. Though Vegas weddings start at around $150, the prices go up from there as packages grow to include photography, champagne, limo service, a wedding cake and flowers. But Las Vegas wedding prices are still very reasonable when you can get all of those things for around $1000. True, you might end up paying for some items that you don't need as part of the package, but even so, you'll still be getting an excellent deal.

One caveat of these inexpensive packages is that they often require that you exclusively use on-site photography and florist services. So, you will want to check on the quality of the photographer and florist provided through the ceremony site.

cheap vegas weddings

There's a lot of competition

Believe it or not, but weddings are the second highest income producer for Vegas. Number one is gambling of course. With all of that competition comes fairer prices. Lots of wedding chapels will even match package prices of other locations to get your business.
Tips for Having a Cheap Las Vegas Wedding

Book During Off-Season Times

Like many other vacation spots, Las Vegas experiences some seasonality. Through the year, there are highs and lows in the amount of people visiting and getting married in the city. Take advantage of the lull and plan your wedding during a slower time of year. Lots of Vegas wedding venues offer cheap packages for off-season nuptials. Your guests won't have trouble reserving a hotel room and it will be easier for them to get into shows and restaurants during their stay. Busier dates to avoid include most holidays, especially Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve.

Get Married on a Weekday

Because lots of people work 9-5 Monday to Friday, most couples get married during the weekend. To have a cheaper wedding in Vegas, do it during the week. Casino hotels and chapels offer inexpensive packages for couples who get married Monday through Thursday. If your family and friends are somewhat flexible, consider saying your vows during the week.

Shop Around

There are so many casinos, hotels and chapels offering wedding packages in Las Vegas that it has become a very competitive business. Use the competition to your advantage and compare prices before you make a decision. Don't be afraid to talk with the vendors about the other packages you're considering. More often than not, they will throw in some extras or lower the price in order to get your business.

Go Cheap on the Wedding Ceremony

Another way to cut costs is to do the most inexpensive wedding package for your ceremony (only spending about $200) and then spend the rest of your budget on the reception. Yes, the wedding ceremony is important, but most people make the most memories and have the most fun during the wedding reception. Spending the excess of your wedding fund on the reception will allow you to do it in an upscale environment. Even if you have a very modest budget, when you spend only a few hundred dollars on the ceremony, you'll have plenty of money left for a great reception with wonderful food.

Use Group Rates For Your Las Vegas Wedding

When you have your wedding ceremony in a hotel, ask about special hotel rates for you and your guests. Often your hotel stay will be part of the wedding package or deeply discounted and your guests' rooms will have lower rates. Since the hotel stay can add up as part of a destination wedding, using a special rate can save you a lot of money.

Cheap Wedding Gown

How To Find The Perfect Cheap Wedding Dress

Finding a cheap wedding gown can be difficult and in desperation I know of many brides who have rushed in to buy any dress because they were getting panicky. Then end up selling it when they find the perfect dress.

To help you find your cheap wedding dress here are the best places to find them.

Where To Find The Best Cheap Wedding Dresses
Full list of where to find your cheap wedding dress.

Looking for a very cheap wedding gown?

Davids Bridal is a hugely popular wedding dress company, if you are looking to find a cheap Davids Bridal dress for you wedding, have a look at the one's that I have found by following the link below.

How to find cheap Davids Bridal wedding gowns

If a designer wedding dress is your dream you will be pleased to know it is possible to find cheap designer wedding dresses a definate wow for your guests and your wallet!

And you have to read how to find discounted designer wedding dresses at the shows.

Is buying a cheap wedding dress from China worth it? Have a look at my research on simple cheap wedding dresses from China.

Perfect Wedding Dress Finder
A guide providing tips and advice helping brides choose, find, buy and alter their perfect wedding dress!

Where to start when looking for brides dresses.

A Cheap Vegas Wedding Where Are The Cheap Wedding Chapels

A cheap Vegas wedding is a fun alternative to spending a fortune on a wedding at home. But where are you going to get married? The average cost of a ceremony and reception is around $20,000. But for a fraction of that you could have a creative and entertaining inexpensive Vegas wedding. If you choose this route, here are a couple of ideas.

Cheap Wedding Solutions
The Graceland Wedding Chapel

One of the most famous wedding chapels on the Las Vegas strip, Graceland offers a traditional wedding package for under $200. The package includes the chapel, wedding music, a small bouquet, a boutonniere, photography, a wedding certificate holder, and photos (6 4 X 6 images and 1 8 X 10). You’ll need an extra $50 for the minister and $60 for the marriage license, too. Altogether, you could get hitched for a little over $300. You could easily win that much at blackjack.

Of course, most people don’t go to the Graceland Wedding Chapel just for a cheap Vegas wedding. They want an Elvis wedding. For $329, you can have everything in the $200 package, plus an Elvis impersonator will give the bride away and sing three of “his” songs. You’ll also receive a copy of the marriage certificate given to Elvis and Priscilla when they tied the knot. Remember you’ll still have to pay the minister and marriage license fees separately, but that’s a lot cheaper than most of your local wedding options.
A Little White Chapel Tunnel of Love
cheap vegas wedding, by Lola's Big Adventure

If the Graceland prices were too expensive, you might want to consider the drive thru special offered at the Little White Chapel. You can get married for as little as $40 if you use your own car. You’ll need the marriage license, of course, but this is one of the most affordable and bare bones wedding ceremonies you can find, even in Las Vegas.

For roughly $100 more, you can choose one of the upgraded drive thru wedding specials which include a courtesy limo, keepsakes, a rose, a ceremony, and a few other extra. If you don’t want to get married in your car, the chapel has several other venue options available.
Treasure Island Hotel

While the above are examples of cheap Vegas weddings, you’d be surprised how much a few hundred dollars more might get you in Las Vegas. If you head to Treasure Island, for example, you can snag their Elegance Wedding Package for only $599 (you have to pay $100 more on the weekend). For that price, you’ll have the services of a wedding coordinator and an officiant to perform, a bouquet and boutonniere, a private dressing room, thirty minutes in the chapel for the service, bridal garter keepsake, choice of CD musical accompaniment, a bottle of wine, professional photography including a wedding album of 12 4 X 6 pictures, and a personalized copy of your wedding certificate.
The Venetian

If you don’t mind spending $800 on your cheap Vegas wedding (or $900 if it’s a weekend or holiday), you should go to the Venetian Hotel & Casino. The hotel offers a wedding package at this price point that lets you exchange vows on an authentic Venetian gondola while floating on the Grand Canal. The package includes the gondola and the officiant, as well as a bouquet, boutonniere, and two 5 X 7 photos.

Because Vegas is home to so many chapels, you’re going to find plenty of options for a cheap Vegas wedding and maybe even a not-so cheap Vegas wedding. Remember to book your wedding in advance if you’re going through most of the hotels and even some of the chapels. If you’re not sure if reservations are needed, call ahead and ask so you don’t arrive and end up disappointed on your wedding day. Keep in mind you will need the money for the marriage license, as well as the costs of the wedding package you choose. Plan on spending at least one night in Las Vegas, too. You can always call it the start of your honeymoon.


The following tips and suggestions are for both locals and out-of-towners. Over the last few years, I have photographed countless Las Vegas weddings and have acquired information that will hopefully help you plan your ideal wedding. Some of the following ideas are photography-based (marked by *), but most are general and beneficial to everyone. Remember, you’re basically planning a big—or not so big—party. Planning should be fun—don’t even consider stressing out.
If you and your fiancé are like most couples, you’ll probably figure out the DATE and the VENUE first.
DATE When it comes to weather, April, May, September, and October are generally beautiful in Las Vegas. March and November can be pleasant as well, but they are still “wildcard” months—some days are perfect as paradise, others are brisk and windy. Speaking of wind, Las Vegas has a lot of it. In fact, it is blowing hard as I type this right now. Wind isn’t going to make or break your big day, though, so don’t worry. I just want to give you a heads up on what Las Vegas is capable of—and for those of you who are allergy-prone, don’t forget the Claritin. Although wind can be a bit annoying, it’s not half as bad as rain. Since it rarely rains in Las Vegas, the chance of having a bright sun and clear skies on your wedding day is very good—hooray! June, July and August are scorching hot, but you probably knew that already. If you are planning a summer wedding, plan it accordingly. For example, don’t schedule a one-hour ceremony on the un-shaded golf course at noon—trust me, it’s no fun for anyone. (And if your family is anything like mine, they’ll never let you live it down).
Late November through February is considered the “off season” for weddings. If you plan on getting married during these months, keep in mind that you may qualify for a discounted rate from the vendors you hire (i.e. reception hall, photographer, DJ, etc). In addition, getting married on a weekday (Monday through Thursday) may qualify you for another discount. Since most weddings are generally on the weekend, most vendors are willing to offer a discount during these days since the demand is much lower. My business offers 20% off any weekday wedding and I know other wedding vendors who do the same. Just ask and see. You may be surprised at the deal that is in store for you!
VENUE There are four types of venues to choose from:
Wedding Chapel
Country Club/Reception Hall
Private Residence
WEDDING CHAPEL There are various reasons why couples choose to get married in a Las Vegas wedding chapel: it’s cheap, it’s quick, it’s “Vegas” and Elvis might make an appearance. There may be additional reasons, but those are the main ones. Depending on the wedding you want to plan, this may be the perfect option for you. In and out! Those are the three best words to describe a typical Las Vegas wedding chapel. The ceremony is 10 minutes maximum, the following wedding is 5 minutes after yours, and there is no time to dillydally. After vows are exchanged, the staff photographer takes you and your new spouse to a few set locations, snaps some photos, and moves on to the next couple. Lingering is not encouraged and some chapels will repeatedly remind you that your package was 20 minutes—not 23 minutes—so please make room for the next wedding since there is limited parking and no one wants to meter park. If you want quick, inexpensive, and informal, getting married in a wedding chapel is the way to go.
* If photos are important to you, hire an outside photographer. Wedding chapels generally include photography in their wedding packages, but the photos tend to be so-so quality, cheesy poses, and overpriced. The staff photographers at wedding chapels only photograph on property and have set poses. If you want a photo tour on the Strip or more photographs at other locations, hire a photographer to pick up where the staff photographer leaves off. This way, you’ll get a much wider range of backdrops and poses. To sum it up, pay for the wedding package with the least amount of photos and use the extra money to hire an outside professional for a couple hours. This is assuming photos are important to you; if they aren’t, make life easier by ordering the package you want and just ask Uncle Bob to snap a few extra for Facebook. 
CHURCH A church is clearly the most traditional venue. Most churches do not have the urgent time constraints of wedding chapels, but they will be more expensive to rent. One benefit to getting married in a church is that you will probably already know the officiant and church event planner. Because of this, you can communicate your needs with them directly and ahead of time.
* Some churches have photographers they work with and it is a good idea to consider them since they have experience with the property and know “the rules” (yes, churches have rules when it comes to photography—keep reading). Churches, unlike some reception halls, do not force you to hire one of their preferred photographers and there is no additional fee for bringing in an outside photographer. Depending on the church, flash photography may not be allowed. In addition, some churches have certain areas that photographers and videographers cannot enter. Neither of these restrictions should be a problem if your photographer has the necessary equipment to work under these conditions. Just make sure to find out the specific rules from the event planner and communicate them to your photographer and videographer. It’s nice when everyone is on the same page!
COUNTRY CLUB/RECEPTION HALL These two venues are in the same category since my experiences with them have been identical. The main reason people choose to get married at a country club or reception hall is because it is all-inclusive. This means that you can do everything in one place—get dressed, exchange vows, dance the night away, etc. This is especially advantageous if you and/or your guests are from out of town and directions aren’t your strong suit. Having everything in one place assures you that Aunt Doris from Daytona won’t end up at the Hoover Dam Visitor Center when she is supposed to be in the front row at your ceremony.      
PRIVATE RESIDENCE I have photographed several weddings at private residences and I think it is a wonderful idea. Renting out a nice house, especially in this economy, is not as expensive as you may think. It also gives you maximum control of your wedding day. You can hire any vendor you want, rearrange the details to your liking, set up days before, and establish the exact times you want. You want a sunset ceremony? Done. You want to crash 50 feet from the spot where you got married? No problem. You don’t always have the luxury of so many options at reception halls and wedding chapels. Do keep in mind that you will have neighbors and some of them will take advantage of the opportunity to get all riled up and call the police two seconds into “The Cha Cha Slide” (this happened at a wedding I shot last year). One remedy to this situation is to forewarn the nearby residents that you’re getting married and they’ll probably forgive you if your reception is rowdy and they lose sleep.   
These tips will hopefully get you started on the right path and give you an idea of what to expect when you get married in fabulous Las Vegas. Everything written above is based on my experiences and/or opinions from the last five years photographing Las Vegas weddings.
Good Luck and Enjoy the Journey!

Cheap Vegas Wedding Guide -What You Need to Know

Cheap Vegas Wedding Facts Here

If you're looking at a cheap Vegas wedding but still want the best the town has to offer, you've come to the right place. This is your complete Cheapskate's Guide to spectacular yet affordable Sin City ceremonies. We can show you how to make your nuptials unforgettable AND save lots of money. (We can not, however, find you someone to marry. You'll have to do that on your own.)

Where else can you can get hitched in a drive through or have an Elvis impersonator sing during your ceremony? There's a reason why more than 10,000 couples a month exchange vows in Sin City. If you're considering it yourself, use this guide to find out if a cheap Vegas wedding is the right move for you:

Cheap Weddings In Las Vegas: How To Get Hitched Sin City Style
If you're getting hitched in Sin City, here's how to do it right. Click here for our tips to cheap weddings in Vegas that could only happen in Sin City.

Find Your Las Vegas Cheap Wedding Chapel
Finding a friendly Las Vegas cheap wedding chapel is a breeze if you do a little research. Look here before planning your cheap wedding in Vegas!

Elvis' Guide to Finding a Vegas Wedding Chapel Cheap & Everything Else You Need to Know About Getting Hitched in Sin City
Find your Vegas wedding chapel cheap with help from the King himself. Click here for all you need to know to plan your perfect Vegas wedding...

Three Cheap Vegas Wedding Chapels You Should Know
Our guide to the best, most fun, and most uniquely Sin City cheap Vegas wedding chapels in town. Click here to learn more...

Vegas Wedding Package Cheap
What's the bare minimum needed for a Vegas Wedding Package cheap? Find out what you'll get for about 100 bucks...

Plan a No-Stress Las Vegas Cheap Wedding
A Las Vegas cheap wedding doesn't have to be tacky and you don't need to stress. Click here to find...

Cheap Las Vegas Wedding Chapels: Look High & Low
You'd be surprised knowing where to look for cheap Las Vegas wedding chapels...they're in all directions with a variety of themes, and all of them relatively cheap!

Ten Cheap Wedding in Vegas Tips
Once you've chosen the perfect venue for your cheap wedding in Vegas, click here for ten essential cheapskate tips (consider them our wedding gift).

Pitfalls of Las Vegas Cheap Weddings
We list the pitfalls and dangers you should avoid when you consider Las Vegas cheap weddings. Click here to out what to expect... and what to avoid.

Feb 19, 2012

2011 Financial and Life Goals Recap

At the beginning of 2011, I set some financial and life goals for myself and Mr. Money. Here’s how 2011 played out for us:

1. Keep up with the clutter and declutter 365 items from our house this year. SUCCESS.

I know I decluttered and donated a lot more than 365 items from our house this year.

2. Pay at least $3,000 down on the principal of our mortgage. FAIL. We did pay off $2679 off our mortgage prinicpal, so I think that’s pretty good! Our extra money this year went to our savings account. Honestly, I’m not too concerned with paying down our mortgage aggressively at this point. We’ve got other priorities. I do wish our mortgage balance was lower, but we can chip away at it.

3. Travel to somewhere fun and exciting. SUCCESS? We took a trip to Colorado when I was around 20 weeks pregnant. It was our last trip as just the two of us. I really wish we had gone to Hawaii last year for our fifth anniversary, but I was a tightwad and didn’t do it. Oh well. The nice thing is that we saved money by not going, allowing me more flexibility to be a stay at home mom.

4. Get knocked up. SUCCESS. I am most proud of this goal, as we’ve been trying to have a baby for quite some time. We are really excited to welcome our baby in 2012.

5. Live on one salary. SUCCESS. We did successfully manage to live off Mr. Money’s income. My income did pay for health insurance and retirement savings, so we didn’t factor that into the equation. I’m okay with that.

6. Make more money from side hustles. SUCCESS? I did make money blogging this year, although it wasn’t enough for me to quit my day job. I’m hoping 2012 provides more money making opportunities from home for me. Of course, I’m going to not stress about it because I’ll have a new baby.

7. Stay debt free! SUCCESS! We did stay consumer debt free this year, and only have our mortgage debt. It feels like in the past few months we’ve been spending money like crazy, but we’ve saved for this, so it’s okay.

For 2012, I’m going to make some realistic financial goals. I have no clue how our budget will be affected by the baby, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to be too hard on myself. What’s the point of having tons of cash in the bank if my life is miserable? I’m going to do my best to find a nice balance in 2012 between budgeting and living life. I’m anticipating it to be the best year of my life ever, so that’s a positive start!

I need to decide what to make our 2012 goals and come up with a new budget for after the baby is born. Fun!

Overall, I’m happy with the way we spent 2011. I’m very thankful we didn’t have any huge expenses (well, minus paying for the baby’s birth ;) ) and that we were healthy and happy throughout most of the year. I feel very blessed, and am sure that feeling will stick with me throughout the next year!

Happy New Year!

Saving Money on Baby Expenses

Having a baby can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you go into Babies R Us and are bombarded by all the millions of baby items they carry. The first time I went in our local store, I almost had a panic attack. There’s no way we can afford all of these things that we supposedly need for a baby! Thankfully, after I left the store I sat down and thought about what a baby will actually need according to my standards. I don’t want to have 50 baby things, or a million plastic made in China toys for my kid. We sway to the side of minimalism, and while I know I won’t be able to limit everything that makes its way into my house, I can do my best to make sure I have things I need and use for the baby. Here are some of the ways we’re going to save money on baby expenses:

-Breastfeed. I’m going to do my best to breastfeed, and I plan on doing everything in my power to make it to at least a year. Breastfeeding is so much better for the baby, natural, and will save us tons of money versus buying formula. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

-Cloth diapering. We received a pack of newborn disposable diapers for our shower, and after those are gone, I plan on starting to cloth diaper.

-Not buying a bunch of crap. My co workers keep telling me that I need to register for more stuff; that I’ll regret not having the swing and the bouncer and whatever other gadgets they think I need. We’re trying to get items that do double duty; for instance we received a swing that is full size and travel size and I think that will work just fine instead of having a bouncer too.

-Buying second hand clothes. My mother went nuts over the past 7 months, purchasing baby clothes and burp cloths and basically any other item she thought I would need. This has saved us a ton of money already! The baby has a gender neutral wardrobe with items ranging from newborn to 1 year already. I’m sure we’ll have to buy more clothes, but I know we’ll be able to get them second hand.

-Remembering the store will still be there. It’s hard for me when I think I don’t have enough things ready for the baby, but I think we’ve got the essentials so far. Plus, the store is going to be there after the baby is born! If we need extra burp cloths or receiving blankets, we can always make a trip to the store. I’d rather do that than have things on hand that we don’t use and then we’ve wasted money on.

I’m trying to relax and realize that babies don’t need much other than a warm place to sleep, food, and diapers. Really, when you think about it- that’s it! That makes me feel better and more confident that we’ll be able to raise our child with respect to our budget and the planet.

Our 2012 Budget

For 2012, I wanted to come up with a more accurate budget, seeing that our baby would be born this year and hopefully we’ll be able to control our spending without worrying too much about it. I figured if I budget better, then I’ll hopefully be less stressed about where our money is going. Of course, I’ve also decided I’m not going to be so darn hard on myself because I’ll have a baby and have no clue how that’s going to impact our budget. If it costs us more money than I anticipated, then it does, and I’ll adjust our budget accordingly.

Here’s our 2012 budget:

Mortgage- $793.19
Escrow- $215.00
Energy- $150.00
Car insurance- $88.00
Verizon- $40.00
Cable, phone, internet- $125.00
Food- $350.00
Retirement- $100.00
House Stuff- $50.00
Gas- $200.00

Some notes:

The mortgage is just principal and interest. I used to round the payment up to $800 or so, until I found out that the extra money that I was paying was being applied to the next month’s payment! Talk about annoying. To make additional principal payments, I have to mail a separate check to a certain address. What a pain.

We escrow our taxes and insurance ourselves. We refinanced our mortgage to a home equity loan a few years ago, and the bank will not escrow for us. We have a separate escrow account with ING.

The reason our energy category is a flat $150 each month is because we budget for irregular expenses by transferring that amount into a separate account each month.

The Verizon bill includes just my cell phone, as Mr. Money has a phone paid by work.

The car insurance went down a little since last year because the cars are older and so are we!

The cable, phone, and internet may get changed this year. It seems like that’s a high amount for that. I’m thinking about switching our phone to something like a Magic Jack since I really like having a home phone, and maybe dropping the cable.

I don’t know if the food budget is a reasonable amount our not. Guess we’ll see after a few months!

We’ll have to really start saving for retirement ourselves, as I won’t be participating in my 401k plan at work, and Mr. Money’s employer doesn’t offer any retirement savings plan. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

The house stuff we’ll have to play it by ear with. We’ve done a lot of work to the house over the past five years, so we’re not anticipating any huge expenses like new flooring, etc. I would like new counter tops and flooring in my kitchen, but that’s not a necessity so we’ll have to see about that.

Gas will go down from our monthly expenses since I won’t be commuting to work and back every day. Yay! This might be too much budgeted, but who knows at this point!

Of course, I won’t know how this budget works for us until I’m actually staying at home with the baby. I’m just glad we’ve got a general idea of where we’d like our money to go. I feel like there are a few categories I’ve forgotten, but it’s a flexible budget, so that’s okay!

Have you budgeted for 2012?

2012 Financial and Life Goals

2012 is already here, and I’m a little behind on our financial and life goals. I’m a little uncertain about what I should aim for, as we’re going to have a brand new baby and will have to adjust to the new expenses and life with a child. My goals this year will be attainable (I hope!) and I am crossing my fingers for the best year ever. It certainly will be interesting and a lot different than past years! Here are some of the goals I’d like for us to accomplish:

1. Set up a savings account for the baby. The baby has not even been born yet and already has a stash of money. I’m going to open a custodian savings account for the benefit of the baby. I will also have to research 529 plans in case that’s the way we want to go. I’m thinking it would be easier just to open the UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors) account and wait until the money accumulates and then go from there. We’ll see.

2. Figure out life insurance. I had life insurance through my employer, but I’m not too sure what’s happening with it since I’m leaving the bank. That’s something that we really need to address, especially with the new baby coming.

3. Change beneficiaries. I’ve got various family members listed as beneficiaries on our retirement plans and life insurance, but I would like to change it to the baby.

4. Make more money blogging/working from home. I’d like to be able to contribute financially to our household as much as I can. In addition to blogging and writing, I can shoot photography if I have time. Of course, this all depends on the baby, as that’s my first priority. I’d like to stay at home for at least the first three years of the baby’s life, and it would be awesome if I could make enough money freelancing to do so.

5. Stay debt free. This was on last year’s goals as well, but I think it’s important enough to stay on this year’s. I will have to say, if there was a good reason that we needed to borrow money, I probably would do it. I don’t think debt is the worst thing in the world as long as you’re responsible and borrow money for the right reasons. Mr. Money’s not going to get the 2012 Mustang he wanted for instance, but if we needed to take out a loan, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’m going to do my best to avoid it, though!

6. Finish up all house projects that need to be done. We need to repaint the cement on our porches, paint the shed, figure out what to do with the dining room flooring, and redo our master bath. I’m going to do as much as I can to make the house look really good this year. We’ve done a lot, but I feel like there’s still so much more to do. These projects shouldn’t cost a ton of money.

7. Learn to relax and not worry so darn much. One of my best friends gave me some great advice when it comes to money. What’s the point of having a ton of cash in the bank if you are miserable? I’m not going to worry about saving every penny where I can like I used to. I want to be happy.

I’m Quitting my Job to be a Stay at Home Mom

Friday, January 6 is my last day of employment with the bank. I’ve been an employee there for over seven years, and it’s been a really tough decision, but I’ve decided that I’m going to quit and be a stay at home mom. I’ve always wanted to do that, so this is the path I’m going to take. I can always return to work if I have to. When considering being a working versus stay at home mom, I considered many factors.

1. If I kept working, I’d have to pay daycare. Full time day care is expensive, costing anywhere from $600-$800 a month! That would consume more than one of my paychecks. Also, if my baby was in day care there’s a much greater chance of the baby getting sick and me having to take time off work. That would stink!

2. I’d have to buy disposable diapers. I plan on cloth diapering my baby to save money, and if I had to put my baby in day care, I’d have to buy disposables for the baby to use while in day care. For Seventh Generation
newborn disposable diapers, it would cost 25 cents a diaper! That’s $75 a month if the baby uses 10 diapers a day.

3. It would be more difficult to exclusively breastfeed, and I’d probably be more likely to give up, meaning we’d have to buy formula. It would make me very sad if I couldn’t breastfeed my baby exclusively at least for the first full year. Staying at home will give me an advantage that I’ll be able to breastfeed successfully. By staying home, I also avoid having to buy an expensive breast pump!

4. I’d have to pay for new work clothes, gas to get to work, more lunches out, etc. That isn’t a huge deal, but our gas budget will decrease from me staying at home.

The biggest reason I decided to quit my job and be a stay at home mom is because this has always been my dream. I’ve always wanted to be home with our babies, enjoying them and raising them myself. I truly believe that it is such a personal decision, and I would never judge another mother for deciding to work or stay at home. I think every family does what works best for their family.

I’m going to have to be careful with our money to make sure that we can afford for me to stay at home, but we’ve saved up a little bit of money to use in case we need to, and we’ve been careful with our money all along so I don’t see it being a problem.

I will admit, I am a little nervous about the transition since I’ve spent the last ten years working. I think it will be quite the change at first, but it will be something I can adapt to and I think I’ll end up loving it. I’m hoping my next boss will be as good to work for as my current one at the bank!

Feb 18, 2012

My Mom’s Goulash – My Poverty Meal

I ran across a goulash recipe today from Recipezaar called Poverty Meal and I had to laugh.

As a child my mom made something very similar to this but she called it Goulash. I think I like calling it the Poverty Meal instead as that is exactly what it was.

We grew up poor and my mom did her best to provide for us. I could always tell how broke we were by the ingredients she used, no kidding.

If times were good the recipe included vegetables, ground beef, cream of mushroom soup and cheese. If we were broke it became a simple tomato sauce and noodle dinner.

I have made this a few times for my family and I need to include it in my menu planning more often as my kids actually like it and eat it well.

It’s one of those quick dinner recipes that definitely fits well within my $5 dinner meals and depending on the ingredients you use it could actually be less than $2 to prepare. So here is my version of a Poverty Meal or as my mom calls it her Goulash recipe.

My Mom’s Goulash Recipe – My Poverty Meal
Quick Dinner Recipes

Goulash Recipe

Inspiration from Recipezaar, family recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Meal Preparation Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef (ground turkey works well too)
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. elbow macaroni
1 can of mixed vegetables (optional)
1 cup of cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Meal Preparation Directions:

Prepare elbow macaroni according to directions on package, drain and put back in pot
Cook ground beef or turkey until done, drain grease
Add tomato sauce, cream of mushroom soup and mixed vegetable to pot of macaroni, mix well
Add ground beef or turkey and salt and pepper to taste.
Top with cheese if desired.

Meal Assembly:
Serves 4-6. Add a dinner salad and sliced french bread for a nutritious cheap family meal.

Easy Meatloaf Recipe

I have found an easy meatloaf recipe that you are going to love and if you looking for a cheap meal idea then this is it.
I try to make meatloaf often for the fact that ground beef is inexpensive and filling.
The only downfall to a great meatloaf is the bake time.
I’m in a hurry these days and most nights I want quick dinner ideas prepared and on the table fast or we would be eating at 8:00pm, which in my house is bedtime for the kids (YEAH!!)
So how do you make an easy meatloaf recipe? Simple, mini meatloaves baked in a muffin pan.
I know, I asked myself the same thing, why didn’t I think of that one!
The bake time is cut in half.
And of course the possibilities of what you add to the recipe are endless.
A shout out to Kraft Kitchens for coming up with some of the best food recipes.
And at less than $5 to prepare this is a cheap family meal for dinner!

Marvelous Mini Meatloaves

Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Credit: Kraft Kitchens
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings – 2 mini meatloaves each

Cheap Cooking Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 pkg. stove top stuffing
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning ( I use dry spaghetti packet)
  • 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese (any variety of cheese will work)

Easy Dinners Directions:

  1. Mix meat, stuffing mix, water and seasoning until well blended.
  2. Press evenly into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Make an indentation in the center of each meat loaf using a spoon then fill with spaghetti sauce.
  4. Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through, top with cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
  5. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

5 dollars meal-Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Credits: Betty Crocker Quick & Easy Cookbook
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Start to Finish: 20 Minutes
Makes: 6 servings
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie or other cooked chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 package (10 oz) pre-baked thin Italian pizza crust (12 inch)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In small bowl mix chicken and barbecue sauce. Place pizza crust on ungreased cookie sheet, spread chicken mixture over crust. Arrange tomatoes over chicken and sprinkle with cheese. 
2. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is browned. Sprinkle with cilantro (optional)
SPEED IT UP: No time for pizza? Substitute 6 flour tortillas, spread chicken mixture evenly over wrap within 1 inch of edge.
Top with tomatoes, cheese and cilantro. Roll tortillas up tightly.

5 dollars meal-Barbecue Chicken and Vegetable Supper

Credits: Betty Crocker Quick & Easy Cookbook
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups frozen whole green beans
  • 2 cups refrigerated red potato wedges (from 20 oz. bag) **SEE BELOW FOR SIMPLE SUBSTITUTION**
  • 1 Jar (12 oz.) chicken gravy
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat oil over me-high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt. Cook 4 minutes turning once until brown.
2. Add beans, potatoes, gravy and barbecue sauce, stir to coat and mix. Cover and cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until beans and potatoes are tender and juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170 degrees).
***Easy substitution: try substituting frozen potato wedges or steak fries (no Need to thaw first)!!***

5 dollars meal-A Classic Campbell’s Easy Freezer One Dish Meal

As I prepare my meals for the month I always choose a Campbell’s Recipe for my quick one dish meal. Campbell’s creates some of the best easy freezer recipes I have found. I love the fact that I can look right on the can for something different to try.
I found this Chicken Pot Pie Recipe, I tried it and we love it. Most of the Campbell’s recipes use 5 ingredients or less and are $5 or less to prepare.
As of today I will start pulling my Monday recipe’s from the Campbell’s Kitchen, soup can or cookbook as I really can’t stress enough to try and incorporate these recipes into your meal planning, they are truly the best low budget meal ideas for simple cooking.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Campbells’ Kitchen
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Meal Preparation Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup

  • 1 pkg (approx. 9 ozs.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

  • 1 cup of cubed cooked chicken or turkey

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup of all purpose baking mix (like Bisquick)

  • Meal Preparation Directions:
    1.    Mix soup, vegetables and chicken in a 9-inch pie plate
    2.    Mix milk, eggs and baking mix.
    3.    Pour over chicken chicken mixture
    4.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 30 minutes or until golden
    Meal Assembly:
    Serves 4- 6 – add a mixed green dinner salad and a bowl of fresh fruit for a delicious cheap and easy one dish meal that is healthy for the heart.
    TIP: Used canned chicken or left over turkey from the freezer.
    Tip: Double the batch for one of the easiest make ahead freezer meals.

    Feb 17, 2012

    DIY Prefold Diapers

    Prefold diapers:

    Prefolds are my favorite type of diaper out there. They are so versatile and there is something to be said for that feeling you get when you are pinning that dipe … like millions of women throughout time have done this before you. Silly I know but that’s the feeling I get … sort of empowering :o ). Wanna make your own? Great!!

    Procedure -
    * Wash and dry all fabric to be used. One yard of 45″wide flannel will make approximately 2 regular sized diapers.

    * Cutting -
    Cut 2 rectangles in the following measurements for the diaper:
    11 1/2″ by 14 1/2″ for newborn to 6 months
    13 1/2″ by 18 1/2″ for 6 months to 2 years
    15 1/2″ by 21 1/2″ for toddler size

    Cut six pieces in the following measurements for the soaker pad:
    4″ by 13 1/2″ for newborn to 6 months
    5″ by 17 1/2″ for 6 months to 2 years
    6″ by 20 1/2″ for toddler size

    Preparing the soaker pad:
    Stack all the layers of the soaker pad together and straight stitch about 1/4″ from the edge all the way around. Then go around the outside again using a zigzag stitch and encasing the raw edges.

    * Attaching the soaker pad to the diaper:
    Center and pin each soaker pad to the wrong side of one piece of flannel. Stitch down each side of the pad to secure it.

    Sewing the diaper -
    Put the two layers of diaper right sides together and stitch all the way around, leaving open between markings for turning. Clip corners and turn right side out, pressing corners out well. Topstitch around the entire diaper. When you get to the opening, just tuck the edges inside and keep right on sewing. Then stitch the soaker pad again on the same lines you used before to secure through all thicknesses and give a finished look.

    So do you REALLY need newborn prefolds? Well, yes and no. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a huge diaper fit a tiny newborn. Making the special sized diapers might not seem like a great idea at first but later on, they can be folded into thirds and used as diaper doublers for your older baby overnight.