Monday, October 31, 2011

Frugal Wedding Frenzy - Part 4! :)

It's been a while since I have updated about the wedding planning, and I've made some pretty fun progress this past week...and today officially marks 200 days until the wedding, so I think now is a good time! :)

I showed you my bridesmaids dresses in Frugal Wedding Frenzy - Part 3, and I couldn't be more satisfied with my choice. My groom actually got to see those...I showed him a picture that I took of myself when I tried on one of the girls' dresses, and his comment was, "You should get one of those for yourself..." even he liked them :) So I definitely decided to go with turquoise for one of my colors. Then I struggled with deciding between orange and red for the other color...but I found the perfect solution :)
Red-Orange and Turquoise!
That was actually what I wanted all along, I just had a really hard time finding the right shade of orange, so I thought I was going to have to go with red. Which would have been okay...I love red...but I am much happier with this...I think it is going to look perfect on the beach! I also showed you my inspiration for my flower girl ensemble in Part 3, but in case you forgot...for your viewing pleasure:
I fell in love with these as soon as I found them online. But I wasn't crazy about the price...$50 per tutu, not including the leotard. Yikes. Especially since I was planning on having both my adorable niece/flower girl and my 10-year-old sister, who I plan on having her hand out programs, wear one. So I found this template for a filled tutu online, and my mom is going to make them for the girls. She is also going to make one for my new baby niece that is currently on the way...she will only be 2 months old at the is going to be precious :) And even better, I can have it custom made with the exact colors I want. I found that overlapping red and orange tulle accomplishes the perfect red-orange color I am going for :)

I got the materials to make all 3 tutus for around $40 from Jo-Ann Fabrics...and I probably bought more than enough just to be on the safe side. I can't wait for mom to make these and see how cute they turn out! Now I just need to find the leotards...I will be sure to post pictures when they are complete! :)

I also told you in Frugal Wedding Frenzy - Part 2 about getting my wedding dress that I got on sale at David's Bridal. I ended up getting a size too big, because the zipper was sticking on the one dress they had that was actually in my size, and I've always been told that it is easier to take something in than to let it I figured getting the next size up would probably be the safest bet :) So naturally, I had to have the dress altered. I got a quote from the seamstress at David's Bridal while I was there, and to take it in around the top and through the waist, tailor it to the right length (I'm a shorty...), and it has a little bit of a train, so I asked her to do a simple bustle for when the wedding is over and I'm dancing the night away :) ...she quoted me approximately $110?!? AHH! No thank you. I was honestly a little bit shocked that they would charge so much considering I bought the dress there, but I guess I should've known better.

I was determined to find something better....and I did! I happened to just post something on Facebook to see if anyone had any suggestions for alterations, and one of my sorority sisters from college contacted me and told me her mom could do it! She used to work at a bridal shop, so she knew what she was doing and I knew it would turn out great. Sure enough, I picked up the dress on Friday, and it fits me perfectly :) She did exactly what I wanted and was super fast in getting it finished...and she only charged me $42! So I got my alterations done for less than half of what the bridal shop was going to charge me :)

I obviously can't post a picture of the full dress on here...can't have my groom getting a sneak peak ;) ...but I will give you this much:

I loved the dress, but it had this really ugly sash/belt thing around the waist that I wasn't a huge fan of. It wasn't sewn onto the dress, so I knew it would be something that would be easy to replace. I found some wide ribbon from Jo-Ann's in my perfect red-orange color :)

I also found these flowers for $2.49 at Michael's in my colors...I haven't decided if I want to have flowers on the sash yet, or if I just want the ribbon sewn into a belt. My mom is also going to make my new sash, so either way, that will end up being a pretty inexpensive addition to the dress :)

Next up...I decided I didn't really want to wear a veil. I didn't want to be fighting with it if the wind was blowing on the beach, and veils can be SO expensive! On top of that, my groom actually told me once that he thought veils were creepy...haha. I think he really just means the kind that go over the face, but still...that sealed it for me. I really don't want him to see me walking down the aisle and think, "Yikes, she's creepy," ya know? So I decided to make a fun little hair piece. The problem with that is...I am not terribly creative. At all. So I didn't know what I could make...but as I was wandering around Jo-Ann's yesterday, I found this fun little flower that was pre-made, and I found a random feather thing at Hobby Lobby that was funky and just looked like I bought them both.

The flower was $2.50, and the feather was $0.99...I also bought a package of alligator clips for $1.47. I glued it with my hot glue gun and called it good...I am pretty happy with how it turned out! :)

I absolutely love pearls. I wanted to wear pearls for my wedding jewelry, and I got the absolute best deal on these: completely free! :) These pearls were my great-grandmother's, who passed them on to my grandma. She had them for years and had them restrung and passed them onto my sister, Sarah, who was named after my great-grandma, for her 16th birthday. Sarah offered to let me borrow them for the wedding! I am so excited about these...they are simple, which I love, and absolutely beautiful. They are perfect. My grandma passed away 3 1/2 years ago, and other than a couple of pictures, this is one of the only things any of us have of hers, so that makes it that much more special. They get to be my something old and my something borrowed :)

I had to include SOMETHING Razorback in my wedding! haha...I found these on ebay and they were $19.99, which isn't bad at all, considering I got two of them, so I have one I can toss, and one I can hold onto as a keepsake :)

I told you about Walter's custom suit in Part 2 as well...I thought I'd throw in a picture, just so you could see it :)

Last but not are the pants I found for my nephew, who is going to be my ring bearer! I found them at, and they were $19.94, but I was able to use an online coupon code that gave me 20% off, so I got them for $14.96 + tax. They are a linen-cotton blend, and they have an adjustable waist, which is perfect because he's one of those tall, skinny kids that has a hard time getting his clothes to fit. haha. And they are something that he could wear again, so that's always a perk! Way cheaper than buying a little man tux! I still have to find him a shirt...but I am excited that I found these :)

I think that is the latest for now. As of today, we have 13 rooms and 30 guests (including us) booked for the wedding! Things are coming together quite well, and I am really enjoying it...I will keep you posted as I come up with new ideas and new ways to save money :)

199 days!! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update on My Life: Bullet Point Style

I hardly ever post anymore...I guess I just haven't felt "inspired" lately. But I thought I'd give all you faithfuls a little update to let you know I'm still alive :)

Here are a few of the things that have been going on lately - in no particular order:

  • I have, by far, the worst luck when it comes to roommates. People suck.
  • That being said, I refuse to become jaded. I have a new roommate and a half! Actually, the new roommate is an old roommate and one of my dearest friends. The half is her 5 month old baby girl, Amelia. I feel like I should start new TV show: Two Girls, Two Pit Bulls, a Baby and a Soldier. 
  • When I got home from California, I had new neighbors on the other side of the wall (I live in a duplex). For at least the past two weeks, they have been using my trash service. I'm annoyed. But what can I do about it?
  • The new neighbors also have pit bull(s?)...there was just one up until this morning. Now there are two. This results in LOTS of early morning barking between the fence.
  • The good news is: Both of my pit bulls LOVE baby Amelia. However, they haven't quite figured out that licking her when she cries is not the cure-all...
  • I was so blessed to get to spend two whole weeks with the love of my life. Saying "see you soon" all over again...not the easiest thing in the world...but I am so very happy that the separation will be coming to an end hopefully sooner rather than later :)
  • Now that I am revamping my dissertation topic for my PhD, I have to rewrite my proposal. AHH. Where is the motivation?
  • I have recently started to consider offering my services to help people create a budget that can work for them/their families, with a focus on establishing savings and getting out of debt. Apparently I'm pretty good at this whole budgeting thing, and even more weird, I actually enjoy it. 
  • We officially have a wedding registry! Two actually...Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target :)
  • Plane tickets for the wedding-moon are officially booked! 
  • I'm going to be an aunt again in March! Glad the pressure to produce a grandchild has been lightened a bit ;)
  • It's a really good thing I don't want to have kids anytime soon. I'd probably go broke. With a lot of my friends already having babies and my sister-in-law pregnant, I have kind of established a slight obsession for finding good deals on baby clothes! So far, I'm really good at it. Just wait til I get started with thrift stores and garage sales for baby goods and toys...
  • Old Navy is having a good sale this week on their activewear and fleeces. Go check it out...and print of their 25% off coupon from their website first. I bought a pair of yoga pants for $7.50 earlier this week :) 
  • I started a fitness Boot Camp last week. It is 3 times a week (MWF), and so far I have gone to every session. Some of them, I even woke up at 4:50am for. I might be crazy. I think once this class is over in 2 and a half more weeks, I am going to start working on my goal of completing the Insanity DVDs! 
  • I officially started my Christmas shopping this week! My goal is to have ALL Christmas shopping finished no later than December 15th. 
  • Yes, I am dressing up for Halloween this year :) 
  • In case you missed it, the Pokes are ranked #3 right now! ::insert visual of me waving my pistols here::
  • The Hogs are #10, which isn't a bad deal either! WOO PIG SOOIE!
  • I have been a complete SLACKER in training for the half marathon I signed up for in November. So far, I have worked my way up to four miles. Is it sad that my new goal is to actually run HALF of the half marathon, and then walk/jog the second half until I finish? That's gonna be a long day...
  • We apparently have a mouse in the house. Not just any mouse...a smart enough mouse to eat peanut butter off of a snap trap without setting it off, but a dumb enough mouse to chew through an unopened box of poison under the sink. I just hope I find the dead, poisoned mouse before my dogs do...Wish me luck.
  • I have been thoroughly enjoying the Lauren Alaina CD over the past couple of weeks. Kudos to her :)
  • Criminal Minds is my new favorite TV show.
  • I really need to start going to bed at a decent time...It's after 1am...WHY am I still awake?
There you have it...a brief-ish update on what has been going on in the wonderful world of Lauren. Thrilling, I know. Maybe one day soon I will come up with a more fun and exciting post for you all to read :) For now...goodnight!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Walgreens Savings

I have been a slacker, I know. It has been a while since I've posted, and I've had a really good excuse - promise! :) I'll fill you in on some of those details at a later date...but for now, I wanted to tell you about some fun I had today shopping at Walgreens :)

Let me start with this: I love coupons. Though I could never be like those crazy people featured on the Extreme Couponing show (I could not dedicate 40+ hours a week of my time to do it...nor would I want to)...but I do love saving money. Therefore, I love coupons, and I also love finding a good deal.

One of my favorite things about Walgreens is that they have a weekly ad that comes in most Sunday papers. It is full of in-store deals, as well as Walgreens coupons for select items each week. Even better...Walgreens honors both their store coupons as well as manufacturer coupons that you can get online and/or from Sunday paper inserts.

When I cut coupons, I cut just about anything I think I may use or could use at some point. However, I do try really hard to not buy something just because I have a coupon....the point is the save money, not spend it on things you don't need. So when I use coupons, I try really hard to only use coupons on stuff I would purchase anyways.

All that being said, I had a good time when the Walgreens weekly ad came out this week. I looked through it and found quite a few things I can use :) There were a few things in the ad that I already had coupons for, in addition to the sale prices being offered. And even better, they had some things I could get cash back for! In case you aren't aware, Walgreens also have select items each week that they give you what they call "Register Rewards" for when you purchase them. When you purchase these items, the printer spits out coupons after your receipt that are good only at Walgreens. It's a little bit like getting paid to shop. A can use your Register Rewards on your next visit, not your current one.

Here is my little haul for the week :)
2 bottles of scrubbing bubbles foamer
2 bottles of pledge multi-surface cleaner
2 sticks of degree deodorant
2 bottles of Organix shampoo/conditioner
2 5oz cans of tuna
Neutrogena face moisturizer
Neutrogena make-up remover towelettes
Venus razor with 2 blade cartridges
6 pack of Venus razor blades

This little pile here cost me $70.16...I know, ridiculous right? It doesn't look like much. But when I think of what it could have cost me, it makes me feel a little better. According to my receipts, I saved $15.86 by buying things that were in the Walgreens weekly ad, $1.40 in Walgreens coupons, $4 in manufacturer coupons, and $10 in Register Rewards. And more importantly, ALL of these items I use anyway, and most of them I even needed currently. So according to Walgreens, I saved a total of $31.26

I actually did this in two trips, but in the same day. I happened to be driving by a Walgreens on the opposite side of town this morning, so I stopped in and got a few of the things that I knew I could get Register Rewards for. That way, when I was on my way home this afternoon, I could stop by the Walgreens that is right on the way to my house, and use my Register Rewards for some of the items that didn't offer rewards :)
I normally buy all of my stuff at, toiletries, household name it, I usually get it at Wal-Mart. I know, I know...capitalism...but as a consumer on a budget, I really can't help it. I'm cheap. And they really do almost always have the lowest prices. Almost. One thing I just started doing (as of this week actually) is comparing prices at Wal-Mart and in the local store ads that come out weekly. I'll be took me quite a while to do this thoroughly...and will either be something I get more efficient at, or will end up have to neglect most weeks because I simply don't/won't have the time to invest. There is a fine line between how much money/time I'm willing to spend at the expense of the other...saving 50 cents is not worth an hour of my time to do so.

But this week, I did have a little time for an experiment, so I took advantage of it :) For a couple of the items above, I had done a buggy drive-by at Wal-Mart when I was there yesterday picking up some groceries to look up some prices. I already knew some of the prices that Walgreens was offering because of their ad, so I had something to compare them to. A few others, I looked up online this afternoon because I was curious as to how much I had really saved.

I estimated that with my manufacturer coupons, I would've spent a total of approximately $83.27 at Wal-Mart on these exact same items. So Walgreens lied a little...I didn't really save 31 bucks. But I did save $13.11. I'm happy with that...$13 is worth 20ish minutes of my time ;)

So now I have some toiletries and such that will get me through the next...ohh, I'd say 2-3 months or so...and some cleaning supplies that might last through the next year. haha. Who knows...maybe when I finally run out of those two, I'll let you know ;)