Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Real Needs Versus Wants


As much as I want to brainstorm ideas for all the details related to our pop-up dinner party: A Farewell to Summer Fiesta (oil cloth table covers, battery powered white lights, flowers in glass jars--oh my!), I also have to remember that we are on a strict budget. We are still only living on 1.5 incomes (I'm working part-time so I can stay home with Henry part-time and work toward my big dreams). We are trying to raise money to buy a house (this book talks addresses all the reasons it's bad to rent and good to buy). I know that none of the decorations would be particularly expensive by themselves, but when you add them up with all the other little "wants" that pop up on a daily basis, it starts to seriously detract from our bigger goals. 

So I'm going to have to get creative. Maybe I can borrow battery-powered white lights. Maybe I can find some oil cloth on clearance. We'll see. 

I had to go through the same process when we were planning our wedding. It killed me to say no to the photo postage stamps. But you know what? Cultivating the ability to differentiate between our real needs versus our wants helped us stay within budget and buy our first house days after our wedding. Honestly, we wouldn't have been able to get that house if we had spent any more on our wedding. It's likely that we're going to be in the same place when we try to buy our next house. 

Every saved penny counts!

Let me go dig in our craft closet to see if I can find some "free" materials with which to make the pop-up invitations...

Image courtesy Etsy



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6 comments:

Allyson Mulcahy said...

Sara,
I have some honeycomb lanterns that are fiestaish in colors that we used for a birthday party! I'd be happy to pop them in the mail and pass them along to you if you're interested!
The colors are hot pink, orange, and yellow (2 of each).

Allyson

Stephanie said...

We're going through the same thing right now. We just moved to Halifax, NS from Vancouver, BC and neither of us are working. We're having a baby in a month, so I'll be on mat leave, but my husband is trying to find full time work (he just finished his masters). It's really tough to scale back on an already strict budget, especially when there are lovely and exciting baby things popping up all around us. I think, along with your wedding, it all pays off in the end. It's all part of the bigger picture that helps us reach our goals.

Abby said...

What book are you reading about renting vs. buying? I'd be really interested in that!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Abby! Sorry I forgot to link to the book! I just added it...

Hi, Allyson! That is so incredibly nice of you! I'll try to find something locally first (so I can save on postage), but I appreciate your offer immensely.

Hi, Stephanie! Thank you for sharing your story! It helps to know there are others going through similar things.

Anonymous said...

Try the dollar store! They have great decorations for wedding receptions and parties, too -- everything from paper lanterns to paper plates and cups, candles, and more. They even have theme party items.

Diane Owens, author, How to Have a $30,000 Wedding for Less Than $10,000 (www.budgetweddingsite.com)

Anonymous said...

Have you tried freecyle.org? People are throwing away things all the time for free. Here is the website to sign up for the area in which you live in:
http://www.freecycle.org/

Another great idea is to ask people if they have decorations you can borrow. I borrowed wedding decorations for my wedding and they were beautiful!

I'm also planning my sister bridal shower and I just made a bunch of fan flowers for free with paper I already owned. Here is a website with a tutorial on making fan flowers:
http://www.scrap-a-little.com/2009/05/fan-flower-tutorial.html

I also have been making tissue paper pom pom flowers. If you have tissue paper at home you can do this project for free as well. Here is the link for making this project:
http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/tissue-paper-pom-poms-how-to

There are endless ideas you can make for party decorations that don't cost anything. I get my ideas on Pintrest all the time!! I'm even borrowing my aunt and uncles mason jars and using them as drink cups for the bridal shower. My parents had a bunch of straws sitting in the kitchen cabinet, which happened to be the color for my sister's wedding. So each drink cup will have a straw in it. I saved money because I don't have to buy cups and straws! Since I too am on a budget for this bridal shower, I have to get creative myself! Good luck!!

-Jodi :)

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