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

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reducing and Reusing

While I was cleaning out my craft room and bedroom in an attempt to de-stress my environment, I was struck by just how much stuff Matt and I already own.

Sadly enough, we still buy a lot of new stuff. When we need something, our first impulse is usually just to buy it, rather than reevaluating whether we truly need it or whether another solution might work just as well.

The impulse to buy something new all the time not only takes a toll on our wallets; it also takes a toll on the environment (since so much energy gets wasted in the production, transportation, and disposal of goods).

Now that Matt and I are back on a strict budget so we can save money for our upcoming vacations, next car purchase, retirement, etc., I'm becoming more conscious of my impulse to buy new things and instead I'm looking for ways to reduce and reuse.

When Matt and I set our arbitrary $2,000 wedding budget, we had to do exactly the same thing. For example, when we decided to make nametags for our Welcome Picnic, we didn't have money to buy more paper, so we dug around in our craft drawer. The only paper we had sufficient quantities of was bright orange (not exactly a color you would see in a Martha Stewart Weddings spread), but we asked ourselves, "Does it really make a difference?" We reminded ourselves, "We want our wedding to be about community, connection, commitment, and fun--not the color of the nametags."

So, bright orange paper it was. And you know what? We were still married in the end, our guests had fun, and we saved money and were a little less harmful to the environment.

Now I'm thinking that I might try to make all of my holiday presents for friends and family from stuff I already have at the house...

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megan said...

it's funny you mentioned that today, because my fiance and i forgot to put the trash out Saturday. when i asked how much we had, he said he didn't think we had any. this is because we started recylcing, and now that we actually do it, we can't believe we were throwing all of that into a landfill.

also, i've decided to make presents, too. i'm working on a couple of quilts from scrap fabric, and i also decided to bake banana and cranberry bread for some of my family members.

cupcake wedding said...

I love how everytime you were tempted to go beyond your budget to address standard wedding ideals it seems you were able to talk yourself back into being practical. This has been a real inspiration to me. I hope I can be as wise.

Robyn Devine said...

i'm officially making as many presents as i can for the holidays this year. it's scary when you start cleaning out the clutter in your home and realize just how much stuff you already have - i'm going through that on a weekly basis right now!

good luck on all the handmades!

{oh, and orange is TOTALLY a hip new wedding color, by the way. you were just ahead of the trend!}

Kristy said...

That sounds like a great idea for Christmas!

Anonymous said...

In a college class, one our projects was to attempt to not make any trash on X number of days of the week, incrementing as the project progressed - the first week you didn't make trash on one day, the 2nd week you didn't make trash on 2 days, and so on for 5 weeks. We journaled about it, and it was a very, very cool project.

One day I wasn't paying close attention, and had to figure out how to recycle the wrappers from my Halloween lollipops as a part of a Christmas decoration. (I also chose to make gifts or decos. with stuff I already had, to equal the same number of days I didn't make trash, so I tended to recycle quite a bit of stuff into the decorations and prezzies.)

April said...

Wow...it's amazing how you guys came up with plans to really utilize and reuse all the resources necessary for the wedding like the orange name tags. I like it, very hip and trendy looking. But what struck me as inspiring, was the part where you planted a tree, allowing it to grow, nurturing it everyday,comparable to a couple's marriage which needs love and support daily. What a sweet, romantic and brilliant idea.

mydarlinganodyne said...

The idea of wedding consumerism is so scary, especially when we know our choices impact our environment. Thanks for reminding me not to sweat the small stuff by buying a bunch of junk. Wedding planning is so much less stressful when you can feel good about your thriftiness and not guilty about too many frilly purchases.

Shannon said...

Thrift Stores have become a saving grace for me. I am getting married in July and, like you, have a $2000 budget (imagine my surprise and relief to find a blog about a couple that did just that!)I am saving & reusing spaghetti jars for flower vases, and buying candles and vintage plates and serving trays and flower vases at the thrift store for decor. I haven't spent much money, I'm helping out an organization which helps Vietnam Vets and I'm not adding to the waste. It feels good!

Ice Pizza said...

That is so true. Events can still be successful without spending so much, recycling stuff along the way...which is why, a few days ago, I firmly decided not to buy new shoes for my wedding and wear the plain beige shoes I already have and bought last year (with an amazing 80% discount, since it was one of the last pairs). I'm excited with this budget-friendly (and should I say eco-friendly?) decision, thanks to your influence. :-D

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