wedding gifts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/374/all en-US 10 Money-Saving Gifts to Put on Your Wedding Registry http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-gifts-to-put-on-your-wedding-registry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-saving-gifts-to-put-on-your-wedding-registry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding-dv1266019.jpg" alt="wedding" title="wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Creating your registry is just of the the many joys of a wedding. It's an opportunity for newlyweds to fill a home with meaningful and practical stuff &mdash; and for guests to help them begin their lives together. Linens and china (and blenders and cutlery) will always have their place, but if you think outside the box while building your registry (or while thinking up gift ideas), you can include even more practical gifts that will save money over time. Here are a few ideas to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-put-on-and-leave-off-your-wedding-registry?ref=seealso">What to Put On Your Wedding Registry</a>)</p> <h2>1. LED Lightbulbs</h2> <p>Light bulbs are one of those things that we don't think about costing much. They are inexpensive enough that we don't think about the long-term costs of the bulbs themselves. Still, light bulbs and the energy they use take more money out of our pockets than they need to, which is why gifting LED lightbulbs can cut costs for newlyweds straight out of the gate. While LED bulbs require a higher initial investment (incandescent bulbs are cheaper, for sure), over time they will help you <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/led-lighting">use 75% less energy</a> and they'll last 25% longer than their yesteryear counterparts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-energy-efficient-light-bulbs?ref=seealso">Best Energy Efficient Light Bulbs</a>)</p> <h2>2. Wholesale Club Memberships</h2> <p>There are two ways newlyweds save with a membership to a wholesale club. The first is the cost of the membership itself, which runs about $50 annually, depending on the plan. The second is the savings they'll rack up by buying items at wholesale prices that they consume a lot of. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco?ref=seealso">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>3. Water Filtration System</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-water-filters">water filtration system</a> is a great way to cut the cost (and waste) of water bottles. This could include an apparatus that attaches to your faucet to filter the water as it comes out or a filtered pitcher in the fridge. For drinks on the go, there are also individual reusable water bottles that have filter features to refill from a water source outside of the home.</p> <h2>4. Food Storage Systems</h2> <p>Basic food storage and organization systems like food storage containers, airtight food jars, and a vacuum food sealer will help newlyweds save on everyday meals. If you want to think bigger, an efficient food-storage freezer would allow newlyweds to stock up on meats when they're on sale and cook large batches of freezer-friendly foods at a time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend?ref=seealso">How to Save Money With Bulk Cooking</a>)</p> <h2>5. CSA Membership</h2> <p>A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership would be a good gift for those who love fresh, local fruits and vegetables. The benefits of CSA membership include access to ultra-fresh, locally grown produce; establishing a good relationship with your area's farmers; special buys; invitations to members-only &quot;u-pick&quot; events at farms; and saving money over the third-party prices you pay at the supermarket on similar items.</p> <h2>6. Amazon Prime Subscription</h2> <p>Online shopping is more convenient than ever, and an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Prime membership</a> will help newlyweds save on shipping costs for whatever purchases they need. They'll get free two-day shipping on eligible purchases &mdash; which is most items that Amazon offers. Other perks of the Amazon Prime membership include instant access to movies and TV shows through Amazon Instant Video, as well as access to a library of borrowable ebooks via the Kindle Lending Library.</p> <h2>7. Tankless Water Heater</h2> <p>In addition to lightbulbs, there's another energy vampire hiding in the house &mdash; <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/pros-and-cons-of-a-tankless-water-heater-176538">the hot water heater</a>. The reason it's such an energy suck is because a traditional water heater is constantly heating water, whether it's being used or not. A tankless water heater provides hot water on demand &mdash; without running 24/7/365 &mdash; resulting in more efficient energy usage. Plus, not only will a tankless water heater slash an energy bill, it'll last longer (20 years versus a typical water heater's 10- to 13-year lifespan). Bear in mind, though, that while a tankless water heater will definitely save money over time, the cost of the unit is substantially higher and additional plumbing may be required to accommodate it.</p> <h2>8. Educational Resources</h2> <p>Many skills can now be learned at home with computer-based programs. Let's say you want to learn another language, for instance. These days you don't have to spend a few hours a week at your local community college learning it. Instead, a resource like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1617160075/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1617160075&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Rosetta Stone</a> (at least a $200 value) can give a newlywed the opportunity to learn together. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-learn-a-language?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Learn a Language</a>)</p> <h2>9. Energy-Efficient Appliances</h2> <p>Since we've mentioned lightbulbs and water heaters, we should also mention energy-efficient appliances, which you're almost guaranteed to see year-to-year energy savings after upgrading, considering that the typical American household <a href="http://www.ase.org/resources/top-5-reasons-be-energy-efficient">spends about $5,500 annually on electricity</a>. With energy-efficient appliances, like ENERGY STAR, however, you can expect to save up to 30% on these bills.</p> <h2>10. Indoor Gardening Supplies</h2> <p>Even if you don't have ample space outside to grow your own food, there may be room inside to do it, especially if you think small. There are several produce items you can grow indoors with limited space, and there's probably plenty of room to grow herbs in many places around the house. Say goodbye to big bunches of herbs, half of which rot away in the fridge. Growing herbs indoors is an incredible money saver &mdash; if you like to cook, that is &mdash; because you'll be able to use the perfect amount every time you cook. And since growing herbs indoors has become quite common, there are plenty of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI4O90/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000FI4O90&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">stylish systems</a> out there to suit everybody's design aesthetic.</p> <p><em>Have other ideas on what items to put on a wedding registry to save money? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-gifts-to-put-on-your-wedding-registry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-perfect-holiday-gifts-for-book-lovers">21 Perfect Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less">80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-valentines-day-gifts-for-10-or-less">20 Valentine&#039;s Day Gifts for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-december">What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in December</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains">10 Affordable Kids&#039; Gifts That Won&#039;t Rot Their Brains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living gifts money-saving gifts product reviews wedding gifts Mon, 03 Feb 2014 11:24:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1121517 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Put On (and Leave Off) Your Wedding Registry http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-put-on-and-leave-off-your-wedding-registry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-put-on-and-leave-off-your-wedding-registry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3466194944_eec763f909_z.jpg" alt="gift registry" title="gift registry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a perfect world, everyone would give you cash for your wedding. Depending on the background and traditions of your guests, however, there is a very good chance that there will be at least a few people who prefer to give a gift. In fact, when I go to weddings, I prefer to give a gift so that people can&rsquo;t put a monetary value on my good wishes. Having a lot of good choices on your wedding registry helps to prevent receiving four pairs of hideous salad tongs, and it&rsquo;s a great opportunity to get those big-ticket items that will serve you for years to come. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-wedding-registry-ideas">Alternative Wedding Registry&nbsp;Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>Register for&hellip;</h2> <p>These are items most of us can&rsquo;t afford to purchase all at once, such as cutlery and tableware, as well as nice things every household should have, but that are often low on the need-to-buy-list, such as luggage.</p> <p><strong>Classic (White) Dishes</strong></p> <p>A complete set of quality dishes is expensive, and your wedding is your one chance to get a full and complete dinner setting.</p> <p>Register for high-quality white dishes that will stand the test of time and won&rsquo;t look dated in a few years (you can always add colorful accent plates). For the best bang for your guests&rsquo; buck, register for a quality set of everyday dinnerware instead of a fancy set of fine china that you&rsquo;ll only use a few times a year. The wedding gift I use the most is a set of white Villeroy &amp; Boch dinnerware given to me by my mother-in-law. It is sturdy enough for everyday use yet pretty enough for fancy dinners.</p> <p><strong>Sturdy Flatware</strong></p> <p>Sure, you&rsquo;ve done fine using your set of IKEA flatware for the past few years, but your wedding is your chance to get something a bit higher quality for all those fancy dinner parties you&rsquo;ll be hosting. You&rsquo;ll probably never find a reason to splurge on top-quality flatware again, so put some thought into the set you add to your registry. Go for something dishwasher safe and sturdy, in a clean and classic design.</p> <p><strong>Oven-to-Table-to-Freezer Casserole Set</strong></p> <p>In your life as a married person, you&rsquo;ll probably be toting casseroles to a lot of potlucks and game nights, so add a set of casserole dishes to your registry. These handy lidded containers can go from the oven to the table and straight to the fridge or freezer. Whether you choose Pyrex, Corningware, or something a little fancier, this set of casseroles will be useful for years to come.</p> <p><strong>Open Stock Pots and Pans</strong></p> <p>Forget the 10-piece sets of cookware that come in a huge box. Chances are that the quality of each piece won&rsquo;t be the highest, and you&rsquo;ll get far more cookware than you need.</p> <p>Instead, register for a couple frying pans (a 10-inch and a 12-inch), a medium saucepan, and a large pot for soups and stews. Choose them based on functionality instead of how well they match. For example, the most-used pots in my kitchen are my 5.5-quart enameled cast-iron Le Creuset pot, a medium stainless steel saucepan, and a couple of nonstick, anodized aluminum, ceramic coated frying pans. Think about how you like to cook, and register accordingly.</p> <p><strong>Knives</strong></p> <p>Again, forgo the box set and choose a solidly made, quality forged chef&rsquo;s knife. This is your chance to get a Wusthof or a Shun, so be sure to add it to your list. You can always buy cheaper paring knives and steak knives later, but be sure to add the knife of a lifetime to your registry.</p> <p><strong>Sheets</strong></p> <p>My husband and I never splurge on sheets for ourselves &mdash; most of our sheet sets are from TJ Maxx or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ikea-survival-guide">Ikea</a> &mdash; but we still love the quality set of sheets we received for our wedding. They cost $100 for a queen set but four years later, they are still the softest sheets we own. So while you wouldn&rsquo;t necessarily spend a lot on sheets for yourself, you might want to put a good set on the registry.</p> <p><strong>Small Appliances</strong></p> <p>A blender, a hand mixer, a kettle, a slow cooker, and a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">coffee maker</a> are all mid-priced appliances that guests appreciate seeing on a registry, and they are all kitchen essentials. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mixers">The 5 Best Mixers</a>)</p> <p><strong>Suitcases</strong></p> <p>Quality luggage costs a pretty penny, but will save you so many headaches when rolling them to and fro in airports. Have you ever tried to roll a cheap, 50-pound suitcase with broken wheels on the subway? I have, and I don&rsquo;t care to repeat the experience.</p> <p><strong>Camping Gear</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the outdoorsy type, consider registering for gear that will help you make family memories. Register for a nice spacious tent and a couple warm sleeping bags so you can camp in style.</p> <p><strong>Basic Tools</strong></p> <p>Even if you aren&rsquo;t the handiest couple, a power drill, a couple of screwdrivers, a set of socket wrenches, and a hammer will come in handy when putting up your new bookshelves and your framed wedding photos.</p> <h2>Think Twice About&hellip;</h2> <p>Think twice about gifts that you may not need, or have the space for, or are really just clutter.</p> <p><strong>Stand Mixer</strong></p> <p>Before registering for a stand mixer, think carefully. Yes, your wedding might be your best chance to get one of these expensive babies, but how essential is it?</p> <p>A heavy stand mixer is most useful when you can leave it out on the counter, but do you have the counter space (when you factor in the blender, the coffee maker, and the microwave)? Do you bake often enough that a stand mixer will be that much more useful than a hand mixer? If so, go for it. Otherwise? Think it over.</p> <p><strong>Crystal Glasses</strong></p> <p>You know the thing about wine glasses? When they see a lot of use, they tend to break. So go ahead and register for them, but don&rsquo;t get something so expensive you&rsquo;ll be heartbroken when it breaks. My husband and I prefer to buy a wine glass at a winery every time we go wine tasting &mdash; it&rsquo;s a fun and inexpensive souvenir, and we can use them later at home.</p> <p><strong>Decorations and Knick-Knacks</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s fun to register for home décor items, but don&rsquo;t go overboard. Your style might change in a few years, so hold off on registering for that deer's head wall sculpture, those vases in multiple colors, or that plethora of candle holders. It&rsquo;s easy to scan lots of random home décor items when you&rsquo;re registering, but they won&rsquo;t necessarily form a cohesive whole in your home.</p> <p>The exception? Quality art prints or original art. This is your chance to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fine-art-makes-fine-gifts">get some REAL art</a> to replace those college band posters you&rsquo;ve had up on your walls the last few years.</p> <p>One of the best things about a gift registry is that you can often return or exchange items for store credit or cash, so don't worry too much if you change your mind later!</p> <p><em>What were your favorite wedding registry gifts?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-put-on-and-leave-off-your-wedding-registry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make">The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping gift registry useful gifts wedding gifts Tue, 29 Jan 2013 10:36:37 +0000 Camilla Cheung 967358 at http://www.wisebread.com Should a Second Marriage Be Celebrated (and Paid for) Like the First? http://www.wisebread.com/should-a-second-marriage-be-celebrated-and-paid-for-like-the-first <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-a-second-marriage-be-celebrated-and-paid-for-like-the-first" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3525978742_b0264eb121_zcr.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We recently had occasion to be in a wedding &mdash; a second wedding for the bride and groom. While I'm all about celebrating the union between two individuals, I couldn't help but question whether we really had to celebrate it with the same gusto that we did just a few years prior for this individual's first wedding. I'm not knocking re-marriages. After all, half of American marriages end up in divorce, so a second marriage is quite typical. In some cases, I've seen some couples that treat a second marriage as more of a formality, rather than a unique life experience that requires all the bells and whistles, while others treat it as if it's the first time &mdash; and then some.</p> <p>Here were some questions I had for my wife, who was treating the second wedding as if it were the same as a first wedding (from our budgetary perspective):</p> <h3>Engagement Party/Wedding Shower</h3> <p>For first-time newlyweds, starting a life together often means making do on meager salaries while trying to enjoy some travel time together and celebrate being young and married. It's nice to have a party or shower where you receive gifts for the house and everyday living, and this is reciprocated for all your friends and family that end up getting married themselves.&nbsp; But by a second go-around, they were already given a bunch of gifts. Is a new round of gift-giving appropriate or over the top? Perhaps a nice toned-down celebration without large gift expectations and registries? Maybe it's just me, but I felt like I just did that, and now we had to do it again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-planning-a-last-minute-wedding" title="8 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Wedding">8 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Wedding</a>)</p> <h3>Bachelorette Party<strong> </strong></h3> <p>We're all familiar with the rite of passage just before the wedding day where the bride and groom to-be &quot;get it all out of their system.&quot; I get that. But if you already got it out of your system a few years ago, is an extravagant and expensive bachelorette party really necessary? Perhaps a nice local bar, drinks with the girls, and a fun night out makes sense &mdash; heck, that's good for any occasion. But going into the city, limos, new dresses, hair, and all the accouterments really add up &mdash; twice. &nbsp;Not to sound one-sided, this same concept applies to the bachelor party as well. I just happened to be viewing this from someone on my wife's side.&nbsp; But if you're both close the the new bride and groom, it could very well be a double-whammy from that standpoint as well.&nbsp; If you saw <em>The Hangover</em>, you know how expensive a Bachelor party can be!</p> <h3>Wedding Gift</h3> <p>Where we live, a typical wedding gift is usually at least $100 per head and more for close friends and family. Is it unreasonable to give less for a second wedding if we already gave a generous gift the first time? I lost that one, not that I fought too hard.&nbsp; I never want to look cheap, especially with family and friends, since something like a cheap wedding gift can cause bad blood and bickering for a lifetime. But if you were hosting a second wedding, would you expect a gift of the same financial value as your first wedding? I'm genuinely curious.</p> <h3>Money Spent to Host the Wedding</h3> <p>Since this one didn't impact our personal budget specifically, I didn't complain to my wife about what someone else spent. But in thinking about what's reasonable and what other people would do, I was curious what people think about money spent on a second wedding. With the high cost of traditional weddings, does it make financial sense to do another traditional wedding each time? Many of the participants have already celebrated your wedding previously, and after accounting for divorce costs, transitioning into a new financial situation and other uncertainties, perhaps spending over $20,000 again isn't the best move? After all, there are several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-wedding-ideas-for-big-savings">alternative wedding ideas</a> to save money while celebrating. And it can become costly for attendees as well. Not to be facetious, but where do you draw the line between when subsequent weddings are treated differently? I would assume after the first, but maybe that's just me.</p> <p>Before you judge me too harshly as a &quot;second marriage hater,&quot; let me say that I'm all for people being happy and celebrating their unions. I think many second marriages are much more successful and happy than first marriages. People should do what's right for them and do what makes them happy. It's just that for those on the periphery, we've been through your celebration once before &mdash; we've paid our dues! And <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-dont-cost-what-they-used-to-10-major-price-shifts-in-2010">things don't cost what they used to</a>. It's a tough time for a lot of people financially right now, and when looking to treat a repeat event as a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, isn't it just a bit over the top?</p> <p><em>What are your thoughts?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-a-second-marriage-be-celebrated-and-paid-for-like-the-first">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-a-relationship-work-when-one-partner-earns-more">Making a Relationship Work When One Partner Earns More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-planning-a-last-minute-wedding">8 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-put-on-and-leave-off-your-wedding-registry">What to Put On (and Leave Off) Your Wedding Registry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budget-bride-131-savvy-ways-to-cut-wedding-costs">Budget Bride: 131 Savvy Ways to Cut Wedding Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shave-5000-off-your-wedding-expenses">How to Shave $5,000 Off Your Wedding Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle affordable weddings marriage and finances wedding gifts Fri, 21 Jan 2011 13:00:55 +0000 Darwins Money 464311 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy-to-Make Deluxe Gifts for Under $15 http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4806570330_99f5dbfd9e_z.jpg" alt="flowering cactus" title="flowering cactus" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As of last week, my home, Dinky Manor, has become my own personal sweatshop.&nbsp;Even though I don&rsquo;t personally celebrate wintertime holidays that involve gift giving, just about everyone I care about does. Alas, my entire budget for gifts this year is $200 for everyone. So here I am, knitting mittens for my hoards of nieces, canning donated backyard fruit into exotic jams for my friends and neighbors, and planning a weekend baking marathon that will involve the creation and decoration of 80 dozen cookies to give to everyone else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving" title="31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</a>)</p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got a little time and a little knowledge, it&rsquo;s easy to create beautiful gifts for a few dollars. For example, last year I bought a thick Calvin Klein cashmere sweater at Goodwill, unraveled the sweater, and re-knit the yarn into four cashmere hats for my girlfriends. Had I bought the hats new, they would have cost $75 each at least, but since I knit them myself, they cost me $2 each.</p> <p>But what if you don&rsquo;t know how to sew or don&rsquo;t have the time to knit for other people? What if your apartment doesn&rsquo;t have an oven? With a little creativity and some planning, you can still give thoughtful, memorable, and even luxurious gifts for less than $15 a piece.</p> <h2>A Lasting Baby Gift</h2> <p>When I don&rsquo;t have time to knit a baby sweater, my default <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-the-most-fabulous-and-frugal-baby-shower-of-all-time" title="How to Throw the Most Fabulous (and Frugal) Baby Shower of all Time">baby-shower</a> gift has always been a huge stack of cloth diapers. Since all of my friends seem to be cloth-diaper users, everyone loves this gift because they:</p> <ol> <li>Never have enough clean diapers.</li> <li>Never get enough cloth diapers as gifts because diapers are the &ldquo;boring&ldquo; gift on the registry.</li> <li>Use the cloth diapers for decades after the baby is done with them as the softest, most absorbent cleaning towels.</li> </ol> <p>A dozen new cloth diapers cost about $12, but what makes my $12 diaper gift the star of every baby shower is my presentation. I wrap the diapers in plain brown craft paper, but then I tie a sterling baby spoon to the top of the package with a satin ribbon. I buy the sterling silver baby spoons for $1 to $3 at swap meets, garage sales, and antique stores and store the little spoons for future gift giving in my silverware drawer, so they are easy to find when I need them (and don&rsquo;t take up additional storage space).</p> <p>This present is a huge hit because the gift combines two ultra-practical gifts that are gender-neutral and last forever. The shiny spoon and the satin ribbon make a $12 gift of diapers look <em>really </em>expensive. On several occasions I&rsquo;ve actually lucked out with the perfect monogram already engraved on the antique spoon, which is just all kinds of win.</p> <h2>Great Greens</h2> <h3>The Re-Blooming Wedding Present</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got even a borderline green thumb and a tiny patch of sunlight, you can give your newlywed friends a present of &ldquo;<a href="http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southerngarden/roseprop.html">wedding roses</a>.&rdquo; If your friend has roses in her bouquet or in her centerpieces, ask if you can take some with you at the end of her wedding day &ldquo;for a surprise.&rdquo; Once you get the roses home, cut off the blooms and all the leaves. Then cut two inches off the bottom of the stems at an angle. Cut the naked stems into lengths that are about as long as a pencil. Dip the cut end of the stem pieces into Rootone or another rooting hormone (willow water, made with from soaking fresh cut willow twigs in water, works great too), and plant the stems in damp potting soil. Water regularly. The rose cuttings will take root within two weeks, eventually becoming tiny rose plants. Remember, Emily Post says that everyone has a year to send a wedding gift. By the time the couple&rsquo;s first anniversary rolls around, you should have at least one surviving wedding rose plant (if not a dozen) to gift to the couple for their garden.</p> <h3>Succulents for Friends and Co-Workers</h3> <p>You can turn other plants into beautiful, long-term gifts as well. <a href="http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/propagate-succulents-00400000011657/">Succulents</a> and cacti are very easy to propagate from cuttings. In general, low-water plants will create their own pups that you just have to separate from the mother plant and repot. I have a round cactus that I got as a gift years ago from a friend. Every year I split the &ldquo;mother&rdquo; cactus into ten separate little baby plants and repot them into little ceramic pots that I buy for $1 or less at garages sales or thrift stores. These cacti, which flower in the summer with fist-sized yellow blooms, are unique stocking stuffers and truly the gift that keeps on giving.</p> <h3>Orchids: Solve a Mystery, Save Some Moolah</h3> <p>Another great plant gift buy is the &ldquo;mystery orchid.&rdquo; Since most garden stores are strapped for space, they don&rsquo;t want to take the time to water and care for the orchids after they&rsquo;ve bloomed until they re-bloom. Mystery orchids are the plants that have already bloomed, but not sold, and I buy all my orchids off the sale table at my local garden store for under $5. Although orchids have a reputation of being difficult, they only need to be watered once a week and are actually pretty hard to kill. Orchids make great gifts for men or women and are my favorite thank-you gift to send to business associates, as they match any interior and last much longer than cut flowers.</p> <h2>Signed Books for Bibliophiles</h2> <p>Since part of my job involves working with writers, publishers, and book agents, I attend a lot of book-related events. One of my least-expensive, but certainly sneakiest, gifts for friends is getting their favorite books inscribed by their favorite authors. Obviously, the easiest way to get a book signed by an author is to buy a book at a book signing. While I would personally love to support my local bookstores and authors, purchasing multiple copies of books for gifting, alas, is not in my budget. So, I&rsquo;ve figured out a low-budget method of book inscription. The easiest part of this gift is asking the author for a signature or inscription. The hardest part of this gift is stealing your friends&rsquo; beloved books off the shelves in their homes without them noticing.</p> <p>Since attending book signings is not something that is easy for everyone, most people can create this gift via the U.S. Postal Service. Some writers will sign books that are sent to them with return postage. Some best-selling authors are too busy (or old) to deal with the post office chore of sending back every book that is sent to them for signing, but instead are willing to send you a signed bookplate if you send them a stamped, self-addressed envelope. (Check out the FAQ section of a favorite author&rsquo;s blog for specifics on autographs and bookplates).</p> <h2>An Updated 1985 Gift for Music Fans</h2> <p>A gift that has been largely forgotten because of technological advances is the mix tape. Once a staple of high school romances, homemade mixes have fallen out of favor in exchange for the iTunes gift card. One of my favorite music gifts is the updated version of the mix tape &mdash; the personalized CD. A few years ago, I gave my friend Jane a CD of 15 songs that are about girls named Jane. I made a similar CD for my friend Lala, where I collected songs where La-La-La figured prominently in the songs&rsquo; choruses. (According to several lists, <a href="http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/top-10-songs-that-go-la-la-la/">I&rsquo;m not the only one who had this bright idea</a>).&nbsp;</p> <p>The mix tape can also be the audio version of a scrapbook or photo album. I think for most people, music is connected with specific memories and events in their lives. For example, I will always associate &ldquo;We Are Family&rdquo; with Panama, since Sister Sledge was practically the soundtrack of that country when my family travelled there in 1979. Thirty years later, Abba&rsquo;s &ldquo;Dancing Queen&rdquo; still conjures memories of my neighbor dancing around on the shag carpeting of her rumpus room when she thought nobody was looking. Creating a time capsule CD of songs that remind you of a certain event or time period is a great way to share memories with your friends.&nbsp;</p> <h2>The Totally Free Luxury Gift of Time</h2> <p>Last but not least, one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones is time off from housework. Whether it&rsquo;s the new parents who are trying to figure out how to deal with their first baby, the friend who has just lost her mother to cancer, or the HR Lady at the office dealing with the aftermath of the company Christmas party, all people appreciate a clean bathroom or kitchen, especially when they are stressed out. One person can deep clean a room in less than hour and make someone&rsquo;s day so much easier. In today&rsquo;s world where everyone is overworked and worn out, the ultimate luxury gift is the gift of free time.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Max Wong, who blogs at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/">My Roman Apartment</a>. Read more by Max:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">5 Ways Self-Storage Units Are More Sad Museums Than Savvy Solutions</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">5 Potluck Parties That Help You Share the Wealth</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.myromanapartment.com/food-stamps-eating-202-june/">Food Stamps: Eating Well on $202 in June</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-to-make-deluxe-gifts-for-under-15">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-savory-holiday-food-gifts">7 Savory Food Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-coupons-20-great-free-gift-ideas">20 Great, Free Gift Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities">10 Great Gifts for Teachers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake">15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY cheap gifts Christmas gift ideas holiday gifts wedding gifts Mon, 13 Dec 2010 13:36:07 +0000 Max Wong 329200 at http://www.wisebread.com Customer Service Nightmares - What's a Good Consumerist to Do? http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do <p>I love the web site <a href="http://www.consumerist.com/" target="_blank">Consumerist.com</a> (motto: Shoppers Bite Back). They provide some great money-saving ideas, funny advice on how to get away with things that you didn&#39;t even know you could, and good commentary on consumerist culture.</p> <p>In addition, Consumerist offers some great customer-provided stories about companies jilting customers, <strong>and</strong> they offer the customer the best revenge - public venting of their experience. Better than a rant/rave on craigslist.org, the stories at Consumerist are mind-boggling. The kind of bullying that goes down at retailers both big and small, online and brick-and-mortar, are often laugh-out-loud funny.</p> <p>I&#39;ve had some fantastically bad customer service exchanges during my lifetime, but I really enjoyed reading about this <a href="http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/complaints/weddingdepots-nonresponsive-passive-aggressive-customer-service-225599.php" target="_blank">one</a>. I can&#39;t imagine how this &quot;customer service&quot; rep (actually the sole owner, president, and resident jerk of WeddingDepot.com) has been able to hold onto a job for more than a day, seeing as how he is functionally insane. He&#39;s <a href="http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/complaints/weddingdepot-wants-our-libelous-post-removed-225784.php" target="_blank">also telling Consumerist </a>to take down the original posting. </p> <p>Hilarious. Dumb, but hilarious.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-all-that-stuff-the-police-seize-and-its-cheap">How to Buy All That Stuff the Police Seize. And It&#039;s Cheap.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund">9 Times You Should Demand a Refund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs customer service online shopping retail returns wedding gifts Fri, 05 Jan 2007 21:58:14 +0000 Andrea Karim 156 at http://www.wisebread.com