flowers http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/653/all en-US 5 Big Ticket Wedding Items You Should Borrow Instead of Buy http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-ticket-wedding-items-you-should-borrow-instead-of-buy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-big-ticket-wedding-items-you-should-borrow-instead-of-buy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/newlywed_couple_000042336338.jpg" alt="Married couple finding wedding items to borrow instead of buy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting fed up with the high ticket prices on wedding items? Zero out a few fields in your wedding budget and &quot;borrow&quot; them instead.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-save-on-a-wedding-dress?ref=seealso">7 Smart Ways to Save on a Wedding Dress</a></p> <h2>1. The Altar, Arch, or Canopy</h2> <p>This is an item everyone wants, until they remember how it's totally useless after the wedding. Building your own structure is awesome if you're handy, but why not borrow one? Try asking your officiant, venue, or your religious institution if they already have some materials you can use. For my wedding, our Rabbi already had the elements for a simple chuppah, so we used that instead of buying or renting an expensive one.</p> <p>If you are getting married outdoors, find a nearby tree. A tree is not only the perfect backdrop and canopy in one, but it's a great symbol for the family you are making.</p> <h2>2. The Live Band or DJ</h2> <p>Instead of hiring a DJ, why not make the music a fun activity for your guests in anticipation of your wedding? Make a form on your wedding site asking guests what song they want to move their bodies to on the dance floor. You (or your Best Man or Maid of Honor) can gather up all the answers to form one epic playlist. Have your coordinator hit play at the start of the reception and let the good times roll.</p> <p>Really have your heart set on a live band? If you are friends with musicians, try asking them to play for a portion of your wedding as their gift to you. Of course, they are working, too, so it may not be fair to keep them from enjoying the full night of festivities. Talk to your friends and family musicians to see how they can be a part of your wedding and enjoy it, too.</p> <h2>3. The Table Decor</h2> <p>From bunting to centerpieces, this is a factor of every wedding budget that tends to spiral out of control. A few ideas to borrow...</p> <ul> <li>Looked at the florist's quote and cried? Instead of buying their labor, try having the mothers of the family gather flowers from their homes in mismatched vases to use as table dressings.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bored of flowers and want something unique? Borrow framed family photos from all sides of the family and place them as table centerpieces with a few small tealights from the Dollar Store.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Borrow old books from your parents' bookshelves. Pick some ones that mean a lot to you to stack as a cute, nerdy centerpiece.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Looking for old decor that you don't have to DIY? Try asking your local department store when they will discard their window displays. Anthropologie tends to take theirs down every month.</li> </ul> <h2>4. The Getaway Car</h2> <p>Every couple wants a cool way to leave their reception, but trying to book a Batmobile or a vintage Rolls Royce can mean the difference between being on budget and having to cut down your honeymoon. Ask around! You probably have a relative or friend of a friend with a cool ride (or a connection to one). Leave in something authentic and cool, instead of paying hundreds for a rental that someone else will have to return for you the next day.</p> <h2>5. The Photography</h2> <p>While it's awesome to have a professional photographer following you all day, it's simply not in the cards for everyone. Lots of couples are saving room in the wedding budget by going the guest-sourced photography route. All your friends and family are eager to snap photos of the big day already, so encourage them to get their Instagrams ready. A great way to include guest photography can be through a game or scavenger hunt for people or details, like with the <a href="https://ceremonyapp.com/">Ceremony app</a>. Just be clear about when it is okay to ambush the couple for photos.</p> <p>The wedding goes by fast, so the most beautiful part is seeing your wedding through the eyes of all your friends and family just days later. Remember to make a Dropbox or Flickr account for everyone to add their memories.</p> <p><em>What else should couples borrow for wedding day?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-ticket-wedding-items-you-should-borrow-instead-of-buy">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-8"> <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-have-a-great-wedding-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Have a Great Wedding if You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</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/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</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/take-back-st-valentine-s-day-from-hallmark-and-hershey-s">Take back St. Valentine’s Day from Hallmark and Hershey’s.</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/5-romantic-wedding-locations-that-wont-cost-a-fortune">5 Romantic Wedding Locations That Won&#039;t Cost a Fortune</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-family-plans-can-save-you-tons">How Family Plans Can Save you TONS</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living borrowing decorations DJ flowers marriage music photography weddings Mon, 22 Feb 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1659838 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_gardening_000019625064.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter using gardening skills to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like most activities, a little planning and preparation will save you money in the garden. Why? Because many of the tasks that help make a garden grow need to be completed weeks, or months, before you actually begin planting. Planning your garden in advance will give you an edge over nature (which will do its best to destroy your garden) and will save you some serious money.</p> <p>The following nine skills will help you to plan, plant, and enjoy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">healthy garden</a> (while saving some money, too).</p> <h2>1. Soil Analysis</h2> <p>Okay, you're not expected to become an actual expert on soil pH, but if you doubt that your soil provides ideal growing conditions for the plants you intend to grow, it would behoove you to test your soil's pH before planting your garden. You can either use a <a href="http://preparednessmama.com/testing-your-soil-ph-without-a-kit/">DIY soil pH test</a> or buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001LEPYA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001LEPYA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W2QZBKKFSEYAQTKG">soil pH kit</a> online or from your local hardware store. Once you know if your soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline, you can <a href="http://www.almanac.com/content/ph-preferences">plant your garden according to pH</a>, or try to <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-adjust-soil-ph-for-your-garden.html">change your soil's pH</a> to meet your plants' needs.</p> <p>Also, being able to ascertain if your soil type meets the needs of the plants you are sowing can save you time and money in the long run. What kind of soil do you have in your garden? Knowing which of the six types of soil that you are dealing with can help you better plan and plant your garden so that you don't lose any plants to soil compatibility problems. Soil type can vary even within your yard, and will determine, as much as sunlight, what kinds of plants are successful in a given spot.</p> <p>Of course, you can always alter soil by removing or adding elements. If you have soil that is too sandy for your needs, you can remove some of the sand, and add silt and clay to it to aid water retention and infuse nutrients.</p> <p>Speaking of nutrients, you can save lots of money if you do your own&hellip;</p> <h2>2. Composting (or Worm Binning)</h2> <p>Composting is a great way to reuse yard waste, lawn clippings, and food stuff that you might normally throw away and turn it into nutrients for your garden. Yes, of course you can buy commercially produced compost, but if you have the space and the time, why not DIY it and save some money?</p> <p>Composting can be a bit smelly, but there are ways to <a href="http://citygirlfarming.com/Compost/ControlCompostOdor.html">compost while minimizing odors</a>.</p> <p>Composting is fairly easy to get started, and will provide you with plenty of excellent, nutrient-rich soil for your garden. To be ready for spring planting, start your compost bin/pile in early autumn.</p> <h2>3. Sun Exposure Charting</h2> <p>Another key consideration when planning your garden is to determine how many hours of daily sunlight each part of your garden receives. My neighbors, recent transplants from Southern California, recently planted a bunch of shade-loving plants in their front yard, assuming that because we live in a mossy, rainy area, those were the types of plants that would do best. What they didn't consider is that, during the summer months, their front yard receives about six hours of direct sunlight per day.</p> <p>You can use <a href="http://getbusygardening.com/how-to-determine-sun-exposure/">DIY sun exposure charts</a> to determine how much sun your garden receives, or buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002XZLLXU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002XZLLXU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KBQYAAZ5OVB2FZBZ">sunlight meter</a> for less than $20 and let the little machine do the work for you. Once you have your garden mapped for sun exposure, you can plan for your plants.</p> <h2>4. Seed Germination</h2> <p>Buying seeds is a smart way to save money, especially if you buy them on sale at the end of summer and plant them the next year. Seed starts are usually much cheaper than buying grown plants or seedlings (although this depends on the size of your garden; if it's quite small, buying grown plants might make more sense). Buying seeds also gives you the option to seek out unusual or heirloom varieties of the flowers, fruits, and vegetables that can't necessarily be found in plant form at your local nursery.</p> <p>Some plants can be sown directly into your garden soil, and other seeds need to be germinated inside and transplanted as seedlings after the final frost. Make sure to read the instructions on the packet of each type of seed that you buy to understand the best way to plant.</p> <h2>5. Planter Building</h2> <p>If you want a slightly more ergonomic garden (and a leg up on pest control), you'd be smart to consider <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2011/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/">building raised garden beds</a> yourself. If you can't stand the thought of doing this, you can always <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=raised%20garden%20bed&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=raise%2Caps&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=4RAQVJDG4GOMPUPD">buy raised garden beds</a>, but trust me, building them is much cheaper.</p> <h2>6. Diligent Pest Control</h2> <p>I have to be honest &mdash; I'm perfectly comfortable using chemical sprays and slug death pellets in my garden, because I've had no luck with copper tape or bug traps. Whatever your preferences for pest control (organic and earth-friendly pest control or <em>death-to-bugs</em>-type methods), pest control is a money-saver. After all, letting all your veggies succumb to some creepy-crawly insect isn't a wise investment of time or cash.</p> <p>Veggie gardeners who prefer natural pest control methods report success when planting flowers like zinnias, nasturtiums, calendula, cosmos, and sweet alyssum in their vegetable gardens. These plants attract predator bugs that take out annoying pests like tomato hornworms and aphids. You can buy batches of ladybugs online and in garden stores, too.</p> <h2>7. Pollenating</h2> <p>You've probably heard about the significant decline in the bee population. If you want your trees and bushes to bear fruit, you're going to need pollinators like bees and moths to visit your garden. You can attract these helpful insects by <a href="http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/attracting-beneficial-bees/5024.html">planting bee-attracting wildflowers</a> in your garden, either interspersed with your fruits and veggies or alongside them.</p> <p>If you aren't seeing the volume of pollinating insects that you normally do, you can use the trick my husband uses to get our tomatoes to yield more fruit through airborne pollen &mdash; run an electric toothbrush against the back of your blossoms. After all, there are few things more frustrating to a gardener than a paltry tomato crop!</p> <h2>8. Tool Care and Maintenance</h2> <p>You don't have to buy expensive garden tools in order to be a good gardener, but you should treat your gardening implements well in order to keep them in working order for years. I'm a lazy, lazy gardener, and I can attest that having to buy a new shovel every few months is not only costly, but it's also kind of stupid.</p> <p>To keep your garden tools in good working order, remember to clean them, hang them up dry, and occasionally oil what needs oiling. Clean, well-stored tools will continue to work for you season after season.</p> <h2>9. Intelligent Harvesting and Pruning</h2> <p>Part of being a smart gardener is knowing how to care for perennials, and that means learning when and how to prune your plants. Pruning isn't just about keeping plants a manageable size; it's the art of learning what superfluous matter to cut away so that a plant will concentrate its energy on producing what matters most to you &mdash; whether that's fruit, flowers, or perfect leaves.</p> <p>If you are growing food in your garden, you'll want to learn <a href="http://abundantminigardens.com/training-and-pruning-trellised-vegetables/">how to prune your vegetable plants</a> and <a href="http://www.homegrown.org/forum/topics/harvesting-herbs-101-basil-chives-cilantro-coriander-mint-parsley">harvest herbs</a>, fruits, and vegetables in a way that allows the plant to continue growing. For instance, pruning herbs like mint can actually promote more plant growth.</p> <p><em>How green is your garden?</em></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/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">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/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</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-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</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-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</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-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</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-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living composting flowers gardening outdoors vegetables Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:00:18 +0000 Andrea Karim 1448400 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save a Bundle on Flowers http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-a-bundle-on-flowers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-a-bundle-on-flowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4357505067_09c4ac4536_z.jpg" alt="Save A Bundle On Flowers" title="Save A Bundle On Flowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on saving on flowers, getting cheap life insurance, and paying off student loans.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Save-Money-Flowers-27012566">9 Tips To Save You A Bundle On Flowers</a> &mdash; To save money on flowers, consider giving a potted plant instead! [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://freefrombroke.com/how-to-get-cheap-life-insurance/">How to Get Cheap Life Insurance</a> &mdash; Get cheap life insurance by purchasing it when you are young. [Free From Broke]</p> <p><a href="http://www.20sfinances.com/2013/01/30/new-plan-to-pay-off-your-student-loans/">New Plan To Pay Off Your Student Loans</a> &mdash; Did you know the government has implemented a new pay as you go plan for student loans? [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mrfreestuff.com/free-tax-filing-services/">10 Free Tax-Filing Services for 2013</a> &mdash; If you are looking for a free tax-filing service, check out FreeTaxUSA or OLT. [Mr. Free Stuff]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/manage-large-investment-portfolio/">How to Manage a Large Investment Portfolio</a> &mdash; When it comes to managing a large investment portfolio, try to streamline your retirement accounts. [Cash Money Life]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://amateurassetallocator.com/2013/01/21/at-what-point-do-you-no-longer-need-an-emergency-fund/">At What Point Do You No Longer Need An Emergency Fund?</a> &mdash; Chances are you don't need an emergency fund if you have at least twice as much money invested in your taxable accounts as you would need with a cash emergency fund. [Amateur Asset Allocator]</p> <p><a href="http://wealthyturtle.com/think-eating-healthy-is-expensive-think-again/">Think Eating Healthy Is Expensive? Think Again</a> &mdash; Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive if you take advantage of a CSA. [Wealthy Turtle]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/frugal-living/spring-break-destinations">Top Spring Break Destinations</a> &mdash; South Padre Island is one of the top spring break destinations for 2013. [The Frugal Toad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/business-lessons-from-new-media-expo/">10 Business Lessons I Learned in Vegas at New Media Expo</a> &mdash; If you want to make an impact, you have to step outside your comfort zone. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/9-unique-exercise-options-for-2013">9 Unique Exercise Options for Moms</a> &mdash; For moms looking for fun and unique exercise options, try kickboxing. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-a-bundle-on-flowers">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/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers">Flower Power - A Guide to Frugal Valentine&#039;s Flowers</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/4-easy-steps-to-buying-lingerie-for-your-wife-girlfriend-or-significant-other">4 Easy Steps to Buying Lingerie for Your Wife, Girlfriend, or Significant Other</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/10-budget-friendly-ways-to-get-it-right-this-valentines-day-and-beyond">10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Get it Right This Valentine&#039;s Day and Beyond</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/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches">Couplehood: Avoiding the Valentine Clichés</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/last-minute-free-valentines-day-gift-ideas">Last minute free Valentine&#039;s Day gift ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping best money tips flowers Valentine's Day Thu, 31 Jan 2013 11:00:37 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 967593 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Shave $5,000 Off Your Wedding Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shave-5000-off-your-wedding-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-shave-5000-off-your-wedding-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5929478715_eca1e5df0e_z.jpg" alt="wedding" title="wedding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So many of my friends come to me for tips on how to save money on life&rsquo;s great expenses.</p> <p>I fancy myself an expert on how to shop for food in a more cost-effective manner, where to find the best discounts on home décor, and how to have an awesome vacation on a budget, but when it comes to cutting costs on a wedding I&rsquo;m as clueless as the next guy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-wedding-ideas-for-big-savings">Alternative Wedding Ideas for Big Savings</a>)</p> <p>When I have to answer a wedding-budget question from my friends, I turn to Josie Daga, founder of <a href="http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com">PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com</a>. If I can't answer my friends' questions about how to save on their wedding, I know she can. Not only did Josie fix her problem of not being able to unload her wedding dress after her wedding by creating a business designed to help other women do it, but she's an all-around wedding genius. And she should be, too. She's attended more than 100 weddings, and she's been a bridesmaid in at least 14 ceremonies. That's a crazy amount of weddings, but they've given Josie inside knowledge on the best money-saving tips and tricks for the big day.</p> <p>According to The Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is about $26,000. With Josie&rsquo;s suggestions, however, you can slash that price tag by more than $5,000 in areas where you don&rsquo;t have to sacrifice quality, and your guests will never know you skimped. Take a look.</p> <h2>Invitations</h2> <p>My husband and I didn&rsquo;t have a proper wedding, but we did throw a celebratory party for our family and friends about six months after we said our I-dos. The actual party was more important to us than the invitations that our guests would eventually throw away, so we opted for e-invites. We saved many hundreds of dollars by going that route &mdash; money that we threw back into the food and bev budget &mdash; but I totally understand that many of you (brides, at least) aren&rsquo;t willing to forgo formal invitations&hellip;and you don&rsquo;t have to.</p> <p>Josie&rsquo;s advice: &ldquo;Invitations are the first impression you give your guests of your wedding. They should signal the style of your event and reflect your personality, but don&rsquo;t need to cost a fortune. Letterpress will cost you $750 on just 100 invites and response cards, but you can get an equally beautiful invitation with thermography for $400. That&rsquo;s a savings of $350, and most guests won&rsquo;t know the difference.&rdquo;</p> <h2>The Dress</h2> <p>My husband and I saved big here when we eloped because, well, we&rsquo;re two dudes. Not everyone is so lucky, of course.</p> <p>Josie&rsquo;s advice: &ldquo;The average cost of a dress and accessories is $1,500. You can cut the cost of your dress by 50% ($750) by purchasing a preowned gown. Most preowned gowns have been worn only once, with great care, and many have never been worn at all. Or, if your heart is set on a new gown, sell it after your big day and recoup 50% of what you spent.&rdquo;</p> <p>Of course, if you don't like the idea of wearing a preowned dress, there are other ways to cut costs on the gown, which include renting a dress (yep, you can do that) and shopping last-season sales. The latter can save you 30% percent or more off your dream dress.</p> <h2>Venue</h2> <p>My husband and I saved lots of money on the place where we got married because it was at a courthouse in Connecticut, but we did rent a venue for the party. A nice reception venue will never be cheap, but you can save a pretty penny if you put in the time and effort to search various establishments and compare prices and amenities.</p> <p>Josie&rsquo;s advice: &ldquo;Having your ceremony and reception at the same place can save you $1,000 by reducing costs on everything from venue fees to chair rental to delivery fees. And you&rsquo;ll reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding, which benefits everyone.&quot;</p> <h2>Flowers</h2> <p>This is another area where it paid to be two guys getting married because neither one of us are particularly interested in flowers. In fact, we didn&rsquo;t have any flowers at all because we had a winter party, and I decided to have centerpieces that included white-painted branches instead of flowers. Still, flowers are crucial for some, but they don&rsquo;t have to cost a bundle.</p> <p>Josie&rsquo;s advice: &ldquo;Wired bouquets can cost 40% more than equally beautiful hand-tied ones because of the time it takes a florist to create them. Spend $100 instead of $140 on a bridal bouquet and $50 instead of $70 on flowers for your four <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-bridesmaid-dress-ideas-from-a-bridesmaid">bridesmaids</a> for a savings of $120. You can also use fewer flower arrangements at your reception by creating larger tables. Instead of tables of eight, host tables of twelve; for 140 guests, you&rsquo;ll need 12 centerpieces instead of 18. At $75 a centerpiece, you&rsquo;ve just saved $300 on flowers.&rdquo;</p> <h2>The Bar</h2> <p>An open bar was a nonnegotiable expense at our party &mdash; it was a must-have (and I won&rsquo;t attend any wedding without one) &mdash; but we were able to score a win by getting the venue to add an extra hour of liquor service for no additional cost. If you can&rsquo;t or don&rsquo;t want to have an open bar, consider select cocktails instead.</p> <p>Josie&rsquo;s advice: &ldquo;An open bar is a big expense that can easily reach $2,800 for a party of 140. Instead of stocking a full bar, offer your guests beer and wine along with one or two <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails">signature cocktails</a>. Make the signature cocktail fun by creating it in your wedding colors, or offer a 'Bride&rsquo;s Recommendation' and a 'Groom&rsquo;s Recommendation.' In addition to injecting your personality into your event, you&rsquo;ll save at least $800 on the bar tab for those 140 guests.&rdquo;</p> <h2>Music</h2> <p>Not only is a DJ far less expensive than a band, but a DJ also provides a mix of tunes that everyone is sure to enjoy. Also, you get into very dangerous territory with a band because some guests might not like their style, which can bring the party down if the guests start dozing off after dinner.</p> <p>Josie&rsquo;s advice: &ldquo;The music at your wedding is a big part of setting the tone &mdash; and creating the fun of your party. Both a band and a DJ will do a great job, but at very different rates. You&rsquo;ll spend at least $3,000 to hire a good wedding band, but only $1,100 for a DJ. So pocket the savings and let your guest hear 'Party Rock Anthem' just the way LMFAO sings it.&rdquo;</p> <p>The savings so far:</p> <ul> <li>Invitations: $350</li> <li>Dress/ accessories: $750</li> <li>Venue: $1,000</li> <li>Flowers: $120</li> <li>Centerpieces: $300</li> <li>Bar: $800</li> <li>Music: $1,900</li> </ul> <p>Total Savings: $5,220</p> <h3>More Smart Ways to Save on Wedding Expenses From Josie</h3> <ul> <li>Use your bouquets on your cake table. They&rsquo;ll look gorgeous and you won&rsquo;t need to spend money on any other decorations.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Opt for passed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-seafood-appetizers-to-impress-your-guests">hors d&rsquo;oeuvres</a> instead of stations. Guests tend to eat less of the passed version &mdash; which can add up to savings.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Skip the champagne toasts. No one will even notice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use table runners instead of expensive tablecloths. The look is just as elegant.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Order a smaller cake. Order a &ldquo;show cake&rdquo; big enough to feed 75% of your guests, and serve the rest from a less expensive &ldquo;kitchen cake.&quot; No one will even know and your cake cutting photos will look just as silly.</li> </ul> <p><em>Where did you cut corners on your wedding costs? Were you able to reduce your budget in a big way for your big day? Let me know all about your savvy spending 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/how-to-shave-5000-off-your-wedding-expenses">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/lessons-in-frugality-from-the-walking-dead">Lessons in Frugality From &quot;The Walking Dead&quot;</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-clever-ways-to-sample-the-good-life">8 Clever Ways to Sample the Good Life</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/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass">Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass.</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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/8-fun-and-cheap-things-to-do-during-the-weekday">8 Fun and Cheap Things to Do During the Weekday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Lifestyle affordable weddings expert tips flowers Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:24:38 +0000 Mikey Rox 944068 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save on Summer Garden Flowers http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-summer-garden-flowers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-on-summer-garden-flowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6795493744_7f6a625c94_z.jpg" alt="potted flowers" title="potted flowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With nicer weather approaching and the promise of summer on the horizon, many are thinking about gardening in the near future. While there are plenty of nicely grown, easy-to-transplant flower pallets waiting at the local home improvement stores and nurseries, buying in bulk can get expensive. But you can work wonders with a variety of plants and flowers without blowing your tight budget. Here are some easy ways to still make your garden pretty without spending a fortune. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">Garden Ideas for Small Spaces</a>)</p> <h2>Grow Your Own</h2> <p>Seed packets are inexpensive, as is the potting soil you need to start your own seedlings. You should start planting seeds early and keep them well-watered in a sunlit place inside your home to promote growth. There are lots of free resources online to show you how to plant at home successfully, and you can save a lot of cash and still get all the flowers you need for a fraction of the cost. Use recycled milk jugs to start your plants, so you don&rsquo;t have to spend more money on excess gardening supplies.</p> <h2>Think Perennials</h2> <p>Perennials will come back year after year if cared for properly. You can purchase lovely perennial bulbs just about anywhere these days, including dollar stores. The good thing about perennials is that you do the work once, and the plants require only maintenance from there on out.</p> <h2>Borrow From Family</h2> <p>Many flowers and other plants are able to be shared. If you admire plants and flowers from your friends, family, and even the neighbors, ask if they would share some with you. Plant roots like hosta or Rose of Sharon can be separated and replanted successfully.</p> <h2>Check Out the Farmers Markets</h2> <p>There are many working farms that grow things other than produce in order to increase profitability. Many will sell trays of great-looking flower varieties at a fraction of the cost you&rsquo;d find in retail locations. You can find a large selection of annual and perennial plants and flowers in season at your local <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">farmers market</a>.</p> <p>Remember that outdoor flowers and plants require care and maintenance. If you want your garden to look good, be sure to keep it free of weeds and properly watered so the plants will look healthy and vibrant. Do your research about which flowers are best for your location <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">based on the seasons</a>. If you organize your garden properly, you&rsquo;ll be able to have in-season blooms throughout the spring, summer, and fall without spending a fortune.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-summer-garden-flowers">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/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</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/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</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/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</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-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</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/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home flowers gardening summer Thu, 12 Apr 2012 09:48:21 +0000 Tisha Tolar 917719 at http://www.wisebread.com Affordable Flowers for Valentine's Day (or Any Day) http://www.wisebread.com/affordable-flowers-for-valentines-day-or-any-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/affordable-flowers-for-valentines-day-or-any-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bouquet.jpg" alt="Bouquet" title="Bouquet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lovely bouquet of flowers is one of the most common Valentine's Day expenditures. Flowers really are a luxury item &mdash; they aren't something that most people buy regularly. This is partly because floral arrangements are so expensive &mdash; even the less-than-perfect arrangements that you get from your local grocery store. If you plan on buying flowers for your significant other this Valentine's Day, there are ways to spend less and still get a beautiful bouquet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-valentine-s-day-desserts-that-hit-the-sweet-spot">14 Valentine's Desserts That Hit the Sweet Spot</a>)</p> <h2>Avoid the Premade Arrangements</h2> <p>If you need to save some serious money this Valentine's Day, then you actually need to avoid the pre-made arrangements at your local grocery store (or online!). Florists are ready weeks ahead of time with pre-made floral arrangements for Valentine's Day, the cost of which can run the gamut from reasonable to bank-breaking. If you can afford a <a href="http://www.mint.com/blog/trends/valentines-day-spending-2011-02142011/?display=wide">professional florist</a>, by all means, splurge on a bouquet that will knock the socks off your lover. But if you really need to watch your wallet, don't buy the big bouquets that are specifically created for this Hallmark holiday. Nine times out of ten, the price is more than triple what it would be on any other holiday, and you end up paying for a lot of fill, like ferns and other greenery that may not be that attractive.</p> <p>Instead, buy a bunch of flowers that isn't already arranged, and do the arranging yourself. Here's how.</p> <h2>Choose Underrated Flowers</h2> <p>Some flowers have been so misused over the years that people have an almost innate aversion to using them &mdash; the problem is that these flowers are some of the nicest and most affordable: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alstroemeria">alstroemeria </a>and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianthus_caryophyllus">carnations</a>.</p> <p>&quot;People have a knee-jerk reaction to alstros and carnations because of how they have been used in the past,&quot; says Miles Johnson, owner of <a href="http://www.fiorifloraldesign.com">Fiori Floral Design</a>, <a href="http://www.lavenderandvine.com/">Lavender &amp; Vine</a> Florists, and <a href="http://www.rdavidadams.com/">R. David Adams Flowers</a> in Seattle. &quot;But if they are used on their own, without other flowers, the effect can be striking. Pick up two bunches of alstroemeria, place in a vase with some lily grass, and you will have a beautiful arrangement that will last a long time.&quot;</p> <p><img width="605" height="402" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/asiaticlily3.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Alstroemeria</em><strong><br /> </strong></p> <p>Carnations have typically been seen as a cheap alternative to &quot;real&quot; flowers, like roses, but carnations have two very important qualities, besides the low price: scent and longevity.</p> <p><img width="251" height="350" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/DSC_0002.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Carnations</em><em> in a Mason jar</em></p> <p>&quot;Carnations should almost never be used with other flowers,&quot; explains Johnson, &quot;unless they are providing a particular pop of color or texture that only they can provide, such as a deep, dark purple in a <a href="http://www.ehow.com/info_8016061_pav-style-flowers.html">pavé arrangement</a>. Carnations look great massed together as a single flower in a bouquet. Cut the stems short and tuck them in together closely.&quot; Choose a shorter vase or jar to accentuate the compact feeling.</p> <p>Other flowers that are often overlooked on Valentine's Day? Hydrangeas, which come in dazzling colors, last for a long time, and can stand alone in a vase or add fullness to a bigger bouquet.</p> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/5888804015_e1ae1490f4_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Hydrangea photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/photofarmer/5888804015/">photofarmer</a><br /> </em></p> <p>If your loved one enjoys the scent of flowers, then look no further than stargazer lilies. They can be more expensive than other bouquets (you might pay $12 for a sprig), but the heady, spicy scent is worth every penny. Buy two sprigs and skip the filler &mdash; keep the bouquet simple and fragrant.</p> <p><img width="605" height="540" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/stargazer.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Stargazer lily<br /> </em></p> <p>While roses are very pretty, skip the long-stem red roses and choose a bunch of &quot;spray roses&quot; &mdash; they come in a variety of shades, with many dozens of blooms, and are often half the price of the Valentine's Day rose selections. Sure, the stems are shorter and the blooms are smaller, but they are also more interesting and varied than your standard bouquet rose.</p> <p><img width="605" height="402" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/rose4.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Spray roses </em>&mdash;<em> $20 for over 100 blooms!<br /> </em></p> <h2>Select the Unexpected</h2> <p>Roses are such a symbol of Valentine's Day that they've pretty much become a cliche. But what if your significant other isn't into the norm? Look beyond the standard offerings and consider something more unusual.</p> <p>Thistles<strong> </strong>come in lovely shades of green, blue, and purple, and are increasingly easy to find in floral departments at major grocery stores &mdash; a couple of sprigs shouldn't cost more than $11.</p> <p><img width="605" height="471" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u14/thistle1.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Purple thistles and dark purple carnations</em></p> <p>Is your love a bit prickly? Get him or her a potted cactus instead of cut flowers. If your darling has a green thumb, then a beautiful orchid might be just the thing. Does your honey spend more time in the kitchen than in the garden? Buy bunches of organic herbs at your grocery store, tie together with twine, and place in a simple mason jar with a little water &mdash; a fragrant bouquet of edible herbs. A spray of eucalyptus might appeal more to those Earth-y types than regular flowers.</p> <h2>Seek Out Unique Vases</h2> <p>Never buy a vase at the same place you buy your flowers, unless you find an incredible steal. The vases sold at floral shops and grocery store floral departments are usually poorly made, incredibly expensive, or both. Instead, use a vase that you already have at home, or find a cool-looking alternative.</p> <p>Miles Johnson recommends mason jars, <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/milk-glass-vases-a-primergarde-126946">milk glass vases</a>, and unusually shaped vases like glass cubes. Check out vintage and thrift stores like Goodwill for old-fashioned and unusual glasses, vases, and teacups, or go to large discount retailers like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-perimeter-perusing-at-target">Target</a> and Walmart for more modern and exotic vessels.</p> <h2>How to Arrange a Bouquet</h2> <p>A beautiful bouquet can seem like a daunting project, but it's actually fairly simple. Just use the following tips:</p> <ol> <li>Florists employ a bevy of tools to create their beautiful bouquets, but Miles Johnson says that beginners only need a sharp knife, floral tape, and some flower food. &quot;Knives are always better for cutting flowers because they don't compress the capillaries the way clippers or scissors will, so the flowers will last longer,&quot; says Johnson. Floral tape can be replaced with Scotch tape in a pinch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fill your vase halfway with clean, cold water, and add the flower food (this should be provided to you when you buy your flowers &mdash; if not, ask for a packet or two). Mix until dissolved.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Remove any leaves that would be submersed in water &mdash; the leaves decay quickly and make the arrangement die faster.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Using the tape, create a grid across the top of the vase, so that stems can be inserted in the gaps in between. The grid allows you to position blooms in a symmetrical manner. It's also easier on the stems than using floral foam.</li> </ol> <h2>Bouquet Accessories</h2> <p>Although a simple cluster of one or two types of flowers is generally enough, if you are feeling creative, you can certainly bulk up an arrangement with a few floral accessories.</p> <p><strong>Pine Cones</strong></p> <p>Wrap wire around base of <a href="http://thefullbouquetblog.com/2011/01/28/winter-wedding-in-the-cooler/">pine cone</a> and create a wire &quot;stem&quot; so that the pine cone can be set securely among the flowers.</p> <p><strong>Glass Christmas Bulbs</strong></p> <p>Similar to the pine cone, create a &quot;stem&quot; using some wire and insert glass Christmas ornaments (gold or pink) among bright pink blooms.</p> <p><strong>Branches</strong></p> <p>Curly willow and blooming branches like witch hazel make beautiful additions to floral bouquets and also provide dimensional interest. You don't have to buy branches &mdash; you can get them from your own yard or neighborhood.</p> <p><strong>Paper Hearts</strong></p> <p>Well, it IS Valentine's Day, after all. Cut out several sets of paper hearts from whatever paper or spare material you have (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">newspaper</a> makes some pretty hearts), and glue to both sides of the top of a wooden stir stick (the kind you use for coffee). Place throughout your bouquet.</p> <h2>Should You Buy Locally Grown Flowers?</h2> <p>Attempting to purchase flowers that are grown locally is admirable &mdash; it cuts down on your carbon footprint, because the majority of flowers available in the U.S. come from Central and South America. Those regions have hot weather and longer growing seasons, to say nothing of incredibly cheap labor. This makes it tough for U.S.-grown flowers to compete on price. Miles Johnson recommends buying local flowers in the late spring and summer, when the cost difference drops significantly.</p> <p>If you really want to pull together a bouquet of <a href="http://the50milebouquet.com/2011/03/21/from-farm-to-florist/">locally grown flowers</a> for Valentine's Day, your options are limited (unless you live in more tropical climes yourself). In some areas, tulips are an inexpensive option, as bulb flowers are the first to hit the market. They'll probably be grown in a hothouse, but they might not travel as far.</p> <p><em>Are you a flower-arranging maniac? Have any tips on how to put together a great, inexpensive bouquet on Valentine's Day (or any day)? Tell us about it in the comments!</em></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/affordable-flowers-for-valentines-day-or-any-day">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/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</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/make-your-own-coupons-20-great-free-gift-ideas">20 Great, Free Gift Ideas</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/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</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/9-thrifty-meaningful-gifts-for-mom">9 Thrifty, Meaningful Gifts for Mom</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/5-reasons-to-use-your-outdoor-furniture-inside">5 Reasons to Use Your Outdoor Furniture -– Inside</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Lifestyle affordable romance flowers ideas for valentines day Mon, 13 Feb 2012 16:41:39 +0000 Andrea Karim 876939 at http://www.wisebread.com Take back St. Valentine’s Day from Hallmark and Hershey’s. http://www.wisebread.com/take-back-st-valentine-s-day-from-hallmark-and-hershey-s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/take-back-st-valentine-s-day-from-hallmark-and-hershey-s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/98174687_9a5daf5c11.jpg" alt="Broken Heart" title="Broken Heart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today is St. Valentine’s Day. Delivery vans filled with flowers are passing each other on the highways; the supermarket aisles filled with pink and red cards are chock full of men and women, frantically buying that last-minute love note. And I have to wonder…why do we bother?</p> <p>I knew very little about St. Valentine’s Day so I did some digging around at the library and on the Internet. I won’t bore you with all of the details, so here’s a brief summary in spectacular bullet-point style:</p> <ul> <li>Many Christian martyrs were called Valentine.</li> <li>Up until around 40 years ago, there were 11 (yes 11) Valentine’s Days recognized by the Catholic Church.</li> <li>Prior to the works of Chaucer, no link between love and the Valentine Saints existed. </li> <li>St. Valentine’s Day has appeared in Shakespeare plays.</li> <li>The current day revolves around the legend of a priest named Valentine and Roman Emperor Claudius II. Claudius wanted young men to remain single, Valentine secretly performed marriages and was executed. A note he left to his beloved, the jailer’s daughter, read “From Your Valentine.”</li> </ul> <p>So, that’s the brief, brief history of the day. But now, as with most holidays in the world, corporate interests are heavily invested in capitalizing on this day. Expensive cards, flowers, chocolates, little teddy bears, lingerie, teddy bears wearing lingerie and holding chocolates, you name it, there’s a tacky gift with a heart on it. </p> <p>And that made me wonder, is this day at all necessary? After all, why do we need a special day to remind our true love that we do indeed love them? Listening to the radio this morning, I heard a caller say that men need this day to remind us to do something special for our partner, or we’d just not bother. Does that mean we’re paying the price for our laziness through cards and flowers? Can’t we do better?</p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/100261919_68b638140c.jpg" alt="Cards" title="Cards" width="335" height="251" /><br /><em>St. Valentine&#39;s Day cards for Mom, Dad, Sister, Cousin, Dog, Cat and backyard squirrel.</em></p> <p>What has also disturbed me is the vast number of people now eligible to receive a St. Valentine’s Day card or gift. Now, when I was in Britain seven years ago, St. Valentine’s Day was a celebration of romance. Couples and would-be lovers would send cards to each other. But now, you can wish your grandma, your niece or your best friend a Happy Valentine’s Day. Seriously, why? It was bad enough that large corporations had hijacked this holiday for lovers, but now they’ve expanded it to include everyone on the planet. </p> <p>However, being a realist I’m well aware that St. Valentine’s Day is here to stay. But, as the mighty consumer we have the power to take it back. Reject the card companies, forget the flowers, kiss goodbye to the Hershey’s kisses. Instead, do something that takes more thought and less money.</p> <p>One year, I found a small craft box for a few dollars. I painted it burgundy and filled it with small notes, each one endorsed with a small phrase about why I loved my wife. The notes were tied with ribbon, the whole cost of the project was around $6. And it’s one of my wife’s most treasured possessions, still taking pride of place on the dresser some 5 years later. </p> <p>The point is, I think this day allows us to be lazy. It’s easy to order flowers or gifts, it’s simple to sign your name at the bottom of a $5 card. But we can all do better if we try, giving more of our true love to our partners and a lot less of our hard-earned money to places like Hallmark and Hershey’s in the process. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/take-back-st-valentine-s-day-from-hallmark-and-hershey-s">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/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches">Couplehood: Avoiding the Valentine Clichés</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/expert-tips-to-help-you-make-your-own-holiday-cards-and-save-a-small-fortune">Last minute tips for quick and easy homemade Holiday cards. .</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-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</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/diy-plastic-surgery-this-is-not-a-hoax">DIY Plastic Surgery: This Is Not A Hoax.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Consumer Affairs candy cards flowers gifts Hallmark Hershey's lovers romance Thu, 14 Feb 2008 18:11:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1795 at http://www.wisebread.com Edible Flowers Make Cheap Food Beautiful Again http://www.wisebread.com/edible-flowers-make-cheap-food-beautiful-again <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/edible-flowers-make-cheap-food-beautiful-again" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bounty.jpg" alt="bounty" title="bounty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Those of you with gardens are probably entering a new season of produce. Squash plants are getting icky, but they are still producing more zucchini and summer varieties than you can handle. If you are looking for a bit of variety in your day, why not give the flowers a try!</p> <p>While picking her dozens of zucchini and summer squash last week, my always resourceful mother commented that I should try eating the squash flowers. &quot;Come again?&quot; Yep, she knew all about frying the flowers for food. I had heard of flowers for salads and such, but never squash flowers, and never <strong><em>frying</em></strong> them.</p> <p>Well, I took some home (the male flowers only) and I washed them, cut off the green bottoms, and the inside boy parts (this would be the <a href="http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/L232.htm">stamen</a> for those who are anatomically aware). I dipped them in a bowl of eggs, and then in a bowl of seasoned bread crumbs. Two minutes in a hot bath of vegetable oil, and I got the most mouth watering, crunchy delights. They had a floral hint, but tasted more like a delicious fried thing that I can&rsquo;t describe.</p> <p><img height="279" width="371" src="http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i313/kylinsmom/friedfeast.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>If you get the chance, this is what it is all about! I enjoyed the flowers with some fried zucchini, summer squash, and mushrooms. This would also be dandy as a <a href="http://japanesefood.about.com/od/tempura/a/cookingtempura.htm">tempura</a>. The kids even ate them!</p> <p>I began searching frantically for even more flower recipes. My eyes were opened to the world of <a href="http://www.oldfashionedliving.com/nasturtiums2.html">Stuffed Nasturtiums</a>, <a href="http://www.sunriseherbfarm.com/recipes/lavenderdishes.html">Lavender Cookies</a>, and <a href="http://www.astray.com/recipes/?show=Squash%20flower%20soup">Squash Flower Soup</a>. With even more research, I found that most of us eat flowers everyday and didn&rsquo;t even know it. (Ever hear of a clever flower called broccoli?)</p> <p>While you most certainly can <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006DP0RO?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=B0006DP0RO">plant edible flowers</a> for the sole purpose of a nifty new recipe, your most budget-friendly approach is to grab a <a href="http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blflowers.htm">checklist</a> of the safe flowers to eat and get foraging! (Please note that there are also some very common flowers in most yards that are very <a href="http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blflowersnot.htm">poisonous</a>. If you don&rsquo;t know what it is, please don&rsquo;t eat it.)</p> <p>Rose hips, nasturtiums, bachelor button, apple blossoms, carnation, coriander, sweet Williams, honeysuckle, lotus, and glads are just a few of the hundreds of edible flowers just waiting to be fried, baked, or boiled into a delicious gourmet meal. For even more inspiration, check out <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1903141176?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1903141176">Edible Flowers</a> by Kathy Brown, or visit your local extension office website for some great entertaining ideas for an edible flower get-together everyone will enjoy.</p> <p>And if flowers don&rsquo;t float your boat, you can always revisit <a href="/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">Andrea Dickson&rsquo;s article</a> on <a href="/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">Edible Weeds</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/edible-flowers-make-cheap-food-beautiful-again">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-6"> <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/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</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/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</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/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</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-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cooking edible flowers flowers garden recipes Mon, 02 Jul 2007 21:58:29 +0000 Linsey Knerl 799 at http://www.wisebread.com The best things in life are (more or less) free http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-things-in-life-are-more-or-less-free <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/pinkflowers2.jpg" alt="pink flowers" title="pink flowers" width="400" height="291" /></p> <p>Now, at the risk of sounding like a great big softy, I have to share a moment that I experienced recently that reminded me of the real value of money and the place I want it to have in my life.</p> <p>Over the weekend, I was driving around Queen Anne hill in Seattle, trying to find a place that I plan on volunteering at in the near future. Seattle is a nice city, but it is mostly made up of dead-end one-way streets and a couple major highways, patrolled largely by small women with small cell phones in large SUVs who seem unaware that anyone else could possibly occupy part of the road as well.</p> <p>As usual, I was lost. I wasn&#39;t aided by the fact that someone had found it hilarious to turn some of the street signs around so that I was driving in a windy circle, believing mistakenly that I was somehow repeatedly passing my location, which was, in fact, several blocks away.</p> <p>In desperation, I made a sudden right turn onto a street that looked promising. Dead end. I pulled back out onto the street, made a right, and another right. Dead end.</p> <p>I believe that my response was to scream some obscenities. I pulled over, trying to calm my nerves. I had exactly 10 minutes to get where I was going, and I was pretty sure that half of that would be occupied finding parking.</p> <p>When I looked up, I realized that I had pulled onto what had to be the loveliest street in all of Seattle.</p> <p>This is my favorite time of year. I&#39;ve fortunately outgrown my <a href="/8-top-ways-to-care-for-your-allergies-without-damaging-the-budget">allergies to pollen</a>, so spring doesn&#39;t affect me badly the way it used to. I&#39;m enjoying the warmer weather and blooming bulbs, the way the grass, dormant for so long, grows a couple of inches overnight and smells so green in the early morning. But my favorite things in the world are the blossoming flowers.</p> <p>Seattle has a lot of cherry trees. We have a longstanding relationship with Japan, so all over the city, you&#39;ll find trees that are gifts from various Japanese sister cities or governments. People grow them in their yards, too, of course.</p> <p>The street that I pulled over on was lined with cherry trees. Those little strips of grass and yard that are located in front of homes,but separate from the front yard, between the sidewalk and the street? I don&#39;t even know what they&#39;re called. These little strips were covered, from one end of the small street to the other, with flowering pink trees. The trees had been blooming for a week or so, so the blossoms were just beginning to fall. So the entire street was carpeted in tiny, delicate pink petals.</p> <p>I opened my window, turned off the car, and leaned back to breathe and relax. The air was sweet and honey-like, with a touch of spice from some nearby cottonwoods that were just beginning to sprout moist, chartreuse leaf buds. It was as though all my responsibilities simply fell away, all my obligations and worries and frustrations, which are many.</p> <p>Most of the best and happiest moments of my life have been with my family. This was the best of my solitary moments, the most Zen-like time I had allowed myself in a very long time. </p> <p>I started give myself one of those &quot;best things in life are free&quot; lectures, but I realized that money allowed me to be where I was (and not working), and money allowed me to have my small car that nearly gets creamed by SUVs. Money allows me to live in the city so that I don&#39;t have to drive very far to get frustrated and pull off onto a beautiful cul de sac where the air was fresh and sweet and the parking was plentiful. Money bought those trees. I don&#39;t mean to seem cynical or jaded, but I&#39;m certainly not naive enough to believe that money isn&#39;t a deep and integral part of so much of what we do and see and want and love.</p> <p>But money didn&#39;t make those trees bloom. I&#39;m not religious, so I didn&#39;t thank any higher power for my moment of Zen, but I feel grateful for it. For having experienced it then, and for being able to remember its power weeks later, stuck in traffic on I-5, occasionally dodging SUVs, driven by small women, talking on small cell phones.</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/the-best-things-in-life-are-more-or-less-free">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/how-wealthy-are-you-beyond-your-bank-account">How Wealthy Are You Beyond Your Bank Account?</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/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</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/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</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/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle expensive flowers free life money nature spring walking Fri, 06 Apr 2007 01:44:48 +0000 Andrea Karim 463 at http://www.wisebread.com Snail Free Gardening http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/snail.jpg" alt="Photo by mozzercork" width="224" height="146" /></p> <p>Green gardening should be cheap. Organic gardening was the way of the world before chemical companies found ways to create compounds that could destroy pests quickly and effectively. The thing that makes organic gardening less-favored than, say, using pesticides, is that it&#39;s not as efficient. You have to put more effort into organic gardening.</p> <p>But it&#39;s worth it. It&#39;s cheap, it&#39;s fun, and you can protect your water supply. Remember, whatever <a href="/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">we spray on our lawns</a> and gardens ends up in our drinking water.</p> <p>I haven&#39;t had too much luck with critter control where I live. Seattle is a very snail and slug-heavy area, and I have one very serious problem:</p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/snails/">I love snails</a>.</p> <p>I think snails are beautiful. I grew up in an area where there simply aren&#39;t any snails, and I was so taken with the little guys when we used to visit my grandmother in Pasadena. I was heartbroken when my father announced the ingredients to the escargot that I had just sampled while dining at my very first French restaurant. When I take my dogs out for their last walk at night here in the Pacific Northwest, I often have to tiptoe through the streets because the snails come out in droves and line the sidewalks - I can&#39;t bear to step on one.</p> <p>Thus, I can&#39;t stand the idea of drowning them in beer or setting traps and then throwing them in the garbage (although I don&#39;t suppose I would object to some one actually trapping and eating them - I wouldn&#39;t do it, but I can see why someone would).</p> <p>My mom used to drip some weird, sludgey black poison to protect her roses from slugs. I never liked this, and snail bait can be very <a href="http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&amp;A=1423&amp;S=1&amp;SourceID=42">dangerous to household pets</a>. But I&#39;m happy to report that there are plenty of ways to reduce the damage that slugs and snails do to your garden that don&#39;t involve pesticides. Sure, it take a bit more elbow grease than plain ol&#39; poison, but it&#39;s worth the effort.</p> <p>I should stress that there&#39;s probably <em>no such thing as a snail-free garden</em>, just a garden that snails don&#39;t really like to visit that much.</p> <p>Here are some tips from discouraging those mollusky visitors, courtesy of <a href="http://www.thegardenhelper.com/slugs.html">The Garden Helper</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Pulling the weeds from your garden is something you need to do anyway. As you pull each weed, you remove a potential slug outpost. </li> <li>Keep all decaying matter cleaned out of your garden beds. While leaves make a good mulch, once they begin to compost they become food and shelter for slugs and snails. </li> <li>Prune the branches of any shrubs which are laying on the ground. Keep the old leaves and such cleaned out. By doing this you will have destroyed yet another slug haven! </li> <li>Cultivate your soil regularly to keep the dirt clods broken up, and unearth any slugs which may have burrowed under the surface. </li> <li>The shaded areas beneath decks can be a slug arena: keep them weed and litter free. </li> <li>Keep the lawn edges trimmed. Slugs will congregate under the umbrella of unkept grass. </li> <li>Cedar bark or gravel chips spread around your plant will irritate and dehydrate slugs.</li> <li>Rosemary, lemon balm, wormwood, mints, tansy, oak leaves, needles from conifers and seaweed will repel slugs.</li> <li>Enlist allies... snakes, ducks, geese, toads, and [chickens] would enjoy helping you out as they dine on your slugs. </li> </ul> <p>Here are some other ideas that I&#39;ve gathered over the years:</p> <p><strong>Create as sunny a garden as possible</strong>. Now, this is tough, especially for those of us who live in the Land of Perpetual Rain, but put all of your snail-prone plants in a sunny area. If you have lots of shady areas in your garden, try to keep it free of ground cover like ivy, where the slugs and snails like to sleep during the day. I have a long strip of skinny yard that is VERY shady, and I&#39;m making it into a rock garden with some moss and a couple of tiny Japanese maples. It&#39;s low-maintenance and pretty, and snails just aren&#39;t interested in it.</p> <p><strong>Protect prone plants with copper barriers</strong>. For some reason, slugs and snails won&#39;t cross copper. You can <a href="http://www.glassmart.com/regular_foil.asp">buy copper foil online</a> for pretty cheap. I have a teeny courtyard that I use to grow tomatoes, so I put copper around the base and around the lip of the huge ceramic pots that I use. It looks pretty as an accent if you put it on right. You can also put a loop around the base of a plant.</p> <p>If you are a great big meanie, <strong>traps are easy to construct</strong>. Spray some beer on a board and place it, beer-side down, 1/2 inch off of the soil in a shady area of your garden. The snails that collect under there can be eaten, or thrown into your <a href="/is-this-job-worth-it">evil coworkers yard</a>. You can go out at night and collect them, as well. They are nocturnal, so day time collection is harder.</p> <p>Also, take note: <a href="/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">another use for vinegar</a>!</p> <p>&quot;As you wage your war on slugs and snails, you are almost certain to be &#39;slimed&#39; at least once. YUK! Mix up a little warm water and vinegar, and use this formula to remove the slime from your hands like magic!&quot;</p> <p>Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mozzercork/146787892/">mozzercork</a>.</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/snail-free-gardening">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/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</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/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</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/6-cheap-ways-to-get-rid-of-household-pests">6 Cheap Ways to Get Rid of Household Pests</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/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</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/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living bugs compost flowers garden gardening organic pesticides pests plants slugs snail-proof snails soap top soil water Tue, 03 Apr 2007 20:17:27 +0000 Andrea Karim 446 at http://www.wisebread.com Couplehood: Avoiding the Valentine Clichés http://www.wisebread.com/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000055242628_Large.jpg" alt="valentine&#039;s day couple" title="valentine&#039;s day couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Valentine&rsquo;s Day is nearly upon us, and you know what that means: Lots of people are going to buy lots of dumb crap. But you are above and beyond that, because you read Wise Bread. I&rsquo;m not saying that Wise Bread readers are smarter than everyone else, but I&rsquo;m definitely implying it.</p> <p>Here are some common V-Day clichés that should be avoided at all cost. Well, not at <em>all costs</em>, because this IS supposedly a site about frugal living, but you get the idea.</p> <h2>1. Chocolates</h2> <p>Chocolate is a lovely, lovely thing, as long as your recipient likes it. Does your date like Skittles better? More of a Sour Patch Kids kind of guy? Consider these things before buying. If you settle on chocolate, then a huge box is unnecessary and tacky, and let&rsquo;s face it, the chocolates suck. You&rsquo;re much better off buying a small box of exquisite chocolates than a big slab o&rsquo; yuck.</p> <p>If chocolates aren&rsquo;t the thing, consider other sweets. Fresh mochi is good, although probably better arranged on a nice platter. If you have someone who is very Japanorama, pocky is always appreciated. Aforementioned Skittles look super-cute in a pretty glass jar.</p> <h2>2. Roses</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve already expressed my feelings about roses. Find something more interesting and less expensive. Arrange them yourself.</p> <p>If your recipient has a green thumb, you might consider a live plant. Something cool, though, not a chrysanthemum from Albertson&rsquo;s. Think about a small banzai, a gardenia, lemon tree, pretty cactus planter, or a venus fly trap. (You could totally do a &ldquo;Venus&rdquo; theme if you went with the flytrap. You could also give a card shaped like the planet Venus, show up in a toga, and lip-synch &ldquo;I&rsquo;m your Venus.&rdquo;)</p> <h2>3. Lovey-Dovey Hallmark Card</h2> <p>If you want to express your feelings, a Hallmark card covered in cupids, puppies, and pink hearts is a dumb way to do it. The oversized ones are even worse.</p> <p>You can make your own card, but only if you have some sort of artistic talent, or if you TOTALLY AND UTTERLY LACK ANY ARTISTIC TALENT WHATSOEVER. Somewhere in between won&rsquo;t cut it. I once saw a flip-book Valentine that was given to a friend by her crush. He used stick figures, but the simple little cartoon featured him handing her a heart and then getting a kiss in return. Super cute, and it only cost him a couple of bucks for the index cards and markers. And an hour of his time, but that's the point. Effort.</p> <p>One time when I was totally broke, I surprised my romantic mark by covering their doorway with paper hearts. I stole the scrap paper from my workplace, so it was really, really free. But it was a pretty good set-up, if I do say so myself.</p> <h2>4. Candlelight Dinner and Champagne</h2> <p>If you are doing this yourself, then awesome. If you are going out, then more power to you. I like a smaller venue for romantic dinners, but sometimes the wacky places can be just as fun. I actually prefer jazz bars for a truly romantic moment &mdash; the ones that allow dancing are even better. But figuring out something different or unusual shouldn&rsquo;t be too hard. Been wanting to try Ethiopian food? Give it a shot. You can giggle nervously together while eating with your hands. Dress appropriately and make reservations ahead of time if you can.</p> <p>Champagne is great. I&rsquo;d rather enjoy it at home after dinner. It&rsquo;s a great prelude to other things, like&hellip; Scrabble.</p> <h2>5. Lingerie/Silk Boxers</h2> <p>It is so, so difficult to pick out lingerie for someone else. I don&rsquo;t even recommend trying it unless something VERY specific has been pointed out to you and you are completely secure in your knowledge of what size is needed. She will not be happy to receive a size 16 nightie if she&rsquo;s a size 6. Likewise, he&rsquo;ll look stupid drowning in XL boxers if he&rsquo;s 5&rsquo;6&rdquo; and 120 pounds.</p> <h2>6. Stuffed Toys</h2> <p>In a word: no. That goes double for candy hearts and glitter stuffed into envelopes. Unless you have managed to find someone who genuinely loves stuffed toys (and if you have, think twice about the mental acuity of this person), then leave the childish stuff to the children. Or, if you must, don&rsquo;t don&rsquo;t don&rsquo;t get a teddy bear. Get a Valentine&rsquo;s Day dragon or something.</p> <h2>7. Jewelry and/or Perfume</h2> <p>Jewelry is pricey. I&rsquo;d avoid it altogether. Yes, there are cheap, chintzy gold necklaces to be had at great prices in malls across America. But it&rsquo;s just a messy idea. The real stuff costs a lot, and there are better holidays on which to give it. If V-Day is your special jewelry day, well, then, I can't help you, except to hint that vintage jewels are hot right now, and a sapphire kicks more butt than a diamond could any day.</p> <p>Ditto on perfume. I love perfume, but men and women have different senses of smell. Unless you&rsquo;ve been given specific directions by someone in the know, don&rsquo;t bother. If your love has a signature scent, you can always buy some related product, like a body lotion or a powder, but let&rsquo;s face it, that&rsquo;s just not very romantic. I say nix it.</p> <p>Mind you, if you are really talented and super-loaded, you could pull a Smoove B and do all of the clichés in one night. But your date will have to have a great sense of irony, or post-irony, or whatever it is that we have these days.</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/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches">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/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers">Flower Power - A Guide to Frugal Valentine&#039;s Flowers</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/celebrate-love-not-money-with-these-recycled-valentines-day-gifts">Celebrate Love, Not Money, With These Recycled Valentine&#039;s Day Gifts</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/take-back-st-valentine-s-day-from-hallmark-and-hershey-s">Take back St. Valentine’s Day from Hallmark and Hershey’s.</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/8-clever-ways-to-sample-the-good-life">8 Clever Ways to Sample the Good Life</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/flashback-friday-104-sweet-ways-to-celebrate-valentines-day">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks candy chocolates flowers gifts giving hearts lingerie love romantic roses shopping stuffed toys teddy bear Valentine's Day Thu, 08 Feb 2007 23:55:51 +0000 Andrea Karim 260 at http://www.wisebread.com Flower Power - A Guide to Frugal Valentine's Flowers http://www.wisebread.com/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000053780042_Double.jpg" alt="couple romance flowers" title="couple romance flowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone knows that Valentine's Day can be pricey. Flowers, dinner, and gifts (if you're that type) can easily put a dent in anyone's wallet.</p> <p>Well, preparation is the best prevention... or something like that. Want to save a little this Valentine's Day? Get ready now.</p> <h2>1. Buy a Vase Before You Buy Your Flowers</h2> <p>Sometimes, florists will offer really nice vases for cheap. A simple clean vase is great; if you know where you are going to order your flowers, call ahead and ask how much they charge for a vase.</p> <p>Avoid vases with the frilly, lacy-looking tops or too much in the way of decorative cuts &mdash; they're tacky and out of date. If possible, buy a cheap vase at Walmart or Target ahead of time.</p> <h2>2. Use the Little Packet of Flower-Preserving Powder</h2> <p>They really do work!</p> <h2>3. Steer Clear of Roses</h2> <p>Red roses are tired and expensive. Be creative. And if you are going to buy carnations, make sure to pair them with something unusual, like <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/allison_wonderland/165935482/">belles of Ireland</a>. Don't be hell-bent on putting together the world's most picture-perfect bouquet. The sweetest bouquet I ever received was a Snapple bottle filled with black-eyed susans from a boyfriend's yard.</p> <h2>4. Nix the Baby's Breath, Ferns, and Additional Greens</h2> <p>That's all I have to say about that. It's added cost you don't need.</p> <h2>5. Buying in Season Is Best, But Tough</h2> <p>Depending on what kind of weather your area is experiencing, buying flowers in season may be tough. Where I live, you can usually get hyacinths right about this time of year, and they are beautiful and fragrant.</p> <h2>Some Floral Recommendations</h2> <h3>1. Lilies</h3> <p>Lilies come in a wide variety of colors, but the most common are the star-gazers, which are pink and white with magenta dots (the yellow ones don't seem to be fragrant at all &mdash; avoid them unless you just love them to death). These can be pricey, too, but they smell glorious, and you usually don't need more than two stems. Hint: try to remove the pollen pods with a pair of scissors. When these drop, they are extremely messy and can leave stains on fabric.</p> <h3>2. Wildlflowers</h3> <p>These are often cheaper than other options, and are charming.</p> <h3>3. Orchids</h3> <p>Cut orchids in a simple asymmetrical vase are striking. There are such a wide variety of orchids that I don't know which one to recommend, but there are some small yellow orchids that are often sold at Trader Joe's and other places for something like $4 a stem. They often last for over a month. I can't keep a potted orchid alive for the life of me, so this is a nice way to get a temporary orchid fix.</p> <h3>4. Daisies</h3> <p>Daisies are fresh and cute, and feel like summer.</p> <h3>5. Tulips</h3> <p>Tulips are also fresh and spring-like, and usually affordable. Choose an unusual shade, like orange or striped, and put them in a vase with a wide, matching colored ribbon taped around it. Chic.</p> <h3>6. Greens</h3> <p>Dating a foodie? Consider a vase full of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/photofarmer/1435800054/">fresh herbs</a>.</p> <h3>7.Branches</h3> <p>Another thing that shows up at farmers markets fairly early are flowering branches.&nbsp;Cherry blossoms are a beautiful thing to behold.</p> <h3>8. Real, Living Plant</h3> <p>If your beloved has a green thumb, consider buying a living plant. I personally think that a cactus is more romantic than a single red rose. I'm also a sucker for terrariums, which last, and are absolutely beautiful.</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/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers">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-6"> <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/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches">Couplehood: Avoiding the Valentine Clichés</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/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</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/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</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/what-you-can-buy-with-5000">What You Can Buy With $5,000</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping flowers gifts Holidays romantic savings Valentine's Day Fri, 26 Jan 2007 21:46:34 +0000 Andrea Karim 226 at http://www.wisebread.com