UPDATE: Country Theme Graduation Party Ideas

I’ve been racking my brain to the maximum extreme trying to come up with some more creative ideas for my sister’s country themed graduation party in June. If you missed my first post about it and some of the ideas I had, you can catch up here. I’ve told a lot of my coworkers about the country western themed fiesta to see if maybe they had any good ideas that I can steal use. One of my coworkers mentioned to me that there is a website that has cheap party decorations for pretty much any theme. It’s www.orientaltrading.com. I’ve never heard of this site and I was soooo excited once I checked it out. I have multiple things in my online cart that I’m just waiting to pull the trigger on but before I tell you about those I wanted to let you know that the invites came in the mail and I’m starting to send them out little by little. And what I mean when I say little by little is that I’m waiting for my mom to get me some of the addresses for some of the people that I can’t find on http://www.whitepages.com. Blah! I also got this cute cowboy boot stamp for the back of the invites on clearance at Michaels this week.

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I think it adds the perfect touch considering the invites say absolutely nothing about country themed anything which I kinda regret now.

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I saw these country western photo props. I was thinking about cutting out mustaches and stuff and hot glueing them to a stick so that people can use them in the homemade photobooth that I mentioned in my other post. I was kinda dreading it but now I feel fantastic that I don’t need to do any of that and this comes with more awesome stuff than just mustaches.

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Another item that popped out at me was this luau table skirt that I think would still fit in with a country theme party considering it is basically faux hay. I think it would look nice with a white table clothe with a thick strip of burlap running down the middle. We’ll see.

Getting extremely excited as the days and weeks get closer to the party!

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UPDATE!

To see how the country themed grad party turned out, along with pictures from the photo booth, click here.

Setting and Accomplishing Financial Goals!

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Setting and accomplishing goals are so important. They boost your confidence and improve your overall attitude. Setting goals and following through can be difficult so I thought I’d let you all know how I go about setting goals and trying to accomplish them.

Figure out what your goals are. Sit down and REALLY take time to think about it. Also, include your family in on your thinking process. You know what they say, “family knows best”… sometimes. Give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve these goals. Your short-term goals may take you 1-2 years or even 5 years to complete. Don’t get discouraged because time flies! Once you figure out what it is that you want to accomplish and when, the next step is to make a list of things you’re going to need to give up in order to get there. You may need to cut down on yearly vacations and just go every other year. Or it may be something as simple as not going out to eat multiple times a week. Whatever it is that you need to give up, list it below your goal.

Some of the things you need to give up my affect your family so make sure you talk to them about it. If you have children, explain to them that accomplishing goals are important and sometimes giving up certain guilty pleasures will help accelerate you to your goal. Younger children may not understand so cut back on family events that cost a lot of money like going to the movies, which all of a sudden costs an arm and a leg! When I was growing up it was like $5.50 to go see a movie and now it’s $10-$12 and if you’re a senior citizen, that’ll save you, what, $.25? Woopty-doo! And don’t even get me started on the price of 3D movies! Just because you spent $500 million making the movie Avatar, James Cameron, doesn’t mean you can charge us the same price just to go see it. Sorry for the randomness! Anyways, instead of taking the family to the movies have a movie night at home with a $1 red box movie and some good old fashion Orville Redenbacher. When the weather gets nicer check around your area to see if there’s any outdoor movie theaters or drive-ins. Also, summer is theme park season and the price of admission gets crazier every year. Kids always want to go multiple times but let them know that they can only go once or twice this summer and tell them to choose wisely.

Lastly, you’re going to need to review and re-prioritize your goals regularly. There’s going to be unavoidable setbacks. Also, some of your goals may seem unimportant after awhile so replacing one goal for another is not a big deal as long as you keep working towards something.

Happy Earth Day!

I had no idea today was Earth Day until I walked into Target and was greeted by an elderly woman passing out small, free reusable shopping bags filled with coupons. Did anyone else visit Target today?! According to the sweet, little old lady, I was helping them celebrate Earth Day by simply taking one of the bags.

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Anyways, I never use these bags and I always feel bad about it when at the end of my shopping trip the cashier politely asks, “do you have any shopping bags with you?” and I say, “no” and it seems that she crinkles her nose and replies, “oh” with a disgusted tone and then goes ahead and presses a few buttons on the register. The buttons are probably labeled ASSHOLE and ENVIRONMENT KILLER, I don’t know. But today, I went in and got a few tank tops and got to the register and the lady asked if I had any bags and I think I was so excited that I screamed “YES!” with a huge smile on my face. She looked at me the way people looked at Will Ferrell in Elf when he told James Caan that he was his son. I’m rambling again. Not only was the small bag free but it also saved my 5 cents! Pretty cool.

Well, happy Earth Day everyone!

How to blow a budget!

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Remember in my vlog I mentioned that I wasn’t going to be purchasing anything I don’t need in the month of April just so I could see how much money I could save? Oopsies!

I ended up purchasing a MacBook Pro last week and I’m absolutely loving it! It was definitely a big purchase but the opportunity presented itself and I just went for it. I have a feeling I’ll be using this laptop for a very long time. This is my first Mac and although it has and probably will take me awhile to get used to it and learn all the shortcuts and stuff, I don’t see myself getting sick of this any time soon. If you have a MacBook Pro, let me know what kinda cool stuff you can do with it and what neat accessories you have.

Oh and by the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you guys to follow me on Instagram if you have it! My username is _dweeb. Yes, underscore dweeb. I don’t post too often or anything of any value but it’s a great way to stay connected!

Happy Tuesday!

Quick Tips from 701 Money Savings Tips

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I recently purchased the Kindle book 701 Money Saving Tips by Ron Tomby. Though some of the book didn’t apply to me and some of the tips were a little redundant, it was a really cool, short read. I made a note of all of my favorite tips and thought I’d share with all of you 🙂

1. Before buying, ask yourself if buying the sale item makes sense. Even if it’s on sale, you do not save if you buy it and don’t need it. – Boy, did he hit the nail on the head with this one. When I see items on sale or on clearance I think to myself, “wow, that’s an incredible price. I’m going to buy it.” When I really should be thinking, “I don’t really need this even though it is at a great price.”

2. If you find yourself engaging in shopping as “therapy” when you had a bad day, consider switching to a physical exercise routine to get the same rush. Get healthy and save money. – Easier said than done I suppose, but I do like where he’s going. I can’t tell you how many times, after a bad day, I went to the mall to buy a new shirt or a new pair or shoes to make myself feel better. I’m sure if I just went for a walk or a run instead I’d feel just as accomplished but I decided to spend money on things I don’t need. Such a bad idea!

3. Swap services with friends and neighbors who can do things you can’t.  – I’m sure a lot of people do this but I don’t think I ever have. Not that I wouldn’t like to give it a try. Let’s say you have a hot, single neighbor who has a nice lawn mower. Maybe you could ask him to mow your lawn in exchange for cooking him dinner once a week. Haha, that whole scenario sounds like the beginning of a bad porno, but I’m being serious. Bartering will save you a ton of money. Give it a shot!

4. Limit yourself to a weekly cash allowance for your treats, i.e. pizza, ice cream, McDonalds, or whatever it is that you crave. – Not only will this save you money but it could help you lose weight. If you have an unlimited budget for snacks then you can go to hell in a hand basket but limiting your budget will force you to have to pick that one thing you’re craving.

5.When buying online search for promotion codes first by googling the name of the vendor or site you’re about to buy from and add “promotion code” or “coupon” in the search box. – I do this all the time. Usually you can at least find a promotion code for free shipping or something. Definitely worth checking out before purchasing anything online.

6. Find out about all of the benefits of your job. – You may be able to get a discount on your monthly cell phone bill just for being employed where you work. I know at my job you get 10% off your monthly Verizon bill if you can provide a CAT card that shows you work with the military. We also have a discount on auto insurance. So what you should do is sit down with your HR manager and ask her if she knows of any benefits that your job has.

And last, but not least…

7. When going to the grocery store, make sure you’re not hungry. – I do this all the time! More times than I can count. I end up leaving with a ton of stuff, most of it junk food. It’s not good to go grocery shopping when you’re full either. So not only do you need to plan and make a list of the groceries you need but you also need to plan around your meals and appetite. Geez-Louise!!!

Well that’s all I got for today. If you’re interested in buying the kindle book I posted the link at the top of this post. It’s only $1.99 and definitely worth it. If you purchase it, let me know what you think.

Happy Saturday everyone!!!

Organizing has never been so SAFE!

Happy President’s day everyone! Hope that you all had a great weekend. I know I did! I just got home a little while ago from my weekend at home with the family. I had an awesome time and got to see a lot more of my family than I thought I would have, which is always great.

Anyways, I was checking my e-mail this afternoon and saw the cutest thing from Groupon!

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Dress safe

It’s an organizer in disguise! Groupon calls it the U.S. Patrol Hanging Dress Safe. Although I wouldn’t really call it a “safe” it is a pretty cool idea in hiding some of your valuables. For $12.99 + $2.99 shipping, you get two of these dress organizers. I may have to get it only because my closet is so jam packed with stuff that no one would even imagine that this extremely hideous dress is holding all of my valuables.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these, you can click right here, but hurry up because the deal is only on for the next day or so.

The Idiot Proof Grocery List!

Never forget any item at the grocery store again!

I break my grocery store into 4 sections.

Green – Produce/Bread/Bakery section

Pink – The sale items that they usually have in the middle of the store near the cold cuts counter.

Blue – The cold or freezer section of the store, where I usually shop right before I leave.

Yellow– Items that I’ll find down certain aisles.

Because of the layout of the store I’ll usually head to the produce/bakery section first. Then I’ll make my way to the sale items and then the aisles and I try to always make the freezer section the last place I shop so things obviously stay frozen while I transfer them home. This way when you think you’re done in a particular section you can look at the specific color on your list and make sure you got everything you came for.

I’ve been totally slacking!

I know, I know, I’m an awful blogger. The past couple weeks I’ve been so lazy. I was taking care of Sam for a week because he was sick (and acting like a 5 year old girl!) and then the next week I was taking care of myself because I had contracted whatever it was that he had. I totally goofed on my Clean Out Your Closet monthly challenge thing that I had set for myself and I’ve been hiding from all retail stores because some of these back-to-school sales are too good to pass up and I don’t wanna spend a million dollars on notebooks that I don’t need.

Luckily, this coming weekend is actually a four day weekend for me so hopefully I’ll be able to clean out the remanding closets in my apartment. I’ve also been talking to Lacee at work. I had mentioned her in an earlier Organization on a Budget post. Anyways, she tells me that I should start blogging a little bit about Christmas preparations. I thought about it and she’s right. Christmas will be here before you know it so I think I’m going to put together a Christmas gift budget spreadsheet and I’ll post it on here with a link for everyone to download. So stay tuned for that!

Awesome Photo Storage!

 I love pictures! No matter what they’re from, who they are of, or where they were taken, looking at pictures is definitely one of my favorite things to do. Almost every time I go home to Pittsburgh, my family and I end up bringing out the box of old photos and just sit for hours going through them and telling stories. Last time we went through them I even stole some and took them home to scan so that I can have digital copies also 🙂

Like this one for example. Wasn’t I the cutest baby?!

Anyways, for Christmas last year I got a pretty nice camera, the Olympus Pen Mini, and I’ve been trying to take lots of pictures at holiday parties and family events because when I have kids I want them to get excited about rummaging through a box filled with old photos too! But I’ve decided that maybe instead of an old, beat up box, I’ll store my pictures in really pretty photo boxes!

I got these at AC Moore, 5 for $10. I thought it was a pretty good deal. They had all different types of patterns and colors but I chose these, pretty much because they were the easiest to grab. AC Moore always has some kinda deal going on with photo boxes so if you’re ever in the market to buy some, check with them first.

For this project I also used #6 envelopes, some mod podge, some labels I made on my Cricut, and of course all my photos!

I used #6 envelopes because all of my pictures are 4 x 6 and the boxes don’t hold 5 x 7 photos unless they’re laying down. I ended up cutting off the top flap of the envelopes because they just got in the way.

After all the flaps were cut off I glued my labels to the front of the envelopes. You don’t need labels, I just figured it would look prettier this way.

Now all you need is your boxes and all of your pictures!

This is the fun part. You have to go through all of your pictures and group them into categories or events. For examples, I grouped all of my Christmas pictures together, all of my trips back to Pittsburgh, and so on and then I went through each category and sorted them by year or event. If you have lots and lots of photos this could take awhile so break it up into groups.

Once you’re done put them in an envelope and label the envelope with the Holiday and year or the event and location.

And that’s it! If you have tons of pictures you can designate a box just for holidays or just for vacations or birthdays or you can just label the box with a specific year and fill it with New Years, Valentines Day, 4th of July, Christmas, etc for that year. I hope this helps with some of your photo storage needs!

Happy Monday!