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The Newlywed Notebook

Organizing + Life Archive

Monday

9

March 2015

Making (and Living on) a Budget

A few weeks back, I mentioned that Eric and I are attempting to pay off all our debt in 2015. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, is no small task. In order to meet this goal, we’ve had to become extremely cautious about how much money is coming in, where it’s going, and how much is being saved. I will admit it’s not a ton of fun, but watching those student loans roll back closer and closer to $0 each month has been totally worth it.

I know a couple of you fabulous ladies mentioned that you’d be curious to know how we’ve been doing this, so that’s what I want to share with you today. Obviously a budget is a very personal and very complex machine, but I will try and share with you a few of the general basics that have been working for Eric and me. If you have any questions or anything I can further explain to you as far as what we’ve been doing, please feel free to ask in the comment section at the end of this post! I read and respond to them all!
 
See how my husband and I created a budget and faithfully stick to it in order to save money as newlyweds and pay off our debt fast! Open to questions!
 

1. Determine how you want to track your expenses.

The first step in starting a budget for your family is to decide what way will work best for you and your spouse to keep tabs on your spending. This is probably the most important step in budgeting…if you aren’t accurately keeping track of what is being spent on what, everything you do in the following steps will be for nothing. How you decide to track your expenses will make all the difference in how well your are able to execute living off a budget. That being said however, you can definitely try a few different methods over the first few months of budgeting until you find something that works best for you. Just because you pick a certain tracking system month one doesn’t mean you have to stick with that forever if it isn’t working well for your family. (more…)

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Monday

9

February 2015

5 Apps Every Newlywed Should Have on Her Phone

*This post is part of a partnership between The Newlywed Notebook and Groupon.
We cannot be held responsible for any new couponing obsession that may develop after reading this post. 

 

I’m always so interested in what apps other people have on their phone and love using. In fact, when I got my new phone a year or so ago I spent an entire afternoon just watching “what’s on my iphone” videos on Youtube. The other day, I realized that there are a lot of apps I downloaded only after I had gotten married. I know a lot changes once you get married, but your phone apps…really? Super strange I know, but I figured since it’s been true for me, I would share with you the top 5 apps I’ve discovered for newlyweds.

I realized recently that there are a lot of apps I've only started using since becoming a wife. Here are 5 apps every newlywed should have on her phone!

 

I realized recently that there are a lot of apps I've only started using since becoming a wife. Here are 5 apps every newlywed should have on her phone!

 

UrbanSpoon is a complete lifesaver for date night. Eric and I used to play the “Where should we go to eat? I don’t know what do you want to eat?” game any time we tried to go out for the evening. If you play this game with your guy quite frequently, you know that this game can only end one of two ways — either with both of you getting frustrated and you end up picking up food to just bring back home, or you find yourselves at your typical spot for the third time that month because you couldn’t decide on a new restaurant in time.

This app totally takes the guesswork out of date night for Eric and I. We can either decide to stay local or branch out a bit to a different city, enjoy a budget meal or something a little more extravagant, get really picky with our type of cuisine, or just roll the dice and let the app choose whatever it wants for us. We may have to “spin the wheel” a few times before we land on a restaurant that will fit in with our plans for that evening, but I can definitely say we’ve never been disappointed. Through this roulette-style restaurant app we’ve actually discovered some of our new favorite spots! Read more…

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Monday

1

December 2014

Hosting a Party On A Budget

This past week I hosted my very first “grown up” party! Actually, I think it was the first party I’ve hosted ever! Remember when I talked about how I got roped into throwing a Premier Jewelry party and wasn’t super thrilled about it? Well I started getting more excited about it (especially since it was going to be my first “official” hosted party), and decided to have some fun with it!

Since I had never really thrown a party before, I had a lot of fun scouring Pinterest for party planning tips and decor ideas. However, I soon found myself stuck in the place between throwing a really good party, and staying within a reasonable budget. I really didn’t want to skimp on style, but this was just a little party I was throwing together and not any sort of special event, so spending $$$ on a little Sunday afternoon shindig seemed a bit crazy to me.

My search terms quickly turned from ” beautiful feminine party inspiration” to “throwing a party for cheap.” After looking at all the different ideas and images, I came up with three simple guidelines to throwing a great party on a budget:

1. Have an overall design theme.

2. Have cute food.

3. Have only one or two really adorable “focal points” for party guests.

 
Pretty simple, right? Let’s take a quick look at how I attempted to do this for my party!

I started out by coming up with a “theme” for the party. I didn’t want it to be anything too “in your face,” but I did want my little get-together to have a cohesive feel. Since the party was focused on jewelry and snacks, I decided to title my party, “Books, Brownies, and Bling.”

Here is the invitation I thew together using Canva. If you haven’t checked out this free online resource yet, you HAVE to! It’s a really simple way to make all different types of graphics from Facebook cover images and blog post info-graphics to invitations and business cards!

So my first step after I had my theme was to create the invitation. Once that was completed, I used the graphics to create a cover image for the Facebook event and a few decor pieces for the day of the party (which I will show in a minute).
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first

**address and email removed

 
I had a lot of fun with meeting guideline number 2! I spent the night before the party making 3 different kinds of brownies, and the morning of popping almost 4 batches of popcorn to try and create that perfect “sweet and salty” mix!

And just as a tip: don’t burn an entire batch of popcorn and fill your entire house with smoke 25 minutes before the party is about to start…notice the open window in this photo. Yea – I may be due for a Confessional Friday post this week… Read more…

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Wednesday

26

November 2014

10 Tips for Rocking Black Friday

We all know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The day of food, football, family, and fun. But do you know what tomorrow also is?

Black Friday Eve. Well, it used to be. Now, thanks to our lovely consumer-driven society, it’s now this weird Black-Thursday-Evening-But-Also-Still-Friday deal.

Black Friday can be a rough beast, let me tell ya. And since I’ve done my fair share of Black Friday shopping over the years, I thought it was only fair that I share some of the expert tips I’ve learned over the years as we approach this momentous day…

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1 | Make sure to leave your family Thanksgiving celebration well before dessert has been served. You need to be one of the first 10 people at line at Wally-World if you want to have any chance of be successful at this thing. (Besides, that second piece of pumpkin pie would just slow you down anyway).

 

2 | Don’t forget wear your elbow pads for crack-of-dawn store openings. Those old ladies get crazy over their 2 for 1 Christmas sweaters, and you don’t want to get bruised as you shove them out of the way.

 

3 | When you get to the stores, make sure to triple check the store ad and eavesdrop on other shoppers’ conversations to figure out what the hot items are this year – you are going to want to grab those first so you can sell them on Ebay for a profit once they are all sold out in stores. Read more…

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Monday

17

November 2014

Unique Christmas Cards on Etsy!

I was sent this greeting cards for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are of my own free will. ;)

 

A Public Service Announcement: There are only 6 weeks left until Christmas, guys! So finish off those Christmas lists, start the menu prep, and get those holiday greeting cards ready to send out!

I’m one of those crazies who actually likes all the prep that goes into the holiday season. I love baking and decorating dozens of Christmas cookies with my husband, unpacking the holiday decor and spending an entire Sunday decorating the house (while watching Elf, of course), and putting lots of effort into coming up with the perfect gifts for my loved ones. One holiday tradition though that I have yet to participate in is sending out Christmas cards.

Eric and I thought about sending out holiday cards last season, but we just couldn’t think of a fun or creative card to send out in time (because who wants a picture of two awkward adults on a Christmas card, honestly). This year, I decided I just wanted to send out some fun/funny cards to a few family members and friends. And funnily enough, in absolutely perfect timing I was contacted by the lovely Briar of Sunday Morning Cards on Etsy to see if she could send me some cards to check out!

Check out these really unique christmas cards I found on Etsy! Some are more traditional and some are hysterical - but they are all worth a second look!

I took a long look at her shop before agreeing, and immediately discovered I LOVED her stuff! I have to mention as a side note too, I turn down quite a few shops if I don’t think their product is something that is either high quality, or would be of interest to my readers. Briar’s shop Sunday Morning Cards however is one that I thought you all would be really interested in. Let me share a little more with you and I think you will see why…

Read more…

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