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Archive for October, 2007

Saving money on my wedding (my contribution to someone else's blog)

October 26th, 2007 at 07:29 pm

-- you might have read all my ideas already, but I wanted to record it here in MY blog instead of just in someone else's

All of my bridesmaids are wearing a different cut of dress (same color, though) and we found 3 of them on sale. I ordered my dress on ebay...it is hand made and will cost $300 less than at David's Bridal, but is the same style (check out the ebay buyer comments before trying this!). I might sell my dress after the ceremony, too. Why keep it and store it? It will be out of fashion when my future kids are getting married.

Go with sheet cakes for the bulk of the guests to eat. I'm going to have a small fancy-decorated one for the official cutting, but it will be taken to the back room to cut for the guests so they won't know they are eating sheet cakes. Not that they should care...free cake for them!

We bought the groomsmen gifts with three 33% off coupons, and an additional coupon I got at the register. Over all, with the coupons and that additional coupon, I got 26% off.

Never buy anything without checking for a coupon or comparing with some other store.

I made the bridesmaid gifts - pearl necklaces and earrings (REAL PEARLS!). I spent $140.11 on materials, and I made a set for 5 bridesmaids, 3 sisters not in the wedding, my mom, his mom, and his soon to be sister-in-law (his brother's fiance) and me. I have enough material to make 1 more and probably a bracelet for me. That means their gifts are < $12 for a real pearl necklace and earring set. Did I mention they were real pearls?

My sister is making the flower stuff. My big bouquet, the bridesmaid bouquets, the boutineers, arrangements for the church, etc.

My mom is making the flower girl dresses. I have two flower girls, and dresses at wedding shops are > $100, and I'm not paying that!

A different sister took our engagement pictures with her digital camera and she had them developed at Walmart and gave me the CD. They look awesome! We are out in the country, so we had a lot of neat backdrops (in a barn, trees behind us, limestone bridges, etc) but if you are in town, you can use a nice park or arboretum.

Remember, postcards are much cheaper than a card and an envelope. The postcards themselves are cheaper, and the postage is definitely cheaper. We have a lot of people coming in from out of town, so I thought save the date cards would be a nice touch, so they could plan way ahead of getting the official invitation. Postcards can save you a LOT of money! I used one of the engagement pictures and went to printsmadeeasy.com and made them up myself. I got 300 of them for $44.84 (including shipping), or about $.15 a piece. Postage was $.26 each vs. $.41 for a card and envelope.

I bought a ream of gray paper and two 100-piece sets of vellum and printed them out. Some ribbon I found at an ebay store, and some time, and I tied them all together. I also made RSVP postcards out of the same gray paper. I had Copy Max cut them for $1 a cut. Much cheaper than buying kits.

I also made Thank You postcards using printsmadeeasy.com. Again, $.15 a piece plus $.26 for postage.

I've looked into getting those M&M's with the words on them, but they are very underwhelming. I had a few friends have them for parties in the past, but you can't hardly read the text and most people won't notice anyway. So I won't be getting those...and they are expensive!

I'm going to make my own veil. Veils cost > $100 at David's Bridal, but tulle is like $1 a yard. I can make a lot of mistakes for $100!

26% off the groomsmen gifts

October 19th, 2007 at 08:02 am

Got 7 of the 8 groomsmen gifts...well, 5 for the groomsmen, 1 for each dad, and need one for my fiance still. Got them nice Wrangler pocketwatches from Shepler's.

They were $29.99 each. I had 3 33% off coupons, so for three of them, I saved $9.90, or paid $20.09 each. With each purchase, I got a coupon for either $5 off a $25 purchase, $10 off a $40 purchase or $25 off a $100 purchase. So, I bought the other 4, which was $119.96 - $25 = $94.96

Total: $20.09 * 3 + $94.96 = $155.23 / 7 = $22.17 a piece. That is about 26% off each of them!

Single people sure get hosed on insurance

October 16th, 2007 at 09:39 pm

At least in my company, they do. Ok, up front, my company gives good benefits. I am not comparing my benefits with someone who is self employed. I am also not comparing my benefits with someone who works for a school, or a bank, or even another IT shop or aircraft company. I am comparing my benefits with two other groups of people who work at the same company as me: married couples/families and same-sex couples/families.

I am looking through the benefits package for next year because the open enrollment is right now. I have to decide what I am going to choose for the first month for me, and what I am going to choose for my fiance and I when we get married.

I pay ~$1000 a year for health insurance for me. When I add him on, it will only be another $700. The vision insurance doesn't go up at all. The dental plan goes up by less than half. Why is that? How come he gets a better rate than I do? I mean, that is great for US, but really, how come someone who doesn't work for the company have to pay $300 less for the year compared to someone who does? So, the married couple gets a $300 break compared to the single person (in this company).

While looking this up, I saw a link for same-sex couples. I'd never looked into that before, but I was curious as to what the requirements were for them to get benefits and what it takes to change the benefits if they break up.

It turns out that my fiance and I either meet, or could meet within a day, all the requirements except one. Here are the requirements:

1. We have had a single relationship of at least 12 months duration and intend to remain in the relationship indefinitely. (Yep)
2. Neither of us is married to or legally separated from anyone else nor have had another same sex domestic partner within the prior one year period.
(Yep)
3. We understand that in those jurisdictions which offer registration for same sex domestic partners, the Company reserves the right to request proof of registration as a condition for or continuation of benefits. (I'd say this is a toss up. Kansas doesn't have one, so this doesn't apply)
4. We are both at least eighteen years of age and mentally competent to consent to contract.
(Yep)
5. We are not related by blood to a degree of closeness that would prohibit legal marriage in the state in which we legally reside.
(eew. And yep)
6. We cohabit and reside together in the same residence and intend to do so indefinitely. (The current arrangement will be the same as when we are married. I am at his house Thursday night - Monday morning, and work Monday - Thursday, so stay here Mon, Tue, Wed nights. The same will happen when we are married)
7. We are engaged in a committed relationship of mutual caring and support and are jointly responsible for our common welfare, living expenses and are financially interdependent and recognize our responsibilities for any debts incurred by each other. Our interdependence is demonstrated by at least two of the following which we agree to provide documentation of, if requested, and as a necessary condition to the initiation of benefit coverage:
a. Common ownership of real property (joint deed or mortgage agreement) or a common leasehold interest in property.
b. Common ownership of a motor vehicle (we could by tomorrow)
c. Driver's license listing a common address
(we could by tomorrow)
d. Joint bank accounts or credit accounts
(we could by tomorrow)
e. Proof of designation as primary beneficiary for life insurance or retirement benefits, or primary beneficiary designation under a partner's will
f. Assignment of a durable property power of attorney or health care power of attorney.
8. We are not in the relationship solely for the purpose of obtaining benefits coverage.
(yep)
9. We are of the same sex.
NOPE.

So, we meet all the requirements (or could by tomorrow) except we are not of the same sex. If it got him health insurance, since he doesn't have any now, I would do all of those things tomorrow.

I called the benefits office to see if I was overlooking anything, and the nice lady (really, she was nice) said that there was nothing for my situation, and that she gets calls about this all the time. I said, "that's kind of discrimination, isn't it?" and she couldn't say she agreed with me, but she sure did imply it.

She then said that Kansas is a common-law state, so we could declare our situation common-law married. But then, if we broke up, we would have to get a divorce...lawyer fees, court dates, etc.

Here is what the same-sex couple has to do: sign a paper saying:
1. We are no longer same sex domestic partners
2. Please cancel the coverage on this date
3. I have provided my former same sex partner with a copy of this notice
4. I understand that I may not seek to declare a new same sex domestic partner for company provided benefits for a period of twelve months from the date on which the same sex domestic partner benefits are terminated.

I think both situations are unfair to the single person. If there is a married person, a person in a same sex relationship and a single person doing the same job for this company, even if they all have the same salary, the married person and the gay/lesbian person gets more compensation than the single person does because of the benefits they receive.

Garden update

October 13th, 2007 at 10:12 pm

I want to keep track to see if I get my $35 back...what I spent to put the garden in.
7/8/07 - 1 cucumber
7/10/07 - 4 tomatoes
7/20/07 - 2 cucumbers
7/22/07 - 2 yellow squash
7/28/07 - 1 spaghetti squash, 3 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1 cucumber
8/3/07 - 2 cucumbers, 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, 2 spaghetti squash.
8/5/07 - 1 zucchini
8/11/07 - 4 yellow squash
8/25/07 - 1 yellow squash, 2 zucchini, 1 spaghetti squash
9/2/07 - 2 zucchini, 1 yellow pepper, 2 eggplants, 1 yellow squash, 1 cucumber, 1 spaghetti squash
9/8/07 - 2 zucchini, 1 spaghetti squash
9/9/07 - 1 spaghetti squash
9/16/07 - 2 yellow squash, 1 spaghetti squash, 1 zucchini
9/23/07 - 1 spaghetti squash, 1 zucchini, 1 green pepper
9/28/07 - 2 spaghetti squash, 1 zucchini, 2 yellow squash
10/02/07 - 3 green peppers, 1 tomato, 1 spaghetti squash
10/13/07 - 6 spaghetti squash, 4 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 6 "baby" green peppers, 15 green tomatoes
10/21/07 - 2 spaghetti squash, 2 zucchini, half a twelve pack box of small tomatoes Smile

Totals as of 10/13/07:
7 cucumbers
20 tomatoes
18 yellow squash
18 zucchini
20 spaghetti squash
1 yellow pepper
2 eggplants
10 green peppers

A nice surprise on my energy bills

October 11th, 2007 at 04:44 pm

I got a nice surprise today. I was looking ahead to what I will have to pay on my natural gas bill and on my electric bill this month, and they are both WAY lower than I had budgetted for.

I budgetted for $150 for gas, and I only spend $16.05 this month (!). My highest bill in the past year was $150, so I budget that, but in the summer I don't use much gas (water heating and cooking is all I use it for, and you all know how much I cook). I'll put the other $133.95 towards replenishing my emergency fund.

I budgetted for $50 for electricity. Looks like the monthly bill was $52.28, but for some reason, I have a $40.21 "cost adjustment" and a $1.62 "tax adjustment", so I only owe $10.45 for the month. Yeah! Another $39.55 towards my emergency fund.

Double Charged

October 11th, 2007 at 03:23 pm

Just looked at my bank statement, and Curves charged me twice this month, with it being debited on Tuesday, 10/9/07. That is SOOO ironic (or is it? hmm...) because I cancelled my membership on Tuesday, 10/9/07. I just wasn't going, and it was a waste of money.

I called the owner, Krista, and she couldn't find any record of a double charge, but wanted me to fax her a copy of my bank statement. So, I did that, and hopefully they will just refund the money with no fuss.

40% off

October 3rd, 2007 at 05:30 pm

I just booked the honeymoon cabin! When I called a month ago, they said if we stayed for 3 nights, the room rate would be 30% off. I intended to book it back then, but the one cabin I had my eye on, they said if it snowed, we couldn't get to it. So, I said I would call back after looking at some more. Found another one, and called today. For January, the room rate is 40% off! The cabin is usually $125, but we'll get it for $75. I had to put half down now, and pay half + $100 security deposit when we get there (we get the $100 back if we aren't too wild Smile )

So, total for the three nights is $291.46. We'll have two more nights in hotels (one there, one back), plus gas, since we are driving from Kansas to Tennessee.