35 Uses for Vinegar

35 Uses for Vinegar

When not turning into wine, vinegar is my second favorite use for grapes (and getting that nasty gunk off ’em!) Vinegar also makes for a fantastic part of a salad dressing and it’s a nice way to marinate some meat, but it’s a high-performer elsewhere in the house as well. That said, please note that my suggestions below are just that – suggestions. Don’t use vinegar on something without spot-testing first as I am in no way liable should you use vinegar in a way that causes unfortunate results.

With that out of the way, we use so much vinegar in our house that we have to buy huge jugs of it from Aldi almost every week so we can use it on things such as…

Vinegar Uses – Home and furniture

De-decal your windows – If you like to put up window clings during the holidays, or your children love to put stickers on…everything, you can use vinegar to remove all traces! Simply apply undiluted vinegar to the grimy aftermath of the stickers or decals and let it sit for 5 minutes. A credit card or other thin piece of plastic will help you scrape off the bits and then a good scrubbing should remove the rest of the remnants.

Erase pen marks – Undiluted vinegar and some elbow grease can remove your children’s artwork from hard surfaces. It may take a few applications and some assurances to your kids that you still love their art, but it works!

Undustify your blinds – Venetian blinds are the worst to clean, but you can make it far less terrible with vinegar! Get a bucket of equal parts vinegar and water, wet the fingertips of a cloth glove or a rag, and use your index finger and thumb to glide along each slat. The vinegar helps get rid of the oil and dust incredibly well.

Spruce up wood (haha, “spruce”) – Wood ages like anything else, be it paneling or furniture. A mix of 1 cup warm water, 4 tablespoons of vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil will help bring it back to life. Mix it up and wipe it onto the wood with a cloth. Let it sit and soak for a few minutes, and then buff it up with another dry towel.

Hide scratches in wood – A mix of undiluted vinegar and iodine (small amounts) can conceal scratches in wood. Use more vinegar for lighter woods and more iodine for darker woods, and then apply with a small brush (a nail brush works well).

Keep your computer clean – Get rid of oil and dust buildup on your electronics with a mix of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar. Use the mixture to dampen a cloth and wipe down your electronics and accessories. Don’t use a spray bottle, and don’t overly saturate the cloth. Again, I’m not liable for bad results, so be smart here and use common sense!

Clean carpets – A mix of 1/2 cup vinegar with 2 tablespoons of salt will remove minor carpet stains. Simply mix the two together and rub into the stain with a cloth and then let it dry. Once it’s dried, vacuum it up.

Vinegar for the Kitchen

Pickle EVERYTHING – If you have a bumper crop of peppers, onions, or (of course) cucumbers from your garden on a budget, you can whip up a pickle in an instant. Mix 1 cup vinegar with 1 cups water, 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar, and bring it all to a boil. Chop your veggies and add them to jars (you ARE re-using jars from the store, right?), and pour the brine on top. Let them cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge. After about 3 days they’ll be delicious and pickley.

Perfectly poached eggs – Poached eggs are really delicious but it’s super easy to obliterate the egg on accident. Adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your water along with 2 teaspoons of salt, and adding your egg in just before the water reaches a boil will help keep the egg together. Cook for about 2 minutes for a nice soft poach, or 3-4 for if you like them a bit firmer.

Clean your garbage disposal – You can’t really scrub your disposal for at least several good reasons. Fortunately, lemons and vinegar will do it for you. Take an ice cube tray and put a wedge of lemon in each cube. Then, fill each cube up with undiluted vinegar, and freeze them. When they’re good and frozen, pour 1/2 cup of bakin soda into the offending garbage disposal, add 3-5 lemon cubes and run the disposal until they’ve stopped rattling. This will do a great job of deodorizing your garbage disposal.

Unclog your drains – 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, poured directly into the clogged drain (you can use a funnel) will help unclog drains. Once the commotion and bubbling stops, run hot water from the tap. Wait about 10 minutes, and then run cold water. This is also a great way to deodorize your drains (particularly if they’ve been clogged for a while).

Fight that grease! – Getting rid of grease from your hard surfaces doesn’t require harsh cleaners. Simply wet a cloth with an equal mix of water and vinegar and wipe down the greasy surfaces. It may take some muscle, but it will work. It’s also a great idea to mix up a spray bottle of 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and 3 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Use this daily on surfaces to keep them clean and repel grease.

Clean your nasty microwave – If microwaved food explosions have you in the pits, place a bowl with 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 cup water into the microwave, and then turn it on for 5 minutes (on high). The steam it creates should loosen any food or stains and they should easily wipe away with a damp towel or sponge.

Disinfect all the things – Undiluted vinegar is a very potent antimicrobial. If you read my post on interesting ways to save money, you know that we use vinegar as a cleaning solution every day! Wipe down surfaces you cut raw meat on, especially counters and cutting boards, with undiluted vinegar. Creating a spray bottle full of undiluted vinegar for optimal disinfecting is another way to help kill nasties like staph, e.coli, and salmonella. A solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar is also very good for disinfecting kids’ cups or sippies that can harbor mold growth. Just let them soak and wipe them down.

Make metal magnificent – Silver soaked for a few hours in 1/2 cup white vinegar with a tablespoon of baking soda will regain it’s luster. Be sure to wash it off in cold water and dry with a soft washcloth. A paste of vinegar and baking soda (equal parts) can be applied to copper and brass to remove tarnish. Again, this might take some elbow grease but it’s very effective.

Sanitize water bottles – If you use BPA-free, reusable water bottles day-to-day, you really need to keep them sanitary. Every few days, fill it 75% full with equal parts vinegar and warm, soapy water. Shake it up well to get into all the crevices and then let it sit for half an hour. Rinse it thoroughly with warm water and let it air dry.

Clean kitchen shears – Don’t use water to clean your scissors or kitchen shears – it will rust them. A better idea is to use undiluted vinegar and wipe down the blades and then wipe them dry. This will also disinfect them. You can use this for regular scissors as well, as rusting is not good for them, either.

Ungunk your can openers – Can opener blades are disgusting, let’s just admit to that. You can make them reasonably not-disgusting again by using a toothbrush and undiluted vinegar to scrub in all the nooks and crannies. You may need to scrub a lot, but a douse in cold water should remove all that gunk afterwards.

Get rid of gnats (fruit flies) – Whatever you call them, those tiny little bugs are the bane of kitchens everywhere (especially if your husband forgets to leave a dry piece of cardboard over the top of your DIY worm farm…) Make a vinegar trap to catch and eliminate those little buggers! Take a jar with a lid, poke some holes in it, and fill it about halfway with apple cider vinegar, and place it where they’re the worst. If your kids eat yogurt a lot, you can also re-use those cups before they hit recycling – pour about a 1/4 inch of ACV into a coffee mug, poke two or three holes into the bottom of a cleaned yogurt cup, and then put the cup into the mug. It should do a fantastic job of getting rid of them, no matter what you call them.

Clear the air – If you burn food or simply cook something smelly, you can boil 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 cup water until it’s evaporated (or very nearly). It will get that smell right out of the air and remove all traces of that sardine-and-cabbage casserole your husband burned yesterday.

Clear away mineral deposits in a teakettle or coffee pot – Boil 2 cups of undiluted vinegar in your tea kettle or in a pan to then pour into your coffee pot. Let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight works well, too. Rinse it out the next day and it should be sparkling clean.

Naturally non-stick – Boil a cup of water until it evaporates in a frying pan to give it a natural non-stick coating that lasts on average about a month.

Homemade cottage cheese – Bring 1 gallon of whole milk to a near-boil (around 190 degrees Fahrenheit), then pour in 1/2 cup of vinegar. Once the mixture is cool, it will be separated into curds and whey. Pour it through a strainer and add the curds to a bowl, mixing in salt and whatever other spices you want. A smidge of cream here makes it smoother, but it’s not necessary, and it’s read to eat!

Clean Your Car with Vinegar!

Prevent frost in the winter – At night, spray your windows down with a solution of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water. This will help prevent frost from forming and it will help reduce the impact of ice buildup. It’s not going to stop snow from building up, but at least you won’t likely have a hard layer of ice to deal with after clearing snow away.

Windshield wipers – Dirty wipers will streak your windows and that’s pretty much the exact opposite of their intended use. A cloth soaked in undiluted vinegar, wiped up and down the blades a few times will get rid of the grimy buildup and get your wipers back to fully functioning fabulousness.

Remove old bumper stickers – If you’ve got the ghost of an old bumper sticker sticking around, undiluted vinegar applied directly on top and to the sides will help get it off. Use a thin piece of plastic like an ice scraper to remove the paper parts, and then reapply the vinegar to get the sticky icky glue-bits off, too.

De-grime wheel wells – If you’re prone to muddy driving, chances are good your wheel wells are less than sparkling. That’s okay, because a solution of 1:1 vinegar to water will help clean them off and also aid in repelling dirt!

Laundry Room + Vinegar

Deodorize that washer – So it’s not doubt that washers can get stinky. You could use bleach but vinegar is far safer and not likely to ruin clothes if it doesn’t get washed out completely. Run an empty small, hot wash cycle and add 1 cup of undiluted vinegar. If you can, add a second rinse cycle to make sure it’s all gone.

Pre-treater for stains – Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, and 1/3 cup borax in a spray bottle, directly apply to stains, and then let it sit for at least an hour before throwing in the washer.

Deep-cleaning towels – Mildew buildup can still leave towels smelling awful, even after being washed. To remedy this, toss your towels by themselves into the wash. Turn the water on hot, and use 1 cup undiluted vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda to wash them 1 full cycle. This will banish your mildew and get them smelling like things you’d want on your body again.

Destinky stinky shoes – Spray the insides of the offending footwear with 1:1 vinegar to water solution and let it sit overnight. Then, add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice to a cotton ball and put it in the shoes and let THAT sit overnight. The vinegar solution should kill odor-causing bacteria and the cotton ball should give your shoes a much more pleasant scent.

Miscellaneous Uses for Vinegar

Remove dry skin from your feet – This one is weird and I know it’s going to sound weird, but bear with us. 1 cup of Listerine and 1 cup vinegar with 2 cups of warm water makes a foot soak you’ll soak in for about 15 minutes. Then, apply a pumice stone or foot file and the dry, dead, gross skin should come right off.

Non-toxic weed killer – Fill a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar and then add 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap, and apply to weeds and the ground around them. The acetic acid in the vinegar will burn the weeds and alter the pH of the soil, killing the root, too. This solution is non-toxic, but it will murder any plant it touches, so be careful what you spray it on. Dish soap helps it stick to the plant, and the pH imbalance will wash out after a good rain, making the ground suitable for planting again.

Disinfect your mops – If you have mops with removable heads, you can use vinegar to disinfect and deodorize them. Simply toss them in your washer, add a cup of vinegar and wash on “hot”. They’ll be whiter, brighter, and actually CLEAN.

Everyday scented spray cleaner – Take an empty spray bottle and fill it with 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dish detergent, and the peels of lemons, oranges, or other assorted citrus. Let that soak for a few days before using and you’ll have a great, all-purpose cleaner that smells divine.

 

Why You Need to Buy Future Presents for Your Kids

Why You Need to Buy Future Presents for Your Kids

We have totes for everything – storing holiday decorations, keeping the umpteen feral cats in our neighborhood warm during cold winter nights, planting small varieties of tomatoes, etc.

It’s not quite as bad as my mason jar habit, but it’s getting there…

Then one summer, we found an extremely value-priced Imaginext playset at a garage sale and my love of totes jumped to a whole new level.

We made the $2 plunge and bought the toy for our son, but as “luck” would have it, he was being extremely sh*tty contrary that day, so a new toy wasn’t in the cards for him. While we pondered where we could store this fairly sizeable and yet 99%-cheaper-than-new playset, my thoughts strayed to a large, grey tote we had in our attic.

So with the toy safely stashed in our 150-year-old attic, away from prying hands and nosey toddlers, we decided we’d simply give it to our son for his next birthday, which was in a few months. As per routine, we went out the next weekend to garage sales and found a really cool toy guitar for our daughter. Again, it was I think a dollar, but we don’t like the habit of giving our kids presents for no reason, so up to the attic it went.

Thus, through the magic of simulated time-travel and a knack for spotting good deals on gently used toys, the Future Present Tote was born.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission and be able to afford coffee tomorrow. And Mama needs her coffee…

But What About Buying New Toys?

When I was a kid, I’d always get a combination of hand-me-down toys and new toys for holidays/birthday. (I also got socks and stuff, but I try to block out the more sadistic traits of my family and focus on the good.)

Whether the present was a brand new doll or a tea set from Goodwill, I never knew the difference because it was always new to ME. I mean, it’s possible my toys were judging each other on being shiny and new like some Mean Girls/Toy Story crossover, but who was I to get involved?

As a parent, though, I totally understand why my mother or grandparents might have opted to give me second hand stuff – toys are expensive.

Not only is the cost an issue, but new toys are…well…sorta wasteful, don’t you think? When you buy a used toy or doll, you cut down on package waste, and you might save an item that was otherwise destined for the landfill. You put money directly into the hand of an actual person, rather than a huge corporation. And, if after their presents are opened, your child decides within a few months they no longer like Power Rangers, you are out like $10 instead of $100+.

The New Adventures of Old Toys

If you have older children, I can see why you might hesitate on giving them “used” toys, but you’d be surprised what you can find at garage sales and online resale sites that are actually in really great shape! For example, when I worked at PBS, I went on a huge Bob Ross kick and ended up buying a Bob Ross paint set.

brunette girl wearing a bob ross shirt

I was really cool in my early 20s…

Once I realized that maybe I wasn’t so great at painting happy trees, I decided to sell it — nearly new and at a third of the cost! Something like that would make for a great gift for older kids.

On the other end of things, if your children are young enough, you can also “retire” certain toys to the future presents box when they get new ones. This frees up space, reduces clutter, and allows you to keep them interested in a lesser amount of junk well-loved toys and stuffed animals. Then, after a while you can reintroduce the old toy and watch them regard it with renewed interest.

Fantastic Deals and Where to Find Them

Where to stock up on future presents is probably the most fun part of the whole experience, aside from the money you’ll save. We love spending a Saturday morning perusing garage sales during the summer – it’s a great way to score deals while also enjoying sunshine and exercise as a family! Typically, we find some decent things in the fall, but those first spring garage sales are where it’s at.

People are very eager to clear their house out after winter, and especially since Christmas’ excesses and new toys are somewhat still lingering, you can get some really cool stuff dirt cheap.

save money kids clothing article link

Another opportunity is Facebook’s Marketplace feature. As your kids’ birthdays approach, run a few casual searches on their favorite things and you’d be surprised at what you can find. We picked up a Doc McStuffins playset for my daughter for $1 that would normally go for $30 were it brand new. It’s in pristine condition, not missing anything, and the family was happy to get rid of it as their children had grown out of it.

Granted, it’s a bit bigger than the tote, but the concept still holds true – she got it for Christmas and ADORES it.

Give Totes a Chance

This isn’t the first nor last time I’ll wax poetically about the usefulness of totes, so you might as well get on board. Pick up a tote and pick a hiding spot, because this method of money saving is a keeper.

The only downside is of course that if you don’t hide it well, and I mean really well, it’s like a time capsule treasure chest for sneaky little hands. Aside from that, though, get yourself a future presents tote and start saving money for your future in the present.

Oh and also you could use it to…

Totes My Goats!

brunette girl hugging goats happily

Sorry, I had to…

Do you buy your kids presents way ahead of time and then hide them?

Do they ever find them or do you consider yourself a parenting ninja? Share your secrets in the comments below!

How I Threw a Downtown Wedding For Less Than $4,000

How I Threw a Downtown Wedding For Less Than $4,000

You may have noticed lately that ThriftyGuardian has had a LOT of guest posts and I promise it’s not because I’m getting lazy 😉

Rather (if you haven’t yet heard….)

WE GOT MARRIED! 😀

Frugal Wedding Planning

So needless to say, I had to bring a few friends to help keep ThriftyGuardian running while I juggled wedding planning + #thetoddlers + running my own business…easy peasey, right?

Well I’m happy to say that I’m back at it and I’m eager to share with you how I put together a frugal wedding that didn’t look frugal!

The Beginning of My Frugal Wedding Planning

When we finally picked a date, my first thought was of course about the budget (heh I can’t help it! Frugality is life!)

I knew I wanted to throw a wedding downtown, it was important to me that no one feel tempted to drive, regardless of how much they were or weren’t drinking. I also wanted to be able to continue the party at my all-time favorite bar (Floyd’s, for those of you who are local!)

When I brought up my plans to my maid-of-honor, she scoffed. “There’s no way you can throw a wedding in Springfield for less than $5k,” she told me. And after I spoke to a few other friends, I began to fear she was right.

The Right Place, The Right Time

As luck would have it, my MoH and I happened to head out for a girl’s night to a new(ish) place in town – Arlington’s Restaurant. As we walked in, I was immediately in awe — this place was GORGEOUS! And the food….oooh my goodness. I was in love.

And guess what?

Our waitress just happened to mention that the upstairs area was available for rent!!

Now not only were we lucky in that this beautiful space was available (I’ve recently heard they’ll well booked through January 2018!) but it fit well within our budget.

I was sold.

You’ve got the wedding venue – now what?

Once the wedding venue was booked, the hard part began. There were so many decisions to be made! Time frame, food, drinks, hotel block, colors, decorations…so much to do and I’d given myself only six months to do it!

Given that my entire business runs around my ability to be efficient, I knew the first thing to do was to develop that budget. Having a number in mind is great, but was it possible? Only one way to find out…

(Please note this article contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission should you click through. This in no way impacts my recommendation of any products/services.)

Developing Your Wedding Budget

To begin, set a budget that gives you a tiny bit of buffer, but not so much that you’ll be tempted to spend when you don’t have to. Again, my budget was $5,000 (with us ideally staying under $4,000!) If you’re getting ready to plan your own wedding, please take my advice when I say – do NOT Google average prices of various wedding components! For example, wedding flowers cost an average of $2,000 (!!) Ooph. No.

Figure out what you feel is fair/reasonable and go from there, adjusting as necessary but recognizing that adding to one area will pull from another.

Our original Wedding Budget was as follows:

Groom’s Clothing/Accessories 120
Bride’s Clothing/Accessories 150
Kid’s Clothing 150
Venue 2,000
Cake 300
Bridal Party Gifts 200
Photos 1000
“Honeymoon” 500
Misc 500
TOTAL $4,920

Now, I already know what you’re thinking – $150 for the bride?! $500 for a photographer?! Where’s the DJ??!

Well stick with me, we’ll get there…

Wedding Budget – The Clothing

I’ve never been a “big wedding, expensive white dress” kind of gal, so that alone really helped us in saving money while still giving us an end result we loved. I had two desires when it came to the wedding clothing –

1. I wanted to wear a petticoat. I love petticoats.

2. Henry (our 3 yr old) needed suspenders. He looks flippin’ ADORABLE in suspenders.

Now if you’ve never seen my first born, I need you to prepare yourself for the cuteness coming your way…

(seriously…)

Frugal Wedding Ideas

Crushingly adorable, is he not?

So my starting place involved petticoats and suspenders…how could I NOT do a Rockabilly/50s theme??

Answer: I couldn’t. Rockabilly it was!

I clicked on over to Amazon and sure enough, found the perfect wedding dress for only $30!!

And because I’m a kind, wonderful bride (though maybe too kind…more on that later…) I had my bridesmaids buy the same dresses, but in a different color. Having spent nearly $200 on my own bridesmaid dress a few years ago, there was no way I’d inflict the same financial pain on someone else.

Then for my accessories, I went with a bird cage veilwhite Mary Jane(esque) shoes, and some costume pearls. All-in-all, my total wardrobe cost: $80 (original budget: $150)

We lucked out with our daughter’s clothing, in that we happened to visit my mom when her local JcPenney was closing! My daughter’s dress cost us $7 and even with her shoes and the same set of pearls I bought myself, her overall outfit cost us $32 (original budget: $75)

For the men, we decided to keep things simple. They wore white shirts, black pants, and black/white Chucks. My husband’s and son’s clothing cost a total of $200 (original budget: $195) – a bit over budget, until we factored in Ebates! Ebates saved us an additional $22 and if you’re not yet a user of Ebates, sign up now to earn an automatic $10 (it’s literally free money!!)

Total spent on clothing for the family: $312 (original budget: $420)

 

Saving Money on the Wedding Venue

Thus far we were well on track to staying under budget, but food and drinks can add up FAST. Do you do an open bar or cash bar? Sit down dinner or a cocktail hour? Decisions, decisions…

Personally, I’m a beer drinker so if we were going to have ANY free drinks, it was going to be beer. With the guidance of our amazing venue owner, we went with keg beer and a soda bar, everything else being cash bar. And that would be my biggest tip here – TRUST YOUR VENUE OWNER! If you can’t trust the owner, you may need to reconsider where you’re doing business. Ideally your venue owner will be upfront and honest in what works and what doesn’t for your specific budget.

And as I mentioned earlier, our venue has absolutely PHENOMENAL food (heh and clearly I LOVE food!) so figuring out the best plan of action was a bit tough. We ended up going with a later wedding – a start time of 6:30pm – and doing a variety of appetizers (or “drunk people food” as I liked to call ’em). We did decide to provide dinner for the bridal party beforehand so they could eat in between pictures and the wedding, but even with that expense, our total venue cost ended up being right on the nose at about $2,000. So far, so good!

Do You Really Need a Fancy Wedding Cake?

I’ll be honest here – we could have saved a lot more on our wedding cakes than we did but uh…TOTALLY worth it.

Obviously the bigger/taller your cake, the more expensive it’ll be. We ordered “sheet cakes” (the prettiest darn sheet cakes I’ve ever seen!!) and got enough to feed 100 people. Total cost: $280

As with everything in wedding planning, you really have to decide what’s most important to you. Would you rather have a huge wedding cake that costs you $6/serving or something that actually lasts beyond the night – like photos or favors?

DIY Wedding Decor

I’m HUGE into DIY and crafting, so that went a long way in helping us save money in our “Misc./Decor” budget. Not to mention we chose a venue that was already gorgeous, so what decor we did need was minimal.

Rather than rent linens from the venue ($15/piece), I kept an eagle eye on our local Facebook resale groups. We were able to pick up all the linens and table runners we needed for only $8/piece and then resold them for $10! Not bad, eh?

We also found a ton of mason jars at a garage sale and I already had other necessities – ribbon, glue, and hot glue guns galore!

I did buy some submersible tea lights to glue to the top of the mason jars and then all I did to create the centerpieces was spray glitter inside the jars, glue flowers to the tops, and wrap some ribbon/pearls around ’em. I added a few butterflies in honor of my grandma who passed in 2001 – she LOVED butterflies.

I then used the extra pearl strands and ribbon we had to do some decor for the chair backs:

 

Can You Do Your Own Wedding Photos?

Our biggest budget-saver was when we decided to do our own wedding photos and I am SO glad we did. Now I’m definitely not discounting the benefits of hiring a professional photographer, but I love having saved so much money while also having full access to each and every photo taken that day. While there are a lot of reasons to hire a professional wedding photographer, I feel there were a lot of photos taken that would have otherwise been missed had we hired someone not familiar with our friends/family. So rather than spending $500+ on a photographer, we spent about $100 on a “thank you” gift for a friend who gave us over 500 BEAUTIFUL shots of our entire day.

Who else but a friend would understand my need to wear a poncho while eating a horseshoe??

We also decided to have a photo booth at our wedding and asked that everyone leave us a copy. We built a collapsible display board with chicken wire and everyone loved it. So not only did we have photos of our friends/family being fun and goofy, but everyone got as many favors as they wanted to remember this beautiful day. We even bought little butterfly clothespins from Amazon for only $10 – totally worth it!

Total cost for photographer/photo booth: $360 (original budget: $1,000)

Saving Money on Music & Wedding Flowers

When I first Googled “wedding flowers” and saw the average cost was usually $2,000, my heart dropped; that’s nearly half my budget!! Luckily I love gardening, so set aside some space in our backyard and went about our usual frugal gardening adventures. Unfortunately that didn’t turn out quite as it was supposed to (and legally I’m not allowed to say what happened…) but should you go the route of growing your own wedding flowers, take my word for it when I say you need to make sure no one will “accidentally” spray weed killer near your yard (*grumble grumble*)

Even if you don’t grow your own flowers, though, there are a number of ways you can still save money! We ended up using a lot of fake flowers and I simply cut and pieced them together to make our decorations and bouquets:

A few hot glue gun burns but totally worth it!

Then we stopped by our local farmer’s market on the day of and picked up a few bunches of live sunflowers – which we later had fun handing out downtown after the wedding to confused-but-happy bar friends.

In terms of music, we really had fun with that! Rather than spending $300-$500 on a DJ, I decided to do it myself…with a little help from our friend T-Rox:Save Money Wedding DJ

Instead of a traditional “dollar dance”, we decided to encourage people to donate to our amazing DJ so he could fly first class back to the Prehistoric period (yes. seriously.)

All I did to DJ my own wedding was make separate playlists for each part of the wedding: music pre-ceremony, music during mingling after the ceremony, then dance music. Since I already own a microphone for my business, it was easy to record and plug in a few key pieces to keep the flow going as I wished. I used Raise to buy a discounted ITunes gift card (and Ebates saved me even more from there!) and even after I gave TRox his cut, we managed to only have to spend $70 on the music and I was able to guarantee the songs I wanted were played when I wanted them. This was probably my favorite part of the whole wedding shebang.

The Final Total

All-in-all our wedding total came in just under $4,000 (and that includes the honeymoon!) Obviously we could have cut corners even further, but I’m quite pleased with how it all came together and that we avoided hurting ourselves financially for one single event, even one as big as a wedding.

And we got to wear those petticoats:

 

If you have any questions (or want additional specifics on what we did!), please comment below!

I’d love to know your thoughts on our frugal wedding fun!