Tag Archives: diy

Save Money On Your Wedding Reception

November 10, 2011

7 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding Reception

The average American wedding costs around $30,000! When any bride takes a look at the cost of entertainment, food, the cake, and more, it’s not hard to see where those thousands go. However, it’s perfectly possible to have a beautiful, fun wedding reception without plunking down your life savings. Here are a few tips to save money on your wedding reception:

Save money on your wedding reception.

Do you really want Uncle Charlie at your wedding? Image credit: daryl_mitchell, Flickr.com.

1. Trim the guest list.
This is the simplest, easiest way to save money on your wedding reception. The number of guests you have to cut depends on how much you need to trim your budget; if your cost per head is $50, downsizing from 200 guests to 150 saves you $2,500! If you’re worried about insulting someone, go with a close friends and family only reception and visit with other guests afterwards, perhaps by throwing a small dinner party.

2. Simplify your decorations.
Decorations for a wedding reception can get pricey, so simplifying what you use can ease the strain on your wallet. This can be done in a number of ways. Use bigger tables so you need fewer centerpieces and tablecloths. Consider purchasing local in-season flowers and greenery. You can even try out non-floral decorations like candles or lanterns, which can be bought in bulk from a range of suppliers for as little as $1 apiece.

3. Don’t leave an unnecessary paper trail.
You’ve already shelled out a lot of cash for beautiful invitations and ceremony programs, so you don’t need to keep spending on unnecessary paper items for the reception. This can include menus, table numbers, escort cards, and more. Menus are overkill at a buffet dinner or simple hors d’oeuvres affairs, but if you really want one, consider placing a single sign near the reception entrance announcing the options. Have your favors double as escort cards by attaching a small tag with each guest’s name and table.

4. Plan for hidden costs.
“Hidden costs” are any costs that you don’t immediately think of, but which appear on your bill later and can completely blow your budget. They may be service charges, bottle-opening fees, gratuities, and cake-cutting fees. Before you sign a contract with your vendors, ask about these fees and make sure you can afford them.

5. Consider a mid-week reception.
Saturday weddings are popular but expensive. Just like hotels and vacation venues, booking an event in the middle of the week can shave a lot of cash off your bill. The same is true for weddings around major holidays and even peak times of the day. Just make sure you let your guests know well ahead of time so they can request enough time off from work.

Save money on your wedding reception.

Do you really need all of this? Image credit: D.L., Flickr.com

6. Don’t serve a full bar.
Open bars can get pricey when you’re charged by the bottle. Instead of having an open bar at your reception, go for one or two signature drinks, or skip the alcohol altogether. If you still want an open bar but need to save money, consider closing the bar for an hour sometime during the reception, such as during the hor’s d’oeuvres or while guests are seated during dinner.

7. Use some elbow grease.
With some careful planning, DIY-ing your wedding can save a lot of money. What you make or do yourself depends on your own abilities and how much help you have, but the possibilities are limitless. Make your own centerpieces, favors, wedding album, and more. This also works for saving money on the ceremony.

Whatever your budget, you can have a great wedding. Just follow these tips and use your own ingenuity to save money on your wedding reception. But don’t forget the most important part – enjoy your wedding no matter what!

5 Easy Steps To Build A Chicken Coop

July 22, 2011

Keeping chickens is fast becoming one of the best ways to ensure organic, fresh food “delivered” daily to your home. The cost of keeping chickens is relatively low compared to other pets that don’t give back in the form of food and they provide hilarious entertainment for you, your family and your neighbors! My family decided chickens were a must-have to start our small urban farm so we decided to build our own coop. Little did I know how easy it would be…


happy chickens in a safe enclosure

1. When you embark on a journey like this, its important to make sure you can keep chickens in your area. This is going to depend on state, county and city laws as well as, if you rent, landlord permission. Most counties will not let you own roosters, so make sure to check the specifics. There are also usually laws regarding where you place your coop on your property.  Double and triple check!

2. You should draw up some plans. Do you want a mobile chicken coop – called a tractor – or one that is a permanent home? How many chickens do you plan on keeping and how big do you want the coop to be? What do you want to use for building materials? There are a lot of websites that have free plans for you to browse. One of the best is Backyard Chickens. They have a plethora of information about coops and chickens. For our own coop, we found a truck canopy at Goodwill for $30 that we used as the “base” (the roof) and built onto that. You could even search for “unique chicken coop images” and see all the different things others have made coops out of.

3. Next, build! Easy, right? We found some 2 X 4s and plywood and then screwed a wooden frame into the truck canopy so it was over six feet off the ground. Then, using the plywood, we built the actual henhouse under the canopy. The henhouse refers to the place where the chickens sleep at night and lay their eggs. We filled in any cracks with a foam insulate and covered the floor with a piece of linoleum for further draft protection and easy cleaning.

4. With the walls completed, we moved on to the safety of our chickens. The frame we set the canopy on is mostly 4 X 4s, very easy to staple gun chicken wire to. Make sure the chicken wire is taut and secure. Raccoons and other animals are very strong and tricky, and they want your chickens!

chicken coop

coop before decoration? or leave it old school.

5. Finally… decorate! The chickens probably don’t care what it looks like, but you do! Paint, glitter, macaroni art that coop up! Ok, maybe not macaroni… But I definitely want to see pictures of your masterpieces!

If you gather all the materials beforehand, you can kick out a quality chicken coop in one weekend. Don’t forget to have fun!

DIY: How to Self Publish Your Books

March 23, 2011

Stephen King faced over two dozen rejections before he was able to sell his first novel, Carrie, to a publisher. Frank Herbert faced the same problem with Dune. But those were the ancient days of the 20th century when using publishers was the easiest way to get you book in readers hands. There was self-publishing–Beatrice Potter self-published 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit—however, true success would only come through major publishing companies. Thankfully, self-publishing in the 21st century is a little different.

Today, self publishing is ridiculously easy. Through the use of Print-on-Demand (POD) websites like Lulu.com and Createspace.com, anyone can self publish a book. The process is not limited to novels; you can use Blurb.com to create photography or picture books. If your interest is less stiff book and more floppy pamphlet, use Magcloud to create your own magazine.

The greatest feature that POD offers is affordability. These companies don’t charge money to upload or store the book’s files, they only ask from money when they print a book. The neat thing about that is that it’s possible to print one book at a time. This means a writer doesn’t have to print 1000 books at a time and store them until they’re sold. Each copy is printed when it’s bought.

And these services aren’t just for amateurs; established writers are also using them. Guys like Warren Ellis, Cory Doctorow and Wil Wheaton (yeah, the guy from Stand by Me and Star Trek: TNG) are dipping their toes into the POD pool to see what all the fuss is about.

These technological innovations make the gap between author and reader smaller and smaller. Keep in mind that it’s still a relatively new service, so all the bugs haven’t been worked out. And just selling a book on the sites won’t make you an overnight phenomenon. But if you just want a copy of your novel to go on your bookshelf, this is a great thing.

Top Posts on the Green Frugal 2010

January 13, 2011

The first year of blogging on the Green Frugal has come and gone. All of us here at Cash4Books would like to thank all of our readers. We hope you have learned as much and had as much fun as we have.

In case you might have missed them, included below are our top five posts in 2010.

Here’s to 2011!

DIY Bookshelves for under $20

We love books and we love saving money. This post was a perfect combination of these two things.


How to create a romantic dinner date at home

Cash4Books president, Jim Smith, explains how he surprised his wife on their anniversary with a very special dinner date at home.


DIY How to frame autumn leaves

Beautiful and vibrant colors come to homes and neighborhoods every autumn. Finding a few leaves and preserving them, makes great gifts and adds a little spice to any room.


Fundraising with Cash4Books

No one doubts that Cash4Books can be a great way to raise money. A customer had asked us how that power can be harnessed to raise funds for great causes.


DIY Secret compartment in a book

Our very own Michael B explains how he created a super secret hiding place inside of an old textbook.


Creative Thanksgiving Desserts

November 22, 2010

Last year I attempted Thanksgiving Dinner on my own for the first time.  This experience, while a learning one, is one I will not repeat this year. I’ll leave that up to the experts, or at least those not as culinary-ily challenged.  :) Despite my turkey debacle (not all of the innards made it out before the bird went into the oven), thankfully the pumpkin pie did turn out. After subjecting my sweet friends to an interesting array of somewhat recognizable Thanksgiving favorites, at they least had dessert to look forward to. This year, that’s about all that I am going to attempt.  Instead of the traditional pumpkin pie, I thought it might be fun to do something different.

When pumpkin pie just won’t cut it, try something out of the ordinary for Thanksgiving dessert! Here are a few fun and yummy recipes:

Cranberry Velvet Pie

Prep Time: 4 1/2 hours
Cook Time: Ready in 12 hours
Serves: 6-8 (one 9 1/2-inch pie)

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Serves: 6-8. Yields a 9in. cake.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 15 servings

Pilgrim Pies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Serves: Yields 10-14 Pilgrim Pies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves:  12 servings

Pumpkin Crunch Parfait

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: no cooking required
Serves: 6 servings

Thanksgiving Fall Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 10-12 servings

I hope everyone has a tasty Thanksgiving! Enjoy your time with friends and family…and let me know how your desserts turn out!