Guides

How to Spend Less Than $5,000 On a Wedding

When planning a wedding and finally tying the knot, it is important to not let budgets and imaginations run wild. Every bride and groom wants to make sure that day is perfect and is one to always remember, but no one wants to end up with wedding debt. Now with more and more parents not footing the bill, it’s on the young 20-something couple to take it on. And with the average price of a wedding in 2012 eclipsing $25,000, we thought it was time to take a step back and look at how you can plan an amazing wedding day without spending more than $5,000.

cheap wedding tips

When trying to save money on a wedding there are some key costs to consider: the venue, the guests, the invitations, the outfit, the food, and the cake.

The Venue

cheap wedding venue

The most important rule of real estate is always LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! The same can be said of weddings. Everyone has dreams of being married in that white pristine chapel on a perfect sunny day. Or of being married in a giant marble estate. But with costs of renting venues starting already in the $10,000 range, why not opt instead to be married on a beach, or a botanical garden, or even under the stars in a field? It is easy to find great places near you that are beautiful and can even make your wedding more unique than any other. By simply getting a park permit or even just asking permission, you drop the cost of your venue from the $10,000′s+ to $1,000 or less.

The Guests

wedding guests

A really easy way to keep costs low is to limit the total number of guests you invite. With most venues charging a “per plate” catering fee, the smaller the party size the less you pay. This is a case where size does matter. An easy way to limit guests is to start small with the bare minimum of who you need to invite (i.e. immediate family and just three close friends for the bride and groom). From there the total number of guests can spiral out of control as people bring friends and family into the mix. A good rule of thumb is if they didn’t wish you a happy birthday or a merry Christmas for the past two years then they aren’t close enough to wish you happy anniversary either. Big lesson here is to start small. You can always add more guests but you can’t uninvite them no matter how much you hate your new mother-in-law. By cutting the total party size down from 100 guests to a more manageable 50 or from 200 guests to 100 you easily and quickly cut your wedding costs in half.

The Invitations

cheap wedding invitations

One of the most unexpected expenses is the wedding invitations themselves. Ranging in price from $5 to even $10 an invite the more guests you have, the quicker the costs rise. Consider sending out and making the invitations yourself! This allows you to save money and gives you and your beau some time to reconsider everyone you are inviting to your wedding. If you can’t spend two minutes writing them a personal card then why would you want to spend two hours with them on your special day? By doing the invitations yourself you can drop the cost of them from $1,000 for 50 or a 100 invitations to just $100!

The Outfit

cheap wedding gown

A gown by Monique Lhuillier or Vera Wang is what every girl dreams of, but who want’s to spend $5,000 + on a dress you are only ever going to wear once? It will cost you more than month of rent! Why not look for a slightly more nontraditional dress in the $1,000 price range that lets you be unique and still look fabulous on your wedding day. For the grooms it is still ideal to just rent your tux since this allows you to customize it and get the perfect fit so you look great in the wedding photos you show your grand kids one day. Easily drop your wedding clothing cost from $10,000 to under $2,000.

The Food

cheap wedding catering

The food and drink at a wedding can really make or break the whole event. By opting out of fancy run of the mill caterers who charge high price per plate rates (up to $100+ a plate!) you can instead order food from your favorite restaurant and make a really special and memorable meal of all your favorite dishes. Perhaps you and your special one had a great first date at Sophie’s Cuban, or love Calexico! Why not hire them to come cater your big deal? You will save a bundle and have people go home feeling full and enjoying a unique and special meal. Of course the other big expense is alcohol. Consider a place that is BYOB and lets you bring in the drinks of your choice. This way you can avoid the markup they will charge you at the venue and the best part is you get to keep the leftovers! Save a bundle by hiring out your favorite restaurant to cater the big day and by bringing in your favorite drinks for your guests to enjoy!

The Cake

cheap wedding cake

Aside from the rings and ceremony itself one of the most important parts of a wedding is the cake, and as such it is also quite expensive. Wedding cakes can range from $500 to $1,000, and for something that you normally just get a bite of, that doesn’t sound like a great deal unless it’s a cake made of gold! A really easy solution is to buy the smallest size wedding cake to make sure you have one there and have some of it to save for your one year anniversary. For the rest of the guests go to your favorite baker and buy your favorite normal cake for them. This way your guests get something yummy, you still get your special cake on your special day, and you also save a bundle. By doing this you can easily save hundreds of dollars from your wedding day costs.

I hope that these tips help you in planning out your special day. Remember, just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean it is cheap or not right. You can create a unique and amazing wedding all while saving a bundle! Let us know if you found these tips helpful or have some suggestions of your own in the comments section below!

 

103 Best Sources for Legal Free Books

This is a great list of the 103 best sources for free books online. You don’t need Amazon anymore when you have sites that can give you great books by Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and other famous authors for free.

1. http://www.classicbookshelf.com This site has put classic novels online, from Charles Dickens to Charlotte Bronte.

2. http://www.onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu search.html The University of Pennsylvania hosts this book search and database.

3. www.gutenberg.org This famous site has over 27,000 free books online.

4. http://www.pagebypagebooks.com Find books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, as well as speeches from George W. Bush on this site.

5. http://www.classicbook.info Genres here include historical fiction, history, science fiction, mystery, romance and children’s literature, but they’re all classics.

6. http://www.classicreader.com Here you can read Shakespeare, young adult fiction and more.

7. http://www.readprint.com From George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas to George Eliot to Charles Darwin, this online library is stocked with the best classics.

8. http://www. www.planetebook.com Download free classic literature titles here, from Dostoevsky to D.H. Lawrence to Joseph Conrad.

9. http://www.meta.montclair.edu spectator Montclair State University’s project features full-text, online versions of The Spectator and The Tatler.

10. http://www.bibliomania.com This site has more than 2,000 classic texts, plus study guides and reference books.

11. http://www.literature.org Find full and unabridged texts of classic literature, including the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and more.

12. http://www.bartleby.com fiction Bartleby has much more than just the classics, but its collection of anthologies and other important novels made it famous.

13. http://www.fiction.us Fiction.us has a huge selection of novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Flaubert, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.

14. http://www.classic-literature.co.uk Find British authors like Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, plus other authors like Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and more. Textbooks If you don’t absolutely need to pay for your textbooks, save yourself a few hundred dollars by reviewing these sites.

15. http://www.textbookrevolution.org index.php Main_Page Find biology, business, engineering, mathematics and world history textbooks here.

16. http://www.en.wikibooks.org wiki Main_Page From cookbooks to the computing department, find instructional and educational materials here.

17. http://www.knowthis.com topic-areas media-and-publications free-online-textbooks.htm Get directed to stats textbooks and more.

18. http://www.welovelmc.com books.htm Find books about plastic surgery, anatomy and more here.

19. http://www.spot.colorado.edu ~dubin bookmarks b 1240.html Access biochemistry, chemistry, aeronautics, medical manuals and other textbooks here.

20. http://www. ocw.mit.edu OcwWeb web resources supplemental index.htm Find free videos, textbooks and more on the subjects of mechanical engineering, mathematics, chemistry and more.

21. http://www.flatworldknowledge.com minisite This innovative site has created an open college textbooks platform that will launch in January 2009.

22. http://www.businessbookmall.com Free Business Books.htm Find free books to go along with accounting, economics and other business classes.

23. http://www.lightandmatter.com Here you can access open source physics textbooks.

24. http://www.emedicine.medscape.com This project from WebMD is continuously updated and has articles and references on surgery, pediatrics and more. Math and Science Turn to this list to find books about math, science, engineering and technology.

25. http://www.fullbooks.com This site has “thousands of full-text free books,” including a large amount of scientific essays and books.

26. http://www.homepages.nyu.edu ~jmg336 html mathematics.html NYU links to several free resources for math students.

27. http://www.math.gatech.edu ~cain textbooks onlinebooks.html Here you can find online textbooks likeElementary Linear Algebra and Complex Variables.

28. http://www.techbooksforfree.com science.shtml These books range in topics from nanotechnology to compressible flow.

29. http://www.freescience.info Find over 1800 math, engineering and science books here.

30. http://www.freetechbooks.com e Tech Books Computer programmers and computer science enthusiasts can find helpful books here. Children’s Books Even children’s books are now available online. Find illustrated books, chapter books and more.

31. http://www.bygosh.com Find free illustrated children’s books and stories here.

32. http://www.munseys.com site home Munseys has nearly 2,000 children’s titles, plus books about religion, biographies and more.

33. http://www.en.childrenslibrary.org Find award-winning books and search by categories like age group, make believe books, true books or picture books.

34. http://www.lookybook.com Access children’s picture books here. Philosophy and Religion For books about philosophy and religion, check out these websites.

35. http://www.bored.com ebooks Bored.com has music ebooks, cooking ebooks, and over 150 philosophy titles and over 1,000 religion titles.

36. http://www.ideology.us Here you’ll find works by Rene Descartes, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, David Hume and others.

37. http://www.dlshq.org download download.htm Recent uploads to this site include Practical Lessons in Yoga and Philosophy of Dreams.

38. http://www.ne.jp asahi moriyuki abukuma weber society socio_relig socio_relig_frame.html Read this book by Max Weber, here.

39. http://www.e-library..netReligion.htm Read books about the Bible, Christian books, and more. Plays From Shakespeare to George Bernard Shaw to more contemporary playwrights, visit these sites.

40. http://www.readbookonline..net Here you can read plays by Chekhov, Thomas Hardy, Ben Jonson, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and others.

41. http://www.fiction.us plays.htm Read Pygmalion, Uncle Vanya or The Playboy of the Western World here.

42. http://www.shakespeare.mit.edu MIT has made available all of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and histories.

43. http://www.vl-theatre.com list4.shtml This site catalogs “all the plays [they] know about that are available in full text versions online for free.”

44. http://www.singlelane.com proplay This site has children’s plays, comedies, dramas and musicals. Modern Fiction, Fantasy and Romance These websites boast collections of graphic novels, romance novels, fantasy books and more.

45. http://www.publicbookshelf.com Find romance novels, mysteries and more.

46. http://www.ibdof.com This forum features fantasy and graphic novels, anime, J.K. Rowling and more.

47. http://www.free-online-novels.com Here you can find Christian novels, fantasy and graphic novels, adventure books, horror books and more.

48. http://www.foxglove.co.uk free_online_novels.html This British site has free novels, satire and short stories.

49. http://www.baen.com library Find books by Scott Gier, Keith Laumer and others.

50. http://www.roadtoromance.ca freestories.htm This website has books by Patricia Cornwell and other romance novelists.

51. http://www.getfreeebooks.com This site’s largest collection includes fiction books.

52. http://www.johntcullen.com Read short stories from John T. Cullen here.

53. http://www.hourwolf.com sfbooks Books here include Arabian Nights,Aesop’s Fables and more.

54. http://www.starry.com novel free-online-novels freenoveldirectory.htm This list contains mostly fantasy books. Foreign Language For books in a foreign language like French, Spanish and even Romanian, look here.

55. http://www.cf.hum.uva.nl Find Dutch literature here.

56. http://www.un2sg4.unige.ch Search by author’s name, French books, or books written by other authors but translated into French.

57. http://www.liberliber.it:/ Download Italian books here. Browse by author, title, or subject.

58. http://www.biblior..netvolume.html Find Romanian books on this site.

59. http://www.cervantesvirtual.com Look up authors to find a catalog of their available works on this Spanish site.

60. http://www.sarantakos.com keimena.html This page is entirely in Greek, but if you’re looking for modern Greek literature, this is the place to access books online.

61. http://www.cervantes.tamu.edu V2 index.html Texas A&M’s Proyecto Cervantes has cataloged Cervantes’ work online.

62. http://www.forumromanum.org literature index.html Access many Latin texts here.

63. http://www.runeberg.org Find Scandinavian literature online here.

64. http://www.lib.uchicago.edu efts IWW This site provides information about Italian women authors and features full-text titles too.

65. http://www.bv2.gva.es default.php Register to use this database of Catalan and Valencian books.

66. http://www.ketabfarsi.com Access literature and publications in Farsi from this site.

67. http://www.afghanistandl.nyu.edu Powered by NYU, the Afghanistan Digital Library has works published between 1870 and 1930.

68. http://www.ucc.ie celt CELT stands for “the Corpus of Electronic Texts” features important historical literature and documents.

69. http://www.gutenberg.spiegel.de index.php This easy-to-use database of German language texts lets you search by genres and author. History and Culture Refresh your memory of world history, the classics and U.S. history here.

70. http://www.librivox.org newcatalog LibriVox has a good selection of historical fiction. 71. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu hopper Tufts’ Perseus Digital Library features titles from Ancient Rome and Greece, published in English and original languages.

72. http://www.accessgenealogy.com library Find literature about Native American history, the Scotch-Irish immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, and more.

73. http://www.onlinebooks4free.com menu history_usgeneral.html This collection features U.S. history books, including works by Paul Jennings, Sarah Morgan Dawson, Josiah Quincy and others.

74. http://www.books-on-line.com bol TopTen.cfm?DCode=9 Free titles include Seven Days and Seven Nights by Alexander Szegedy and Autobiography of a Female Slave by Martha G. Browne. Rare Books Look for rare books online here.

75. http://www.questia.com publicdomainindex Questia has 5,000 books available for free, including rare books and classics.

76. … Arts and Entertainment This list features books about celebrities, movies, fashion and more.

77. http://www.books-on-line.com bol default.cfm This large collection includes movie scripts, newer works, cookbooks and more.

78. http://www.chestofbooks.com This site has a wide range of free books, including gardening and cooking books, home improvement books, craft and hobby books, art books and more.

79. http://www.free-ebooks..net Find titles related to beauty and fashion, games, health, drama and more.

80. http://www.2020ok.com Categories here include art, graphic design, performing arts, ethnic and national, careers, business and a lot more.

81. http://www.art.quickfound.net Find artist books and art books in PDF format here.

82. http://www.onlinecomputerbooks.com OnlineComputerBooks.com directs you to free web design books.

83. http://www.onlinebooks4free.com Find sheet music, lyrics and books about music here.

84. http://www.clothing.quickfound.net Costume and fashion books are linked to the Google Books page. Mystery Here you can find mystery books from Sherlock Holmes to more contemporary authors.

85. http://www.mysterynet.com Read free short mystery stories on this site.

86. http://www.topmystery.com Read books by Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, GK Chesterton and other mystery writers here.

87. http://www.books-on-line.com Read books by Sue Grafton and others. Poetry These poetry sites have works by Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others.

88. http://www.online-literature.com This site features forums, a copy of The King James Bible, and over 3,000 short stories and poems.

89. http://www.fiction.us This list includes “The Raven,” “O Captain! My Captain!” and “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.”

90. http://www.poemhunter.com Find free poems, lyrics and quotations on this site.

91. http://www.poetry-online.org Read limericks, love poetry, and poems by Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Lord Byron and others.

92. http://www.books.google.com books?q=+subject%22+Poetry+%22&as_brr=3&rview=1&source=gbs_hplp_fict Google Books has a large selection of poetry, fromThe Canterbury Tales to Beowulf to Walt Whitman.

93. http://www.quotesandpoem.com poems poets Read poems by Maya Angelou, William Blake, Sylvia Plath and more.

94. http://www.completeclassics.com Rudyard Kipling, Allen Ginsberg and Alfred Lord Tennyson are all featured here.

95. http://www.pinkpoem.com On this site, you can download free poetry ebooks. Miscellaneous For even more free book sites, check out this list.

96. http://www.onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu Here you can follow links of banned books to their full text online.

97. http://www.worldebooklibrary.com This monstrous collection includes classics, encyclopedias, children’s books and a lot more.

98. http://www.dailylit.com DailyLit has everything from Moby Dick to the more recent phenomenon, Skinny Bitch.

99. http://www.digital.library.upenn.edu The University of Pennsylvania’s page for women writers includes Newbery winners.

100. http://www.starry.com These novels are fully online and range from romance to religious fiction to historical fiction.

101. http://www.manybooks.net Download mysteries and other books for your iPhone or eBook reader here.

102. http: www.authorama.com Books here are pulled from Google Books and more. You’ll find history books, novels and more.

103. http://www.onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu Use this directory to connect to full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.

How to Find the Value of a Savings Bond

Savings bonds were first created to finance World War 1. Originally called liberty bonds, they are now sold as series EE and Series I savings bonds. Financial institutions stopped selling paper based savings bonds on January 1st, 2012.

value of a savings bond

Series EE

Series EE bonds reach maturity after 20 years from the date of issue. They are usually liquidated at twice the face value and make for great investment vehicles. They can however continue to earn interest for a total of 30 years. The interest on Series EE bonds is calculated monthly and is paid when the holder cashes the bond. For bonds that were issued before May 2005, the rate of interest is usually computed after six months and is calculated at 90% of the average 5 year treasury yield set from the preceding six months.

For bonds that were issued after May 2005, pay a fixed interest rate of 0.20%, based on the life of the bond. At the rate of .20%, a bond that costs $100 at face value would be worth $105 just before 20 years and would be adjusted to $200 at exactly 20 years, giving it an effective rate of 3.5%. The bond would then continue to earn the fixed interest rate for another 10 years after maturity.

Within 10 years, the interest rate for new bonds in 2009 dropped by over 5% to settle at 0.7% for new bonds.

EE paper bonds were issued with a face value of double their purchase price. A $100 bond could be bought for $50 but would be worth $100 at maturity.

Series I Bonds

On the other hand, Series I binds have a variable interest rate that is based on the rate of inflation. Series I binds have a variable yield based on Inflation and is based on two components. The first is usually a fixed rate that remains constant during the lifetime of the bond. The second part of the bond is usually reset every six months through the lifetime of the bond to take into account the current inflation rate.

The new rates are usually published very 1st of May and 1st of November of every year. The fixed rate which is usually determined by the Treasury department remains at 0% from 1st of November 2012. The variable interest rate for the Series I bonds is usually calculated based on the consumer price index or CPU-I.

Tips on Saving Money

Saving money can be much simpler than you think. If you are planning to save more money this year, here are some guides and tips for you to follow. You do not have to follow each one of these tips to the letter, instead treat them just as guides to help you to save extra money on your day to day purchases. You will be surprised at the amount of money you can save just by making a few small changes. Here are some of the best tips on saving money.

tips on saving money

MAKE YOUR OWN COFFEE

Everyone is regularly buying coffee at restaurants nowadays. It would actually save you more money if you skip your latte or macchiato from your favorite restaurant and make it instead. This tip does not mean that you have to entirely stop drinking coffee or totally remove coffee in your life. Instead, just go to your kitchen and make your own coffee. Many of your favorite coffee houses also sell their unique blends and machines to make coffee in your own home so that you can duplicate their results in your kitchen. This can be more cost effective over a year than purchasing an expensive cup of coffee every day.

HAVE YOUR CHECKLIST WHILE SHOPPING

Keep a mantra as you are shopping. Stop the impulsive buying. Some people are experiencing the hardest time when they are in a mall or a supermarket and they are being tempted to buy something that they really want but do not need. If you shop without a checklist, there are tendencies that you are going to buy some things that you do not actually need. What’s worse is, you might forget the things that you have to buy and become lured in with the things that look more exciting to purchase than necessities. This is how you can start losing money quickly.

Additionally, with a checklist, you will only buy all the things that you need to buy in just one trip to the department store or grocery store, instead of having to go back for forgotten items.

DON’T BUY BOOKS. BORROW.

If you like reading, skip buying the books that you like reading and instead go to the nearest library and locate a book that might be of interest to you. It is always free to go to the library and borrow some books. Why would you buy a book when you can have it for free? If you know someone with a collection of books you can also offer trades or swaps for your own collection so that you can both enjoy reading new books without having to buy them.

BRING YOUR OWN WATER

Drinking water is good for our body, but you do not have to buy bottled water every now and then just to quench your thirst. Instead, bring your own bottled water in your office or whenever you go out. When you bring your own water, you will not only save your money, you will also be saved from thirst when you are working or out shopping.

CONTROL YOUR USE OF ELECTRICITY

When you are not using appliances like your televisions, radios, microwaves, etc. it is best that you completely unplug them, rather than simply just turn them off. An appliance still uses your electricity for some small processes as long as it is plugged in.

AVOID BEING WITH FRIENDS WHO IMPULSE SHOP

If you have friends who regularly impulse shop and invite you to come with them to lavish restaurants and more it is important to remember, you are saving your money for necessities. Hanging with people who have lavish lifestyles may make you spend more than your means.
Remember; these are just mere guides for you to save your money. Just pick one of these tips that suits you best. If you can use these tips to save money, you can help to plan for a healthier retirement as well as have savings in case emergencies may arise.