Wedding on a budget: Cake and Cake Topper

We purchased our wedding cake through the same vendor that cater our wedding. We can opt to pay a fee and purchased the cake somewhere else but chose to buy it from the same vendor to minimize the logistic of transporting the cake. I did not hire a wedding planner and I don’t want to coordinate anything during the day of the wedding.

Our cake cost $372.50. I chose to purchase a 2 tier wedding cake to cut and a sheet cake to serve the guests. To save, I purchased a sheet cake instead of a 4 tier wedding cake. It taste the same and half the price.

Another unnecessary expense is the cake topper. We provided our own to save some more. Looking online, the cake topper price varies from $10 – $50. I got lucky and saw a cake topper from Walmart for 75 cents. I painted it in gold to match our color theme.

Total cost, $373.25.

Weddings don’t need to be expensive. There are many ways to cut your expenses as long as you keep an open mind and prioritize. The rest don’t need to be perfect.


Checking Account Coupon Codes

I received a coupon code from chase, giving me an extra $300 dollars if I open a checking account. It looks too good to be true so I carefully read the fine print. Please, if you do receive one like this, read the fine print. There are very few banks that do not charge service fee, and chances are you’re signing up for one. Here’s the cost associated with opening a checking account:

1. I need to sign up for direct deposit – cost $0

2. I need to keep the account open for 6 months. At an interest rate of .01% APY, keeping $15,000 means that I’m foregoing $12 of interest every month if I keep it on my savings account at Capital One 360 at 1% APY. Total cost is $60.

3. I need to keep a balance of $15,000 in chase account or have an automatic payment to chase mortgage account, otherwise I will need to pay $25 for service fee. My mortgage is not from chase so that is not an option. Total fee for 6 months is $150.

Rationally, the best way to avoid the fee is to move money from my savings account to checking account. As long as interest rate keep at 1%, I’m better off opening a new bank account and hold on to it for less than 25 months or close it after 6 months.

For customers signing up without $15K, or mortgage from Chase, I will translate this marketing to this “Get $150 as a new Chase checking customer and make sure to close the account after 6 months”

This marketing scheme just didn’t work for me. I’m not a fan of multiple accounts and it is just not worth the hassle.

If you truly want a free savings and checking account, I recommend, Capital One 360. I’ve been a customer since 2006, when it was ING Direct. Capital One eventually acquired them. They lack physical location, but have an awesome interest rate. You can withdraw from any AllPoint ATMs. These are usually ATMs located in the gas station, 7-eleven, grocery stores, restaurants and bars — yes, I mean bars.

9 tips for buying a wedding dress online

According to this article, the average cost of a wedding dress is $1,259. Additional alterations can run from $200 – $400. I couldn’t justify the cost of buying a new gown, because I know that it will only be worn for a day. Instead, I bought my dress online and saved so much, not just with the dress but with the alterations. It took some time and a lot of research, but I ultimately found the dress. This will not work for all, especially if you’re set with a specific style, but if you keep an open mind, buying a dress online is easier than you think and can be a lot of fun.

Tip 1 – Try on some clothes in-store and check out what you like and what you don’t like

This is the fun part. I went to 5 different stores to check out their gowns. I tried on different styles. I realized that it’s a lot easier for me to decide on what I don’t want than what I want. Going through the iterations also made me realize what fits me well, and the style and fabric that is most comfortable with the venue

Tip 2 – Take some pictures of dresses you tried on

Once you tried it on, take a lot of pictures. Ask for the designer and the style number. Go back home and see if you can find it online. If not, look at the same designer and the year. Design and styles are very cohesive. There’s a big chance that you can find the same style. Use these photos while shopping online as a resource.

Tip 3 – Go to a reputable online store

I visited 3 online stores while shopping for a gown

  • Nearly Newlywed – this store curates the dresses and guarantee authenticity. The seller sends the dress to get inspected, which is then shipped to the buyer.  They also have a 5 day risk free return. You can order as much dress as you want for $25 return shipping fee. This is a good choice if you have a specific designer dress in mind. Since this is risk free, you basically pay for your peace of mind. Prices of the gown are only 20 to 30 percent off the original price.
  • Tradesy – this site sells high end designer items. They also guarantee authenticity but returns are set by the seller. The price are set by the seller. If you’re lucky you might find one on a good deal.
  • PreOwned Wedding dress – this site have thousands and thousands of wedding dresses. This is where I bought my dress. It can be overwhelming but if you know the style and size, it’s easy to filter it. You deal directly with the seller and can negotiate the price. I had a smooth transaction and only paid 20% of the original price, including shipping.

Tip 4 – Ask for receipt, both the original and dry cleaning purchase

If you’re dealing with the seller directly, ask if she kept the original receipt and the dry cleaner receipt. This is important if you are planning to sell the gown after.

Tip 5 – Get the wedding venue details

If the wedding is outdoors, chances are there will be some dirt in the gown, especially the hem. You can either plan for this to be included in the price or negotiate the price

Tip 6 – Ask for specific measurements, both street size and gown size.

This is very important to me. I want to save some money on alterations so I specifically look for the gown on my size, including the hemline with a shoe in mind. If the seller can’t give me measurements, I move on.

Tip 7 – Secure the shipment

Depending on the price of the gown, you can get some insurance to ship it. I personally didn’t bother. I just asked it to be delivered at the Fedex office to guarantee my signature

Tip 8 – Use secure payment

Paypal is the option at preownedweddingdresses. The seller will send you the invoice to pay. It’s the only way to file for a claim in case you had an issue with the seller.

Tip 9 – Be polite

Buying online is a very different experience. I don’t think you can be a bridezilla here. There will be sellers that don’t respond right away and you just have to be patient. Once you find a dress you like, contact the seller, but don’t rush into buying it. It took me about a month with some back and forth from the time I first contacted the seller. This is very important if there’s no return policy. At the end of it, I feel like I know the seller personally and it’s such a joy to give life to the dress once again.

Cost of my Gown: $436.00 (including shipping)

Enjoy and happy hunting!