Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm alive

I kind of fell out of my blogging habits this past week. I had a couple big tests, a sick toddler, 3 photo shoots, and a lot of planning to do. I'll give a quick synopsis of the going on around here.

This week, I had an accounting test. I am not doing as well in intermediate accounting as I did in the first two levels. My average is a very weak B right now, but I managed an 85% on my last test, and he's dropping the lowest test score, so I"m pretty confident that I can pull off a solid B. It will hurt my GPA, but I'm doing my best, so I need to just let it be.

We had a large family photo shoot on Sunday with John's side. It was stressful, but we got some cute photos out of the deal. One of the 3 photos of my Christmas card was taken that day. On Wednesday I had another photo shoot, this time a local Target, for my sister's two kids & Lucas to have some holiday shots done. We always give our very large family photos of the kids each holiday (which can get mighty expensive). I ended up with a great solo shot of Lucas that was totally unplanned, but I bought a bunch of copies. Then today John & I had a small shoot on our stairs, with Lucas, for our Christmas photo & for a large print to be hung in our living room. We got a few great shots. Over all, I'm very happy.

I went out last night with Heather, Kate & Nikki to go see the latest in the Twilight Saga. There were some parts that absolutely made me cringe, but overall the movie was ok. It was nice to get out, if nothing else. The wedding scenes were great. All the scenes with Charlie at the wedding had me all choked up, it reminded me of my Dad at my wedding.

Now to the fun stuff. For those that know me, you already know that I am a bargain shopper. I hate paying full price for anything, especially during the holiday season. Christmas card bargain shopping has always been a favorite sport of mine. I tend to split my order among 3-4 companies to get the best bargains. My goal is always to spend under $50 on all my Christmas cards, because postage always costs me around $45, and my overall budget is $100 on Christmas cards. This year, and last year, I have cheated. I don't buy traditional Christmas cards. I don't even buy the "cheap" flat photo cards that are ever so popular this time of year. I go even cheaper. I buy custom printed post cards. I design a template in Photoshop (which I'm not very good at), and upload it to the site and I'm all done.

Last year, I spent $33 on 100 post cards, 100 envelopes and a set of 140 return address labels, and then paid about $10 for shipping. I came in under budget. This year, I amazed myself. I got 100 postcards, 100 envelopes, 2 kinds of return address labels (140 of each design) and 140 custom gift tags for $21. Shipped. That's right. I spent less than half as much money and got more products.

I love buying products that are designed for a different function, and making them fit my needs. Like the gift tags, are actually return address labels that I rearranged, and re purposed. Sure, I spent a couple hours playing with Photoshop, and trying to make everything look OK for the Christmas cards, but I saved tons of money. If I had bought those flat photo cards, even on sale, for $.30 each, I would have spent $30 alone on the cards. Then there's the envelopes, the shipping, etc... It just gets too costly.

What are some ways you save?

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