Saving Money

Aldi vs Walmart: The Ultimate Price Comparison

Is Aldi really cheaper than Walmart? I went to both stores for the ultimate price comparison on over 85 items and I'm sharing it all on the blog!

Is Aldi really cheaper than Walmart? I went to both stores for the ultimate price comparison on over 85 items and I'm sharing it all on the blog today!

My Shopping Experience at Aldi & Walmart

I've been shopping at Aldi for over 15 years and at Walmart for as long as I can remember. I feel like both stores really have a lot of pros and cons (more on that in a future post) and recently decided to narrow down exactly how different they are in pricing.

My family and I are doing the Whole30 for the month of January so our produce and meat prices needed some special attention. I like to know if I'm getting the best deal when we're eating plenty of both at every single meal.

Obviously, your shopping experience with the quality of each store may be different than mine so please keep that in mind while reading this post. I've been to both wonderful and terrible Walmart and Aldi locations. I've purchased wonderful fruit from one, terrible fruit in another, and vice versa. You just never know!

Things You Should Know About My Grocery Comparison

There are so many details to take into consideration while going through this comparison.

  • With over 85 items included, my prices may be slightly different from your prices depending on your location
  • All compared products are Walmart's Great Value brand and the Aldi store brand
  • Both the Walmart and Aldi used in this experiment were located in Houston, Texas, USA
  • This experiment was performed and posted in January 2016. This may affect the prices of produce and other groceries
  • I did not include any sale prices. This was done in an attempt to give you the most accurate price comparison possible
  • I've included the total price for each item but as Walmart and Aldi differed on sizing for most of their groceries, I've included the price per unit as well. For example, Walmart sells apples in a 5 pound bag and Aldi sells theirs in a 3 pound bag. I list the prices as $4.82 and $2.99 but ultimately compare them as $0.96/pound and $1.00/pound, respectively (Winner: Walmart)
  • Price per unit was used to determine each item's winner

Lastly, many hours were put into this project. I put on comfy tennis shoes and walked around these stores with a giant legal pad, trying not to miss a single detail. Every effort was made to ensure accuracy in the making of this post. However, please expect that available items or prices may vary. With so many locations around the world, it's just bound to happen.

Download Aldi vs Walmart: The Ultimate Price Comparison

Click here or on the photo below to download the price comparison sheet.

Conclusion: Is Aldi Cheaper than Walmart?

Mostly yes, but not in every category! I really thought Aldi was going to blow Walmart out of the water on every single item. Obviously, it was far and away the winner all around. But it really failed in the meat prices, both frozen and fresh.

Here are the winners according to each section:

  • Produce: ALDI
  • Meat/Fish: WALMART
  • Snacks/Basics: ALDI
  • Condiments: ALDI
  • Cans/Jars: ALDI
  • Dairy: ALDI
  • Baking: ALDI
  • Miscellaneous: ALDI

Your savings may be dependent on what you and your family mostly eat. For example, Walmart was far and away more cheaper in the meat department. But if you don't typically eat meat, then Aldi would be a better choice if you're looking for one-stop shopping.

Overall, I'm incredibly glad I was able to do this because I can print it out and easily compare my normal stores (Walmart & Aldi) to other sales in my area (Sam's, Costco, Target, Kroger, HEB, and so on).

Do you shop at Aldi or Walmart? What do you like/dislike?

30 Under $30: Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Looking for the perfect gift on a budget? Find some affordable options for your Christmas shopping list with this 30 Under $30: Holiday Gift Guide series.

I know I’m not alone. Every year I browse through holiday gift guides and find myself saying, “These items are great but some of them are a little pricey.” I want affordable gift ideas! Let’s keep your holiday shopping on a budget this year with my 30 Under $30 series. Today I’m rounding up 30 of the best gifts for kids, each of them with a relatively cheap price tag.

P.S. One of the best ways to overcome the “I don’t know what to buy” syndrome is to keep track of gift ideas throughout the year. I record every little gift idea my husband mentions in my Notes app on the iPhone. If you didn’t do this, don’t panic. There’s always next year! Here are a few ideas to help you out in the meantime.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclaimer for more information. Every effort was made to ensure these prices were accurate and up to date, but please be aware that they may be subject to change. 

30 Under $30: Holiday Gift Guide for Her

I know I’m not alone. Every year I browse through holiday gift guides and find myself saying, “These items are great but some of them are a little pricey.” I want affordable gift ideas! Let’s keep your holiday shopping on a budget this year with my 30 Under $30 series. Today I’m rounding up 30 of the best gifts for women, each of them with a relatively cheap price tag.

P.S. One of the best ways to overcome the “I don’t know what to buy” syndrome is to keep track of gift ideas throughout the year. I record every little gift idea my husband mentions in my Notes app on the iPhone. If you didn’t do this, don’t panic. There’s always next year! Here are a few ideas to help you out in the meantime.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclaimer for more information. Every effort was made to ensure these prices were accurate and up to date, but please be aware that they may be subject to change. 

 

  1. LORAC Pink Champagne Palette, $19.00
  2. U.S. Polo Assn. Women's Gold-Tone and Pink Bracelet Watch, $19.99
  3. Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal, $9.60
  4. Spring Fever Plaid Checked Tartan Scarf Wrap Shawl, $18.99
  5. Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Eucalyptus Spearmint Scented Candle, $19.99
  6. HOSL Love You More Cotton Linen Pillow Cover, 17.3 x 17.3-Inch, $5.94 (Don't forget to buy the actual pillow if she doesn't already have the right size!)
  7. Old Dutch International, 16-Ounce Solid Copper Hammered Moscow Mule Mug, $14.54
  8. Echo Design Women's All Over Touch Glove, $19.64
  9. The Pioneer Woman Flea Market 4-Piece Ceramic Decorated Measuring Bowls, $21.64
  10. L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra-Gentle Verbena Soap, $12.00
  11. NEW 2015 Clinique 5pc Beauty Color Skincare Makeup Gift Set, $13.95
  12. Jane Austen Literary Mug, $14.95
  13. Vera Bradley Zip ID 2 Card Case, Katalina Showers, $12.00
  14. BS-MALL(TM) Premium Synthetic Kabuki Makeup Brush Set (10pcs), $13.45
  15. Clpp'li Womens Slip On Faux Fur Slippers, $19.09
  16. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, $22.36
  17. kate spade new york "Things We Love" Infinity Gold Adjustable Ring, Size 5-7, $24.00
  18. Vera Wang Princess by Vera Wang, $21.59
  19. Humans of New York: Stories, $16.49
  20. Tile (Gen 2) - Phone Finder. Key Finder. Item Finder, $25.00
  21. Charm.L Grace Jewelry Vintage Wild Collar Fashion Necklace Earrings Set, $27.88
  22. OtterBox COMMUTER iPhone 6/6s Case- AQUA SKY (AQUA BLUE/LIGHT TEAL),$20.99
  23. Mpow Swift 2nd-Gen Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Headphones , $21.99
  24. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, $16.50
  25. Tea L'Original MARIE-ANTOINETTE PINK TIN, $29.50
  26. Jessica Simpson Payton Cross Body Bag, Camel, $29.99
  27. OPI Mini All Stars 2015 Nail Lacquer Set of 10 Minis, $18.39
  28. Bath Bombs Gift Set by Rejuvelle - 6 Essential Oil Lush Handmade Spa Bomb Fizzies, $21.97
  29. 27oz. Sport Tritan Fruit Infuser Water Bottle, $12.99
  30. 14k Rose Gold 4mm Ball Stud Earrings, $25.66

What's on your wish list this year?

 

30 Under $30: Holiday Gift Guide for Him

I know I'm not alone. Every year I browse through holiday gift guides and find myself saying, "These items are great but some of them are a little pricey." I want affordable gift ideas! Let's keep your holiday shopping on a budget this year with my 30 Under $30 series.

Today I'm rounding up 30 of the best gifts for men, each of them with a relatively cheap price tag.

P.S. One of the best ways to overcome the "I don't know what to buy" syndrome is to keep track of gift ideas throughout the year. I record every little gift idea my husband mentions in my Notes app on the iPhone. If you didn't do this, don't panic. There's always next year! Here are a few ideas tohelp you out in the meantime.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclaimer for more information. Every effort was made to ensure these prices were accurate and up to date, but please be aware that they may be subject to change. 


 

  1. Kansas City Royals Baseball Cap, $13.97 
  2. Stanley 19-Inch Toolbox, $15.99
  3. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife, $12.97
  4. Van Der Hagen Luxury Shave Set, $22.94
  5. Tommy Hilfiger Men's Xavier Plaid Slim Tie, $29.99
  6. Great Northern Original Stainless Steel Stove Top Popcorn Popper, $29.67
  7. Tommy Hilfiger Mens Ranger Wallet, $21.99
  8. Spalding NBA Street Basketball, Official Size, $12.99
  9. Big Bang Theory: Season 8
  10. Mr. Bar-B-Q 18-Piece Stainless-Steel Barbecue Set with Storage Case, $20.99
  11. The Martian - Paperback, $9.00
  12. Thermos Stainless Steel Travel Tumbler, $23.70
  13. Tommy Hilfiger Men's Buffalo Check Scarf, $29.99
  14. Kenneth Cole Black by Kenneth Cole, $30.92 (forgive me for the 92 cents. This one's just so good!)
  15. LOHA Premium Camera Lens for iPhone and Android, $26.99
  16. MEAT: Everything You Need to Know, $26.48
  17. Timex Men's Easy Reader Watch, $30.00
  18. Libbey Craft Brews Beer Flight 6-Ounce Clear Pilsner Glass Set, 5-Piece, $24.50
  19. MEE audio Sport-Fi M6 Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones, $17.99
  20. Barware Gear: Wall Mounted Beer Bottle Opener, $9.89
  21. Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball, $26.95
  22. DKnight Magicbox Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, $25.99
  23. Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen, $16.30
  24. Honest Amish Beard Balm Leave-in Conditioner, $12.87
  25. Tile (Gen 2) - Phone Finder. Key Finder. Item Finder, $25.00
  26. KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, $19.90
  27. Dockers Men's 38mm Leather Bridle Belt, $21.99
  28. Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee, The World's Strongest Coffee, $19.99
  29. adidas Team Speed Medium Duffel Bag, Black, $27.00
  30. Timberland Men's Knit Magic Glove with Touchscreen Technology, Charcoal, $8.99

Just Released! Shop Amazon's Black Friday Deals Today

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclaimer for more information.

You and I want to get the BEST deals this holiday season and it looks like Amazon has got us covered! Hooray!

Amazon has begun it's Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week sales. Just follow that link to get your fingers on the hottest deals and limited-time sales. New deals are added every single day until November 19!

Some of these deals are available to Amazon's Prime members even earlier so be sure to sign up if you haven't already. The savings could more than pay for the Prime membership. And if you've never been a member before, you may be eligible for a free 30-day trial.

I'm a fairly recent fan of online shopping. There's no carrying around a diaper bag or fighting the crowds. I can shop in my pajamas while my little one quietly plays or takes a nap. Last year, I did nearly all of my Christmas shopping online. It looks like this year will be the same!

What is the best Black Friday deal you've ever found?

10 Ways Having a Child Will Affect Your Budget (and How You Can Save) - Part 2

You can find information on thrifty tips and spending traps in Part 1 of this post.

Are you thinking about having a baby or adopting? Congratulations! Having children is the most monumental step you can take in your life. Their love is irreplaceable and your life is going to become beautiful in a way you never imagined.

But before you get caught up in the bubbly excitement and start saving nursery ideas on Pinterest, let's talk about the financial impact a child can have on your budget. I know that doesn't sound like much fun but it's always a good idea to be prepared where money is concerned.

We've already gone through the first 5 ways your budget will be affected so let's finish off the rest in this post.

6. Gear & Necessities

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. This may sound confusing but to save money in the long run, you should splurge on baby gear that really counts. Never skimp on safety items like car seats just to save a few dollars. We tried an affordable option and it was a waste of time and money.
  2. Ask your mom friends if they'd be interested in having a baby stuff swap.
  3. Browse your local classifieds, consignment sales, and thrift stores for items that have a short useful life, such as swings, bouncers, etc. There's no rule that says everything should be purchased brand new.

Spending Traps:

  1. Expensive swings and fancy bath tubs are nice luxuries to have but if you need to cut corners, start there. My friend purchased the $270 mamaRoo swing brand new and only used it 3 TIMES before her son grew out of it. What a waste!
  2. Resist the temptation to purchase any upgraded version of a base model. In most cases, you won't miss the special features when you can have extra money left in the bank.

7. Schooling/College

Education is one of the best investments you can make in your child's upbringing. But don't worry if you're on a budget. There are still many ways you can save without sacrificing the quality of their schooling.

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. Keep an eye out for special Back to School sales. A lot of retailers will mark down some school supplies to $0.50 or even $0.25.
  2. Take advantage of Sales Tax Holidays (tax-free days) when purchasing school supplies. Just remember to arrive early so you can beat the crowds!
  3. Begin planning early if you're worried about saving enough money to cover pricey tuition. Plans like a 529 College Savings Plan, Prepaid Tuition Plans, or a Roth IRA are all great options to explore for college expenses. You should also look into a tax-deferred Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) as it can be used for higher education and primary and secondary education costs.
  4. Save money on college textbooks by renting them or purchasing used copies. I'm a personal fan of CampusBookRentals. (*This is not sponsored in any way. I just really loved using this company!)

Spending Traps:

  1. Resist the temptation to buy brand new items every single year. If your child has an old binder that's still in good condition, re-use it and spend the money elsewhere. Why replace something if it's not broken?

8. Travel

Costs add up quickly when you add a new travel buddy to the group. As children get older they eat more and take up more space, adding to your food, hotel, and transportation costs.

Related Post: 7 Ways to Save Money on a Road Trip

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. The easiest way to save money on food is to bring it yourself. Pack a cooler full of sandwiches, nuts, fruit, and other snacks to get yourself started.
  2. If you're flying, check with the airline to see if your child is young enough to sit in your lap to save the cost of buying an extra ticket.

Spending Traps:

  1. Gas stations are the easiest spending trap to fall into. Avoid paying $1.00 per water bottle and simply buy a 24 pack from the grocery store for a fraction of the price.
  2. Lack of preparation can cause you to miss out on some great perks when it comes to lodging. I'm a huge fan of signing up for a hotel rewards program and consistently using the same hotel (within reason) to rack up points. This has given me free breakfast and wifi perks, as well as a couple of nights for free.
  3. Overpacking can turn into a spending trap if you find yourself paying for luggage that's over an airline's limits. Save yourself the hassle and the money by weighing your bag at home before you travel.

9. Electricity

I'm always a little impressed by the fact that our son isn't even tall enough to reach the light switch but is still making our energy bill just a bit more expensive.

Related Posts: 7 Ways to Cut Your Electricity Bill

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. Extra dishes and a dirty clothes will increase the number of times you run your appliances. Try to limit their use to the evening so the air conditioning won't have to fight so hard to keep your home cool.

Spending Traps:

  1. Constantly plugged in gadgets (even if they're turned off) are still using energy. Purchase an affordable power strip and turn the switch off when their items aren't being used.

10. Extracurricular Activities/Sports

My son is only 15 months but I'm still faced with the pressure to have him involved in multiple, expensive activities. Swimming lessons in my area cost almost $100 for only ONE visit per week. That's insane!

Related Post: 15 Activities to Help Survive a Spending Freeze

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. Learn how to use the powerful "No." If your child is younger, utilize this magical word when your friends pressure you to sign up for something your kid really doesn't need.
  2. If your child is older, be honest about how much your budget can afford to spend on extracurricular activities and go over their different options. You'd be surprised at how mature kids can be when given the facts and the power to choose between a list of options.

Spending Traps:

  1. Did I ever tell you about how we used to be involved with every free activity in our area, Monday through Friday? Yes, the activities were free but the cost of gas and impromptu fast food lunches were costing us a fortune. Look at how the entire day (not just the activity) may affect your budget.

Raising a child definitely costs a lot of money and it takes a bit of strategizing to make everything balance out nicely.

I certainly wouldn't recommend trying to get pregnant on the idea that diapers and formula will just magically appear. But the cost of raising a child doesn't have to be as overwhelming or as expensive as you think. Awareness is one of the best ways you can begin to be financially prepared to have a baby.

What do you think is the most surprising cost of having a child? 

10 Ways Having a Child Will Affect Your Budget (and How You Can Save) - Part 1

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclaimer for more information. 

"Babies are expensive."

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me this while I was pregnant, I'd still be living off of the proceeds.

The United States Department of Agriculture states that it will cost $245,340 to raise a child, not including college costs. Keep in mind that this figure will depend on multiple factors that will be specific to your family. For example: Public or private school? Daycare or stay at home? New clothes or thrift store finds?

My husband and I budgeted having to spend a certain amount of money during the first year of our son's life, but it actually cost usless than we originally planned. The same situation can be true for you with a little bit of awareness and planning!

Here are 10 areas of your budget having a child will affect, as well as some options for saving money.

Note: This post has been split into two parts because, let's be honest, there is a lot of adjusting when it comes to budgeting for a baby! 

1. Food

For newborns, the obvious budget-friendly option is to breastfeed. But there are cases where you may not be able or may simply choose not to. Either way, your kid needs to eat so count on spending a good portion of money in this area, especially as they grow older.

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. Sign up for manufacturers' formula programs like Similac StrongMoms. They will periodically send out brand "checks" or coupons.
  2. Buy formula in bulk.
  3. Breastfeeding Mamas: Some insurance plans will cover a free breastfeeding pump. I made a 5 minute phone call to my provider and a $200 pump as soon as my doctor was able to fax over proof of my pregnancy. It doesn't hurt to ask.
  4. Meal planning and freezer meals can help you avoid expensive take-out on busy nights. Always be prepared when it comes to hungry kiddos!

Spending Traps:

  1. Stay far away from novelty nursing items until they become absolutely necessary. You typically won't need things like pumping bras or nipple shields in the early weeks following a baby's birth.
  2. For older children, junk food is one of the easiest ways to rack up an expensive grocery bill. Stick to healthy fruits, vegetables, and meats and simply stock up and freeze them when something goes on sale.

2. Diapering

You can save a lot of money by going the cloth diaper route but if that's not your thing (no judgement here, it wasn't for me either) there are still a lot of options to save money.

Be cautious about buying large packages of newborn sizes in only one brand. Your child may be sensitive to some brands and not all retailers are willing to let you return a diaper package that's been opened and used.

Thrifty Tricks:

  1. Once you find a brand that works for your child, you can purchase to your heart's content and save money by buying in bulk, using coupons, or stocking up when there's a good sale.
  2. Subscription services like Amazon Mom can help you save up to 20% off the retail price.
  3. Don't feel like you have to buy the same brand in wipes as you do your diapers, even for the rewards points. We buy Pampers diapers but find that the affordable Aldi brand wipes work great too.
  4. Some parents take the 50/50 approach to saving money. Use cloth diapers at home during the day and disposable diapers during the night and outside of the home. It's like the happy medium of diapering.

Spending Traps: 

  1. Items like wipe warmers and changing tables aren't considered necessities when you're on a tight budget. Warming the wipes in your hands and placing a changing pad on a dresser can work just as well.

3. Insurance (Auto/Health)

If you're not already participating in a family insurance plan, your costs will likely increase once you add a dependent. Additionally, your car insurance rates will also increase once your child is old enough to drive.

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. Most car insurance companies will offer a discount if your child has participated in a driver training course or is a good student.
  2. Ask your employer if they offer a Flexible Spending Account, which lets you set aside pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
  3. Ask your healthcare provider for a list of all the free services they offer. My hospital offered a free, 24/7 call center with labor/delivery nurses. When I was having complications during my pregnancy, I would just call them and describe my symptoms so we could determine whether or not a paid visit was necessary.

Spending Traps: 

  1. Settling for the first program you come across or not shopping around could leave better deals out on the table. Be patient and compare companies for the best deal.
  2. Pride can cost you in the long run if you're not willing to ask for discounts. There's never any shame in trying to save money so don't feel bad asking your providers if there's a discount you qualify for.

4. Delivery Costs

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. Don't be shy about asking the hospital staff if you can take the baby items in your room home with you. My nurses were practically shoving diapers in my bags as I was leaving and I used every last one in the first 7 days we were home.
  2. Ask your insurance provider for very clear details about what you are financially responsible for during your stay at the hospital. Induction of labor and special room requests are just a few examples of what may not be covered under your plan.

Spending Traps: 

  1. There is a dangerous spending trap my husband and I like to call the hospital cafeteria. Avoid the late night munchies trap by making sure you have snacks and water bottles packed before you go into labor. Preparation is key to saving money when you're having a baby.

5. Clothing

Continuous clothing costs are inevitable because kids grow so darn fast! Don't you wish there was a membership program that would let you exchange clothing your kids have grown out of for larger sizes?

Thrifty Tricks: 

  1. Hit the thrift stores, ask for hand me downs, or shop at affordable options like Walmart and Target. I have absolutely no shame shopping the budget-friendly Garanimals brand when my son is constantly growing out of his clothes. Who cares where the shirt came from when he's going to run around and get it dirty anyway?

Spending Traps: 

  1. Personally, I've found that my biggest spending trap is the pressure I get from my fellow moms to have brand loyalty. Just because everyone else is spending $20/shirt doesn't mean you have to as well. Shop alone if the peer pressure is too much.
  2. Buying ahead of season and shopping the clearance racks can be a waste of money if you're not careful. I don't recommend buying ahead of season if your child is still going through major growth spurts since it's hard to guess what size they'll actually be next year.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post!

What do you think is the most surprising cost of having a child? 

How My Target Shopping Ban is Saving Us $150/Month

My name is Allison and I am addicted to shopping at Target. Tell me I'm not alone here! Please leave a comment saying that yes, you too, cannot leave the store without buying at least one item and it will make me feel so much better. I was recently inspired by my friend Kayla (shoutout to a fellow Kansan!) who is going on her second Shopping Ban. Kayla is a rockstar because she's banning actual categories like books and magazines, not just shopping at Target. But I need to start with baby steps so...

I am banning myself from shopping at any Target location for the entire month of August.

Let me be very clear in saying that there's nothing wrong with Target. In fact, the store is really wonderful and that's my problem. It's too enticing and I am too weak.

How Much We Spend at Target

In the last 365 days we've spent an average of $150/month at Target. This includes a fair mix of home decor, groceries, office supplies, clothing for my husband/son/myself, sporting goods, kitchenware, electronics, and books. I don't buy any of these categories exclusively at Target, but I certainly shop there more than my bank account would like me to.

Why I'm Banning Target from My Wallet

Each time I visit, I am so confident I won't buy anything that isn't on my list. I give myself a little pep talk about how strong I am and how I have explicit control over my money.

And then something shiny catches my eye, like a gold stapler or coffee mug that says "I love you a latte!" And the Dollar Spot section is the worst (best?)! Panic takes over and I find myself saying, "It's all so cheap. Get one of everything!"

I need to take a break from Target because I rarely purchase items I actually need.

Ban Rules

  1. I cannot purchase anything in-store OR online 
  2. Ban is August 1-31
  3. Absolutely no "I couldn't find it anywhere else so I had to go to Target" purchases. If I can't find an item at another store, I have to live without it

What I'm NOT Allowed to Buy

  • Clothing (jeans, pajamas, t-shirts, etc.)
  • Accessories (scarves, jewelry, etc.)
  • Clothing or Baby Gear for my son
  • Candles
  • Home Decor of ANY kind (*sob*)
  • Shoes
  • Purses
  • Kitchen or Dining Supplies
  • Office Supplies
  • Groceries (I've only purchased specialty foods or junk so this won't be a problem.)
  • Books, Magazines, etc.
  • Beauty Supplies
  • Candles
  • Electronics or Device Accessories
  • Sporting Goods

What I'm Allowed to Buy

  • Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

I can see my husband smiling and throwing up his hands in thanks to God as I say this. But I still have access to Wal-Mart and it's extensive selection of paper goods, groceries, and miscellaneous. I'm sure I'll find exactly what I need, even if it doesn't have that Target flair I love so much.

We've really been making wiser financial decisions ever since we moved to Houston and Target has been the one "addiction" I just couldn't move past. Some women love to go to the mall. I love to go to Target.

By eliminating this particular store from my budget, I am essentially eliminating my spending of "Allison's fun money." This is the only place I go to pick up a little something for myself. I'm literally drawing a blank as to where else I'd want to shop and that's a good thing!

Going on a Target Ban is simultaneously difficult and easy for me. It's difficult because I love Target and easy because my wallet hates Target.

Note: Hubby is not forced to go on this ban with me. If he enters Target I will watch him with jealousy and depression in my eyes, but I will NOT follow him in the store. I will avoid the temptation entirely!

Have you ever gone on a shopping ban before? What helped you get through it without going crazy?

Ways to Save on Your Honeymoon

Hooray! You or someone you know is getting married! Once the initial butterflies calm down and you start writing checks you’ll notice two things: (1) weddings can be really expensive and (2) honeymoons can be really expensive. Everyone will tell you it has to cost tens of thousands of dollars but I just don’t agree. Where there’s a will there’s a way to save money on your honeymoon!

Related Post: 7 Tips for Buying Wedding Rings

1. Honeymoon in the right season.

There’s always a “right season” when it comes to engagements and weddings. There’s a good time to buy the ring and even a good time book the honeymoon.

Choosing the right season depends on your desired location. For example, hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June to November and will likely be less busy. We honeymooned there in the middle of July. Thankfully, there were no hurricanes and it was a risk that paid off!

If you’re date is flexible, try to avoid popular travel times for families and couples. Anything on or around spring break, summer months, Thanksgiving, or Christmas will probably be a little more expensive.

2. Location, location, location.

Which one will cost more? A week in Niagara Falls or a week in Paris? Obviously, the trip to France would hurt your wallet a bit more so think twice about your honeymoon destination.

If you’re content to travel domestically you could really save a lot of money! A roundtrip flight ticket to NYC or the Grand Canyon would be a fraction of a ticket to France.

3. Ask for a donation to your Honeymoon Fund.

No really, people actually do this. We were recently invited to a wedding where the bride gave us the option to make monetary donations for their Royal Caribbean cruise. The site showed that other guests had already  paid for cruise perks like a couples massage, romantic dinners, and complimentary alcoholic beverages.

If you're not headed for the seas anytime soon just do a quick Google search to find independent honeymoon registries. I've heard that Honeyfund and GoFundMe are good places to start.

4. Cash in all your points.

Use this opportunity to cash in on any airline, hotel, or credit card points you have. I've also heard of people opening a credit card to receive promotional points and then using those to fund a trip. I've never personally done this before but if you play your cards right it may actually work for you.

We used cash back bonus points from our credit card to pay for a few hotel nights and receive a discount on the rate. We also used our debit card rewards to order an entire luggage set for free! It took some planning ahead of time but it definitely paid off and we still use that luggage to this day.

5. Get creative with your transportation.

Be creative with your modes of transportation if you're not crunched for time. Don't pay for cabs if you can use the public bus or subway. Don't fly if it's cheaper to arrive by ship.

For example, take a cab to and from the airport but purchase a bus or subway pass for everything in between.

In our case, the cost of two roundtrip flight tickets to the Caribbean was the same as a 7 day cruise. And a cruise comes with the accommodations and food! We cared more about the location and less about the way we travelled so a'sailing away we did.

6. Compare all flight and hotel options.

Never purchase without comparing prices from other sources. I live by this rule regardless of whether I'm shopping for a honeymoon or a pair of shoes.

Don’t buy the first ticket with a major airline carrier when a smaller one might have a better price. The cheapest-looking hotel won't necessarily have the best price. Be patient and compare all of your options before you choose.

7. Go grocery shopping.

It’s nice to kick back and relax while you're on vacation. “I want to cook every meal,” said no one ever while on their honeymoon. But eating out three times a day, every day, adds up very quickly!

Try to do cold cuts or fresh fruit and veggies for at least one meal a day. At least you won’t be broke by the time you get back home.

8. Make it short but sweet.

My coworker almost had a heart attack when she realized I didn’t want to come in to work the Monday following my wedding. While I think she lacked the viva la romance attitude I had at the time, she was right in thinking that honeymoons shouldn’t last forever.

Make your honeymoon long enough to catch your breath and enjoy being newly married but short enough so you don't spend all of that wedding cash you just received. We saved money by traveling for most of our time off while spending the last few days in the quiet of our new home together.

Always remember that you should only spend as much as you feel comfortable with on your honeymoon. There's no need to live up to the hype of someone else's $10,000 getaway.

Use some or all of these ideas and you will definitely save money. A pretty view is nice but you've already got the most wonderful thing in the world with you and that's your new spouse!

How do/did you save money on your honeymoon? Where did you go?