For most of my adult life, I’ve been a bridesmaid approximately once a year. In other words, I’ve thrown parties, helped make wedding choices, dealt with other people’s crazy realatives, bought a dress exactly like four other people, and otherwise did my bridesmaid duty of being there and involved.

I myself have never been married so watching the craziness surrounding a wedding is something, I admit, I’ve only witnessed from a safe distance.

If you are planning a wedding, though, here are a few things your bridesmaids might want to say to you but may not feel they can:

For me, your wedding is a wedding.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be invited but it is not the most important day of my life, so I must act accordingly. If I can’t come to your wedding, it’s not a snub to you, it’s probably just that I can’t afford it or can’t get the time off. If I do come to your wedding and only spend $50 on your gift, it’s not a snub. I probably that’s what I can afford.

In terms of gifts, I might not give something

If I spent a certain amount on your wedding gift, I don’t expect the reciprocal when I’d theoretically get married. Two reasons: 1) I might not ever get married. and 2) We have different financial situations. I promise not to keep track if you don’t.

If you are asking people to buy a dress, give them a ballpark of what you think of as a budget.

A ‘reasonable price’ is a pretty subjective term, especially when it comes to fashion. Please let me know what the ballpark is for the bridesmaid dress if there is one before I sign up. I don’t want to seem like a cheap jerkface for asking but I need to fit the money in somehow. Also please let me know about shoes, having to rent venues for parties, and anything else like that as best you can.

Be a bit flexible.

So you have your heart set on a certain kind of dress, can I pick the style? My shoes? Do my own hair? If you allow a bit of flexibility and I can wear the $3 shoes I got on clearance, I might be more psyched about spending a few hundred dollars on a dress.

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saving money coinsWhat would you do with an extra $50 per month? It may not sound like a lot of money, but once you consider at the big picture, $600 a year, you may be singing a different tune! In fact, by implementing several practical cost-saving measures, an extra $600 per year may be a low estimate – you may save thousands of dollars.

Trimming $50 per month from your expenses is not as difficult as it sounds. Each of the following five methods can help you save at least $50.

Ways to Save Money Every Month

1. Cut Back on Eating Out
Eating at home can be the best way to save $50 or more per month. It may sound tough, but making this change doesn’t mean you have to eat every meal at home. Instead, all you have to do is find a way to cut back here and there.

For example, if you grab coffee at a local coffee shop before work every morning, your habit will cost you between $2 and $5 each day, which by the end of the month ends up being $60 or $150. Just cutting this out of your daily routine will have you easily exceeding your goal of saving $50 per month, and you can still indulge on a Friday night out.

2. Review and Revise Your Cable Plan
There are several ways you can save by reviewing – and revising – your cable plan:

  • Cut it out altogether
  • Cut back on some of your monthly extras
  • Haggle your way into a short-term or permanent discount

For most people, cutting back is the most efficient option. After all, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of television, as long as you are aware of the associated costs. If you’re paying for premium cable channels you don’t watch or DVR service you don’t use, then you can cut your bill without making much of a sacrifice.

If you’d like to save even more, it might be time to opt out of the luxury of premium channels and sports packages. I recently removed one sports package and one HD box from my cable plan, resulting in an overall monthly savings of $27.99.

Get started by reviewing your most recent cable bill for ways to save money. Decide what you can live without and remove unnecessary add-ons and hidden cable fees from your subscription. Within a month, your bill will decrease and you may not even notice much of a difference in service.

If you can’t find any extras to cut out, you can still call your provider and ask for any promotions or discounts that may be available for loyal customers. If you have more than one option in your area, most companies will lower your bill if they think you may leave for the other provider.

Lastly, you can always cancel your cable TV altogether!

3. Cancel Your Land Line
While a land line phone may still be useful in some circumstances, gone are the days of depending on it. If you are worried about making the change to primarily relying on your cell phone or other home phone alternatives (as I was), start keeping track of how many calls you make and receive every week on your land line.

For several months after moving to my new home, I paid $49 per month for land line service. After a couple months in which the phone only rang a few times, I realized it was time to cancel the plan and save the money.

4. Buy Generic Brands
If you’re in love with brand-name goods, especially groceries, you might find this change to be a big challenge. The overall financial benefits, however, should convince you.

Most people do not realize that generic brands are a comparable option, from both a taste and quality perspective. And, in fact, almost every grocery store and retail chain has its own generic brand. Great Value, for example, is Walmart’s well-known brand. From food to household items and everything in between, generic brands cover many essential purchases, allowing you to pay less for the same taste or quality. You will never know if a generic brand is right for you until you give it a try.

5. Say Goodbye to Private Mortgage Insurance
Do you know if you are currently paying private insurance along with your mortgage every month? If you’re not sure, contact your lender to find out. Check your monthly statement as well.

Private mortgage insurance is a requirement at the time of purchase, when your down payment is less than 20% of the appraised value or sale price. But once you have at least 20% equity in your home, you can cancel this insurance and save the money. The cost of private mortgage insurance varies, and is based on the loan type and down payment amount – usually one-half of 1% of the loan.

However, most people don’t realize they can stop paying private mortgage insurance, or don’t know when it’s time to kiss this expense goodbye. Keeping with the numbers above, let’s say you put down 10% on a $200,000 home ($20,000). The bank multiplies $180,000 by .005 to come up with an annual payment of $900 ($75 per month). Clearly, by removing this private mortgage insurance as soon as you reach 20% equity, you can save a boatload of money.

Final Thoughts

By following these simple strategies, you can easily save $50 per month. For most people, saving hundreds – or perhaps thousands – per year is possible. Above all else, make sure you focus on what you do and do not need in your life. By getting rid of unnecessary expenses you will see your savings adding up.

Are you able to take advantage of one of these cost cutting measures? What other simple methods to save money do you suggest?

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Moving can be a chaotic and stressful experience, and with everything going around you all at once, it can be quite easy to miss a few things. No matter how carefully and meticulously you planned your moving budget, a couple of well-hidden and strategically placed “extra charges and fees” can derail things pretty quickly. Even if you have found a reputable and highly trusted moving company, it’s possible that you can be hit with a few unexpected charges when it comes time to pay the bill.

Hiring a moving company can be a big purchase to make, and just like with any big purchase, you’re liable to find a few ways in which the company can sneak in some extra fees and hidden charges to milk their profit. Whether you’re buying a car, a house or just a plane ticket, the American consumer has become conditioned to looking for any hidden charges and fees and making sure to avoid them, so picking out a moving company should be no different.

Here’s a few common ways in which your moving company might try to hit you with some hidden charges, along with some of the best ways to avoid them:

1. Charging for Packing Materials and Supplies
If you have chosen a full-service moving company to assist you in every aspect of your move, including the packing of your belongings, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you since packing and all of the supplies associated with it will be included in your price. However, if you have chosen to pack everything yourself but weren’t thorough enough about it, extra packing supplies provided by the moving company may add a lot of money to your final cost. So, if you go the pack-it-yourself route, make sure you pack everything completely and thoroughly, with the correct packing supplies and sturdy boxes, so that the moving company doesn’t have to finish the job for you and add unnecessary charges behind.

2. Stair or Long-Carry Charges
Walking can be rough, especially when you’re carrying heavy furniture. For that reason, some moving companies may choose to charge extra for carrying your belongings up the stairs. They may even tack on some extra fees if the walk from your house to the moving truck is especially far. How can you combat this? By preparing. It’s a good idea to ask your moving company if they charge extra for stairs and, if they do, make sure to work this into your budget. Also, you can minimize the distance the movers have to walk to get from your house to the moving truck by bringing all of your packed belongings and furniture outside of your house on the day of the move, so that they don’t have to walk back and forth a hundred times.

3. Gas Charges
Gas is expensive these days. This may cause your moving company to add an extra charge to your total to cover the gas if they’re hauling your belongings a long distance. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this. If you are moving a long distance, paying for gas is inevitable, whether you are handling the move yourself or you have chosen to pay a company to do it for you. Just because you can’t avoid it, doesn’t mean you can’t plan for it though. Make sure to ask your moving company if they have a gas surcharge, and if so, plan it into your budget, that way it doesn’t blindside you after your move.

4. Paying With a Credit Card May Cost You
Yes, just like those convenience store signs that warn you about an extra fee if you pay with a credit card, your moving company may do the same. Although this practice is prohibited by a few of the major credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard, it doesn’t stop many companies from enforcing it. You can prevent this extra surcharge by calling up your credit card company and notifying them of the fee.

In short, the best way to avoid getting hit with hidden fees and charges is to do your homework and make sure you read the entire moving contract and paperwork through before you sign it and agree to anything. Making sure that you are aware of all charges and costs associated with your move is the best way to prevent yourself from paying extra for things you can avoid.

Robert Moreschi is the content writer for, an online moving resource dedicated to providing its customers with free moving quotes from some of the top moving companies in the business including long distance movers, local movers, international movers, and auto transport as well as helpful moving guides and videos. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and currently resides in North Brunswick, NJ where he enjoys spending his free time writing and playing basketball.

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