Saving Money

Registry Dos and D’ohs

Q: Hey guys!! I find that I often look to you all on things DIY related, but more often than not, on things life related. I would love to hear items in or around your house that you are so glad you own because it helps with the day to day. I really enjoyed reading about how you saved money with Clara (what items you skipped out on or decided to go back and buy) and how you saved money with your wedding. I am getting married next June and it would be super helpful to hear what things my fancy (fiance) and I should register for. You guys are my favorite! – Tyne

A:  Let’s do this. Haha. We thought it would actually be fun to search our brains to see if they would even stretch back to 2007 and remember what we got, what we still love, what we regretted asking for, and what we wish we’d asked for. Because friends and relatives can be amazingly generous (and at least in our family really seem to appreciate a list of things you love so they don’t have to guess), so it all comes down to thinking long and hard about what you actually will use and love for the long haul. No pressure, right?

Registry items are definitely one of those personal preference things (some people might love that they registered for formal china, while other folks like us are happy to skip it) but in general we think the key is to know how you live and what you will actually use/need (registering for a Kitchenaid mixer when you don’t cook/bake is probably not the best idea). So try to toss out romantic notions of who you “should be” someday (ex: don’t picture yourself as “a grown up” hosting a giant formal 20 person dinner if this won’t actually happen – not everyone grows up, gets married, and does that).

Instead, try to focus on how you live now and how you realistically think you will continue to live and entertain over the years. Whether you’re a casual couple or are fancy and formal, embrace who you are and think about what you’ll truly use and love. Chances are you’ll still be who you are in a few decades – you might evolve a little, but you probably won’t become a completely different couple with a completely different personality and lifestyle.

Also, trying to choose things that are classic never hurts, just so that if your tastes change over time, you won’t be completely over a bunch of style-specific stuff that you once loved but now loathe. It can be pretty expensive to re-buy everything instead of going with something timeless – and you can always add personality later with inexpensive and easy to switch out items, like patterned cloth napkins, table runners, etc. See? White dishes, clear glasses, and basic silverware can be dressed up a whole bunch of ways:

We also learned that it helped whenever possible to choose things that are attractive enough to be left out (ex: a nice stainless steel toaster or blender) because you never know what you’ll leave out for convenience’s sake. So skipping something in a crazy color that might clash with your future kitchen curtains or forgoing something super cheap that you’d never leave out in favor of something that looks a little more elegant is usually the way to go for lazy folks like us who tend to leave the blender out for three weeks after we make smoothies.

But enough chitchat, we thought it would be fun to share a list of the stuff we registered for and still love to this day, a few things that we regret putting on our registry, items that we passed on (and why), and items that we wish we had added to the list. So without further ado…

Kitchen Stuff We Registered For And Still Love:

House Stuff We Registered For And Still Love:

Stuff We Got And Later Regretted (all our fault – we wish we had chosen more wisely):

Stuff We Passed On (mostly specific kitchen gadgets after we realized we just wouldn’t use ‘em):

Stuff We Have Since Bought (if we could turn back time, we’d have registered for these too):

I’m sure we forgot a few items (it was five years ago!) but that’s a pretty good idea of what we registered for, what we regretted/replaced, what we skipped, and what we wish we had added. And after compiling that list it made me want to poll some friends and relatives to hear their five favorite registry items (you know, because I’m nosy) so here are their responses. It’s so interesting to see who loves what the most (and it definitely reinforces that knowing what you will love and use is more important than putting too much stock into what works for someone else (like slacker chefs and non-coffee-drinker like us, haha).

So there you have it. A whole lotta registry loves and a few shoulda-woulda-couldas. What are your favorite registry items? Anything you got that you wish you hadn’t? Or that you later purchased and wished had made it onto your registry? Hindsight is 20/20, huh?

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DIY haircuts? Why the heck not.

This is one of those posts I never thought I’d write (it’s definitely not very home related) but due to a surprising amount of requests, here it is. I guess anything that has to do with saving money and doing something yourself is fair game, right? I have no idea how I got into cutting people’s hair, but throughout high school and college I just played around, cutting off a guy’s mullet here and giving my BFF a super short pixie cut there (all at my “client’s” requests, of course). Why did they trust me? I have no idea. Maybe I just have a trustworthy face? I most certainly don’t have any formal training. I just sort of treat hair like I’d imagine I’d make a butter sculpture. You just remove the extra stuff so you’re left with the shape you want. Confidence inspiring, huh? But a bunch of people actually noticed my latest work of haircut art on John’s head in party pictures yesterday, so… score! Haha.

The funny thing is that we realized I’ve been cutting John’s hair for seven whole years! And I’ve probably dished out 50+ other haircuts to other friends and family members throughout the last ten years (why yes I have cut my brother in law’s hair in the backyard of John’s parents beach house). So take this post for what it is, one not-professional gal’s take on how she grooms her man. An above the neck manscaping lesson if you will.

But since it’s extremely impossible to tell you how I cut John’s hair and a lot more descriptive to just show you, we actually made a video, thanks to the help of our handy little tripod. Look at that shaggy hair John had going on in this “setting up for the video” shot:

It’s amazing what a little at-home clippage can do. How YOU doin’ hubby?

But on with the video! Let’s get up close and personal with those light brown locks, shall we? Oh yes, and I have primer/paint all over my hands from Clara’s birthday dollhouse (more on that tomorrow).

For anyone who can’t watch the video with the sound on (mehaps you’re at work?) it’s actually still pretty easy to understand on mute (since you just have to see what my hands are doing to get the gist). And I’ve included a few written tips in bullet form below, just to help anyone with a sucker on standby who’s ok with you experimenting on their head. I say that in the most kind and loving way, since all of my friends and family who have let me go to town on their hair are pretty darn awesome. I actually haven’t had an oopsie since college (I went a little shorter than I meant to on a gal in dorms, but she totally had the bone structure to work it). Although now that I’ve made that claim I feel like I should knock on wood. Or John should, since he’d be the most likely person to have to walk around with a potential hair snafu if it ever were to happen. Anyway, on with the tips:

Oh and here’s an after pic from the back, since that might help you guys visualize it from that angle.

Hope that helps any DIY-haircutting-hopefuls out there! Does anyone else host haircuts at their house? The craziest thing is that I just calculated that we have probably saved at least $700 in the past seven years just by me cutting John’s hair (not counting all the times that I cut my own hair or ask John to snip a straight line in the back when I need a little trim and can’t reach – which might be an additional $500 in savings over the years). That’s a lot of cheddar ceramic animals…

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