Category Archives: getting hitched

House bought and we are hitched! Now what?

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We did it. We really did it! We closed on our house on August 31st and got to move in and hang out in the final weeks leading up to the wedding. It was pretty amazing. The beach wedding! So much love and happiness! Everything has been great! We are both back at work for the next week and a half, and then it will be honeymoon time in North Carolina.

Perhaps I’ll do more blogging about house shopping and¬†wedding details/budgets (I did add up all the final numbers…*cringe*) but in the meantime, I’ve missed another monthly update, so here’s a two for one:

September 1st: updated total $68,551.47. Decrease by $330.80.

October 1st: updated total $68,212.29. Decrease by $339.18.

I also missed the 2-year anniversary of the blog! If we go by my updated total on 9/1/2015, from the birth of the blog (9/5/2013), I’ve paid off $26,475.40 in the last 2 years! That sounds huge!

As far as goals for this month, we put most of our expenses on our airline credit card (paying the balance off each term), so we have until November 2nd to pay that off. It was amazing how generous people were, we did not expect to receive so much in wedding gifts! We racked up quite a few expenses between the new house and the wedding. The good news is that it looks like everything’s going to balance out and be all right. It’s been a super stressful time and I feel like we can finally breathe, relax, and enjoy the moment!

Until next time. I’ll do some blogging during the honeymoon!

Keeping calm in May and June and July, humming along under $69k!

Oh…hey, Bacon Payoff fans! I’m still alive and survived the last 3 harrowing months. Today I woke up and it’s August. Haven’t updated since May 14th and we are 2/3rds done with summer?! And I’ve probably lost all my readers as I haven’t even done my absolutely minimum of once-a-month financial updates.

Alas, May was spent trying to completely replan a wedding.

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June was spent cramming in as much training as I could for my half-ironman triathlon.

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And July…July was a surprise because we started house hunting locally on July 3rd, saw at least 20 houses inside and out…wrote up a first offer…negotiated over last weekend…and this past Monday (July 27), our offer was accepted!

buy a house

So, no blogging, BUT holy crap, a wedding was replanned, a half ironman was completed, and a house was bought! There was definitely a lot of “keeping calm” needed. ūüėČ

There really hasn’t been much that’s exciting about paying off the student loans, because my minimum payments are humming along on auto-pilot ($557 a month). This essentially brings my grand total down by a measly $337-ish every month (or $4044-ish per year), but when my 1-year work anniversary kicks in, my employer will be contributing $10,000 each March for the next 5 years. I even did a very rough¬†spreadsheet where if I keep kicking in $557/month during this time period, my loans will be down to only $347¬†TOTAL after that 5th and final $10k payment. Of course after the 3rd payment, my loans with the higher interest rate will have been wiped out, so I won’t¬†have to contribute the whole $557 per month–my minimum payment would be knocked down to $241 per month. That’s not until March of 2018, so I have some time before I re-configure that spreadsheet!

Of course, several months ago, I changed my subheading to “The Great Bacon Payoff…bringing home the bacon to (buy a house and then) stomp down the student loans” and I am as surprised as anybody that we are able to actually buy a house this soon after moving back to this area. More on the house later…we are hoping to close on August 31st and most of wedding planning should be getting done this month, so I hope life slows down just a little bit and I’d love to get back to blogging more!

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In the meantime, here are the boring ole numbers for the past 3 months that I’ve neglected:

May update: $69,562.57 total as of 6/3/2015. (minus $323.35)

June update: $69,237.29 total as of 7/4/2015. (minus $325.28)

July update: $68,882.27 total as of 8/1/215. (minus $355.02)

Our budget has been pretty unusual because of all the circumstances, so I’m not going to nitpick or beat myself up. We’ve gotten so much done in terms of “big life stuff” and it is only getting better!

I hope everyone else is having an awesome and productive summer!

A Wrench in the Wedding Planning

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Just as we are 5 days away from the “4 months to go!” mark, and I was actually getting excited about flowers, for crying out loud (isn’t the blue and purple so pretty???), we got word that there are construction delays at our original venue. CRAP. This had been locked in like a whole YEAR ago and was one of the first things we had checked off the list. We always knew there were renovations about to be done…and the delays were adding up but we were just in touch in early April and everything looked good, they promised things would be done by Mid-September.

Now of course there are now foundation issues and they will probably still be renovating the house… Ugh… We are still welcome to use their space, but no guarantees what will be done and not done!

Just trying to breathe here…and figure out where else we can get married that doesn’t gouge my eyeballs out. So many places are like $6,500-$8,500 just for the venue, or $100 per person!

I know there are brides that plan things in just 4 months, right?!?

I said YES to the DRESS!

So…yes! I got my dress just last weekend! True to my last “getting hitched”¬†update, it was under my $500 budget. Unlike my very first (and uber na√Įve) “getting hitched” update, it was not under $150, nor was it a halter style top!

This was the 3rd wedding dressing shopping trip: first one was in Maryland with my Maid of Honor and a couple local girlfriends at David’s Bridal. I didn’t know what I wanted and was against the idea of strapless. But all the strappy ones looked weird.¬†On the same trip, MOH and I also stopped at this random dress shop in a mall, where I did try a halter-style dress, and it was also kind of weird. The second trip was in California with my mom and sister, and I started to realize that strapless¬† actually did¬†look the best on me! And I’ve been assured by many people that as long as it’s fitted correctly (tight enough!) in the torso, it will NOT slip down constantly (my main small-chested fear).

This last trip was in Delaware with a very good friend of me and Mr. Bacon. We originally planned to go to this great boutique that many of our Delaware friends had recommended, and we were impressed just booking the appointment! During the phone call, they ask¬†you several questions: how many people will be coming with you, what size dress do you wear, and what’s your budget? So my friend had made the phone call and it wasn’t until she was confirming the appointment a couple days before that she mentioned my budget. Well, turns out they could only offer “nontraditional dresses” for $500, as they started at $1200 to $1500! Whew…no thank you. We decided to book an appointment at David’s Bridal in Delaware instead.

It was a super busy Saturday morning, and I had to share my consultant Kim with another bride, but she was AMAZING. There were a few I had perused online and printed out, so Kim pulled out as many of the ones I liked that were in stock (3 or 4?).¬†I really wanted this one…because…OMG RUFFLES! Detachable train with RUFFLES!

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It was discontinued from previous seasons and they had a size 6 (I’m between a 6 and an 8), it would’ve been on sale for $349 (down from $849!). Then Kim asked if I wanted to try on more…and I figured, why not! She was really attentive to what I liked and didn’t like, and what she thought would look good on me.

I ended up buying one that she picked out! It was a really close contest between mine and the ruffly-train dress…but this one actually made my chest look more substantial, and the top was so pretty! It was a size 8 and also discontinued, on clearance for $499 down from $799. I was sad to give up the ruffles in the back…but got some mini ruffle action in the front!

chest

The dress just fit me better overall (you will have to wait til September for more pics, can’t spoil the surprise!) and I’ll only need minimal alterations (where the ruffly one would’ve needed more). One of the best parts (for us personal¬†finance geeks!) was that 5 hours later, I was checking out the dress on my phone and realized there was a $50 coupon I could’ve used. I called them back and they said to print out the coupon, and they would honor it.

Yes! So my dress was $449 (no sales tax, thanks Delaware!) and I got it with 10 months to go. Whoop whoop! Because it was discontinued, I¬†actually got to take it home (well, it’s at Georgia’s home for safekeeping, so Mr. Bacon doesn’t accidentally see it) instead of putting in an order and waiting another 6 to 12 weeks.

I did also just see that there were Black Friday crazy sales online (one week after I bought mine), and both of the dresses were an additional 50% off! But of course they only had sizes 0 and 14 left, so I think I did good. REALLY GOOD! ūüėÄ

Wedding update! 10 months to go!

Oh, no, I haven’t had a “getting hitched” update in over 3 months!

So much has happened already, even though I feel like we still have so much to do! I’m going to reiterate what we’ve already done, so I feel better:

1. Found a wedding venue. Cost: $0!

IMG_06552. We took our engagement photos! Cost: $0!

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Obviously, there are close-ups too, but I like to remain semi-incognito on this blog. ūüėČ The photographer is the fraternity brother and very close friend of my little brother, who did it gratis as a favor to my brother and to build up his portfolio. We did it when we were in California visiting my family, and he did say to consider him for the wedding as he was willing to travel. So we will definitely look into that as he gave us about 60 of his¬†best shots and they were all pretty darn awesome!

3. We constructed our personal wedding website through TheKnot.com and bought a custom URL. Cost: $19.99

4. We¬†decided on our guest list and capped it at 80 people. Remember originally I said 50? We’re hoping for only 60, and the property owners of our venue think 80 is reasonable. It’s still only 40 people for each of us, which is only 20 couples. Yikes! But we pared it down and got everybody’s addresses. Yes!

5. We designed the Save The Date cards through Vistaprint.com, bought 60 of them, plus 280 return address labels with a cute heart on it, and sent out 40 of them out already. Mom had given me craploads of stamps (huzzah!) when I was at home, which will help as stamps ain’t cheap!

The STD’s (save the dates, teehee) cost only $34.50 for 60 of them, printed front AND¬†back, with an upgraded type of a paper (premium white matte stock), and included the envelopes. I was impressed I could use a 25% off coupon, and that printing on the back of the cards was FREE, as were the envelopes! I was only going to buy 50 of them, but ended up getting 10 extra for like an additional $4. They’ll go good in scrapbooks, right?

The address labels were $13, and I know we’ll be using them for the invitations and thank you cards down the line. Then there was $9.99 shipping and handling. Not bad. I didn’t pay for expedited shipping and they came within 5 days anyway!

6. We found a cupcake¬†place! The best part of wedding planning, right? We want to do cupcakes and ice cream cake, and have tried 6 different “cupcakeries”. We live right by Georgetown Cupcake, which is amazing, but also amazingly expensive. We also tried two other cupcake places in town (Bethesda, MD area) and Mr. Bacon has a friend that also has her own cupcake side business. We totally wanted to love her cupcakes because they were soooo much cheaper¬†($17 per dozen vs. $32 at Georgetown!), but apparently after the 3rd cupcake place, we were becoming cupcake connoisseurs. ūüėÄ

Just yesterday, we did our first scouting trip to Easton with Mr. Bacon’s father and stepmom (more on this below) and tried two cupcake bakeries right in town. The one place that offered a complimentary tasting (5 free cupcakes!) actually ended up being the last place we tried, and the best! (Or at least, a close second to Georgetown Cupcake!) I know, we’ve probably already spent $80 just trying out all these cupcakes. ūüėČ Anyway, these ones had amazing flavors (we loved the cookies & cream, peanut butter chocolate, and pumpkin!), great cake texture, size, and proportion¬†of frosting vs. cake. They are $25/dozen and only 5 miles from our venue.

7. Wedding dress shopping is coming along! I mentioned in July I tried on dresses when Miss Maid of Honor was in town. We just went to David’s Bridal with a couple of my local girlfriends, so I could get an idea of what I liked. I still would like to pay $500 (maximum!) for a dress, and found a one-shoulder dress I loved for $499. Then I found out a local triathlete girl I am starting to train with just got married in the SAME DRESS earlier this year! Can’t do it! It’s not special any more!

Next I went dress shopping with my mom and sister when I was home in California in September. I found a couple dresses I liked, one of them is listed at $599 (or $534 online), but I will also be going next weekend in Delaware (in Mr. Bacon’s hometown). As you might know, there is no sales tax in Delaware! So hoping to find something there I love at a price I love. After two dress shopping experiences, I am getting an idea of what I like!

8. The scouting trip yesterday: well, we still need to find a caterer, look at hotels¬†and¬†a shuttle bus. We tried a BBQ place yesterday, but the area around our venue is super pricey. I thought a BBQ buffet would be fairly affordable, but it turns out that this particular restaurant caters through a company¬†called “Gourmet by the Bay”. Not so affordable-sounding! Mr. Bacon’s dad then wanted to see if booking a restaurant for the reception would be any easier or less expensive (this was before he saw the venue and how gorgeous it is!).

We ended up looking around, he wanted to look at places by the water (and today just confirmed he will help pay for the wedding, HOORAY!!!) and we ended up stopping by this super duper fancy schmancy place that has a $68,000 beverage and food MINIMUM. WHAT. THE. F….CK! I owe more than that in student loans! Anyway, it ended up being a bad weekend timing-wise to check out the town (it’s the one weekend each year that the little town has this huge waterfowl festival and all the main streets were closed off), but it seems like there’s a lot of internet research that can be done before the next trip. Now that we’ve got Mr. Bacon’s Dad on board, he is semi-retired and bored, and wants to help out with both¬†the planning and cost. Which is amazing!

Whew! Anyway, that’s enough of an update for now. I’ll check back in next month! December’s tasks include getting quotes on the food, hotels, and transportation!

July makes sub 80k! even sub 79k!

Sadly for the blogging world, this once-a-month update is what’s it’s come down to this summer. But it’s summer time, triathlon season is in full swing (yay), and work continues to work me way too hard (boo).¬†Still, my monthly finance reports are enough to keep me accountable and are my bare minimum for keeping the blog going!

So YES, I AM FINALLY UNDER $80K!!! Whoop whoop! I even snuck in under $79k with a new total of $78,807.33 (balance checked on August 4th). I think I’m a little behind on my original game plan, but you can’t deny that it’s progress since the starting balance of over $95k. I put $1,815.90 toward Sallie Mae, but $293.81 of it was interest, so only $1,522.09 went to my balance. Still trying to get my monthly contribution (minus interest) over that $1500 hump!

July marked the beginning of real wedding planning. My bestie and Maid of Honor flew in from Texas, so we tried on dresses, looked at invitations, and sampled tons of cupcakes. I went over in the various dining out budgets for obvious reasons and was also $57 over in the grocery budget (however that includes $50 to renew my Costco membership, so I was actually pretty good).

I went over in the “Fun Fund” as I paid for another triathlon entry fee ($117 for an Olympic tri), but this is most likely the last entry fee I’ll pay for 2014 as I’ve paid for races through next February at this point! And I really do need to set up some sort of “Triathlon Fund…” imaginary or whatnot!

I’m glad I do look over my budgets once a month because I realized that I was fingerprinted for work ($45) and need to get reimbursed for that.

In cohabitation news, we finally opened up a joint checking account! This is just to help us split up the household expenses (i.e. rent) better. We also put together a fairly rudimentary wedding¬†budget ($4,850) but still have to do more research and decide what we can cut (like I don’t think we really need a DJ) to make things feasible. I actually took our outfits out of the wedding budget as I felt that however we got married (huge ceremony or eloping), I’d still buy the same dress. So the budget is more for the ceremony and reception/party we’re throwing. And my dress budget is still under $500 and I’m sticking to it!

That’s the scoop! Just chipping away at it… Until next time!

Wedding venue!

And…we have a venue!

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And a tentative month, September 2015! Yes, we decided to push it back to Fall instead of Spring for more stable weather…

Plus, it’s the vacation home of one of my work clients who generously offered it to us as a venue…for $0! They are about to have some big renovations done, so the later date next year gives everybody more time.

If all goes to plan debt-payoff-wise, I’ll be down to under $35k by next September instead of the $50k in April. And be totally debt-free by our one-year anniversary!

Yay!

New Orleans, Wrestlemania, and a potential wedding venue!

So two weekends ago was our Gulf Coast trip (Louisiana to Florida). We left Thursday night and flew back home Monday night. It was a great adventure with old and new friends, but ended up costing us more than we planned. Not that I’m surprised–these things are expected! It’s funny, I have a handy-dandy notebook I like to write a bunch of finance things in, and back in January I made rough estimates of $500 for plane tickets and $200 for hotels, which were WAAAAY off. (Wait, actually I think I meant $500 for a plane ticket for myself, and it ended up being $350, or $700 for both of us. So that part isn’t bad after all.)

A lot of things went wrong in terms of logistics and that’s what kinda killed the vacation hotel budget. We originally had a group of 7 or 8 of us going, with most people getting in on Friday afternoon. Well, me and Mr. Bacon found the cheapest flights getting in late¬†Thursday night, and were supposed to¬†spend that night¬†with one of the posse that was renting a place in New Orleans for a month or so. A family emergency meant she wasn’t there at all, and it turned out she hadn’t rented¬†her place in NOLA yet¬†either.

SO… we had to book an extra night’s hotel pretty last-minute as we were the only ones to fly in Thursday. Another friend completely bailed, so it was down to 5 of us, which meant a larger share of splitting up hotel and travel costs. Sunday night should’ve still had 4 of us in town, but the other couple ended up driving back to Texas early, and although my best friend offered to still pay for the half the hotel room for Sunday, I wouldn’t have any of it.

So hotels ended up being over $500 for us, as we had to pay for two nights on our own and split the other two nights. Way more than the $200 I had hoped for! I’m laughing at myself for being so na√Įve! But hey…it ended up being worth it for all the delicious Cajun food I stuffed myself with–jambalaya, crawfish, crab, turtle soup (!), smoked sausage po’boy (I just love saying PO’ BOY!), gumbo and beignets!!! ūüėÄ

And I have to admit it was good to have some alone time with Mr. Bacon on vacation! The trip was for a¬†bike ride adventure,¬†but¬†when it came down to just me and Mr. Bacon in New Orleans on Sunday night after the bike ride, we did what we had to do–which was go to the 30th edition of WRESTLEMANIA! Pretty insane! I don’t follow pro wrestling at all, but my fianc√© has absolutely loved it since he was a little boy. I have to admit it was pretty epic being in the Superdome with over 75,000 fans screaming and yelling and booing. I even recognized some of the big names from my childhood–Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold, Jake the Snake, and of course, The Undertaker!

We scored super last minute seats for under $50 each on Stubhub.com, just 2 hours before the show. They were club seats somewhere in the middle (not the nosebleeds) that were originally $130 apiece. That was a pretty great deal! So you know, we have fun going on these crazy dates–he went to the circus with me, and I went with him to WrestleMania.

In other news, we also have a huge lead on a wedding venue–one of my clients at work overheard my idea to have a backyard wedding on the Eastern Shore. He happens to have a big house on several acres there (like a summer home, kind of), and has offered to let us use it! We are¬† going to check it out next month when our weekend schedules align. They are even doing renovations on it this year to open up walls and windows and have a 180-degree view of the water. Pretty exciting!

That’s the scoop for now.

uber na√Įve initial wedding thoughts

halter dress front

I don’t have a Pinterest account, as I waste enough time on social media like Facebook, blogs, and sometimes Twitter. I’ve been getting random ideas, and taking my time, looking at other PF bloggers’ wedding planning posts and am especially loving NZ Muse’s series on being a “bullshit-free bride.” My kinda girl! I also bought a paper copy of the book based on the Broke-Ass Bride blog. (I like the book but have found the website a little overwhelming with all the ads and affiliate links.) Some people really do get married for under $5,000! There’s hope yet!

After getting engaged on New Year’s day, then becoming completely overwhelmed with new job responsibilities, deciding to move, and undergoing the actual moving process, somewhere in the middle there I signed up TheKnot.com, bought some wedding magazines, then promptly freaked out from the huge list of things to do and crazy expenses. Along with everybody and their brother’s ideas on where we should get married and what we should do. Ugh.

We aren’t fancy high maintenance folks and have no intentions of becoming that type, so after stepping back, we’ve started putting some thoughts together on what we wanted, and when, and where, etc.

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Who: Me and Mr. Bacon, and 50 guests

What: small waterfront backyard wedding

When: April 2015 (possible the 18th as it’s a Saturday and 8 is a lucky number in Chinese)

Where: Somewhere on the Eastern Shore of MD, a¬†“neutral-ish” location.

How Much: Under $5000!

Ok, so maybe the “50 guests” and “under $5k” price tag are uber na√Įve, but we all gotta start somewhere, right? The hardest part has been picking a location. His family’s in Delaware, mine is in California, but the two of us live just outside DC. We wanted it on “neutral territory”, i.e. not DE and not CA, as it wouldn’t be fair for one side of the family. We even thought of doing something kinda in the middle like Galveston Island, Texas, as we both want something on the beach.

The first concept we had was renting a huge beach house at the Outer Banks–like a huge 10-12 bedroom vacation rental, where we could have our immediate family members and wedding party all¬†stay together, and we’d just get married in the backyard on the beach.¬†They haven’t met each other yet, and it’s about bringing the families together. But it’s kinda¬†expensive and about a 4.5-hour drive from us. It’d cost us money just to take trips out there for the recon and planning, so we thought closer to home–our home.

So then there’s the Eastern Shore. It’s about a 75-90min drive from us, depending on traffic, and pretty close to Baltimore’s airport. There are a bunch of beautiful vacation rentals on the waterfront, some for $300-$500 per night, but none that are both beautiful and huge. So maybe we won’t have everyone stay at the house, as that might just be too chaotic and full of drama. (Trying to be drama-free here, folks!)

Initial thoughts are to rent a place for two or three nights (Friday, Saturday, and maybe Sunday). Have a Friday night reunion dinner, Saturday wedding and reception, and Sunday brunch! Notice I didn’t say rehearsal dinner. What would we be rehearsing anyway?! The venue would be the rental house, which is where we would stay and host the events and hang out and catch up with everyone. I don’t like how at many weddings I’ve been to, you only get to talk to the couple for maybe 10 seconds.

Food would be a BBQ buffet (he’s redneck), with maybe some Southeast Asian food as well (my side of the family, obviously), and most definitely our wedding cake is going to be ICE CREAM CAKE! The ice cream cake is non-negotiable. ūüėČ (No photos here, I just googled “ice cream wedding cake” and had to shut that browser to stop the drool.) Maybe we’ll do something like disposable bibs with our names on them so people won’t worry about getting BBQ all over their pretty clothes. ūüôā

As for the dress, I’ve been perusing Amazon and wondering if it’s a terrible idea to order from a company with factories in Asia (aren’t most made in Asian¬†factories anyway but just priced ridiculously higher?). I mean, I’m pretty sure my mom and aunts worked at a sweatshop in Chinatown when they first immigrated to San Francisco (she didn’t call it a sweatshop, but mentioned they got paid by each piece they made). My mom actually made her own wedding dress along with me and my sister’s prom dresses, along with many Halloween costumes. I’d possibly have her make me one if we lived closer…

Here’s the back to the one I’ve been eyeing. First picture at the top is the front…

halter back

I’m a small-chested girl, so no strapless gowns for me. And it’d be under $142 after shipping! Totally within my budget!

And another photo of one of the vacation rentals I’ve been ogling…same place as the sunset photo above. It’s $285/night if you rent it before April 30, for a 3-bedroom, 3-bath place that sleeps 8. All vacation rentals seem to go up after that point, which is one of the reasons we wanted to do mid-April!

cliff point 2

Anyway, just some initial thoughts. We also still want to throw post-wedding parties in Delaware, California, and DC for the other friends and families that won’t be able to make the actual wedding (or that we won’t invite as we’re trying to keep it small). Which probably won’t be too fancy either but will be excluded from the $5k budget.

We’ll see what actually happens a year from now! So what do you think? Am I na√Įve to think we’ll keep it small and relatively inexpensive??