The $5 Savings Plan

Saving money isn’t easy – especially when using a debit or credit card to purchase everything. Then, I ran across something called the 5 Dollar Savings Plan on a few other blogs.

The steps are simple:

  1. Every time there is a $5 bill in your wallet, put it in an envelope or jar at home
  2. Once per month (or whenever you wish) deposit the money into a savings account
  3. Keep your deposit receipts to see how much you’ve “saved” at the end of the year

Pretty cool yes? A study from MIT found that subjects paid more when they were instructed to use a credit card rather than cash. In fact, they found that they were willing to spend up to 100% more with plastic. Yikes!

Here’s my new savings plan which adds to the $5 one:

  • Allow myself $50 in cash per week for eating out (coffee, Jimmy Johns, etc.)
  • Each $5 bill I get from change from those places I HAVE to stow away at home. Realistically, this gives me about $30 in actual spending money for weekly food purchases
  • Empty the loose change into my giant coin bank weekly

I started my savings plan Monday and already have $25 in the envelope. Today I ate out for lunch (shhh!) but yesterday I brought a bagged lunch…which is ultimately healthier anyway.

I’m well on my way to saving money! Yay! What do I plan to do with my savings? The coin bank change my fiance and I have been using is to save/spend on our Bachelor/Bachelorette parties in Vegas while the $5 savings plan will be to pay off my CapitalOne credit card. I’ve had nearly the same balance since my sophomore year of college…that’s 8 years. Those jerks and their APR really get you!

I’ll keep you all updated on my progress! In the meantime, what do you do to save money? Have you tried the $5 savings plan?



My Favorite Pinterest Recipes

Pinterest has a lot of great recipes…and a lot of terrible ones. Trust me, I’ve made both.
Today I want to share with you my favorite recipes thus far on Pinterest and a caution to a few that seem great but are total duds.

Best of the Best

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken BreastFind the recipe here

Hello goodbye. This is BY FAR the best buffalo chicken recipe I’ve made and at 172 calories per serving…it’s healthy! Instead of the chicken cutlets I just used a meat tenderizer on regular chicken breasts to flatten them out. Also, it made 3 chicken breasts for us…not the 5 that it says it will. Otherwise, I followed the recipes exactly and it turned out fantastic. We did a simple salad with bleu cheese dressing as a side and that’s all we needed to feel full. It comes out a little spicy so cut the Franks if your palette prefers mild flavors.

Summer PizzaFind the recipe here

This is a fun pizza alternative to the everyday salty flavors of sausage, pepperoni, olives and mushrooms. The pizza turned out VERY cheesy and dripped on the bottom of our oven so if you make this, be aware there’s a lot of cheese going on. This recipe is great once in a while when the fruits are in season, otherwise don’t spend the $5/lb. on blackberries if you don’t want to.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork LoinFind the recipe here

This is by far the best pulled pork I’ve had in my life…my fiance agrees. Don’t think about it, just make it. It’s made in a crock pot and you won’t regret it. I ate this fantastic meal with just some asparagus on the side while my fiance made pulled pork sandwiches out of it. Regardless of how you eat this recipe, it’s a MUST try.

Worst of the Worst

Salmon In A Bag – No recipe

The description says: “Salmon in a Bag – Tin foil, lemon, salmon, butter – Wrap it up tightly and bake for 25 minutes at 300°”

A complete waste of salmon. The fish took nearly 45 minutes to bake (even after juicing up the temp to 350) and it tasted very fishy…not something I enjoy. I have plenty of great salmon recipes and this one isn’t one them.

Homemade Egg McMuffinFind the recipe here

Seems easy: bake eggs, layer sandwich, freeze. Reheating is where they get you since it’s not meant for the microwave as an on-the-go breakfast like real Egg McMuffins. This recipe is for people who have time to reheat a sandwich in the oven for 25 minutes in the morning. Therefore, I find this recipe to be a fail. I added canadian bacon to it to add some additional flavor and protein but the time it took to reheat just wasn’t worth the “time-saving” trouble.

Lemon Basil PastaFind the recipe here

Looks healthy and delicious yes? It is! But it’s so dry and bland that I had a hard time getting through it. I even threw in some juicy grilled chicken to add some life but it just didn’t cut it. Unfortunately, by cutting out all the “sauce to make it healthy, Better Homes and Gardens dropped the edible part of it too. I chugged 2 glasses of wine just to get through 1 plate. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great ratio…but I don’t need my dinner to force me to drink.

There you have it. Top 3 awesome recipes and top 3 bad recipes to unpin from your board right now. I have plenty more recipes I haven’t tried yet and I’ll definitely circle back the next time I try a few recipes.

In the meantime, click here to check out my other Pinterest boards:    Follow Me on Pinterest

Enjoy your Wednesday!


Wedding Checklist

There are tons of wedding checklists available online and in books that detail when you should plan what with who and why.


I found one from Dolly Levi’s Event Studio and decided to it as thoroughly as possible. I was a Wedding Coordinator in my past life but find that checklists are the saving grace to planning such an intricate event.

The original checklist can be found here but my version of her checklist is found on my Wedding Checklist page here.

The reason I chose Dolly’s is because it is simple and high-level. The details come around as we plan our wedding and every minute piece won’t fit into a snazzy little checklist. So, with my own version of her checklist I am able to stay on schedule without worrying over the small things.

Based on my checklist, I am behind on a few things and have all of this to do in September:

  1. Start wedding file (I love organizing but this seems like a hefty task!)
  2. Hire wedding planner (Need to call a friend. I’ve asked her but I’d like to make it official)
  3. Start gown shopping (I’ve found a designer I like but I need to physically try the dresses on)
  4. Hire engagement and wedding photographers (I am not receiving responses from the ones I’ve chosen…not good. I’ll try another phone call and give them until next Monday to respond. Otherwise, my hunt will start over)
  5. Hire DJ (Need to speak with a friend who just got married…her DJ was great and took requests!)

Any other thoughts for me as I move forward with wedding planning?


Good Morning

Good morning indeed.

Today is the first day I begin blogging about myself and my daily life. I have blogged on and off since 2004 but I seemed to let those blogs become journals of ventings, frustrations and a place to pass judgements instead of sharing the positives in my life.

So, I’m starting over.

But, if you don’t know me from previous blogs, who am I?

I’m in grad school (hence the “papers” part of my blog title) which takes up a lot of my time solely because I procrastinate. I plan to change that in my last year of school.

I am the Social Media and Public Relations Specialist for a fantastic company in Minnetonka, MN. My later posts will continue to reveal what I do, where I work and why I enjoy my career.

After 6 years of friendship and 2 years of dating, my best friend and I got engaged June 20, 2012. We are getting married August 10, 2013 so you all get to follow along as I plan this major ordeal of a wedding!

My fiance and I also own a 10 month old British Labrador named Buster. He’s everything fantastic and adorable…forgive me for gushing about my dog in future posts.

Please comment and enjoy my posts as I dive into some serious blogging. Also, if there’s anything you’d like to hear more about…please tell me! I’m all ears!