December 30, 2010

Tiny New Year!

We love you all! Hope you have a very safe and happy New Year's Eve! We'll catch you in 2011, Tinier and more Stylish than ever!

December 27, 2010

Thrifty Tips- Becoming a Cheapskate

Truth time: Early on in our lives, we cultivated a nasty little habit of living beyond our means. Dinners out, bucket loads of shopping and a taste for high-end electronics ate through gobs and gobs of cash. Thankfully, we grew up and realized that the only way we can hope to live a happy and fulfilling life is to eliminate the spending.

Easier said than done, for sure. I still get that urge to pop into Target or Homegoods "just to browse" and end up walking out with a bag of stuff. So...our challenge to ourselves is to break the spending habit. How? Here is what we are thinking for 2011:

1) Write down all of your financial goals and post them everywhere. By the computer, so you think twice about online shopping, in your wallet, etc. If you see the goals in black and white, you'll be reminded to think twice before whipping out the Visa.

2)  Make a list and stick to it. No shopping unless we need it, its budgeted for and we cannot live without it.

3) Give things away/sell things. I think that once we get the ball rolling on this we will feel rewarded by the act of minimizing and decluttering.

4)  Cultivate a roster of cheap but delicious dinners to save cash! Dinners out are a weakness and if we don't have something on the menu, we tend to slip back into our old ways.

5) Budget and stick to it. Hold ourselves accountable for our spending. Its way too easy to let ourselves slip and overspend, so we need to figure out a way to stay on track. Hmmm.

Now it's your turn! How do you guys save cash?? We're always looking for new ways to become even thriftier!

December 21, 2010

The BEST Chocolate Cupcakes, Ever.

I decided, after a few days of being knocked out by a not so fun cold, that I would resume holiday baking today by making some cupcakes to bring to our family's Christmas Eve fiesta. After paging through a book of cupcake recipes, a few bookmarked websites and of course, The Joy of Baking, the lightbulb clicked on in my brain and I remembered a recipe I had seen on Tasty Kitchen a while back. It was aptly titled, "The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever." and it truly lives up to that name. Even the batter was absolutely delicious. We're topping them off with peppermint buttercream, but this cake would be just fiiiine on it's own. Enjoy!

December 20, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Cheapy Cheap Gift Wrapping

Howdy! We have just returned from the Arctic Tundra known as central Maine. We celebrated Christmas a little early with Mike's extended family in their beautiful home (hi Keefs!!) and then stayed the night in the gorgeous lake house of his second-cousin (hi Martha and Ron!). Anyway, we did quite a bit of gift giving and we thought we would share some of our favorite cost-effective gift wrapping ideas that deliver a big WOW for a little dough.

Add lots of texture for a big impact! Here we used some raffia, a little leftover 1-inch wide ribbon and a strip of kraft paper to create visual and textural impact. And guess what? Our gift was picked first for the Yankee swap! So there! Guess what we gave?

A cute coffee mug, a pound of java and some homemade snickerdoodles! Definitely a crowd pleaser, and less than $10! We found the mug at Marshall's for $3.99!

The family tradition at this particular party is to bring a little stocking stuffer for all of the kids. This is a tall order for a couple on a budget, so we tried to come up with bargain gifts that the kids would still love. For the little guys, we gave them a set of crayons and markers wrapped up in a plastic treat bag from the baking aisle at A.C. Moore. We jazzed it up with a bit of raffia and a homemade gift tag!

The 7-year old girl cousins got some sweet little nail polishes and a girly Hello Kitty notebook, both from the dollar section at Target. They older boy cousins got a puzzle and an art project. For gifts for 6 kiddos, we spent under $10!

Speaking of  homemade gift tags...

Did you check out Mike's post about making custom gift wrap?? Cheapy cheap and SO cute!

We made these geometric gift tags with leftover cardboard cut into a 2"x2" square topped with a colorful circle made with our 1" circle punch. Easy and fun!

Here are some fun gift wrapping ideas that we've seen round the Interwebs:

Sweet and unexpected wrapping ideas from Real Simple. Love this peacock feather!

Sweet wine labels from Better Homes and Gardens. If you follow the link, there is a how-to! This could really jazz up a bottle of wine for gift giving!

Super cute and FREE downloadable gift tags from Design*Sponge! These would look so cute with plain, brown kraft paper. Make sure you check out Julia Rothman, the artist's, website!

Let us know your favorite inexpensive ways to jazz up a Christmas gift in the comments!!!!

December 19, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Matzoh Crack

Guys. Prepare yourselves for trying this if you have not. We call it matzoh crack for good reason: you literally can't stop eating it. Crunchy matzoh, sweet brown sugar caramel and creamy, melty dark chocolate. Swoon. If you have any plans whatsoever in the next week, make and bring this. And then prepare yourself to become the most popular person at the party. This is THAT good..

December 16, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Gift Guide Round-Up!

Phew! We just finished up our Christmas shopping and this year, we are trying to veer away from the frantic stuff-grabbing that tends to happen when you have tons of people who you want to gift!

Since Mike and I both have large families and we are on a shoestring budget, we decided that we would give the best possible gift that we could afford to everyone- our time! So for our 'rents, sibs and close friends, we'll be gifting them with together time- maybe some sports tickets, dinner out or a little mid-winter pampering. Oh, and on my side of the family we are doing a Secret Santa, too, which is always super fun!

If you still have some shopping to do, here are some awesome gift guides (including our own!) to check out!

Tiny Wallet Gift Guides

Other Awesome Gift Guides:

Any other gift guides that you LOVE? Do you have a blog that features a gift guide? Let us know and we'll link to you, too!! Happy shopping!

December 15, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Typographical Wrapping

So I was browsing around ManMade when I spotted a great and cheap way to wrap and personalize holiday gifts. Using simple mailing paper and a page from any old book, you end up with an extremely simple but amazing wrapping for any present. Here is the tinywalletstyle method of making Typographical Gift Wrap

December 14, 2010

Simple Suppers: Pork Tenderloin Tacos

After a super blustery winter day here in New England, we were craving something spicy to warm us up. Enter: pork tenderloin tacos. Oh my goodness this is so easy, so delicious and (most importantly!) so cheap. The pork tenderloin cost us a mere $3 on sale and the rest of the stuff we had on hand. Check out how we did it, so you can have your very own delicious tacos for dinner tomorrow night!

Pork Tenderloin Tacos

Thrifty Tips: How We Save Cash Around the Holidays

The holidays are approaching quickly and we have been doing quite a bit of thinking about Christmas shopping lately. Our families are both huge, so buying gifts for everyone is quite the task! With the new budget in place, our holiday spending has starting shrinking which makes shopping for lots of people even harder. We love giving gifts, so not shopping at all is out of the question. We have, however, come up with some sneaky strategies to save cash AND still play Santa to our family and friends.

1) Make a list and stick to it! Seriously. Estimate how much you will spend and budget for your gifts as far in advance as you can -we budget in January and then split the total between 12 months. Every month, we contribute to our Christmas gift fund. This really takes the financial burden off of you when December comes rolling around.

December 13, 2010

Tiny Sugar: Cookie Decorating

ThWith all of the amazing baking sites around (Bakerella, Bake at 350, I am Baker) that feature gorgeously decorated cookies, I couldn't help but try and jump on the bandwagon. Bake at 350 has a great recipe for royal icing made with meringue powder that looked great and easy, so I ran out to grab myself a can. What resulted was a gorgeously thick icing perfect to pipe lines around my cookies.

Check out The Nester's Holiday Home Tours

Hey guys- lots of great inspiration over at the Nesting Place today- check out her linky party of holiday home tours (we are #96 and we joined before 8am today!!). Head over to to check it out!

December 12, 2010

Tiny Chalkboard Style!

A chalkboard project! I know we're not breaking new ground with this, but I think our application is great for cheap-os like us! This is a project that meets all of our DIY criteria:  super simple to do in an afternoon, cheapy cheap and versatile. It's a homemade chalkboard and it's unbelievably easy to do. Now, we're not reinventing the wheel here, but we wanted to make something for our kitchen that we could write down our weekly dinner menu, jot grocery items or a quick note. When we came across this tee-shirt frame at Christmas Tree Shop for a mere $1, we decided to pick it up and see what we could make out of it.

Tiny Holidays: Quick Gift Wrap Upgrade

Howdy! We're taking a break from the trenches of gift wrapping to bring you this cute idea we came up with to jazz up an otherwise boring gift. For the holidays, we like to give tickets- movie, concert, sporting event, etc. The problem with giving tickets is that they just kind of...sit there in the envelope. We are festive kind of people, so of course we had to find a quick (and cheap!) way to jazz up our presentation.

December 10, 2010

Tiny Guest Blogger: Rebel Mel

Introducing first.... From the red corner. Weighing very little... She hails from Allston Massachusetts, and was rated byus as the best former roommate of the last decade. With 52 cookie recipes, 38 of them containing chocolate, and only 4 with nuts. She is, the COOKIE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD,

Meet Melissa our great friend who has graced our pages as a guest blogger.   Be sure to check out her amazing blog for some amazing cat and food photos (not combined!).

December 7, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Holiday Decor We Heart

Hey y'all! If you're anything like us, this time of year consists of lots of oooh-ing and aaah-ing over all of the genius holiday decor showing up around the blogosphere! Here are some standouts that have us double-checking our decorating budget to see if there is a little extra room!

1) Sweet holiday vignettes

December 6, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Easy Shortbread Cookies

Guys. I awoke yesterday morning with a desperate need to bake 20 dozen cookies. Does that ever happen to you? I think it stems from the fact that my brain correlates Christmas decorations to baking cookies. As soon as the decorations are up, the cookies appear- just check out our "to-bake" list!! Our freezer, by next weekend, will be chock full of cylinders of dough waiting to be sliced and baked. If you want to get a jump on your cookie baking, here is my very favorite bake-ahead recipe- shortbread!

Quickie Dinner- Perfect Tomato Sauce

In honor of our recent monthly meal planning post, we decided to share with you the most versatile and delicious recipe in our cooking arsenal: tomato sauce. We use it for EVERYTHING. Pasta, obviously. Pizza sauce. A base for quick chili or minestrone soup. A simmer sauce for meatballs. It's so good I could eat it every night. We plan to make a huge batch and can it to give away as Christmas gifts along with some fresh pasta. Enjoy!

December 5, 2010

How We Meal Plan on a Budget

During the holidays, things get very hectic around Tiny Wallet HQ so naturally we slide on some normal household duties. The first thing, in past years, was cooking dinner. Instead, we'd opt for take out and going out to restaurants. Well, since the budget has gone into place, we realize that takeout and going out for dinner is a thing of the past. We had to change. Enter...the internet!

December 2, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Repurpose What You Have!

Howdy from the holiday decorating department here at Tiny Wallet Style. We l-o-v-e decorating for Christmas, so much so that Mike has to implement arbitrary rules as to when the decorating can commence. If these rules are not in effect, Ally might just bust out the Christmas boxes mid-summer.

November 30, 2010

November 27, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Oh, hello. Didn't see you there from the haze of our food comas. We're finally able to waddle over to Tiny Blogging HQ to update you on our Thanksgiving feast, which was quite wonderful from all accounts. We enjoyed an afternoon of food and festivity with Mike's familia, including his absolutely adorable 90 year old Nana who continues to be the life of the party.

Here she is, pulling off leopard print better than anyone I know. And here is Mike, also trying leopard but not so successful.

November 25, 2010

Great Giveaway: Silhouette Machine

Hey Guys-

Just wanted to let you know about an awesome giveaway happening over at She's giving away a Silhouette SD machine, which is an absolutely amazing thing to have in your crafting arsenal. Head over to the entry page for your chance to win!!!

Good luck!!

November 24, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Perfectly Easy Dinner Rolls

If you are like us, you become a carb-glutton on Thanksgiving. The more carbs, the better. So in addition to stuffing, potatoes and everything else, I made homemade rosemary rolls at 10pm this evening. Insane? I think so. Delicious? I also think so. Here is the recipe- they are easy enough to whip up tomorrow morning, if you so desire.

Tiny Holidays: The Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes, for me, are the key to Thanksgiving dinner. They facilitate the meal and the eating of the leftovers. Good, creamy, flavorful ones are essential. Warning: our recipe is NOT low-cal, carb-free or any of that nonsense. Didn't you know that calories don't count on Turkey Day? Duh! So eat as many of these potatoes as possible, because they are super good for you! This is how we make them.

Tiny Holidays: Easy Cranberry Sauce

This recipe is super quick and super simple. If you have time, refrigerate overnight. It lets the berries gel a little more and we like to serve it cold at the Thanksgiving meal, anyway. Enjoy!!

Cranberry Sauce

Tiny Holidays: PW's Pecan Pie

This is my first pecan pie, and I must say that it seems...terrifying bad for you. Which obviously means that it tastes fantastic. This recipe comes from the Pioneer Woman, who is an evil genius. Evil, evil, evil. But still a genius.  I'm not quite sure this pie is going to make it till the morning. If not, don't tell my family- okay? You can check out PW's recipe here.

November 23, 2010

Quickie Dinners: The Perfect Fall/Winter Salad

This salad is ridiculous. It's literally the most perfect combination of flavors I could ever think of. Creamy, salty, sweet, crunchy, tangy. It has it all.

Every year, I yearn for some salad on the Thanksgiving table, and this salad will do the trick. I'm sure that it would be great to bring to a potluck (dress at the last minute) and it works as an awesome fall dinner on it's own.

(I think we need a bigger

November 22, 2010

Tiny-Budget Entertaining: Infused Vodka

One of the few things we love more than saving money or hosting some of our friends for a mid-week dinner party is drinking hard liquor!

While that's a joke, we do love a cocktail every now and then, and one of our favorite ways to make a delicious cocktail and save some money, is to use cheap/er Vodka and then infuse it with some fruits or herbs.  You can even filter your own cheap Vodka at home, using a water filter to remove some impurities.

But here's how we roll!

Step One-- Vodka buying time

Tiny Holidays: Turkey Day Decor

We did some last-minute crafting in preparation for our Thanksgiving dinner with Mike's family. I thought since we are not eating at home, we could make a few fall-ish crafts that would inject our personality into the meal. Also- I really wanted to make a banner, so I did! This could be easily adapted to any holiday/occasion with different papers, and it cost just a few cents to make! We bought the scrap booking paper on sale at A.C. Moore, and we had the white card stock, so it was really cheapy cheap.

First up, a Thanksgiving banner reminding us to Give Thanks for our many blessings. I look forward to hanging this up again next fall in our own home.

We started with some cardstock (we used size A2 flat cards from Papersource which measure approximately 4"x5"). I cut down some scrap book paper in a fun, sunny yellow pattern to size with scallop scissors. Note- I didn't measure at all for this project. If your banner is a little lopsided I promise you that the world will not end as a result. Glue to backing card stock- we use a glue stick and it works fine.

Tiny Holidays: What I'm Thankful For

Ally here! I thought it would be nice to offer up a few things that I'm thankful for this holiday season. Since we're a young blog and you all don't know us very well, hopefully you'll be able to get a sense of who we are. Mike will post his thankfulness tomorrow! Also- we would LOVE it if you would comment and share what you're thankful for.

November 21, 2010

Tiny Re-Do: Operation Awesome

Here is a story of transformation.  It is the story of how our old (ugly) bookshelves and coffee table, became our new TV Bench with storage.

Shall we begin.

It all started with this

November 19, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Man's Best Friend Edition

You give gifts to your pets to celebrate various holidays and birthday...don't you? No? We're just weird? Well...that's hurtful.


We thought that we would round up a few ideas for gifting the pets in your life. After all, they are snuggly, loyal and never complain that your turkey is too dry.

1) Jazz up a run of the mill collar with these nifty little ID tags. At $10 (cheaper than the personalized ones at our local pet store), BowWowzerz has tons of cute options for your pooch (or cat, for that  matter!).

November 18, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Get In the Kitchen

Here at TWS Headquarters, the second that the thermometer drops below 60°, the oven goes on and the baking commences. I dream about what I'll bake through the entire summer. But, for me, there is no greater time to bake then for the holidays. It's become a tradition that we will deliver freshly baked treats to friends and neighbors instead of giving gifts. With an adorable box or bow, some homemade treats make a perfect (and cheap) holiday gift! Let's check out what goodies are in the running for Tiny Wallet Christmas Gift Boxes 2010:

November 17, 2010

Pardon Us...

Good morning, all. is undergoing a little maintenance today so bear with us while we tinker under the hood!

(Photo found here)

November 16, 2010

Tiny-Budget Entertaining: Southern Comfort

Friends and neighbors, it's been a busy few days in the Tiny Wallet headquarters! We have hosted dinner parties both Friday and Monday nights- phew! Hosting a dinner after a full day of work is daunting- especially for those of us who go on a maniacal cleaning spree pre-guests. Luckily, Mike was home to cover the cleaning duties, leaving me to figure out what to make that would be: 1) cheapy cheap, of course 2) deliciously comforting after a rainy day and 3) super quick- our guests were arriving just about an hour after I got home from work.

Tiny Holidays: Art Gifts

Mike and I started a tradition after we got married that we would buy each other art for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. That way, we will be able to fill our house with unique art and not accumulate lots of stuff that we don't have room for. Most of the time, the art we buy are prints that are super reasonably priced (think under $25)!!!

Some that we love from Etsy:

November 15, 2010

Tiny Holidays: For the Kids

Shopping for kids can easily become a mad dash into the Mega Toy Emporium to grab whatever plastic gizmo is flashing from the endcap. We believe in giving gifts that are nurturing and creative, not destined for the trash bin a few weeks after Christmas. Here are a few ideas for fun and engaging holiday gifts for the little ones in your life.

1. Art

November 14, 2010

Tiny Holidays: For The Ladies

Ladies? Hi, hello there. I'd ask you at this time to forward this page to your hubby, boyfriend, dad, uncle or any other gents in your life that need a little help in the holiday gift department. As for you, keep your eyes peeled for Mike's holiday man gift post in the next few days.

Without further ado, gentlemen, our lady gift holiday gift extravaganza!!

1. Here's a sweet gift for the lady that needs a little "me-time":

November 13, 2010

How-To: Get Out of the House!!

When you're living in Tiny Wallet land, it's easy to focus on the “can't” factor. I can't spend money= I can't do anything. We get around this by using a few thrifty tips to save us from a never-ending cycle of can't.

(The Riverway- Part of Boston's Emerald Necklace)

November 12, 2010

Tiny Holidays: Gobble Gobble Edition

Exciting news here at Tiny Wallet Style!!! Mike and I are cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for his family this year! This is particularly exciting because we've never cooked a whole Turkey Day meal before- only bits and pieces that we've brought to someone else's feast. Naturally, I've been planning and reading food blogs and trying to figure out what the most epic menu will be.

November 10, 2010

Quickie Dinner- Easy Bolognese

There is nothing like a dinner that you can literally throw together in less than 10 minutes and eat in less than 20. A quick (not so authentic) spaghetti bolognese is one of our go-to's for a simple yet satisfying weeknight meal.

The best part about this recipe? You can't really screw it up. Don't have red wine? Not a problem. Have ground turkey and not ground beef? It's a great substitute! (We actually used ground turkey when we made this last night, but we usually use 97% lean ground beef).

A Little Autumn Color Inspiration

November 8, 2010

Quickie Dinner- Romantic and Under $15!!

A big part of how Mike and I save cash is cutting back on meals out. We added up how much we spend on restaurants and the number was not good. Since we put together a budget, we really try to stick to it- dinners out included. So, for our anniversary this year we decided to whip up a fancy dinner right in our own kitchen!

2 years ago today :)


Merely Lovely: Thanksgiving Edition

We loooooove Thanksgiving. Not just because of the food, either. It's an amazing day filled with people who love each other gathering around a table and celebrating the things that they are thankful for. The chilly fall air, the piles of red and yellow leaves, the noise of happy conversations (and a football game or two!), and the wonderful, soul-satisfying smells of a meal that's been cooking all day.

November 7, 2010

How-To: Spices, Spices Everywhere

At the grocery store, I bought a new container of cinnamon. I came home, attempted to put the cinnamon into the drawer where we keep our spices and was greeted with...this:

How-to: Cover An Unsightly Something or Another

The apartment that we call home has lots of...quirks. Perhaps the quirkiest of these quirks is our air-conditioner opening built so thoughtfully right into our bedroom wall. Great idea, bad execution. Other than the fact that we don't even use an air conditioner, there are three main problems with this:

November 6, 2010

Weekend Update: Sicky, Quilty, Tomatoey

Oh hello there! I (Ally) am under the weather with a little cold, so the weekend plans are a day off while I rest up. Just kidding (I am incapable of resting when I'm sick). Instead, I started the makings of a thrifty Christmas gift for Mike's nana- a lap quilt. She's in a wheelchair and, at the age of 90, she gets a little chilly while she's out and about.

November 5, 2010

Thrifty Tech: Smart-Phones or Smart Savings?

One of the biggest drains on any budget is your cell phone bill and with everyone moving towards smart-phones,  bills are not getting any cheaper. On average, attaching a smart-phone data plan to your monthly service adds anywhere between $15-$30 more per month per line. This cost is in addition to voice, text, and taxes varying between 6.62% to 21.71%. In NY state this can lead to an addition $876 dollars over just 2 years, that is almost the cost of a brand new Macbook Air

Here is the breakdown of the cost of service between the big 4 carriers,

November 4, 2010

The Goods- Feeding a Crowd for Pennies

When you're faced with a big group heading your way for dinner, it's easy to go overboard with your menu- you don't want people to go hungry, after all. If you want to stay on budget, though, you need to reach for a crowd pleasing recipe that is tasty, filling and cheap to make. Veggie chili, lasagna and pot pies are all entertaining staples in our house, but we wanted to mix it up for this autumnal celebratory meal.

The Goods- Festive Fall Decor

So Mike didn't really want his birthday celebration to scream "birthday" and nixed the usual streamers and balloons. Instead, we went with a festive fall upgrade to our dinner table which usually looks like this:

(To be fair- this was  right after we got home from grocery shopping! It doesn't usually look this terrifyingly disorganized.)

With a few cheapy cheapy additions, it ended up looking like this:

November 3, 2010

Birthday Soiree- On the Cheap!

Pardon the quiet day here at TWS. Mike celebrated his birthday yesterday and we are throwing him a little dinner party tonight! Of course, we'll be documenting what we ate and how we decorated to share with you in the next few days! In the meantime, Happy 28th birthday to the love of my life!!!


November 2, 2010

A Tiny History

A little history lesson about us here at Tiny Wallet Style!

We are renters who are so close to owning their own home (but thanks to the cautionary tale that was the 2008-present economy, we are entering the housing market armed with research and a sound budget). Renting means that we have very little power to change our digs- sticking us with dropped ceilings, lots of linoleum and....sponge painting! (Did I just hear someone faint?)

October 30, 2010

Tiny Introduction

Oh hello out there! Mike and Ally here-aka the beauty and brains behind Tiny Wallet Style! Why, oh why start ANOTHER design/food/living blog? What could possibly make us uniquely readable in the veritable sea of other, awesome, funny, well-written, gorgeously photographed blogs? Well...

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