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.

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