One thing that most students remember about their university experience is going out in fancy dress costumes; and the best time of the year to really make the most of your dressing up skills is Christmas, when the majority of students in university accommodation can be seen wearing some elaborate outfit or another.
You needn’t worry about having to spend a fortune on your costume either, as we’ve put together some ideas on how you can dress up in a festive frock without breaking the bank.
Most people think of dressing up as Father Christmas or Mrs Claus when considering their festive costumes, but there are many other innovative outfits you can wear if you want to look a bit different this year and stand out from the crowd. A great idea is dressing as a Christmas present; not only will few other people have the same plan, but it will also be a very cheap option.
All you need is a large cardboard box, some wrapping paper (the shinier the better), ribbon and a big bow. Slip on some simple black jeans and a long-sleeved black top and cut four holes on each side of your box – one for your head, two for arms and one large enough to slip your body in. Next, wrap your box in the wrapping paper and adorn with the ribbon, sticking a big bow in the centre of the gift. Voila, your costume is now complete!
Lots of people buy ready-made costumes, but these can cost a substantial amount and may push you over your budget if you’re a student. That’s why, it’s a great idea to make your own outfit, and this doesn’t necessarily involve you being a creative whizz! You can find a lot of costume ideas in cheap pound shops.
For instance, you could easily dress up as a Christmas tree, simply by wearing a green outfit (everyone has evergreen-coloured trousers and tops, right?) and accessorising with tree decorations. You can buy tinsel for next to nothing, while you can also hang baubles off your outfit if you hook them to your clothes with safety pins. To have a real impact, you can buy battery-powered Christmas lights to sparkle all night long, and for the finishing touch, you can buy a star or angel tree topper and stick to a hairband to place on your head.
You can be similarly creative with your costume if you decide to be a snowman (or woman). Simply get a white dress or white top and trousers. Then buy three brown or black baubles or furry pompoms – these can be attached to the centre of your costume in a line to represent the snowman’s buttons. You can fashion a big black or brown belt out of another piece of material – or, you might actually have a wide belt already that you can use. If you are making one, don’t forget to draw on a buckle in marker pen.
To complete the outfit, don’t forget to slip on a colourful scarf and hat (matching sets are best, although not necessary), and you can draw on an orange carrot on your nose if you really want to.
If your budget is running really low, you can pop to your local pound shop and see if they have anything suitable for you to dress up as an angel. Lots of children are often angels in nativity plays, so they are bound to have some props you can buy. Creating a halo is simple, as all you need is two pieces of wire; one that you turn into a circle and the other you can attach to this and the rest of your costume so that the halo hovers just over your head.
For your main outfit, get a white dress or a white sheet if you don’t have a frock you can use. Then buy some silver or gold tinsel and attach this to the neckline, hem and wrists of the costume. You’ll be able to pick up some wings from a cheap shop, making your outfit complete!
For something really humorous, why not dress yourself up as a reindeer this year? Lots of people might fork out a pretty penny for a proper reindeer outfit, but this isn’t strictly necessary as you can make your own version easily.
Get a plain brown top and trousers, cut a white oblong shape out of a piece of material and attach it to the top (craft glue should do the job). Then all you need to do is buy a pair of antlers – you can find these in abundance during the Christmas season – and wear a pair of white or brown gloves for paws. You can finish the look with face paint or simply buy a red nose that you can attach if you want to be Rudolph!
Nigel Walters is an ex student and currently blogs on student news and property. He is passionate about his family and sport, you can read some of his posts over at Vita Accommodation for Students.
It is no secret that the vast majority of people from outside the property development industry who decide to undertake a project to build a new house or fully restore an old, dilapidated house, tend to go over budget – quite often by a significant percentage, or even multiples of the original estimated cost! This is often because of factors that simply can’t be predicted like unforeseen problems or rising costs in terms of materials over the course of the project. But, many inexperienced people also miss out important and expensive things in their original plans.
Here are some things you must remember to factor in to your original budget and get quotes for when starting your building or restoration project:
Many people think about the big things, like getting the walls up and the roof on, but not so much about the smaller jobs that will turn the structure into the home you dream of. This can mean things like painting, both on the interior and exterior, and even hiring an interior designer to pick out color schemes and choose and procure things like drapes and furniture. Decorating a home, particularly if you have big ideas, can be almost as expensive as building one, so make sure you factor in the costs of ‘finishing’ the house as well as simply putting it up.
Equipment and Machinery Hire and Transport
Most projects will require quite a lot of expert equipment, and as well as getting hold of this, you need to arrange for it to be brought to your site, set up and operated. Depending on the extent of your project, you could need anything from a cement mixer to a crane, and you need to make sure you have not only done your research and worked out what you need, but also planned for a machinery moving service, and any set up and operation costs.
You’ll need insurance coverage for all the people working on your project. If someone is injured on your site you may be held liable, and so it is vital that you have adequate coverage, as well as following all health and safety standards appropriate to your area and the project itself. You should get quotes for this early in your planning as you will need coverage to start from day one that people are working on your premises.
Legal Fees and Permits
You may need a lawyer to help you sort out any planning permission or permitting issues, and you may (depending on the laws in your part of the country) have to pay for permits for certain things, or pay to have inspections to prove what you are doing is up to code. Looking into your legal position is something that should be done before you even begin to plan the project in earnest as it can prevent you from doing anything at all. So, make sure this is something you investigate right away and learn the costs that you will be expected to meet so you can include them in your budgeting.
This post has been contributed by Danny Sawyer, who is an employee at Halbert Brothers Inc. His hobbies include bike racing and playing chess.
Designing with Country Living Decor on a Budget
Lakeside homes call for decoration themes that will help you relax and enjoy your time in the residence. When you think about what themes you could possibly use in your home, you may favor a style that brings the outdoors inside your living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. The country living lifestyle can add natural beauty and rustic appeal to your lakeside residence. As you prepare to decorate with this style, you can take into consideration decorative elements that can provide the style and comfort you desire.
Country Living Furniture
Of course you will need furniture in your home. Choosing furniture that fits this style can actually be quite easy and inexpensive. Visiting antique shops and thrift stores can be a great way to find hidden treasures. You can choose patterned upholstered furniture, such as couches and loveseats decorated with flowers, birds, or leaves. Alternatively, you may also prefer natural materials that bring attention to the natural, country style that you want to achieve. Leather, suede, silk damask, and wood grains all complement this style and bring the relaxing, rustic appeal to your home.
Accessories and Carpeting
Decorating with this theme can also call for you to use suitable accessories and floor coverings. Accessories like wooden lamp tables, braided throw rugs, and well-placed artificial floral arrangements can recall the outdoors that you find so appealing. Similarly, rustic accents like ceramic milk pitchers and bowls, floral patterned plates and mugs, and engraved silverware can also provide the style that you desire. Accessories should be an important part of your decorative efforts to bring country living inside your home. With a little time and planning, these items can be found at garage or yard sales. In addition, lots of towns host monthly flea market days in the town square where merchants and crafters sell homemade wares.
Wall Hangings and Picture Frames
When someone enters your home, one of the first things they will notice will be your wall hangings and picture frames. These decorative elements can be the most vital part of tying together all of your style efforts. Picture frames and country style art prints can be purchased in a variety of styles. You can select rustic frames that are available in natural wood grains. You can also select picture frames in colors that complement your theme. Frames in brown, black, blue, or brighter colors like yellow can all call attention to your country living theme.
Similarly, pictures and paintings can add beauty to your home as well. Paintings of flowers, cows, horses, cowboys, sunsets, and other natural elements all fit within this style. On the other hand, you may also prefer paintings and pictures of lakes, ponds, fish, boats, and docks for your walls. Well-placed wall hangings in your living room, kitchen, and bedrooms can make a big difference in calling attention to your theme, and help visitors find enjoyment and relaxation while spending time in your home.
While visitors may not spend a lot of time in your bedrooms, you can still add this theme to these rooms by choosing suitable decorative elements. Eyelet dust ruffles, lace pillowcases, quilted blankets, and floral patterned bedspreads all fit well within this style. You can bring country living to your bedroom and provide your family and your overnight guests with the comfort that this theme invites.
Your home by the lakeside can be made more special and beautiful when you decorate with country elements. Rustic picture frames, wall hangings, furniture made from natural materials, and well-placed accents and floor coverings all can highlight this style. Bringing the outdoor relaxation and beauty inside your home can be easy when you choose decorative elements that recall the rural setting by the lake.
Jamica Bell is a blogger and freelance writer who enjoys interior design. She contributes this article to highlight the beauty of country décor on a budget. Artismo(dot)com is an online framed artwork store that provides a myriad of handmade frame designs and prints, including country style art prints for country living themes.
All women have that secret list of must-have clothing or shoes. Why not just go out and buy everything on your list? The problem can be the cost of some of these items. If you change how and where you shop along with cutting some corners here and there, you will still look absolutely fabulous.
Throw the Must-Have List Away
If all you do is daydream about the clothes, shoes or lingerie must-haves—or worse, seek them out as soon as you hit the store or website, you’ll really never be satisfied with your final purchases. We all can’t afford designer top brands so instead, find similar brands at a lower price.
As long as you have that list embedded in your brain, you may get stuck in the rut of buying the inexpensive or boring because you’re always saving for the expensive.
Find Designer Fashion Sales
All department stores and online women’s clothing venues do have sales or the one word women love best “clearance.” Many of these stores offer clearance sales monthly or seasonally. Find out when they place products in the clearance section and then jump on them.
Another tip for sale shopping is to avoid fashions at the beginning of each season. This is when retailers know they can get top prices. Instead, hold off and wait for those sales. You might have to settle for a different color, but perhaps not!
Do Accessorize with Affordable Lingerie
All women have fashion designer V-neck dresses and sweaters they love and often buy expensive undergarments with lace and flair to enhance the look. Here’s an area where you can save instead of splurging and yes, this works for layering as well.
Seek out discount lingerie to wear underneath your designer fashions. Very often the laces and other embellishments are as nice as designer brands and will complement the overall look so do opt for the less expensive.
Splurge on the Essentials
Women need certain wardrobe essentials like a little black dress, a great pair of jeans (or two), a business suit and both flat and pump shoes. For these essentials do splurge and buy quality clothes.
This ensures they will last longer and the inexpensive items you add to them will dress them up. Once you have the essentials, mixing and matching is endless if you’re creative. When making these purchases, make sure you buy neutral colors that will go with everything.
Stop Buying in Bulk
We’ve all found that perfect dress, that snuggly and soft sweater or those jeans we can’t live without. Once discovered, many of us buy the same item in bulk which can turn out to be a bad decision.
Bulk shopping will put a deep hole in your shopping budget and when you buy in bulk, even if you do so in a variety of colors, you’re really never getting a “fresh” look. You can quickly learn if you’re guilty of this by glancing in your closet—if you have items that are exactly the same in many different hues, step out of the bulk buying hole to show more originality and personality.
Shopping for women is a must-do but if you know when to splurge, when to save and give up that same old look, your clothes, shoes and accessory shopping will be much more fun. Above all, throw the dream list away—it takes up too much space and can leave your mind closed to new choices.
A wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, but it can unfortunately also be one of the most expensive. If you are struggling to find the cash to pay for all the things you want to do, you can start prioritizing by creating a list of things that are the most important. Remember that the money you save can either be put into a honeymoon or into starting your life together. And while a grand wedding and reception can be fun for a day, the memories will fade and you will be left with the bill.
Prioritize Your Wants And Needs
If your future wife doesn’t care about the specifics of her ring, why not let her choose from a selection of lab diamonds or synthetic diamonds to save some money? If your future husband isn’t picky about the food, consider serving finger foods rather than a full meal. Decide what is most important to you and what you are most willing to spend money on.
For most couples, the photography is very important. These are your tangible memories of the day, so be careful when you choose to cut back on your photography costs.
Choose A Nontraditional Venue
While having your wedding in the gorgeous reception hall down the street may be awe-inspiring, the bill will blow your mind as well. Consider holding your wedding in a setting that is less traditional, such as a backyard or a city park.
Along with choosing a nontraditional venue, try scheduling your wedding during off-peak times. Summer months are particularly busy for weddings, and you may pay more to rent a space than you would in the fall or spring. If you have the ability to wait for your wedding date, consider waiting until it’s less expensive.
Rent Your Attire
A girl should have the perfect wedding dress, but remember that you will likely only wear it once. Consider borrowing a special dress or even renting the one that you love. When you rent, you can find the perfect dress rather than settling for one you can afford. And rather than having a dress that sits in your closet and gathers dust after your wedding, you will have the money in your pocket to start your future together.
The Food And Drinks
Rather than having an evening dinner or reception, try having a daytime meal. It’s always less expensive to serve breakfast or lunch, and the change in setting will make your wedding more unique. If you can, avoid the traditional sit-down dinner that can be especially expensive. A buffet can run you a large bill because your guests will take as much as they want, whether they eat it or not.
Consider serving a specific cocktail or avoiding alcohol altogether. Many couples find that the alcohol bill is one of the most expensive things in the planning of the wedding. Offer a limited bar or avoid alcohol completely in order to save money.
With just a few simple steps, you can decrease the cost of your wedding and increase your happiness. The less stress you feel about your special day, the more relaxed and excited you will be when the day arrives.
Sarah Trell is a freelance writer and blogger. She keeps her readers informed on all things fashion and beauty.
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