Don't bypass celebrating the important moments in your life because of money. Trust me, it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.
Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: Today was my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It struck me how my life is measured by celebrations -- holidays, birthdays, anniversaries -- and how important that is to me.
It is so easy to say it's too much work to have the parties, and too expensive. I wouldn't say the party was cheap, but I did what I could. I made the fancy invitations. I saved 20 percent off the food and bar tab by paying with discounted gift cards for the restaurant that I bought at Costco. I went to the flower mart downtown and negotiated $12 centerpieces. The cellist in the string quartet was my third cousin's husband (really). I skipped the favors and provided the children with a basket full of dollar store crafts and activities to keep them busy at the event.
And it was lovely, really lovely. A few years from now, I won't remember how much the event cost, but I will remember how nice it was to see everyone at what might be one of the last big parties with my parents. Whether with a fancy event or a backyard potluck, if you don't mark the days, the years just slip away.
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!