Being a Bridesmaid Can Get Expensive — Here’s How to Bow Out Gracefully


When one of your friends is getting married, it can feel like an honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid.

But with great honor comes great responsibility. (That’s how that saying goes, right?)

In the case of being a bridesmaid, though, that usually means financial responsibility.

And while you may think money is no object when it comes to the nuptials of your nearest and dearest friend, your bridesmaid budget might not stretch quite as far when the bride-to-be is neither a close friend, nor a particularly dear one.

So here’s something you may need to hear before we head into the thick of wedding season: It’s OK to say no to being a bridesmaid.

“But how?” you ask. “Won’t my friend/cousin/roommate/coworker/running buddy/dog groomer hate me if I don’t spend thousands of dollars to support her on her big day?!”

Well, maybe — but a true friend really shouldn’t. At least not as long as you plead your case correctly.

The Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

The typical bridesmaid’s bill will vary, but it’s not unheard of (and in fact, it’s common,) for a bridesmaid to pay upward of $ 1,000 to stand beside a bride on her big day.

According to figures published by WeddingWire in 2017, the cost of being a bridesmaid averages a whopping $ 1,200 but can quickly rise to as much as $ 1,800 before all (vows) are said and done.

Wondering how in the world the experience of standing by your dear, sweet friend can cost you more than a month’s rent?

Here’s a breakdown of the average costs for bridesmaids.

Dress: $ 208 (Need it altered? Add another $ 70.)

Shoes and accessories: $ 120

Hair and makeup: $ 132

Travel and accommodations: $ 320

Bachelorette party, bridal shower, etc.: $ 400 to $ 800

Total: $ 1,180 to $ 1,650

And that’s before incidentals like airport food or post-wedding brunch.

Yeah, being a bridesmaid is expensive, so it’s not a financial commitment you want to enter into lightly.

What to Consider Before You Say Yes to the Bridesmaid’s Dress

There’s no black-and-white answer to the question of whether you should agree to be in the bridal party no matter what your relationship with the bride is. It’s a personal choice, and it shouldn’t be made without some real consideration.

Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and author of Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire), says some life situations simply have to take precedence.

“Before you say yes, have a conversation with yourself and ask, ‘What’s going on in my life that would make it hard for me to be an extra good friend during this time?’” Glantz advises. “If you have complications in your personal life, financial life or work life, then you might want to say no.”

If you’re on the fence about whether to stand with the bride on her big day, here are some things to consider that may help you make your decision.

What’s Your Relationship to the Bride?

If the person asking you to join her up front on her wedding day is a close friend or relative, it makes sense that you’d want to honor her any way you can.

But if the bride in question is an old college friend who didn’t bother to keep up her end of the friendship, or a new acquaintance who just needs bodies up there next to her, you’re under no obligation to pay hundreds — or thousands — of dollars for her to say “I do” in a ceremony you’re not really invested in.

Also, remember that you someday may be (or already were) in the bride’s position.

If that were the case, would you (did you) ask this bride to do the same for you? Would you ask this person to spend several hundred dollars to stand beside you on your wedding day? If not, then you probably shouldn’t feel like you have to do the same for her.

Why Is She Asking You?

Consider why the bride is asking you to be a part of her wedding party.

Is it because you’re actually good friends and she couldn’t imagine her day without you? Or is it because she heard you were super helpful or generous (with your time or money) throughout the last wedding you were in? Or because she needs just one more person to round out her wedding party?

You might be a backup pick (or a backup to the backup pick) — and if that’s the case, it would be a real bummer to spend over $ 1,000 to support someone who doesn’t really care about you.

Will Your Friendship Survive?

Listen, I’m not saying you should base your entire (financially consequential) decision on whether your relationship will survive the fallout, but it’s important to consider all the angles here.

Would your relationship survive unscathed if you were to say no to being a bridesmaid? Would you be heartbroken if your relationship didn’t survive? Is the friendship valuable enough to hold on to if an honest conversation about your finances and your need to sit this one out could do irreparable damage?

Glantz has seen plenty of bride-bridesmaid relationships turn sour because of wedding-related demands. “Being a bridesmaid is a true test of any friendship,” she says. “If you can make it down the aisle without feeling resentment toward the bride, your friendship is strong and resilient.”

A true friend (one you’d want to keep around, anyway) would understand your financial predicament and wouldn’t hold it against you in the future.

Do You Have Other Life Situations That Will Keep You From Being Fully Invested?

There are some circumstances that just have to take the top spot sometimes.

Are you going to be nine months pregnant on the date of the wedding? Are you in the process of buying a home, allocating every last cent to the down payment and closing costs? Do you already know you’ll need to buy a car sometime this year? Does work require you to travel often, or with little notice?

A lot of scenarios may prevent you from making a time or financial commitment.

“Being a bridesmaid can get expensive and be a major time sucker,” Glantz says. “Oftentimes, brides forget that their bridesmaids have their own lives going on, which means they can’t always do everything and anything that’s asked of them.”

If you have situations that will keep you from being a good friend and bridesmaid as the wedding date approaches, you should make that information very clear before the bride gets into the thick of stressful wedding preparations.

How Much Will It Cost You, All in?

Before you decide on a firm “no,” check with the bride or the maid of honor to see what kinds of activities you’ll be expected to participate in.

Are there things you can skip? Do you have to be at the bachelorette party? All three bridal showers? The lingerie shower? The spa weekend? Post-wedding debrief brunch?

If you really want to be able to honor your friend on her special day and if you have enough money for a dress and shoes but not for three shower gifts and a bachelorette party, see if you can participate without the full bill.

No Hard Feelings

Glantz said she has seen brides “fire” their bridesmaids or maids of honor because they couldn’t afford to throw a bridal shower or a bachelorette party up to the bride’s standards — and that’s not a situation you want to set yourself or the bride up for because it can (and will) breed resentment.

“A lot of times,” Glantz says, “relationships can be tainted because of expectations that go south.”

So if the goal is maintaining your relationship with the bride without creating any ill will, you need to balance your desire to be there for your friend with your desire to keep a handle on your finances, even if that means excusing yourself from the majority of wedding festivities.

The bottom line is this: You don’t want to end up resenting your friend for her hand in your credit card debt — but you also don’t want her to resent you for bowing out in a less than gracious fashion.

How to Say No to Being a Bridesmaid

Bridal party fun
M_a_y_a/Getty Images

So you’ve gone through the considerations above, agonized over your pro and con list and finally decided to risk disappointing someone (ugh).

Now it’s time to figure out how to say no to being a bridesmaid.

Step One: Ask for Time to Think

You don’t have to make your decision right away — especially if it will depend on a few financial details.

Let the bride know you’ll need to check your schedule and, using honesty from the get-go, your budget. This will set the groundwork for bigger money conversations later on, letting the bride know you’re having — or choosing — to be financially conscious.

If you’ve already agreed to be a bridesmaid and now need to go back on your commitment, your situation is a little more precarious. If you’re too close to the wedding date, you might just have to suck it up if your decision to bail would cost the bride (or the rest of the wedding party) more money. If the wedding is still a significant amount of time away, you might still be able to excuse yourself. Just follow the rest of these steps to make it as painless as possible.

Step Two: Ask to Meet in Private

Rejection of any type stings, right? So try not to “break up” with your bridesmaid duties in front of a crowd. Instead, ask the bride-to-be to grab coffee with you and talk about it when there are fewer people around.

And yes, you should actually meet up for this part. If you’re seriously nonconfrontational, it might be tempting to bow out over text so you don’t have to see the disappointment on the bride’s face.

This is a bad idea.

“Text message can leave too much room for miscommunication,” Glantz says. Because of the lack of ability to convey tone or emotion, it can be easy for text conversations to be misunderstood — and an already difficult conversation could spiral out of control.”

Step Three: Be Straightforward, Firm and Polite

Be kind, but be honest.

If you make up excuses, your friend will pick up on your lie and be more offended than if you simply told the truth. Don’t make assumptions about the bride’s intentions or feelings, and stick to expressing your own point of view.

Glantz suggests saying something like, “I’m honored you asked me to be your bridesmaid, and I really want to be there for you, but right now in my life I have X thing going on, and I don’t think I can give 110 percent as a member of your bridal party. I still want to be there to support you and would love to help with other tasks.”

Let the bride-to-be know you’re excited about her big day and that you still want to be there for her in whatever way you can, but that you have to be realistic about how far you can stretch yourself and your budget right now.

Step Four: Present Alternatives

Glantz advises presenting alternative ways you could be involved in the upcoming events.

Offer to help the bride with any DIY elements or miscellaneous tasks that need to be done before the big day, or see if there is a way you could be meaningfully involved on the wedding day itself — but in a role that requires less financial responsibility.

You could read a poem during the ceremony, Glantz suggests, or wear a coordinating color that sets you apart as an “honorary bridesmaid” even if you’re not standing up next to the bride.

If the bride still wants you to join the bridal party at the bachelorette party, consider attending as a guest — but be clear about your role so you won’t be expected to plan (or fund) the event.

Made of Honor

There are a few possible outcomes to this conversation, but more than likely, the bride will understand your situation and encourage you to either attend as a guest or participate in bridesmaid-like activities without the financial commitment.

Besides, saying no doesn’t mean you’re abandoning your friend on her wedding day, Glantz says. It simply means you have to find alternative ways to honor and support the bride.

“You’re not doing anything wrong by saying no,” she says. “In fact, you’re doing a lot right because you’re taking the friendship and relationship seriously and doing what is best in the long run.”

If you blindly head into bridesmaidhood without considering finances, there’s a good chance you’ll end up ruining your relationship with the bride indefinitely — either by refusing to buy a $ 500 dress, or by charging that dress on a credit card and silently fuming as you hold your debt against your friend for months (or even years).

By gracefully bowing out of your role as a bridesmaid, you’re ensuring your ability to protect your friendship — and your finances — and you’ll be able to celebrate your friend’s marriage with her for years to come.

Grace Schweizer is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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The 5 most expensive drugs in the United States

In January, President Donald Trump accused the pharmaceutical industry of “getting away with murder” with high price increases, and promised to do something about it. He’s set to share his plan to do so Friday.


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I Wanted to ‘Rent the Runway.’ What an Expensive Mistake.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

When I rented a Rent the Runway dress two months ago, along with a second dress they offered at a discount for first-time customers, I thought I had hit the fashion jackpot.

The two designer dresses cost me $ 99 total, despite each retailing for well over $ 250 each, as is the promise with the retail company. But in reality, Rent the Runway (almost) hit the jackpot with me.

The company’s concept is simple: It amasses designer dresses, then allows women to rent those dresses for a fraction of the original retail cost.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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This Is How the Sweatpant Got So Smart—And Expensive

Photo illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

The sweatpant has left the gym. These days, this one-time exercise-wear staple is worn to go shopping—and not just a quick trip out for milk—as well as the runways of Paris Fashion Week.

The “athleisure” trend has been the catalyst for the high fashion return of sweatpants, spurred by the improved materials that allow sportswear—ranging from yoga pants to leggings—to be worn both casually and fashionably.

While brands such as Adidas and Nike have been creating this kind of gear for decades, bigger names in the industry such as Burberry and Versace are taking advantage of this trend, elevating it to a high fashion platform.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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This is the age when life is the most expensive

Better start saving now

This is apparently the age when life will be the most expensive
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Oliver Dixon/REX/Shutterstock (9458621e)

Words by Anna Clarke

Hitting your 30s is always a bit of a sore point for most people. Saying farewell to your youthful days and hello to, as it turns out, a whole lot of spending. Urgh.

It’s been revealed that 31 is the most expensive year of your life if you are a millennial, according to a new survey conducted by credit check company ClearScore. But why?! Well, it’s mainly because of a little thing called life’s major milestones. You know, getting married, buying a house and having a baby. And these big life events usually occur around the age of 31.

So it turns out that 31-year-olds will need to save as much as a whopping £43,000 ($ 60,000) to meet the costs of all these milestones. Being single and living with mum and dad doesn’t seem quite so bad right now, does it? 3000 people were questioned and the biggest expense of the lot was tying the knot which got 27% of the vote. It’s unsurprising when you consider there’s all the cake, flowers, cufflinks to purchase.

‘Many of life’s big milestones tend to happen very close together so we weren’t shocked to discover how much people were spending during their most expensive year,’ said Justin Basini, the chief executive of ClearScore told Business Insider.

Life can be tough and expensive for us millennials, so it won’t be completely surprising then 33 % of 25 to 34-year-olds are still reliant on their parents. But not everyone has to scrimp off the bank of mum and dad because 60 % of those surveyed had already saved up enough cash. Lucky things.

The post This is the age when life is the most expensive appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Uber Express POOL Is Bringing a Less Expensive Option to These 8 Cities


If you live in San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Miami, Philadelphia, or  Washington, D.C., you could save a nice chunk of change on your next Uber ride.

Uber Express POOL passengers have to walk a few blocks to get picked up for their ride, but the company says riders could save as much as 30% off their total bill.

There’s one other catch, though, so if you’re an introvert, this new ride option might not be for you.

Uber Express POOL passengers share the car with other riders to allow drivers to ferry several people to the same general location at once.

Drivers can work more efficiently and passengers save money so it’s really a win-win situation

If you’re cool with sharing your ride with other people and live in a city where this option is offered, simply fire up the app and select Express POOL.

Within a few minutes, you’ll get walking directions on where to meet your driver and details on what time to arrive for your pickup.

As you get close to the end of the ride, the app will notify you where you’ll be dropped off and give you walking directions to get you to your destination address.

Uber Express POOL seems like a terrific alternative to crowded busses and trains. It’s also a less expensive travel option than single-rider taxis in areas where public transportation is limited.

And who doesn’t like to save up to 30% off, well, anything?

My colleague here at The Penny Hoarder, Staff Writer Nicole Dow, brought up another great point about the benefits of Uber Express POOL. She mentioned some passengers might prefer having co-riders in the car rather than riding alone with a driver they’ve never met.

Don’t fret if Uber Express POOL isn’t available where you are.

“This is just the start: we’ll be bringing Express POOL to more cities soon!” Ethan Stock, Product Director, Shared Rides at Uber said in a blog post.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves the idea of tacking on a little exercise before and after a ride-share.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How to Pay a Crazy Expensive Vet Bill (Without Making Your Dog Get a Job)

The first time my dog, Wrigley, had to take a trip to the emergency veterinarian was after he vomited blood on the carpet in my bedroom. He ended up being OK after being hospitalized for 24 hours, but when I arrived to pick him up, I was panicking inside.

Emergency vet costs are notoriously expensive, and I didn’t have pet insurance to help pay the bill. I was a college student on an intern budget and had no idea how I was going to come up with enough cash to make a dent in the bill.

I had regular credit cards, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to pay off the balance within the next month –– meaning I would be stuck paying even more because of interest.

What was I going to do?

“Have you heard of CareCredit?” the receptionist asked me. “If you can’t afford this bill, you should give it a try. It’s interest-free.”

Flustered, I applied on the spot. I got approved and charged the entire bill, which was about $ 500, to the card. The receptionist told me I had 18 interest-free months to pay it back.

Interest-free financing sounded good, but was it my only — or best — option?

Should You Put Vet Bills on Your Credit Card?

Often, those “interest-free” periods on health care cards are actually deferred-interest periods. That was the case for my CareCredit card.

When a credit card comes with a truly interest-free period, you’ll accumulate interest charges only on the remaining balance when the promotional period ends. With deferred interest, if you don’t pay the balance in full during the promotional period, you’ll be charged all the interest you avoided during that period and whatever interest you incur afterward.

For example, say you charge $ 1,000 on a health credit card with a deferred-interest period of 12 months. Let’s say the card has a $ 26.99% interest rate, which is what CareCredit advertises for new accounts. After that period is up, if you haven’t paid the balance in full, you’d owe the remaining balance, plus interest on the full amount you financed. So if you hadn’t paid off the account in full, you’d pay $ 269.90 in interest (26.99% of the original $ 1,000) on top of the remaining balance.

If it’s an emergency, you have to choose the best option for you. Sometimes, that might mean opening a CareCredit account. Approval takes only a few minutes, and you’ll be able to charge to the account right when you open it. CareCredit now offers rewards benefits, too, meaning you can stretch your money further.

Going another route, like taking out a personal loan or applying for a regular credit card, could take much longer. You might get instant approval when you apply for a credit card, but you’ll have to wait for the card in the mail. If you have a credit line open already, you might want to compare its annual percentage rate (APR) to that of a health care credit card. Most regular credit cards have lower interest rates than health care credit cards.

Personal loans can give you money on the spot, too, but they might not offer an interest-free period.

Just remember: Always consider all potential repercussions before opening any line of credit.

To Avoid Vet Shock, It Pays to Be Proactive

People wait with their animals to have them examined at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder pet insurance, pets, cats, dogs, animals in Tampa, Fla.

People wait to have their animals examined at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Fla. Tina Russell / The Penny Hoarder

Ashley Skalko, a customer service manager at BluePearl Emergency Animal Hospital, often recommends CareCredit to pet owners who can’t pay a large bill upfront. However, she says there are a few other routes you can take before you reach for the plastic.

Many emergency vet hospitals are expensive because they are specialized, have wider access to resources and are typically open 24/7. These emergency hospitals typically don’t negotiate bills with pet parents, but Skalko says BluePearl does everything it can to address any financial concerns before treatment.

If an owner expresses cost concerns, we can tweak the initial treatment recommendation,” she said. “And if there are still concerns from there on, we would consider sending them to their primary veterinarian first.”

Primary care veterinarians are generally cheaper, and Skalko says this option can help offset costs. But it’s a difficult option to recommend in the middle of the night, when primary care offices are closed.

She does, however, offer a few free ways to avoid costly emergency vet bills in the first place.

“You can prevent big pet emergencies from happening by being proactive,” she said. “We try to teach pet owners to always use a leash to prevent animals from getting struck by cars, or we even recommend ‘baby-proofing’ their homes so cords are hidden, trash cans have lids on them, and toxic cleaning supplies are up high where animals can’t get to them.”

Skalko also stresses the importance of keeping up with routine care at a primary vet. Keeping your pet up to date with vaccinations can prevent illness, and it gives your vet the opportunity to catch chronic issues early on and work to maintain them before they develop into bigger issues.

Pet insurance can be an incredible way to offset costs. While most pet insurance companies don’t pay for bills upfront, Skalko has seen pet parents get as much as 90% of their total bills reimbursed.

How to Get Help With Vet Bills Without Using a Credit Card

If you were proactive and engaged in preventative care, yet Fido still manages to give you a scare, you could find yourself facing a huge vet bill. As a result, you may be overwhelmed with figuring out how to pay for it.

Not sure where to start? Consider these alternatives to putting the bill on your credit card:

Seek Help From Nonprofit Organizations

There are many organizations that are willing to lend a hand in covering vet bills. Often, these organizations run low on funds, so they may not be able to cover all of your costs. However, they may still be worth applying to.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some of these organizations pay the vet office directly and will not cover bills you have already paid. Be sure to think ahead!

A few nonprofit organizations you can reach out to for help include:

Paws 4 A Cure: This organization offers up to $ 500 in financial assistance to dog and cat owners who need help paying bills for illness or injury. The best part is it doesn’t discriminate based on breed, age, weight or diagnosis. To apply for help, visit its “Ask for Help” page. You should receive an answer in as little as 48 hours.

The Pet Fund: If your pet has a nonemergency chronic condition, keeping up with its maintenance and care costs can quickly add up. The Pet Fund helps pay for these types of treatments. If you struggle to pay for your pet’s cancer treatment, physical therapy, arthritis treatment and more, check out this list of qualifying conditions, then consider applying for assistance from the Pet Fund.

RedRover: This organization helps animals and owners who are survivors of domestic violence, along with animals rescued from disaster or neglect, or those that have a life-threatening illness. It also offers resources and support to low-income individuals by offering grants for urgent care, boarding for pets whose owners are escaping domestic violence and pet food. To apply for help through RedRover, visit its relief page.

Crowdfunding

If you’ve tried all avenues to get assistance with your pet’s vet bill and still need help, you can consider crowdsourcing to cover some, if not all, of the balance.

Crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe have become increasingly popular ways to raise money in recent years. Keep in mind, though, that some charge service and processing fees, so you may not receive all the money you raised. Here’s how much of your crowdfunded money will make it to your bank account.

So, Did I Make the Right Decision?

For me, CareCredit was the best choice for paying Wrigley’s vet bill. The monthly payments fit into my budget, and I paid it off before the promotional deferred-interest period was over. As a result, I was able to pay a large bill in manageable chunks –– without having to pay extra for interest.

Here’s to many more years — hopefully debt-free years! — with Wrigley.

Kelly Anne Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.  

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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12 Expensive Products That Are Worth Their Price

If you follow gentleman’s Gazette on a regular basis, you know that we always encourage you to invest in quality items because quality items get better with age versus cheap items deteriorate over time.

Also, we encourage you to look at the cost per wear of an item, not just the upfront cost, because most of the time, a quality item is less expensive in the long run. That being said, not every costly thing has to be new, sometimes you can find quality items that used to be expensive but you buy them used that way you can enjoy the quality benefits without having to go all-in on the money.

Sven Raphael's Leather Weekender

Sven Raphael’s Leather Weekender

Leather Weekender

Most quality leather bags will likely run you around $ 1,000 or more simply because of the high-end leather. Ideally, you want it to be leather lined without having the extra weight.

I’ve received lots of compliments from my leather weekender because it has a beautiful leather, it’s a classic brown tone which is nothing special. However, it is chrome tanned in Italy and has a nice pull-up effect. What that means is if I pull on the leather, it creates a different effect. Also if I scratch it, I see a scratch mark but then if I rub on it with my finger, it secretes some oils, and the scratch mark is hardly ever visible. This kind of leather creates a beautiful patina over time that is lived in and unique to you and the experiences you had with your bag.

I can use it when I travel over the weekend or just as a carry-on, or as a bag that I bring to go to the gym. Because of the leather, this kind of bag will be unique. No one else will have one like you, and it’s just much more stylish and elegant than a nylon bag or a canvas bag. It will also last longer and therefore, the cost per wear is low.

Quality OTC Socks

At $ 40, it is relatively expensive, and if you go with materials like silk or cashmere, you go out to 75 or $ 100- $ 120. Apparently, you can buy a pair of socks for $ 1 less, the problem is, especially over the calf socks, is that they always slide down. On top of that, the material is cheap, the seams are thick, the socks are uncomfortable, and you have to wear them all day.

It’s probably no surprise you that I’m wearing $ 40.00 socks from Fort Belvedere because I designed them myself and was sick and tired of socks that would slide down, so I came up with a design of high-quality yarns with socks that stayed up with the right elastics. On top of that, I wanted two-tone colors because they make it much easier to combine the socks with your outfits and your shoes.

At the same time quality socks that are more expensive come in different sizes. For example, Fort Belvedere offers four sizes, so you get exactly the right fit for your foot. Because we use a very expensive high-quality long staple cotton yarns, they will last longer, and the cost per wear is as low or lower than a cheaper pair of socks.

Sven Raphael Schneider's Tweed overcoat

Sven Raphael Schneider’s Tweed overcoat and Burgundy Red Suede Unlined Leather from Fort Belvedere

A Classic Overcoat

Yes, you can find overcoats for less than 200 dollars but a quality overcoat from natural materials such as wool, or cashmere, will run you at least a thousand dollars or more. Not only does it keep you warm during the cold months of the year, but it’s also very stylish. You can wear it on top with a suit, a jacket, or just your regular sweater. If you buy a classic overcoat such as a duffle coat in Ulster, or maybe a paletot, you’ll get something you can wear for years to come.

In my opinion, the best value is a hundred percent wool overcoat out of a heavy wool. If money is no object for you, go with a cashmere blend which is softer, usually not as heavy, and it wears out more quickly. If you can just invest in one overcoat, I suggest going with a navy or dark blue overcoat, a paletot which is very simple with a peak lapel that is double-breasted because the extra layers keep you warm. If you’re on a budget, overcoats are a great item to buy second-hand because they don’t fit as snugly because of the heavy fabric, they drape better, and they’re just more forgiving than a suit would be.

Mainly, all the overcoats in my collection are vintage, and I was able to get quality pieces at very low price. It ranges from a vintage Chester Barrie paletot overcoat with a velvet collar to a British warm or just a Casentino style double-breasted navy overcoat that I have found at Bobby from Boston.

Well-Fitting Gloves

Usually price point wise, you have to invest between hundred fifty dollars, if you want to go with peccary leather, we’re talking more about three hundred plus dollars. First of all, your gloves should fit tightly, and it should be made of a soft glove leather that stretches with the movements of your hands. You also want quirks between the fingers because it increases the range of movement and makes it more comfortable. To learn more about the glove leathers, please check out our glove leather guide here. You want them to be finally sewn either by hand or by machine, and you want something that just gets better with age. For example, lamb Nappa is soft and very sweet, but it will wear out more quickly than peccary leather which is made to last.

For example, I’ve had a pair of peccary gloves for over 10 years. I would wear them outside in the winter, they got all wet, but I could wash them and dry them, and they’ve developed a patina over the years. They’re too big and don’t fit me well that’s why I decided to create my own but overall, the leather is top-notch, and that’s how a peccary glove will age over time.

Precious Metal Cuff Links

Price-wise, it can range all the way from 300 dollars up to $ 25,000. So why should you invest in a pair of cufflinks? It’s  one of those few jewelry items for men apart from a ring that looks very dapper, elegant, and classic. Most modern cufflinks these days are made in China, the not made out of precious metal, they look cheap, gaudy, and they’re quite loud. On the other hand, classic cufflinks, for example, knots or some with precious or semi-precious stones as well as cloisonné enamel cufflinks are made by real artisans and craftsmen that put all their knowledge into it, and because it is made of a precious metal, it will last you for a lifetime, and you can even hand it down to your children and grandchildren.

If you invest in a piece like Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, or Tiffany, you also pay for the brand name and their experience. How much you should invest in a pair of cufflinks is of course entirely up to you but just a comparison; on the one hand, you have a pair of Tiffany cufflinks in 18 karat gold, they’re hollow, they’re not solid, and they cost $ 2,700, on the other hand, we have a pair of monkey fist knot Fort Belvedere cufflinks, the shape was hand-carved and it’s an actual rope knot and you can see how it’s beautiful and twisted, they’re also solid and therefore much heavier than the gold cufflinks from Tiffany’s.

I think both of them can be worn for a lifetime and because the plating is so thick, it won’t rub. The Fort Belvedere cufflinks only costs $ 325 so whether it’s worth it to spend more than $ 2,000 for a gold version of a brand name is again up to you but what I am trying to explain to you is that you can find quality items that will last, and you don’t always have to go with a top dollar amount to get it.

Malachite Pinky Ring

Malachite Pinky Ring

Pinky Rings

They’re just an excellent addition to a classic gentleman’s wardrobe, and it’s not something a lot of other people will wear. The problem is, it’s challenging to find classic shapes in delicate materials such as sterling silver or gold on the market today. Either you have to go custom and spend several thousand dollars on the ring, or you go vintage, but it costs a lot of time, you often find lots of crappy rings.

Personally, all the rings in my collection right now are vintage, they range from sterling silver, all the way to solid 18 karat gold and everything in between. Because so tricky to find new ones we’re currently working on them so stay tuned. In the meantime, have a look at our signet ring guide.

Mont Blanc Fountain Pen Nibs

Mont Blanc Fountain Pen Nibs

Montblanc Meisterstück Fountain Pen

Of course, there are lots of other great manufacturers of fountain pens. Italian ones such as Omas, maybe Parker, or you name it. However, the Montblanc Meisterstück pen has been around for a very long time. It’s a very classic status symbol for many, but it’s also a perfect item that will not wear out prematurely. It has a nice gold nib, and it writes very beautifully. At one point in time, I owned over a hundred Montblanc fountain pens because I was a collector and fountain pens are actually what got me into men’s clothing.

Today, I reduced my collection a lot, and I only have three Montblanc fountain pens; one is a meisterstuck 149 which is their biggest flagship model, and it has a 3b nib which is quite broad, and I use it for signatures, another one has just a b nib, and I use it to write or take notes and then have a vintage piece which is very old, it was made out of celluloid, it had a solid brass telescope mechanism inside versus the modern meisterstuck fountain pens are made out of resin and inside is like a plastic lever mechanism.

That being said, the old fountain pen doesn’t work so well anymore because the seal is not tight because they used to have cork inside. The new ones seal very well, and they probably will last you for a lifetime. Interestingly over the time, the price has steadily increased to now almost a thousand dollars. When I started, they cost about half, but even then, you could find them used on eBay the problem is, there are lots of fakes out there especially for Montblanc, so I suggest you only buy from trusted sources.

Goodyear Welted Shoes

Which style you want heavily depends on what kind of lifestyle you live. A Goodyear welted pair of shoes is usually made from a higher-quality leather than a glued pair of shoes. It also has a more classic last that will stand the test of time and it can be resold which is less expensive than buying a new pair. Now price wise, you can spend under two hundred dollars or three thousand dollars on a pair of Goodyear shoes, of course, the difference is the quality of the leather, the patina, or the hand coloring, the finish, also the bottom and at the details are gonna be much more intricate on higher-end shoes.

More expensive shoes will probably have a hand-stitched good year welt, they’ll have a nice waist, and a lot more time went into your construction of that shoe. Of course, if you spend two thousand dollars or more, you also can get a custom Goodyear welted shoe, and that’s just an incredible experience because it is perfectly suited to your foot and your foot alone.

Is it worth spending $ 3,000 over two hundred dollars? I think it’s a very personal choice, but if you have a foot that works with most lasts of higher-end companies and they usually come in different widths and different shapes, you find something that works for you, it’s a much better value to go that route. That being said, it will never be as comfortable as a bespoke shoe.

High-Quality Belts with folded edges

High-Quality Belts with folded edges

Quality Leather Belts

I know belts are probably not something you might deem expensive because you can find them for $ 10 but you can also find some for $ 3,000. In my experience, a quality belt cost upwards of about a hundred and fifty dollars. The difference of course with quality belts is that they all have a high-end leather material on the inside, as well as on the outside, and also on the lining.

Now, most belts today including quality belts are edge painted which means the leather is cut on the edges and then burnished and painted to create a uniform look. The high-quality belts are thinned out at the edges which means you need more leather and then they’re folded and sewn together. It’s just a construction that lasts much longer than an edge-painted construction, and it’s a true hallmark of a quality leather belt. Another detail about the quality belt is its buckle. Most belt buckles on the market today are made of a material called zamak. It’s an alloy made out of the zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper, the problem is, it will age very poorly, and it scratches very easily so, over time, you have to throw your belt away even though the leather might not be worn out but the buckle just looks crappy. A higher-end buckle is a solid brass buckle. Over time, brass develops a patina and because of that, it’s often gold plated, or platinum, or palladium plated, for more formal dress belts that you would wear with a suit. Now the plating and thickness of the buckle can have a huge impact not only on the longevity of the buckle but also on the price.

In my opinion, a solid brass buckle with a nice thick coating either gold or palladium, is probably your best value for the money. If money is of no concern to you, you may want to look into solid 925 sterling silver buckles or solid 14 or 18 karat gold buckles. Now that’s a whole other level, and the buckle itself will be worth more than the entire belt itself. Is it worth it getting, a sterling silver buckle versus a solid brass and pay three or four hundred dollars more? It depends. It’s an actual luxury item, and silver just develops a patina that you won’t see on a plated brass buckle.

Professional Camera

I know most people today use cell phones, and they think they are pro cameras, but they’re not. A pro level camera has a large sensor; it allows you to get a razor thin depth of field which means the amount is in sharpness versus the out-of-focus areas; just creates a stunning look and in combination with the increased sharpness and the color rendition, it’s just a very different experience.

Personally, I use DSLR cameras such as the Nikon D850 or a Nikon D500. It has the advantage that it comes with interchangeable lenses, but overall, you need to invest between about five to ten thousand dollars to get a nice DSLR with a range of lenses that allow you to photograph everything you want. In my opinion, it’s worth it because with a business where I use it, but even for just personal use, I would recommend investing in a more upscale camera.

Of course, if you’re rich, you want the very best in quality, you have to go with a medium format digital camera such as a Hasselblad, however, bear in mind that these pictures oftentimes have a hundred megapixels, so you need a whole ecosystems of computers, cards, and everything that work together, so you can develop a workflow and actually get those pictures. It’s more something for a pro photographer, not something for an amateur.

Folded, double sided edges that go all the way to the edge with sewn card slots - 2 hallmarks of a luxury wallet

Folded, double-sided edges that go all the way to the edge with sewn card slots – 2 hallmarks of a luxury wallet

Luxury Wallet

A wallet is something you wear every day, you pull it out when you maybe pay for a business meal, and overall, it develops a nice patina if it’s made of quality leather. A cheap wallet on the other hand just falls apart, and it looks older. In my opinion, a portemonnaie should always be an attractive item that you like wearing, that has a nice touch, a nice feel, and it’s something that lasts. Let’s say you invest $ 285 in a Fort Belvedere wallet which is made of the highest quality leather there is in Germany, if you break it down to the cost per wear, you probably end up at 5 to 15 cents a day depending on how you treat it and how long it would last you.

Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2

Smartphone

Personally, I use my smartphone every day. I do lots of business dealings with it, and because of that, I always buy the top model when it comes out and then I’ll use it for two years. At that point, I can sell it for 200 bucks or pass it on to a relative. For example, just here today I bought the new pixel 2 XL phone; with taxes and everything included, it costs me over a thousand bucks, however, if I can use it for two years and I break it down, it costs me only about a dollar and 40 per day.

Personally, I’d love to buy a modular phone so I could do exactly what I want without creating too much waste because as you know, with the technological advances in the smartphone market, we’ve new things coming out every month almost, and because of that, we have a lot of old phones that are just discarded which is a huge waste and a big ecological problem. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a more eco-friendly option out there, so you have to stick with what it is.

Why do I go with a Google phone rather than iPhone? I’m just not part of the Apple ecosystem, we use a lot of Google products, and it simply works for us. Also, I like the fact that it doesn’t come with any kind of bloatware such as on Samsung, LG’s, or Huawei where security and other updates are necessary, Google phones usually receive them first.

What expensive items  are worth their price in your book? Please share in the comments below.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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17 crazy cheap baby products that work like they’re expensive

by

Joyce Slaton

posted in Products

Sometimes when you spend more for a piece of baby gear, you get something nicer — better-quality fabric, more comfortable padding, gee-whiz features. But sometimes, you’re just spending more than you need to.

These 17 baby products are rock-bottom cheap. But they have everything you need.



1. Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub:
It’s soft-and-squishy inflatable, so your baby can thrash around without hurting himself. It drains quickly, suction-cups to the side of the shower to dry, then stores easily under the kitchen cabinet when not in use. And just look at it! Who wouldn’t take a million pictures of their baby in this tub? Note that the Duck Tub is suitable for babies who can sit up unassisted — 6 months or so. Buy it: $ 10.87

2. Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System: Travel systems can easily cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars, which is why this bargain-priced set is such a happy surprise. Available in sophisticated colors like lavender (Safety 1st calls it “Wisteria Lane,”) moss green, gray, and robin’s egg blue, the Smooth Ride looks and works great, rating very highly with users. The included onBoard 35 LT is light and easy to use — and bonus, it’s so narrow at 17 inches that it’s one of our 47 car seats that fit 3-across in most vehicles. Buy it: $ 161.99

3. Summer Infant My Size Potty: This little guy is so cute that we serve candy in ours at BabyCenter HQ Halloween parties. Kids love sitting on the miniature toilet; they love “flushing” after using it even more, so much so that they may be more eager to potty train. And the My Size is easy to empty and clean, too. Buy it: $ 24.86

4. Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat: This cute seat is so inexpensive and lightweight — 7.5 pounds! — that parents get confused. Can it be safe? Yes! All car seats for sale in the U.S. have passed the same safety tests. The only downside of the Scenera NEXT: its forward-facing weight maximum tops out at 40 pounds, low considering the industry standard of 65 pounds. But if you need a knockaround seat for travel, a second car, or car pools, the NEXT is a goody at a good price. The rear-facing weight/height limits (40 pounds, 40 inches) are good, and it’s narrow enough to be one of 47 car seats that fit 3-across in most vehicles, so it’s a good choice for carpools, too. Buy it: $ 46.45

5. Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie Baby Carrier: Also known as the Infantino Mei Tai, this simple, inexpensive carrier works far better than you’d expect for the low price. Its straps are wide and padded; the fabric tails you tie around your waist are long enough to fit a wide variety of bodies (including plus-sized men and women), and it comes with a detachable hood to cover your sleeping baby’s head. It works particularly well for smaller babies, who snuggle close and comfy. Buy it: $ 28.98

6. Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Portable Bassinet: Bassinets can be extraordinarily expensive — from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on how Rosemary’s Baby or Downton Abbey you want to go. This inexpensive little bassinet has a lie-flat surface and is safe for overnight sleeping. You can easily switch between stationary and rocking mode (you have to push it to rock), and pull it up next to your bed to follow SIDS recommendations for room-sharing with the baby in their own separate sleep space. Buy it: $ 59.41

7. PRIMO EuroBath: This tub has been a parent favorite for many years, because it’s made of high quality plastic, comes in punchy pink and blue as well as white, and the seating bumps and nubs are both comfortable and thoughtful. Many parents say they can bathe a newborn followed by a toddler in the tub, and both are happy and comfy. If you have a bad back or a c-section, you can buy the PRIMO Folding Bath Stand for an extra $ 55 to use the tub at waist height. That’s the way they do it in Europe — hence the bath’s name. Buy it: $ 19.99

8. Safety 1st Crystal Clear Audio Monitor: There’s a certain type of parent who wants to have the most sensitive video monitor so they can sit and watch their baby’s eyelids flutter and chest rise and fall. And there’s another kind of parent that just wants to have a simple audio monitor that’s easy to use and works so you can hear if the baby’s crying while you’re down in the basement or out in the garage. This is that monitor. Buy it: $ 23.49

9. Fisher-Price FastFinder Deluxe Messenger Diaper Bag: Simple and sleek, this looks like a laptop bag, so no one has to feel embarrassed carrying it around. It has pockets for everything you need, and Fisher-Price’s FastFinder “pocket system” makes your gear easier to find — every pocket has a red label that makes the pocket easier to see and find, and big silver zip-pulls that are easy to grab even when you have a squirming baby in one hand. Buy it: $ 28.40

10. Skip Hop Tuo Convertible High Chair: Skip Hop is well known for giving parents high style at affordable prices. With beechwood legs, a detachable tray and harness, and a sophisticated color scheme, the Tuo looks like chairs that cost $ 500 or more. It also lasts and lasts — it converts into a toddler, then a preschooler chair, holding children up to 60 pounds and/or 5 years. Buy it: $ 127.99

11. Safety 1st Guide 65: Parents love this seat because of its very good rear-facing height/weight limits (it holds riders rear-facing from 5 to 40 pounds and 40 inches), and “big & tall” front-facing height/weight limits (65 pounds and 52 inches), an unusually generous spread for a bargain-priced seat. On top of that, it’s narrow at 18 inches, giving it a shot of fitting 3-across in some vehicles. It’s comfy, too. Buy it: $ 72.64

12. Summer Infant Deluxe Comfort Folding Booster Seat: It straps to any dining room or kitchen chair. It’s super-easy to clean, it’s comfortable for babies and toddlers, and when you’re done with it, it can fold down to a little square that’s easy to put in a closet for storage, or bring along on trips to Grandma’s. Buy it: $ 15.99

13. Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard: If you’ve tried to set up other portable playards, with infuriating sides that won’t lock and then, once locked, won’t unlock, the Pop ‘N Play is going to be a great surprise for you. It comes in a bag about twice the size of a yoga bag, and it’s all in a piece. You unfold it something like an umbrella stroller…it takes two seconds. And bam, your baby is contained. If you’re worried about sun, you can drape a blanket over the top, or buy a snap-on canopy that covers half the yard for $ 23.74, or a cover for the entire yard for $ 39.99. Buy it: $ 54.84

14. Cosco 3D Umbrella Stroller: Sometimes you need a stroller that’s tiny and light — something you can bring along in the car in case you might need it during an outing, or bring on a bus. But so many cheapie umbrella strollers fall apart instantly, or are so low to the ground you have to stoop uncomfortably to push them. The Cosco 3D is tougher than you’d expect, has extra-long handles so all but the tallest parents can push with ease, and it’s cute. Pick from an orange lion, blue hippo, pink owl, or black-and-white and pink zebra. You can also find the 3D stroller in whale, bee, and monster patterns. Buy it: $ 32.36

15. Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier: Many structured baby carriers cost $ 100-$ 200 and can hold babies from infancy to toddlerhood to preschool age and beyond. But sometimes all that muscle is overkill, and these carriers tend to be heavy and hard to bring on outings “just in case” or to carry when your big baby has decided to get out and walk. The Flip is small and exceptionally lightweight, easy to roll up and bring along in a stroller basket or diaper bag. You can use it to carry your baby front facing-in, front facing-out, and on your back, and it’s perfect if your baby is younger, smaller, or if you’re going on shorter walks. Buy it: $ 22.49

16. Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard: Parents who like to room-share and travel with their babies often shell out for heavy, bulky travel cribs that really aren’t very portable at all — and they cost from $ 100 to $ 200 and up, way up. The Ultra-Lite is easy to set up, easy to break down, easy to use as a play yard or as a sleeping space, and it weighs in at a mere 11.5 pounds — compare that to play yards that weigh 20 pounds or more — which makes it truly portable. Buy it: $ 73.87

17. Evenflo SureRide DLX: Many sub-$ 100 convertible seats tend to have meager weight/height limits. But the SureRide packs a lot of utility into its small frame (at 18.5 inches wide it’s one of our 47 car seats that fit 3-across in most vehicles; and it’s just 10.5 pounds so it’s great for travel). It holds riders rear-facing to 40 pounds and 40 inches, and forward-facing to 65 pounds and 54 inches, which should hold all but the lankiest of kids safely until they’re out of the harness years. In fact, we also named this seat as one of 15 great convertible car seats for tall babies and big toddlers. Buy it: $ 89.99

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Tesla’s most expensive cars just got a price cut

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