Paris

My friend's daugther and her fiance are going to be paying for their wedding with credit cards. Something to the tune of $6000.

Would I do this?

No, absolutely not. Have the wedding you can afford, do NOT go into debt (at an interest rate of nearly 16%) for it. "I really have no way of saving up the cash for this wedding" says that you're not ready to have it yet.

I didn't find the first year of marriage to be particularly challenging, but I can't count the number of times my husband and I have said "Man, we're sure glad we didn't go into debt for a ridiculous wedding."

If it's urgent because of health insurance or related reasons, I'd instead look at getting married at the courthouse and then having a big party when you have managed to save up enough for it. But seriously, the first year of marriage is challenging enough-- you don't want to add unnecessary financial stress to it as well.

Now let's run a scenario where you charge everything on the card that you clearly can't pay off quickly (since you said that you can't save up the cash). Let's say you keep everything around $6,000. Your minimum will be around $140 a month. After you pay it off (5 years later), that 4-hour party party will cost you roughly $9,000.

My guess is that you do have plenty of ways of saving up the money for a wedding, you just haven't optimized your budget to save money or figured out a way to increase your income.

Even if you have a 0% interest credit card this is a pretty poor idea.

For the cost of a wedding you can't save up for, there's too many variables that could come up to prevent you from paying it off before the 0% introductory period runs out.

There is a difference between deferred and waived interest. If you open a Chase Slate (15 months), that interest is waived. If you still have a balance in month 16, you will only be charged interest on a go-forward basis (no retroactive catch-up). So, there are ways to have the interest completely waived during the promotional period if you get the right card.

But completely agree that you should only pay for the wedding you can afford, not the wedding you wish you could afford. Because once you are married, there will be a lot of other things (car, house, vacaction) that you think you deserve - and credit card issuers waiting to finance it.

And then some cards will hit you with all the interest that would have accrued over the months since you first put a balance on it. If it's a necessary expense, like car or home repairs, then this would be worth the risk. But for a wedding? Definitely not.

Paris

The first girl in my friend group who go married, which was very soon after college graduation, we did an overnight beach trip.

We had seven girls staying in a double room and we paid for the brides dinner and drinks out. And at that time it felt like a stretch. More recently I have done bridal showers to Vegas and Florida. Each of those required flights, multi night stays etc. I think it really depends on where everyone is in there life.

I personally am 27, no kids, full time professional job, and am still sort of iffy on the price since I am having to fly to Chicago twice, buy the dress, etc. I think that's my own personal issue - if I was spending $500 to go to California or Las Vegas, I don't think I'd be whining this much.

For the expensive multi night trips, what was done- in advance of everyone committing- is the maid of honor sent out an email basically being like here is what we are planning and then outlined the cost for those things.

People knew what they were agreeing to.

Yet I am still all for having an affordable bridal shower where everyone can pay for a small portion of the cost. That means having a bridal shower that works for everybody. For example lingerie showers are usually a lot cheaper. And they are more party orientated.

People who felt that it was too much said from the start they wouldn't be going so there was drop outs the week of. Once a more solid number was together, then we went back and looked at what the actual cost of things would be and what maybe was not feasible.

I would talk to the other girls and see what their budgets are.

That is the easiest/best way to see what they can afford. However, if you have a 22 year old (which I am reading as broke college student or recent grad) and another person where $200 is a large expense, then I think the current plan is out. If this is something the bride wants/planned then unfortunately you need to have the tough conversation of saying look- this just isn't feasible based on the number of people who are going.

Bridal showers parties largely depend on everyone's budget.

Like, my girls and I are recent university graduates, we don't have a huge budget so instead of doing a big, fancy international trip, we're probably going bowling, getting pizza, and having a slumber party because that's all we can realistically afford.

The problem that I've seen happen time and time again is that people plan these events without consulting the budgets of others and then people start to pull out due to the cost which upsets the bride and everyone else who's costs go up. My personal opinion is that it is way too much money to ask a friend to spend on a bridal showers outing.

If the bride is really set on renting a big party, she should pay for it herself.

If I knew that one of my maids was struggling financially, I would try to keep the costs as low as possible. If she is not involved in the planning, she may just be blissfully unaware of all these issues.

I think it would be fine to bring it up with her.

Paris

First let me say that I'm not a newbie to this. I've been gardening for 15 years, so I've been around the block.

I have tried wood chip/bark mulch. Wood chips or bark mulch, about 4" to 6" worth. And then you renew it every few years by dumping a little more on top as it breaks down.

If not by the 2nd year it has broken down sufficiently to germinate weed seeds (usually wild lettuce) and the 2nd year it is no better than dirt. Even with landscape cloth underneath it, it would have to be removed and replaced every other year.

There is no cloth or plastic currently in existence on Planet Earth that is available to home consumers not affiliated with NASA or the MIT research labs that will not eventually break down under exposure to UV light, heat, and moisture.

And that won't eventually have holes popped in it as it breaks down and becomes brittle.

Gravel, pebbles, and rocks are stable.

You can put landscape rocks over weedstop fabric, and then the weedstop will break down after about 10 to 20 years and begin flapping fragments in the breeze, and you have to break it all down and do it over again.

The reason why people put mulches, either organic or inorganic, on top of plastic or cloth weedstop fabrics is precisely so they'll be protected from UV light and from the weather. Unprotected weedstop will last maybe a year. Protected, it's good for maybe 20 years, tops. But then sooner or later, it degrades and fragments.

This isn't how Nature, and Gardening, work.

Even concrete and asphalt get weeds growing up through cracks. You can put down gravel, pebbles, or rocks without anything under it and then periodically spot treat for weeds, either with Roundup or a propane weed torch.

Or you can put down bark or wood chips, and simply add more on top every few years.

If you omit the weedstop, you don't have to remove the mulch as it breaks down--you simply add more on top.

When you start seeing weeds germinating and growing, then you know it's not deep enough, so you add more. I keep about 3" to 4" of bark mulch on a formerly infested front flowerbed, and the only weeds I have to pull is the grass that sends runners over the double layer of buried brick. I add more mulch on top, an inch or two, about every 3 to 4 years.

Paris

I would scrape branches in areas that you think are dead to ensure they are not green underneath. Confirm the dead branches and cut them out so they can be filled in with new growth. Also, if they snap easily it's generally a safe bet it is dead.

Removing large dead branches isn't ideal because it can give the plant a funny look for some time, but it will fill in with fertilizer and water especially. In most cases, better off to just get it over with if it's truly dead.

One additional, but more drastic approach is if it was newly planted, you could dig it up and turn the new face of the plant where you want it, hiding the bare spots a bit. Keep in mind if you do this, watering needs increase.

Either way, turning some compost in the surround soil is always a good idea as well!

Paris

A French drain is one way to solve the problem, however I think you would lose that tree in the process of installing it. It's about as simple as you say but you should be back filling with river rock or larger gravel. The pipe needs holes. The trench should be at least a few feet deep and wide.

Working around those big roots could do a lot of damage, possibly killing the tree. Then you've got another problem on your hands. This is the most expensive and effective solution.

Another solution would be planting plants that like lots of water or possibly another tree. You would lose that area as functioning space but you'd also have some nice foliage to glance at. Kinda like a little wild garden.

The water has to have somewhere to go. Actually you should go about 8 inches deep, lay the trench with a landscaping fabric, lay the pipe on top of the fabric and cover with a clean washed gravel.

Then wrap the fabric over top of it. Then put dirt on top of that and replant.

Another way would be to bring in 5 yards of topsoil and raise the grade of the area to push that water else where. Unfortunately it looks like it would be sent directly into your neighbors back yard.

Not sure if they'd be too fond of that.

I've got one other way that I've seen work and that's simply laying sod directly on top of the existing ground. It raises the grade just a bit and soaks up a fair amount of water too.

Paris

We had a "bumpy lawn" and tried everything. You'll probably end up needing to 'top-dress' the areas affected by these 'bumps'. Top dressing is a term used to describe a mixture of washed sand (clean) and, perhaps, some compost.

You'll need to get a bunch of it, broadcast it over the affected area, rake it out, fill all the voids by any means necessary, broom the sand sitting on top into the void spaces between the grass, and then water it all in.

The grass will eventually come through the top dressing and you'll have a nice smooth lawn.

Another option is to water it really well, then pack down the affected area with a lawn roller. But this can backfire.