Author Archives: femmefrugality

Living with COVID: Travel Edition

This post is written relative to COVID only. I am still processing MPV.masked woman pushing a suitcase outside

In 2019, I traveled a lot. I was out there taking advantage of every airline mile, 10th night free offer, and Airbnb credit available.

And I’m so glad I did. In retrospect, those experiences helped shore my wanderlust as I mournfully sat in my house for the next two years, never venturing very far outside the borders of my own state.

I put traveling on hold. And with it, I also put travel content on hold. I didn’t want to encourage anyone to engage in behavior that could end up hurting or potentially even killing anyone else. I did not want to encourage the spread, even if that meant losing some of my profit.

My Instagram feed dried up, as it mostly features my travel pictures and savings tips. I stopped writing about my latest trip to Japan in the middle of the story. The budget travel hacks you used to find here by and large stopped being produced.

But today, I guess all of that changes.

Why I Started Traveling Again in 2022

In 2022, I started traveling again.

There were a multitude of reasons.

During this pandemic, I’ve lost many people. Some to COVID. Some to a lack of care or sub-par care created by an overwhelmed medical system.

At the tail end of 2021 in particular, our family lost several members of an entire generation. From all branches of our family tree. To be honest, I’m still processing all the loss.

This Spring, my cousin was getting married. They were throwing an extremely COVID-conscious wedding, with large portions of it outside or in a building where the front was open to the outdoors. They stressed the importance of vaccinations and testing.

They weren’t pretending COVID wasn’t happening, so they were able to effectively address it and create as safe an environment as possible.

While not everyone in attendance would be living to the same standards I’ve had to keep, this setting felt manageable.

At the time I planned the trip, I still imagined COVID to be a relatively seasonal virus by region, a theory that is now debunked by the data of summer of 2022. I thought it may be one of the lowest times of year in terms of community spread.

CDC Map for the dates of july 29, 2022-august 4, 2022 showing that community transmission levels are in the 'high' or 'red' zone in 94.17% of counties in the United States

I wanted to see my family, especially after all of our shared grief. Especially to celebrate such a wonderful couple.

So I made plans to go.

I had also booked a speaking gig in Philly for the summer of 2022 almost a year prior, when I thought for sure this would all be over (or at least better managed via public health measures.)

I brought my kids to Philly, too, to appreciate the more touristy parts of Old City.

How I Traveled with COVID-19 Safety Precautions

I cannot tell you that the precautions we took eliminated all risk of spreading COVID. I cannot tell you by inherent nature of being on the road, we were able to be as careful as we are at home.

I cannot tell you that setting up safety measures eliminates all risks, or that I don’t constantly question myself whether or not this is something I should or should not be doing.

What I can tell you is that by taking these measures, we used layered mitigations to make amazing experiences more possible. I’ve done it three times now, and well over a month later, I’m happy to say that none of us caught COVID on these trips.

Now, there’s nothing to say on the fourth trip we wouldn’t. My anecdotal experiences do not diminish the prolific evasiveness of this virus. Even if you do everything ‘right’ there’s no way to 100% protect yourself.

But we did what we could to protect ourselves, and did our best to protect everyone around us, too.

Here’s what actually implementing layered mitigations looked like for us.

We only went places we could drive.

 

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Why we did it: My heart broke when masking and testing measures were removed for air travel. The masking was particularly problematic because it also extended to public transit mandates across the country.

Buses and trolleys people use to go to work and the grocery store and the pharmacy everyday.

Not just airplanes.

I’m not saying I won’t get on a plane in the future under the right circumstances. But as I was planning these particular trips at this particular point in time, I decided that anywhere we went, we’d go by car.

On top of that, even though driving a car isn’t great for the environment, the harm is way less than burning jet fuel.

And I’d like the summers to not get any hotter, please.

How we did it: I’m lucky that my work schedule allowed me to drive two days to get to the wedding. And Philadelphia is only one day away by car. We’d be able to have fun and fulfilling trips without having to take on the additional risks of air travel.

We timed our boosters.

 

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Why we did it: Our vaccines, while life-saving for most, are not perfect.

Break-through infections are increasingly normal.

While the vaccine does dramatically increase your odds of staying out of the hospital, not everyone will be on the lucky side of those odds. At least tens of thousands of vaccinated people have died and are still dying from this virus.

And whether you’re vaccinated or not, you can get Long COVID. Long COVID occurs in up to 49% of people who are infected, and all too often follows a ‘mild’ or asymptomatic case.

Vaccines are an important mitigation strategy. But they are not a mitigation strategy to be used in isolation.

Vaccine efficacy also falls off after a period of time — dramatically so between 3 and 6 months from your last dose. Which is why boosters are necessary.

How we did it: Before we took our trips, we made sure everyone was up-to-date on their boosters in the past three months.

Everyone had to have their most recent booster shot at least two weeks before we left on the trip, as that’s how long the boosters take to kick in at full force.

We booked hotels with windows that opened.


Why we did it: Ventilation is a key element of layered mitigation. When the air is flowing, it makes it harder for an airborne virus to spread. You’re removing many of those viral particles from the room.

How we did it: We kept ventilation in mind as we were booking hotels. For one of the Philly trips, we stayed at Independence Park Hotel. It’s a really well-kept hotel with great staff, and was in such a great location in the heart of Old City.

But not all rooms in the hotel have windows that open.

We called immediately after booking to ensure the room we were staying in would. Zero issues.

When I was driving to the wedding, I made sure the hotel I stayed at after the first day of driving had windows that opened, too.

For the rest of the stays, I booked private apartments on Airbnb with windows that opened.

I’ve gotta say, the whole Airbnb experience has gone downhill since I started using them years ago, and I don’t know how often I’ll be using them in the future. But I had some credits in my pocket, and the ventilation situation was ideal.

If we do any road trips in the future, I might get my own HEPA air cleaner to bring along. But that wasn’t something I was overly familiar with prior to these trips.

We kept those windows open for at least 15 minutes before removing our masks.

 

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Why we did it: Real-life cases in both Hong Kong and New Zealand have shown us that even just opening your hotel room door can let the virus in, lingering in the air for a while and causing infection.

How we did it: We had a rule in our hotel room: Every time we entered the room, we immediately opened the window and waited at least 15 minutes before taking our masks off.

We did as much outdoors as possible.

 

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Why we did it: Covid can spread outside. But it’s much harder for it to do so.

How we did it: During these warmer months in the north, there’s no shortage of things to do outdoors. So we planned our adventures accordingly, going indoors as little as possible.

Here are just some of the fun outside things we did:

  • Attend an outdoor wedding ceremony.
  • Paddle boats.
  • Historic tours of Philadelphia. (NPS has an app so you don’t really need to pay for a tour guide unless you want to.)
  • Various outdoor memorials, parks, fountains and river walks.
  • Festivals at lower-traffic times of day.
  • Super fun playgrounds in the city.

We did mask outdoors if an area was particularly crowded.

We masked with N95s.

Why we did it: We did not take our masks off indoors other than our hotel room.

Not to eat.

Not to drink.

Not just for a picture.

Not when people were mocking us.

Not when an employee at the establishment told us we ‘didn’t need to do that anymore.’

Because the coronavirus doesn’t care about all that. If it’s in the air, it can infect you regardless of which activity you’re participating in.

We might not like it, but that’s how science works.

How we did it: That’s not to say we didn’t go indoors at all. When we did, we tried to keep it under 5 minutes. In all cases, whether or not we could meet those time constrainst, our N95 masks did not come off inside.

Even when I spoke at Plutus Voices, I kept my mask on the whole time. It was a relatively small event that will eventually be shared online, and the venue was also really awesome and opened the windows to improve ventilation without us even asking.

We ate outside or in our hotel room with the window open.

 

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Why we did it: For all the same reasons listed above.

How we did it: Of course, we did have to eat!

Sometimes we ate outside if the restaurant had a setup that kept us reasonably socially distanced.

Our hotel let me bring our complimentary breakfast up to the room so we could eat by ourselves with the window open.

We also used take out and delivery the same way. Since the pandemic started, almost all restaurants now have a take out option. So it’s not like your dining options are limited. You can eat food from almost anywhere without having to sit in their indoor dining room.

Tested before events.

How we did it: Wedding?

COVID test first.

Plutus Voices?

COVID test first.

Before we went anywhere indoors where we could potentially infect others, we took an at-home COVID test, which you can get free through insurance.

Covid-19 at-home test showing a single-line negative result

Why we did it: At-home testing is another imperfect measure on its own. COVID can take several days to show up on one of these tests, and some strains show up more reliably than others.

PCR testing is much more accurate. It can take several days to get results back, though.

Overall, the at-home tests catch enough asymptomatic cases that they’re still worth taking. If it shows up positive, you can prevent yourself from going to the event and infecting others.

These tests also can catch some symptomatic cases, but they can miss them, too. If you have symptoms and test negative with an at-home test, assume you’re positive anyways. Air on the side of caution for the sake of everyone else around you.

Did any of these pandemic safety measures help us save money?

 

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Heck, yes!

The COVID tests were free, and we use N95s back home, too, so arguably our total additional cost of combatting COVID while on vacation was $0.

In fact, following our safety protocol actually lowered costs, as a lot of the outdoor activities we engaged in were either free or very low cost, while still providing immense joy.

Inside more often comes with an admission fee.

5 Business Ideas for Travelers

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

woman wearing a mask sitting on the train watching out the window

Travel can lead to a memorable, adventurous life full of great events, activities, and acquaintances. But before you hop on a jet plane, you need to focus on the financial side to support your desired lifestyle.

Sure, travel can be cheap. In fact, you barely need much money to see the world.

But you need some financial stability to live comfortably, save, and take last-minute adventures. You need a solid business idea to support your dreams of traveling.

Fortunately, today people have plenty of options when it comes to remote jobs and international business activities. We have come up with five top business ideas that any traveler can try during their adventures. See what idea fits your life-work balance, skills, and travel ambitions.

NOTE: We are still living in a pandemic. Make sure you are following strict public health measures and think about the effects your travels have on others before visiting another part of the globe.

Event planner

Do you like to bring order to chaos? Do you have good organizational skills? Do you enjoy creating unforgettable experiences for absolute strangers?

Well, if the answers to these questions are “Yes!” then the travel event planning business may be just the thing for you.

This job is almost the same as any event planning gig. But this way, you help people organize their events abroad. You will help clients have their spectacular wedding days, flawless business weekends, or team-building weeks abroad. You get to deal with all the preparations, bookings, tickets, etc.

Moreover, a job requirement will be to those locations to make last-minute arrangements on the spot. Not a bad work ‘requirement’ to enjoy, is it?

Photographer

A photography business is tightly interconnected with travel experiences. Many photographers start traveling to pursue their drive for unique photos. Capturing rare scenes and breath-taking portraits and landscapes is all they think about.

Building a business based on your passion for photography and travel seems like a logical next step. You can create a great portfolio as a travel photographer and get paid by periodicals, websites, or private clients to take pictures of certain places and events. You can also have your own shows and exhibitions to sell your photos to a larger audience.

Travel agency/consultant

An adventurous, active traveler can use their knowledge of the world and the travel industry to their advantage. Tap into all your experience to become a travel consultant or even start your own travel agency.

There are only a few simple requirements to run a business like that. First, you should make sure you know the laws and regulations of your home country about starting a travel agency or becoming a partner in one.

Next, you need good communication skills, travel experience, and the desire to help people have the best vacations of their lives. Traveling is a basic requirement when running such a business. So, it’s a win-win situation.

Graphic Design

There are a ton of different ways start and run your graphic design business. First, of course, you need to become an expert in the field yourself. On average, it will require at least one to two years to complete basic design courses and build enough skills and experience in the field.

But even during this training period, you can work with clients, expand your portfolio, and build your professional network.

Overall, a graphic designer needs their own website or strong profile on freelance platforms to start their business. The rest will depend on your abilities, client base, and ambition. But this type of business will definitely allow you to travel the world. You just need a good laptop and Internet connection to complete your work.

Interpreter

As long as we have different cultures and languages around the world, we will need professional interpreters.

You’ll need to build a client base, work long hours (sometimes fitting different time zones,) perfect your language skills in narrow topics, search for your niche, etc. But all your hard work can really pay off in the end.

You can stay home and work with local agencies as an interpreter, or you can build a business as a traveling interpreter. Then you can offer your services to people and companies that do business abroad. A lot of these setups allow you to travel at the employers’ expense, do your job, and see new places.

Alternatively, you can use your language skills to translate documents at your home office after you become a certified translator. The remote work means you can travel whenever you want.

Final considerations

Finding remote work that allows you to travel isn’t as difficult as it used to be. The true challenge here is to find the work you are skilled at doing and feel passionate about.

Choose an area where you find the most joy and fulfillment. You can try freelancing, programming, or even becoming one of those unemployed professors who write academic texts for students for a living. (Just make sure you don’t employ your skills at a shady site, like Unemployed Professors.)

Overall, it’s totally possible to build a business where you’re completely remote and on the road with working hours that don’t feel like a chore.

How to Combine Traveling and Earning Money

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

woman overlooking the ocean on a hotel balcony.Many travelers prefer to keep earning money even while they are abroad. In fact, it’s a common way to fund travel these days. After all, most jobs require only a laptop and some professional skills to find jobs remotely.

So let’s see how you can earn money while traveling the world without sacrificing in either domain.

NOTE: We are still living in a pandemic. Make sure you are following strict public health measures and think about the effects your travels have on others before visiting another part of the globe.

Think semi-passive income

When planning a trip, it’s smart to have a plan in place so you won’t drain your savings account. One way to do that is the build up streams of semi-passive income, freeing up more of your time for travel adventures.

There are many way to build passive or semi-passive income. You could rent properties and hire a property management company to run the day-to-day. If you’re wanting to create income from short-term rentals, you could create an Airbnb account or choose other platforms.

You can also rent out your car or other possessions while you’re away.

Another way to build semi-passive revenue is to create a digital product. You can create courses, upload photos or art to selling platforms, etc.

Become a digital nomad

The life of a digital nomad is an exciting one. But it’s not always as glorious as many want to
imagine it.

Yes, you get to travel across the globe, leave whenever you want, and earn money on the go. But you still gotta do the work, focus on your career, fulfill your commitments, and meet deadlines.

Sometimes, doing all of this while adjusting to a new culture can be challenging. But if you’re interested in the life of a digital nomad, it’s likely a challenge you’re up for. Here are some of the most popular professions among digital nomads.

Copywriting

Copywriters or content writers are in high demand right now. Their job is to write all the content for websites, social media pages, emails, newsletters, and so on.

It’s a demanding yet rewarding job. A writer will have to meet strict deadlines, follow instructions, and constantly expand their knowledge base within their niche.

But it’s a job you can do remotely while traveling, which is a great advantage.

Graphic design

Graphic design is another in-demand profession these days. People need graphic designers for a variety of tasks. These specialists can help businesses create beautiful sites, create posters for shows or Insta pages, advertisements, or make business cards. Overall, you need a designer whenever you need something more than plain text on a blank piece of paper.

This job can take a little more equipment than what you’d need as a copywriter. At the very least, a designer needs a professional laptop and mouse. At max, one needs drawing tablets, an extra monitor, etc.

But with the right packing system, you can still travel and complete work for clients even with the extra equipment.

Programming

Programming is one of the most popular professions among digital nomads. It’s also among the most high-paid professions on the global job market at the moment. Of course, pay will depend on your skills and experience levels.

Many programmers choose to travel the world while working on projects. It’s a high-demand
job with a lot of pressure. Travel experiences can help people unwind and deal with work stressors. You will need to study for a while to gain the necessary expertise in this profession, though.

Academic writing

People with the right experience, skills, knowledge and degrees can lend their expertise to academic writing for various writing services. First, you’ll want to find a legit writing service, as many of them out there are scammy. You can find reviews of various writing services at Writingpapersucks.com and similar sites to learn more about which companies are worth working with.

Writing papers can come with highly flexible hours, nice pay, and interesting projects. If you miss using your academic mind but don’t necessarily want to engage with the bureaucracy of academia, it’s highly like you’ll enjoy a job like this that allows you to travel.

Of course, this work often comes with no guarantee of hours or salary. Urgent assignments might pop up, and you’ll have to adhere to strict instructions for each project. However, it’s still possible to match it with travel experiences. But it’s still a way to bring in extra money while you travel.

How to Get $30 (or more!) Off Your Internet Bill

Father with two children on his lap looking at a laptop/tablet

Have you heard of the Affordable Connectivity Program?

If not, you might be missing out! This government program can help you save $30 or more on your internet bill every month.

Is the Affordable Connectivity Program legit?

One hundred percent yes. The Affordable Connectivity Program is legit and can help you save money on your internet bill.

How much money can I save with the Affordable Connectivity Program?

Most people will get a $30 credit on their internet bill per month.

If you live on Tribal lands, you can qualify for a $75 credit per month.

PLUS, regardless of where you live, you may be eligible for $100 off a laptop, desktop or tablet. You will have to contribute between $10 and $50 towards the purchase of your device to qualify for the $100 discount.

Your internet service provider must participate in the discounted device program to qualify for that extra $100 benefit. Here are the ones that do.

How do I qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

There are three ways to qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program:

  • Household income.
  • If anyone in your household uses certain government programs.
  • Meet special requirements for those who live on Tribal Lands.

Qualifying for ACP based on income

Income limits are higher than you might think — especially if you have a family! Don’t count yourself out just because you don’t consider yourself ‘low-income.’

Income limits are based on your household size and where you live.

Income Limits for Contiguous U.S and Territories

  • Single person: $27,180
  • Two-person household: $36,620
  • Three-person household: $46,060
  • Four-person household: $55,500
  • Five-person household: $64,940
  • Six-person household: $74,380
  • Seven-person household: $83,820
  • Eight-person household: $93,260

For each additional person in your household, add $9,440 to the income limit.

Income Limits for Alaska

  • Single person: $33,980
  • Two-person household: $45,780
  • Three-person household: $57,580
  • Four-person household: $69,380
  • Five-person household: $81,180
  • Six-person household: $92,980
  • Seven-person household: $104,780
  • Eight-person household: $116,580

For each additional person in your household, add $11,800 to the income limit.

Income Limits for Hawaii

  • Single person: $31,260
  • Two-person household: $42,120
  • Three-person household: $52,980
  • Four-person household: $63,840
  • Five-person household: $74,700
  • Six-person household: $85,560
  • Seven-person household: $96,420
  • Eight-person household: $107,280

For each additional person in your household, add $10,860 to the income limit.

Qualifying for ACP based on government programs

You can totally qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program even if you’re beyond the income limits.

For example, multiple members of the Mom Autism Money community have qualified because most of their children are on Medicaid regardless of household income.

Here’s how it works:

If you or any of your dependents are on one of the following programs, you automatically qualify for the ACP. They won’t even ask for your income on the application:

  • Medicaid
  • SNAP
  • WIC
  • SSI
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
  • Lifeline benefits
  • Received a Pell Grant in the current award year

That’s right: You can qualify based on something as simple as a PELL GRANT!

The ACP website says you might have to provide paperwork supporting your enrollment in any one of these programs, but so far none of the members of our Facebook community have had to provide anything beyond the last four of the eligible person’s SSN.

Qualifying for the ACP on Tribal Lands

If you live on Tribal lands, you may qualify for a juiced up version of the ACP, which gives you a $75 credit rather than the standard $30.

First, make sure you live on qualified Tribal lands.

Then, see if you qualify based on income or participation in certain federal or Tribal programs.

Income limits on Tribal lands are 200% of of the federal poverty line. To figure out this number, check the household size for where you live here. Then, multiply that number by two.

Regardless of income, you can still qualify if you participate in any of these programs:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • SNAP
  • Medicaid
  • SSI
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program (can be any time since 2019)
  • WIC
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Pell Grant
  • Lifeline benefits

How do I apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

To start the application process online, visit the ACP application landing page.

You’ll fill out a quick application that will let you know whether or not you qualify.

Then, find your internet service provider’s ACP landing page via this list from the FCC. You’ll have to fill out a very basic form verifying that you’ve applied for the ACP. Then your ISP will vet you by checking for the approved application and giving you the discount.

How long does it take to get your Affordable Connectivity Program credit?

If you’ve ever interacted with a government program, you’re probably used to it taking weeks, months, or even years before you can access your benefits.

Amazingly, this is not the case with the ACP.

All of the members of the Mom Autism Money community who have applied have seen the credit reflected on their internet bill within 24-48 hours of their initial application on the ACP website.

So in our experience, it’s worked at lightning speed! But if you have circumstances that require extra paperwork, it may or may not take a little longer to process the application and get your credit reflected on your internet bill.

Is the ACP program permanent?

Yes, the intent of the ACP program is for it to be permanent. It’s a replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB,) which was a temporary COVID-19 response.

That being said, final regulations on the ACP will be decided upon in November of 2022. So while the Affordable Connectivity Program is scheduled to be permanent for now, we will see how things pan out in the Fall. It may end up being capped to four or five years.

In the meantime, start saving on your internet bill today. Taking a few minutes out of your time to apply could get your bill down by $30-$75 within a day or two.

Ways to Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet

A couple holding each other's hands and wedding boquets at the altar.

Your wedding day is special. It doesn’t matter whether you had a huge party or you had a COVID-safe wedding, like one via Zoom or one with a limited guest list via a self-uniting marriage.

It’s something you want to remember.

One way to remember it is by preserving your wedding bouquet. Today, we’ll go through a bunch of possible ways to keep something that’s temporarily in bloom beautiful for life.

How to preserve your wedding bouquet

There are a couple ways to preserve your wedding bouquet.

The first, and most expensive, is to have your fresh flower bouquet professionally preserved after the fact. A lot of times when you go this route, the bouquet will stay just that: A bouquet. It will probably be stored in glass, and will probably run you a pretty penny.

A more frugal route is to dry your bouquet yourself. You could opt to press each individual flower between the pages of a thick, heavy book. Or place your bouquet in an empty vase until the flowers dry.

But the best way is to use a flower and herb drying rack. Ideally you’ll store this in a dry area of your home that’s typically dark. Your flowers will be ready in about two to four weeks.

What to Do With Your Dried Wedding Bouquet.

After your bouquet is dry, there are tons of creative projects you can do to help preserve the memories of your matrimony.

Make a Shadow Box

10x10 shadow box by Studio Decor from Michael's. Pictures flower bouquet inside in addition to Studio Decor's advertising text, which is mostly illegible.

One option is to put your flowers behind glass yourself. Simply get a shadow box, like this one from Michael’s, open it up, and place your flowers inside. Depending on the size of your box, you can either keep your bouquet whole or clip the stems of each original flower, arranging them in a new display pattern.

Make a Christmas Ornament

Another cute way to remember your wedding is to take one of the roses from your bouquet before it’s dried. You want the petals to be flexible and supple.

Then, put them inside a clear Christmas ornament from a craft store. Gently slip each petal into the opening at the top. Once you’re happy with the fill, leave the ornament out and open in a dry place for a couple weeks.

Once everything’s all dried out, install the top of the ornament. Now every Christmas, you’ll be able to take a minute and reminisce about your beginnings as a couple.

You could do this by drying the flowers first, too, especially if you’re worried about moisture building up inside the ornament.

If you think each bud of your bouquet will be small enough to fit into the top of the ornament without crumbling, you could try putting the entire bud inside that way, too. It’s a little riskier, though. The petals could shatter.

Make Potpourri Bouquets

Dried red rose petals with yellow at the tip.

Want a daily reminder of your vows?

Make a ‘potpourri’ bouquet that you can store in a place you’ll see it everyday, like your clothes drawer or jewelry box.

After your flowers are dry, crush up the petals. Or don’t. Some might get crushed in the process whether you want them to or not.

Then, get a square of decorative gauze. You can find some at Michael’s, but if you’re being uber frugal, looking someplace like your local reuse store is also a possibility as a ‘scrap’ may be enough.

Place your crushed petals in a pile in the center. Pull the edges of the gauze together, creating a bundle full of flower petals at the bottom. Tie a ribbon around the gauze just above the top of the flowers.

Then, trim the ribbon and any excess gauze. Now you have a nice little potpourri bundle full of your wedding flowers.

Make a Japanese Herbarium

Two tall slender glass containers, one filled with flowers and mineral oil in shades of blue, the other containing mineral il and white and green flowers.

You can get pre-made herbariums from TheBloomingBottle

Maybe you don’t need your flowers to last forever. Maybe just a year would be enough.

Or maybe you’ve already done one of the ‘forever’ projects, and still have few flowers left over.

In these cases, you might want to make a Japanese Herbarium. First, you’ll dry your flowers.

Then, you’ll place them in a glass container. Traditional herbariums are on the taller and relatively skinny side, but really, you can use any container with a lid or cork.

TIP BASED ON MY OWN PAST FAILURES: On past projects like this, I’ve tried using glass baby food jars. In my experience, they do not work. They’re only really meant to be opened; the lid won’t completely fit back on. Even if you use glue, there’s a huge risk of leaks.

Your flowers are going to be fragile. Be careful putting them in, or the petals could crumble. Once they’re safely inside the glass, you can gently use tools like tweezers or wooden skewers to arrange them to your liking.

Keep layering flowers until you’re to the top. Or until they’re as high as you’d like them to be.

Then, fill the jar with baby oil or mineral oil.

Your herbarium will look beautiful in the sun. But the UV rays will degrade the colors, and eventually the flowers themselves will degrade. You usually get about six months to a year out of this display method.

Create anniversary bath bombs

Woman's eyes peeking out of bath water filled with red flowers.

Want a super sweet romantic tradition for your anniversary?

After you’ve dried your flowers, use them to make a batch or two of DIY bath bombs. You can get an all-inclusive kit to make your own from almost any major retailer.

But you could also opt to make your own from scratch. Here’s a great bath bomb recipe. She hides toy dinosaurs in her bath bombs.

You don’t need to do all that. Instead, just before your mold your bath bombs, throw some dried flower petals into the mix.

Store them in a special place, and use one or two each year for a candle-lit, rose petal bath.