cheap party ideas http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14385/all en-US 12 Sites to Find Your Halloween Costume Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/12-sites-to-find-your-halloween-costume-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-sites-to-find-your-halloween-costume-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/halloween-3801440-small.jpg" alt="witch costume" title="witch costume" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Deciding on a costume might be difficult; shopping for your perfect getup shouldn't be. With this list of popular costume, party, and Halloween retailers, you'll gain access to a wide selection of inventory, plus deep discounts on shipping and sale items. You'll have your killer costume in no time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-diy-halloween-costumes">Last-Minute DIY Halloween Costumes</a>)</p> <h2>Spirit</h2> <p><a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10434772">Spirit</a> is a one-stop shop with an easy-to-use interface. Well-organized and with plenty of videos and costume idea resources, Spirit's strengths are in its variety (four pages of pirate costumes) and ease of use. Returns are free.</p> <h2>Costume Kingdom</h2> <p>Shipping is absolutely free when you spend over $50 on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-11167431">Costume Kingdom</a>'s reasonably-priced merchandise. And if you check &quot;yes&quot; for the newsletter you'll be entered to win a $100 gift certificate.</p> <h2>Buy Costumes</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-3996321">Buy Costumes</a> has costumes for men, women, groups, teens, pets, and accessories for everyone&hellip;PLUS great deals on party supplies, favors, candy, and kits. Packed with exclusive buys, Buy Costumes will give you 15% off if you sign up for their newsletter.</p> <h2>Costume Craze</h2> <p>&quot;Thousands of Costumes. Millions of smiles.&quot; The motto of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10433946">Costume Craze</a> certainly rings true, as they have a gigantic inventory of costumes, accessories, and props for everyone! Most costumes have costumer reviews for added information before you buy.</p> <h2>Halloween Express</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11126335">Halloween Express</a> is your one-stop Halloween shop. They have everything you need for the spookiest 31<sup>st</sup> ever, with free exchanges and free same-day shipping to get you your treats in no time. They also provide live chat help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.</p> <h2>Costumes4Less</h2> <p>At&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11460342">Costumes4Less</a>, get free shipping on orders over $50 and enjoy live customer service via phone, email, and chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Along with extensive costumes, hats, wigs, makeup, pet costumes, mascots, decor, and novelties, Costumes4Less also has party and wedding supplies, shoes, and lingerie.</p> <h2>Anytime Costumes</h2> <p>Any costume, any time is certainly true of <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=265140.13&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Anytime Costumes</a>, which houses lots of promotions and a gigantic variety of inventory. They've also got free exchanges and in-home delivery date guarantees.</p> <h2>Costume Discounters</h2> <p>You'll find everything you need at <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=279327.34&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Costume Discounters</a>, and they'll match any price you find for an identical costume on the web. Plus, Costume Discounters has many expedited delivery options, promotions, and sales and includes pet costumes in their already extensive line of inventory.</p> <h2>Costume Supercenter</h2> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=279325.10000159&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Costume Supercenter</a> offers free exchanges, free shipping, and lots of sales items ensure you're getting the best price for the costume or accessory of your choice. Browsing for the perfect getup? The site has over 20,000 to choose from and the prices are hard to beat.</p> <h2>Wholesale Costume Club</h2> <p>Low, low prices make <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=265962.28&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Wholesale Costume Club</a> a steal. Membership at $5 a year yields even deeper discounts on already discounted merchandise with really low, fixed shipping rates.</p> <h2>Wholesale Halloween Costumes</h2> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=279323.7&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Wholesale Halloween Costumes</a> not only has a wide array of costumes, makeup, hats, masks and wigs, but it also has party supplies, props, and decorations to make any holiday experience complete. Need it soon? Try same day, fixed-rate shipping.</p> <h2>Alexander's Costumes</h2> <p><a href="http://www.alexanderscostumes.com">Alexander's Costumes</a> is a fantasy-based costume supplier with lots of options and a variety of accessories, undergarments, and makeup kits to complement their inventory.</p> <h2>Price Comparison</h2> <p><img width="523" height="390" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/costumepricechart.png" alt="" /></p> <p><em>What's your favorite source for halloween costumes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rebecca-leib">Rebecca Leib</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-sites-to-find-your-halloween-costume-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discount-designer-clothing-17-places-to-get-name-brands-for-less">Discount Designer Clothing: 17 Places to Get Name Brands for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-your-feet-for-cheap-the-best-discount-shoe-retailers-on-the-web">On Your Feet for Cheap: The Best Discount Shoe Retailers on the Web</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/85-easy-frugal-halloween-costume-ideas">85 Easy, Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go-tea-go-the-10-best-online-tea-merchants">Go, Tea, Go: The 10 Best Online Tea Merchants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping cheap party ideas Halloween Halloween costumes Holidays online shopping product reviews Mon, 16 Sep 2013 09:36:08 +0000 Rebecca Leib 981745 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Host an Awesome Frugal Movie Night http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_watching_a_movie.jpg" alt="Friends watching a movie" title="Friends watching a movie" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Take a trip to the cinema to see a new release these days, and you might have to pawn off a family heirloom to afford it.</p> <p>With ticket prices currently at $13.50 a pop for a non-3D, non-matinee film and a whopping $20 for a non-matinee IMAX 3D ticket in my neck of the woods (NYC), it&rsquo;s no surprise that <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/13/tech/gaming-gadgets/3-d-hype-bubble-finally-busted/index.html">ticket sales are on the decline</a>; many of us simply can&rsquo;t justify the skyrocketing cost of a trip to the movies. After you factor in soda, candy, and popcorn (for those who like to do it up big when they catch the latest blockbuster), well, you may have to ask your boss for a raise.</p> <p>But it&rsquo;s times like these, when prices for life&rsquo;s simple pleasures spin out of control, that we have to take a stand and hit those greedy bigwigs where it hurts &mdash; the pocket. To help you convey the message that we&rsquo;re not gonna take it anymore, here are four easy tips on how to host a frugal movie night in the comfort of your own home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a>)</p> <h2>1. Choose the Movie</h2> <p>Remember back in the day when the only option you had for a movie rental was Blockbuster? I do, and I remember being quite excited to stop by on a Friday afternoon to pick up a flick I was anticipating. Nevermind that the price was $4 for a two-day rental, either; Blockbuster had a lock on the market, and we didn&rsquo;t know any better. Until Redbox came along, that is, and completely changed the home-movie rental game. Blockbuster was already suffering at the beginning of the new millennium, and the now-ubiquitous DVD kiosks put the final nail in Blockbuster&rsquo;s coffin &mdash; and to that I say good riddance.</p> <p>When I started using Redbox back in 2005 (time sure flies, doesn&rsquo;t it?), I thought it was too good to be true. A DVD rental for $1 per night? Get out of town! I was in heaven. If that made me ecstatic, imagine my elation when I discovered <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">Redbox codes that scored me free rentals</a>. Best. Deal. Ever. You, too, can score a free rental (if you haven&rsquo;t exhausted all the codes by now) by checking <a href="http://www.redboxcodes.com/">Redbox Codes</a> for the latest updates. It&rsquo;s worth noting, however, that the price of a Redbox rental has increased over the years to $1.20 per night &mdash; but that&rsquo;s still a steal as far as I&rsquo;m concerned. I mean, really, how long do you need to keep a movie?</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have a Redbox near you, there are other ways you can choose a movie to watch on the cheap:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Browse your channel guide a few days to a week or two in advance of movie night and set your DVR to record a film you want to watch. I do this fairly often with my premium channels like HBO since they show a new cable release every Saturday night.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get your money&rsquo;s worth from your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">Netflix subscription</a> and add a few new movies to your queue.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check your On Demand channel for a movie. New releases can be pricey, but if you split the cost with the rest of the viewers (i.e. your friends) it will be more affordable. Also, many times there&rsquo;s a free section on On Demand, which is worth a quick look.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask a friend if they have any new DVDs that you can borrow for a screening.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use an iTunes or Amazon credit that you may have to download a movie.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you want to host an experience outside, search for a free outdoor movie series in your area. These have become very popular over the past few years. If you live in a decent-size city, you&rsquo;ll probably find one. Then all you have to do is invite a few friends and pack a picnic.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rewatch one of your favorites in your collection. What&rsquo;s the point of having all those movies if all they do is collect dust?</li> </ul> <h2>2. Make Great Snacks</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m totally into Pinterest right now, mainly because I&rsquo;m on a diet and I like to torture myself by looking at all the delicious junk-food photos that Midwestern women pin all day long. As it turns out, many of those pins are perfect recipes for a frugal movie night because they&rsquo;re made from food that you probably already have on hand. Here are some of my favorites.</p> <p><strong>Baked Mozzarella Sticks</strong></p> <p>All you need for these <a href="http://everycollegegirl.com/how-to-cook-healthy-mozzarella-sticks/">baked mozzarella sticks</a> is string cheese, egg, flour, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. You won&rsquo;t feel as much guilt either since they&rsquo;re baked, not fried.</p> <p><strong>Homemade Calzone</strong></p> <p>For these <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/homemade-calzone">calzones</a>, fill prepared pizza dough with your favorite pizza ingredients like cheese, pepperoni, and sauce, then &ldquo;braid&rdquo; it before popping in the oven.</p> <p><strong>Parmesan Baked Potato Halves</strong></p> <p>Potatoes, butter, cheese, and garlic are the main ingredients in this <a href="http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/2012/03/parmesan-baked-potato-halves.html">homemade appetizer</a> that will comfort the whole crowd.</p> <p><strong>Cookies and Cream Popcorn</strong></p> <p>Instead of drenching it in butter and salt, <a href="http://www.ericasweettooth.com/2012/05/cookies-and-cream-popcorn.html">drizzle the popcorn with melted white chocolate and mix in crushed Oreo cookies</a>. Yeah, I know. I had a foodgasm, too.</p> <p><strong>Hot Chocolate Krispies</strong></p> <p>Same as regular Rice Krispies treats &mdash; but <a href="http://cookiesandcups.com/hot-chocolate-krispies/">hot chocolate krispies</a> are made richer with the addition of hot chocolate mix and lots more marshmallows.</p> <p><strong>Chocolate-Filled Strawberries</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since the fruit is in season, this is the perfect time to try a take on classic <a href="https://www.lilyshop.com/news/item/chocolate-filled-strawberries">chocolate-covered strawberries</a> by filling the strawberries instead of dipping them.</p> <p><strong>Vootbeer</strong></p> <p>Make a frosty mug of refreshing root beer decidedly adult with this recipe for a <a href="http://www.creative-culinary.com/2011/09/boulder-distillery-happy-hour-friday/">grown-up root beer float</a>.</p> <p>For even more sinful movie-night recipes from my board, <a href="http://pinterest.com/mikeyrox/">find me on Pinterest</a>.</p> <h2>3. Invite the Ideal Guests</h2> <p>Ideal guests for frugal movie night, in my opinion, are those who are equally excited to see the movie you&rsquo;ve chosen, arrive with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-wines-under-10-dollars">bottle of something red or white</a>, and hush their mouths while the movie is screening. You know which of your friends that is, so give them a call or text and extend an invitation.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Make It Comfy</h2> <p>The final step to hosting an awesome frugal movie night is to make the experience comfortable. Have lots of blankets and pillows available so everyone can curl up in their favorite movie-watching position. If some guests are relegated to the floor, make sure they have what they need to enjoy the night as much as everyone else.</p> <p><em>Have you hosted an awesome frugal movie night? Let me know some of your tips and tricks in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night">Score! How to Host a Great Game Night</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-fourth-of-july-party-ideas">Frugal Fourth of July Party Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-spend-your-summer">15 Free Ways to Spend Your Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">Never Pay for a RedBox DVD Rental Again</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink Lifestyle cheap party ideas movies snacks Thu, 19 Jul 2012 10:36:16 +0000 Mikey Rox 942703 at http://www.wisebread.com Score! How to Host a Great Game Night http://www.wisebread.com/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/scrabble.jpg" alt="Woman playing Scrabble" title="Woman playing Scrabble" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it&rsquo;s cold outside, all you want to do is stay inside.</p> <p>I do, at least. I hate the cold weather. I live in New York City, but I long for Los Angeles. I say bring on global warming. Al Gore and Mr. DiCaprio will just have to deal with that statement.</p> <p>In the winter, there are few things to do inside besides cook, clean, and watch movies. The problem is, the comfort food makes me fat, the constant cleaning makes me tired, and I&rsquo;ve seen just about every movie playing On Demand that I want to see (plus, it&rsquo;s not cheap).</p> <p>Game night, however, is another way to pass the time (and have fun) while others are shivering their butts off on the slopes or whatever else people do outside when it&rsquo;s below freezing.</p> <p>Hosting a good game night isn&rsquo;t an art form, but there are certain criteria you need to follow to ensure a great one. Here are my tips on making the night one to remember. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-family-friendly-games-for-your-holiday-party">5 Fun&nbsp;Family Friendly Games</a>)</p> <h3>Invite Your Guests According to Games</h3> <p>Personally, I pick the games that we&rsquo;re going to play according to the guests I&rsquo;ve invited. Some of my friends are wordsmiths, so Scrabble may be in order, while others like video games. Even still, you may be inviting over guests whose preference in games you don't know. In that case, if you're unsure of the players' skill levels at certain games, choose games that are based primarily on luck, like Yahtzee, or at least have a wide selection on hand so the group can make the decision on what to play together. The point is, you want to choose games that everyone will have fun with &mdash; and have an equal chance of winning. Also, some games are good for small parties, like Scattergories or Taboo, while other games, such as Apples to Apples, are much more fun with a big group. I once played the latter in a group of 12 one Thanksgiving night, and I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;ve had so much fun or laughed so hard since then.</p> <h3>Send an E-Invitation</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m a big fan of Evite. I like that it gives your gathering &mdash; large or small &mdash; a semi-formal feel even if it&rsquo;s super low-key; it just seems more organized than an e-mail exchange. Your guests will know the time, place, and theme instantly, and they can visit the link at any time to find out the information, which means that you won&rsquo;t have to field e-mails or phone calls asking for updates.</p> <h3>Prepare the Food</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t spend too much time in the kitchen on game night unless it&rsquo;s dinner and game night. There are two reasons for this: 1) If you spend all day cooking for your guests, you&rsquo;ll be tired by the time they arrive, and 2) it&rsquo;s game night &mdash; guests expect junk food. Pick up some frozen appetizers, a few bags of chips, and soda, or order pizza or Chinese from your favorite restaurant. If you want your guests to pitch in on the food costs, let them know ahead of time in the invitation. I generally pick up the tab for the food, but I did ask my guests to pitch in $5 each for pizza and drinks for an Oscar party once. They weren&rsquo;t offended at all, and I saved some cash.</p> <h3>Provide the Booze</h3> <p>Game night is never fun if it&rsquo;s alcohol-free &mdash; at least for me. The fun and laughter (and ridiculous answers) increase when everybody&rsquo;s had a few. Provide the booze yourself or ask your friends to BYOB; that's totally an acceptable request. Most of your friends will probably arrive with a bottle of wine anyway (a small gift is protocol when inviting someone to your home for an evening that would otherwise cost them more money than a bottle of wine), but suggest in the invitation that if they want something special, they should bring it. I always have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">liquor</a>, mixers, and wine on hand, and I&rsquo;ll pick up beer for a game night. Be sure to tell your guests what will be available, so they&rsquo;re not left dry because they don't like what you provided.</p> <h3>Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s competitive, and then there&rsquo;s over-competitive. I&rsquo;m competitive &mdash; I enjoy winning &mdash; but if I lose, I don&rsquo;t throw a tantrum. Nobody likes that guy who gets pissed because he lost. A night can go down hill very quickly if anyone in the party is aggressive about winning and not a team player. Game night should be an occasion to relax and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">have fun</a>. Keep that in mind, and don&rsquo;t be afraid to calm down a guest who may be on the edge. You&rsquo;re in charge, so there&rsquo;s no harm in reminding everyone that this isn&rsquo;t a game show and there&rsquo;s no pot of gold at the end. Likewise, just because you&rsquo;re the host of the party doesn&rsquo;t give you authority to make up rules in your favor. Play fair and honest and have an excellent time &mdash; especially if you ever want your guests to come back again.</p> <p><em>Have other game-night tips to share? Let us know is the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-rein-in-your-spending-without-sacrificing-fun">Easy Ways to Rein in Your Spending Without Sacrificing Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-cheap-things-to-do-during-the-weekday">8 Fun and Cheap Things to Do During the Weekday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">Massive List of Things to Do While Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night">How to Host an Awesome Frugal Movie Night</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle cheap party ideas game nights things to do Wed, 01 Feb 2012 11:36:24 +0000 Mikey Rox 883218 at http://www.wisebread.com Class Without Tons of Cash: Frugal Cocktail Party Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cocktail_party.jpg" alt="Women drinking outside" title="Women drinking outside" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's nothing I love more in the summer than hosting a backyard soiree and playing bartender for friends. But if you're like me and want to impress with fancy cocktails and appetizers, it can be quite costly by the time you add up the price of the booze and other ingredients.</p> <p>However, there are a few tricks to saving money and throwing a summer bash with style. Here are ten ways to maintain your hostess cred without hurting your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded">Fabulous Party Ideas for the Frugal Minded</a>)</p> <h3>Buy the Cheap Stuff</h3> <p>If you are making mixed drinks, especially the fruity ones, then you don't need top shelf liquor. You won't be able to taste the difference once you add all the other ingredients. For drinks that call for juice, frozen juices are more cost effective than bottled juice, particularly if you are making a large batch. You don't need name-brand sodas either (except maybe as a treat for the designated drivers). There are several liquors on the market that are cheap but don't taste like rubbing alcohol. Some of my favorites are Sobieski Vodka, Beefeater Gin (you can find cheaper ones, but with gin you don't want to go too cheap), and Ron Castillo White Rum.</p> <h3>Consider Using Mixers</h3> <p>Sometimes it is just easier and cheaper to use a mix. I like to make margaritas with my own secret recipe, but if I'm making a lot of them for guests, I'll break down and just buy the mix. Or, if you aren't the type of person who regularly stocks hot sauce or Worcestershire, buying a bloody Mary mix would be a better option for you. Before you buy, try to find recipes for drinks that call for ingredients you already have.</p> <h3>Ask Guests to Contribute</h3> <p>There's nothing wrong with asking guests to bring a bottle of their favorite liquor or other drinks or snacks, particularly if you are hosting a large party. Plus it gives them more options in case you don't have the fixings for their favorite cocktail. You can also ask people to bring something inexpensive, such as ice or soda, which doesn't put them out but still helps you save on the overall cost. Bug spray is another inexpensive item that may seem like an odd request, but think about it &mdash; who puts on bug spray before a party? All your guests will appreciate this minor detail once the mosquitoes start biting.</p> <h3>Make Sangria</h3> <p>The best part about this is that you do not need a recipe to make really good <a href="http://www.spain-recipes.com/sangriarecipe.html">sangria</a>. And you can also use dirt cheap wine. If you are making other drinks that call for fresh fruit, making sangria is a great way to use the leftover fruit and offer something to guests who don't like mixed drinks. Spiked fruit punch is another cheap and easy way to make a large batch of drinks that go down easy. Here's a <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,171,150191-254207,00.html">simple fruit punch recipe</a> to get you started, but like sangria, there are dozens of ways to customize punch using your favorite ingredients.</p> <h3>Minimize the Number of Ingredients</h3> <p>I often do this when I'm planning a dinner party. For instance, if I'm making a homemade pasta sauce, I will choose an appetizer that uses the same ingredients, such as a bruschetta with garlic and basil. Think about some of the drinks you know you'll want to make before purchasing your ingredients, or what items a bar would typically stock, such as tonic water, seltzer, triple sec, fruit juices, sugar or simple syrup, olives, and other garnishes. Things like bitters, mint, and tomato juice are specific to certain types of cocktails, so make sure you have enough guests who prefer these drinks before buying, and don't forget to consider a mix. You can even stretch your drink ingredients to help with the snacks (see Make Your Own Snacks below for more suggestions).</p> <h3>Make Your Own Decorations</h3> <p>Part of what I love about having parties at home is creating the ambiance, and in the summer, you have a lot more options with outside decorations. I&nbsp;try to use what I have around the house for outdoor lighting, which also makes it a little more funky than having uniform lighting. Try draping all the holiday lights you can find around porches or fencing. I open my shed door and drape the lights from the roof of the shed to the back porch, and I use all shapes, sizes, and colors I have (even pumpkin lights). I also place a random assortment of candles in metal buckets, empty ceramic planters, and whatever else I can find that's safe, and place them all around the yard and porch area. This is a good opportunity to use scented candles that have been given to me as gifts, since they are too strong for my taste to use indoors. You can always go to a thrift store and find an assortment of junk to create unique decor. Citronella candles or tiki torches are a great way to light up the yard and keep bugs away, and you can find cheap ones at drugstores or on sale near the end of the summer.</p> <h3>Put Out a Tip Jar</h3> <p>While you may feel uncomfortable asking guests for money, you don't have to make a suggested donation or require that your guests chip in. This can be easier than asking guests to bring drinks or snacks, because you don't have to worry if there will be enough for everyone, and your guests don't have to worry about making a trip to the store beforehand or deciding what to bring. Most people would rather throw five or ten bucks into the hat than buy an expensive bottle of liquor, and if you are frugal with your purchases, you might come out ahead.</p> <h3>Make Jell-O Shots</h3> <p>These gooey, potent treats aren't just for college kids anymore. You can get really creative with these. Try mixing flavors and creating your own, or use a casserole dish to gel them and cut them into customized shapes (novelty cookie cutters are perfect for this). The best part is that Jell-O is super cheap and easy.</p> <h3>Make Your Own Snacks</h3> <p>Remember when you made your own popcorn at that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-oscar-party-ideas">Oscar party</a>, like Meg suggested? Well, here's your opportunity to wow your guests again with your ability to make delicious and healthy popcorn without sticking a bag in the microwave. There's no need to buy chips and other processed food for any party. You can even get a little fancy with classics, such as homemade french fries. Cut them like steak fries and add an aioli (basically mayonnaise mixed with your favorite herb or hot sauce), and you have a tapas-worthy appetizer. Or create an olive hummus with that can of chick peas in the pantry you never thought you'd use, and the olives you bought for martinis (you can also put them out on their own as a finger food).</p> <p>If you have a vegetable garden, use whatever is ready to harvest. Bake some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/baked-kale-chips/detail.aspx">kale chips</a> (I suggest substituting salt with a small amount of tamari if you have it), or put out fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil from the garden. You can always make something basic and a little unexpected, like ants on a log with that celery you are using for bloody Marys. There are lots of possibilities, and you might create something wonderful that you never thought of simply by combining what you have in your pantry and fridge.</p> <h3>Ask Guests to Dress Formally</h3> <p>This one may not directly save you money, but it does give you and your guests an opportunity to pull out swanky dresses that don't get a lot of wear. Plus, if you will excuse the pop psychology, I've found that when people dress as if they have more money, they tend to think they have more money. So they might even pitch in a little more to the tip jar. In any case, it's always fun to see people you see every day all swanked out.</p> <p>No matter how you choose to customize your cocktail party, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have plenty of options and provide a nice evening with friends. Just remember to party responsibly, fiscally and otherwise.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-dinner-party-dishes-you-can-make-in-advance">15 Easy Dinner Party Dishes You Can Make in Advance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throw-an-awesome-potluck-dinner-with-these-6-easy-tricks">Throw an Awesome Potluck Dinner With These 6 Easy Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unexpected-delicious-drinks-you-can-make-at-home">Unexpected, Delicious Drinks You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded">Fabulous Party Ideas For The Frugal-Minded</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap drinks cheap party ideas party food Fri, 22 Jul 2011 10:24:05 +0000 Ashley Watson 629784 at http://www.wisebread.com