affordable entertaining http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14790/all en-US 13 Ideas for Entertaining on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/13-ideas-for-entertaining-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-ideas-for-entertaining-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fun-4950529-small.jpg" alt="karaoke" title="karaoke" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hosting a party at your home doesn't always have to drain your wallet &mdash; you can be a hostess with the mostest on a littlest budget. The main thing you have to keep in mind is to focus on the experience. If the activity is fun enough, then there's no need for expensive decor and fancy appetizers. (<a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Cheap-Ways-Treat-Yourself-22129255" target="_blank">RELATED: 22 Cheap Ways to Treat Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>1. Music Swap</h2> <p>Ask friends to come over with <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Music-Exchange-Party-29638308" target="_blank">their favorite songs</a>, make sure you have speakers set up for all to hear, and listen to some jams all night.</p> <h2>2. Board-Game Potluck</h2> <p>Invite over a handful of friends, and ask each person to bring his or her <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Budget-Friendly-Party-Ideas-21246007" target="_blank">favorite board game plus a snack</a> to share. Take care of the drinks yourself or ask guests to pitch in if things become costly.</p> <h2>3. Nail Party</h2> <p>Do something different from the usual movie or board-game night this weekend &mdash; organize <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Throw-Nail-Party-24592436" target="_blank">a nail party</a> with your girlfriends. Use this as an opportunity to try out fun nail art that would cost a lot of money to get done in a salon</p> <h2>4. Magazine Article Club</h2> <p>This weekend, instead of hosting a book club, <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Hosting-Magazine-Article-Club-28472320" target="_blank">plan a magazine article night</a>. It's very simple: just pick an article you find interesting and ask your friends to read it, too. Then you can all come together over a glass of wine to discuss what caught your attention, what was missing, and more.</p> <h2>5. Clothing Swap</h2> <p>Save money and revamp your wardrobe all at once by <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Host-Clothing-Swap-21486470" target="_blank">hosting a clothing swap</a> with your friends. Not only will you get a chance to clean out your closet, but you'll also be able to add new items for free.</p> <h2>6. Travel Party</h2> <p>While you might not be able to take trip this weekend, <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Travel-Themed-Party-Ideas-26889641" target="_blank">you can still get away</a> &mdash; sort of. Plan a night in centered around travel, and you'll feel like you're in vacationland from the comfort of your very own home without spending too much.</p> <h2>7. Painting Party</h2> <p>Turn your <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Host-Art-Party-26218588" target="_blank">living room into an artist's studio</a> and knock some of those must-try projects off your (ever-growing) to-do list.</p> <h2>8. Makeover Party</h2> <p>Invite your girlfriends over for a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Girls-Night-Ideas-Hair-Makeup-Party-25838151" target="_blank">beauty workshop of sorts</a>, and make a night of it. With help from YouTube tutorials and your friends, you'll go from novice to expert in five minutes or less at hardly any cost.</p> <h2>9. Karaoke at Home</h2> <p>Karaoke is one of those activities that most people enjoy but don't get the chance to do very often. Throw a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Karaoke-Home-25404939" target="_blank">karaoke party at home</a> by downloading <a href="http://www.karaokeanywhere.net/" target="_blank">Karaoke Anywhere</a>, which works on both iPhone and Android and features more than 50,000 karaoke songs. All you have to do is plug your phone into your TV. Plus, it lets you record and share with other people.</p> <h2>10. Wine Tasting</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Host-Wine-Tasting-Party-25300003" target="_blank">Wine tasting</a> has become a big trend, but you don't need to plan a trip to Napa or the South of France to join in on the fun. Instead, try hosting a wine tasting party in your own home. When you invite your friends, ask them to bring a bottle to contribute. You'll cut costs and not have to worry that you'll run out of drinks.</p> <h2>11. Adult Sleepover</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Throw-Adult-Sleepover-25086035" target="_blank">Slumber parties</a> were a form of entertainment for us back in the day. Not only was it a way to pass a Friday or Saturday night, but it was also a way to bond with our friends. As we get older, the venues we meet our friends in don't give us the same type of quality time a sleepover gives us; bars are way too noisy, and everyone can hear your conversations at a restaurant. Do something different this weekend, and invite your friends to your home for a nostalgic sleepover.</p> <h2>12. Sewing Party</h2> <p>Throw a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Throw-Sewing-Party-24814139" target="_blank">sewing party</a> with your girlfriends, and use it as an opportunity to mend or alter clothing you've been meaning to deal with.</p> <h2>13. Book Club</h2> <p>Starting a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Start-Book-Club-19308497" target="_blank">book club</a> may be for you if you find yourself constantly gushing over books with your friends or having heated debates on which character is more swoon-worthy. Getting a bunch of like-minded bookworms together for a book club is a fun and frugal social activity that will enrich your minds and friendships.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite fun and cheap get together activities?</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you&#039;re not careful, your at-home shindig can cost as much as going out. Keep your gatherings fun and affordable with these creative activities. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img width="300" height="95" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Dessert-Tray-28383434">Savvy&nbsp;Chic:&nbsp;Dollar-Store Tiered Tray<br /> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Entertain-Small-Apartment-26232872">5 Tips for Entertaining in a Small Space<br /> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Make-Chalkboard-Paint-26203305">DIY&nbsp;Chalkboard Paint: Make Your Own Unique Party Supplies</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ideas-for-entertaining-on-a-budget">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/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-seattle">Free and Cheap Things to Do in Seattle</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</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/14-things-good-hosts-never-do">14 Things Good Hosts Never Do</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/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed &#039;Em for Under $20</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment affordable entertaining cheap activities entertaining Tue, 14 May 2013 10:36:32 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 974033 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy, Frugal Ways to Have People Over (Even If You Don't Cook and Clean) http://www.wisebread.com/easy-frugal-ways-to-have-people-over-even-if-you-dont-cook-and-clean <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-frugal-ways-to-have-people-over-even-if-you-dont-cook-and-clean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bbq-4358691-small.jpg" alt="bbq" title="bbq" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A friend once made the observation that people have the time (and inclination) to cook OR clean. Like me, she opted to cook, meaning, then, that she typically had a messy house.</p> <p>I had never really considered that there were two such types of people. But after doing a mental scan of the homes of friends and acquaintances, I realized she was spot-on. Those with immaculate homes infrequently prepared home-cooked meals whereas those who cook most of the time seem to have, well, lived-in homes.</p> <p>Whatever your personal capabilities, lacking one or the other skill shouldn&rsquo;t prevent you from having people over. There are easy, cheap ways to entertain, even if you are not amazing at <em>both </em>cooking and cleaning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-pantry-snacks-for-unexpected-guests">Quick Pantry Snacks for Unexpected Guests</a>)</p> <p>Let's start with entertaining amidst your mess.</p> <h2>Entertain Cheaply Without Cleaning the House</h2> <p>Friends, acquaintances, and neighbors will appreciate your hosting a get-together, even if the venue is not a formal living or dining area in your home.</p> <p><strong>Throw a Party in Your Backyard</strong></p> <p>Your backyard, patio, or deck is a great place for a casual function. Friends with small children will especially appreciate freedom from worrying about their kids making a mess.</p> <p>Grill burgers and serve with a side item and dessert for a dinner party. Host an ice cream social if you want to have a kid-friendly affair. For either, stash drinks in a cooler and let guests help themselves.</p> <p>Pull out patio chairs or throw a blanket on the ground for seating. Ask guests to bring a lawn or camp chair if you are expecting a crowd.</p> <p>Leave most of the house untouched but clean the few areas that your guests might visit inside.</p> <p><strong>Use the Clubhouse</strong></p> <p>Many people I know have a clubhouse or common area in their neighborhood that can be reserved at no charge. Such an arrangement is ideal for a gathering.</p> <p>Food preparation is a bit more complicated than dinner or drinks in your home. But since you&rsquo;ve saved loads of time by not having to clean the house, you have more energy to plan and prep food and beverages.</p> <p>For a casual get-together, have your favorite pizzas delivered. For a slightly more formal affair, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes" target="_blank">fix a hot meal using a crock pot</a> and serve with previously prepared cold items, such as a tossed salad with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-and-affordable-salad-dressing-recipes" target="_blank">homemade dressing</a> and potato salad.</p> <p><strong>Plan a Picnic at the Park</strong></p> <p>You can host a lunch, early dinner, or birthday party at a park inexpensively. Note that facilities vary in their arrangements: some sites are free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis whereas some venues require reservations and charge a nominal fee ($10) or a hefty one ($200 or more).</p> <p>Free options involve spreading a blanket on an open space or snagging an empty picnic table. There, treat a couple of friends to a casual picnic with fried chicken or sandwiches.</p> <p>For larger events, reserving a space is helpful. Coordinate a potluck dinner with friends if you want to share a meal. Oversee games or free play and serve ice cream and cake for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-kid%E2%80%99s-birthday-party-that%E2%80%99s-fun-happily-memorable" target="_blank">kid's birthday party</a>.</p> <p>Remember to bring your own supplies, like plates, spoons, and napkins.</p> <p><strong>Invite Your Closest Friends</strong></p> <p>Your best friends will enjoy your hospitality no matter the state of your house. They&rsquo;ll understand that you&rsquo;d rather spend spare moments in conversation, not polishing furniture or dusting around books.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/company-coming-10-areas-to-clean-to-make-it-count" target="_blank">bit of tidying won&rsquo;t hurt though</a>. Just clear the main area and take care of tasks like clearing dirty dishes, taking out the trash, or changing the bathroom towels before, rather than after, the visit.</p> <p>Entertain as simply or elaborately as you want, hanging out over a casual brunch or hosting a fancy dinner.</p> <h2>Entertain Cheaply Without Excessive Cooking</h2> <p>Keeping your space clean and free of clutter can take a lot of effort. As a result, you may not have honed your cooking skills or developed a list of go-to dishes for special events. But you can still have people over with these techniques.</p> <p><strong>Use Simple Recipes</strong></p> <p>Spend most of your party prep time planning the guest list and decorating the area to ignite great conversation.</p> <p>Don't attempt to fix a lavish meal. Prepare a simple-to-make but elegant dish like <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1739,153176-250204,00.html" target="_blank">creamy baked chicken</a>; or try one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies" target="_blank">easy recipes for beginners</a>, such as spaghetti with salad and bread.</p> <p><strong>Serve &quot;Home-Cooked&quot; Meals Prepared by Others</strong></p> <p>Private catering can be expensive, but you can often buy healthy and affordable items from local businesses.</p> <p>In my area, there are a few shops with commercial kitchens that make small batches of reasonably priced entrees, side dishes, and desserts. Items can be purchased fresh with prior arrangements or frozen nearly anytime.</p> <p>Alternatively, buy dishes from the freshly prepared, deli, or bakery sections of a traditional or specialty grocery store. Some frozen foods work well also, such as marinated fish.</p> <p>If you decide to try one of these techniques, be sure to sample the food before your event. Pay close attention to cooking times and consider adding minutes because multiple items in the oven take longer to heat thoroughly than smaller or single-sized portions.</p> <p><strong>Practice New Recipes</strong></p> <p>Just because you don&rsquo;t have a repertoire of wonderfully exotic meals doesn&rsquo;t mean that you can&rsquo;t learn to make a new dish for a special event.</p> <p>Look for recipes that you can easily master, which typically are those with cooking techniques you understand and ingredients found at most stores. Test them in your own kitchen to be sure that you&rsquo;ll enjoy the dish. Consider trying one or two new foods and ask your friends to bring additional items if needed.</p> <p><strong>Throw a Cooking Party</strong></p> <p>Cooking parties can be riveting and well-orchestrated get-togethers based on what I've read. Find formal guidelines in this article on <a href="http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/how-to-throw-a-cooking-party.htm" target="_blank">how to throw a cooking party</a>.</p> <p>For a simpler event, pick a casual dinner or dessert theme. Ask friends to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fabulous-party-ideas-for-the-frugal-minded" target="_blank">bring a topping</a> for the pizza, baked potatoes, or salad that you provide. Let your guests surprise you with add-ons or mix-ins for ice cream or plain cheesecake, if you decide to throw a dessert party.</p> <p>Buy the basic ingredients and be prepared with supplies needed to cook, serve, and dine.</p> <p>Confession: I am much better at preparing meals than keeping a spotless house. Getting food and drinks together has always been easier for me than readying my house for even the friendliest of gatherings. And although I am far from a perfectionist, I sometimes find the process of having more than a couple of people over a challenge &mdash; and I thought you might feel the same way. So, to make things super easy (no matter your strengths and inclinations), mix and match the suggestions (buy home-cooked meals and eat outside, for example), relax, and enjoy.</p> <p><em>Do you have frugal, time-saving techniques for entertaining guests?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-frugal-ways-to-have-people-over-even-if-you-dont-cook-and-clean">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/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</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/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</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/10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants">10 of the World&#039;s Most Expensive Restaurants</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/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</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/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Lifestyle affordable entertaining dinner party easy cleaning Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Julie Rains 971677 at http://www.wisebread.com Being Frugal Without Giving Up Your Social Life http://www.wisebread.com/being-frugal-without-giving-up-your-social-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/being-frugal-without-giving-up-your-social-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/197975745_a52b045825_z.jpg" alt="outside dinner" title="outside dinner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever I write a frugality post, I get comments asking some version of, &quot;That's fine if you're happy being a hermit in your cheap apartment, but what about people who have friends?&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-driving-your-less-frugal-friends-crazy" target="_blank">Not Driving Your Less Frugal Friends Crazy</a>)</p> <p>I think there are three general strategies for dealing with the issues around having a social life while still being frugal.</p> <h3>1. Consider That Extreme Frugality Doesn't Have to Be Total Frugality</h3> <p>Part of the answer is just to go ahead and budget some money for socializing with friends who do stuff that costs money.</p> <p>You won't want to eat out every meal, but you could join them occasionally &mdash; when it fits into your budget. Similarly, you can go to an occasional movie or an occasional concert or an occasional night out drinking. In fact, you could take a once-in-a-lifetime cruise, if it's what you want to do, and if spending your money that way is aligned with your values.</p> <p>The whole point, after all, is to align your spending with your values. Doing things with your friends almost certainly aligns with your values &mdash; at some level of spending. That level of spending may be much lower than what they spend, but it's probably above zero.</p> <h3>2. Consider That Even Friends Who Usually Spend Money Appreciate Variation</h3> <p>Another part is to gradually and subtly educate your friends on the attractions of frugal entertainments.</p> <p>If your friends always meet at a coffee shop, invite them over for coffee instead. If you keep coffee on hand anyway, you can probably make coffee for six or eight friends for no more than you'd spend on just your own drink at a coffee shop. The upshot is that you spend less and all your friends spend zero. (A pleasant zero-cost hour over great coffee is just the sort of thing that can open a friend's eyes about the advantages of choosing frugal alternatives.)</p> <p>Having them over for coffee only makes sense if you're a coffee drinker, of course. If you drink tea, have them over for tea &mdash; again, for the cost of one mug of tea at a tea house you can make tea for a whole crowd of friends. You can even, if your friends socialize by going out drinking, invite them over for cocktails &mdash; more expensive than coffee, but still cheaper than drinks at a bar.</p> <p>There are cheap alternatives for all sorts of otherwise expensive outings &mdash; watch a DVD at home (popcorn is cheap), play board games, go to a free event at the library or the park. (Wise Bread has a big collection of posts of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-fun-things-to-do-in-your-city" target="_blank">free and cheap things to do</a> in cities and towns all over the U.S. and here and there in a few other countries as well.)</p> <p>Don't present any of these as &quot;cheap&quot; alternatives that you'd rather do to save money. Instead, present them as &quot;more interesting&quot; alternatives.</p> <p>Better yet, present them as &quot;superior&quot; alternatives. If you're a serious coffee drinker who buys locally roasted coffee and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/french-press-coffee">brews it in a French press</a>, there's every reason to expect that your coffee is <em>better</em> than they'd get at the coffee shop. Ditto for tea. If you keep up with the local music scene, you can identify the bands that are national quality just before they get too famous to do free concerts in the park. A documentary shown at the library with the filmmaker in attendance to lead a discussion after may be better than the third remake of some action-adventure blockbuster.</p> <h3>3. Consider That It's Also Good to Make New Friends</h3> <p>Finally, remember that your stock of friends isn't fixed.</p> <p>You don't have to drop your old friends &mdash; you may have <em>great</em> friends whose <em>only flaw</em> is that they don't know how to have fun without spending money. Just make some new ones who appreciate getting together for the company more than for spending money.</p> <p>As you make new friends, consider introducing them to your old friends. The ones who fit in and hit it off with your old friends will be in a great position to suggest new activities for the new, expanded group &mdash; activities suggested because they'll be fun, that just happen to be frugal. It turns strategy #3 into a variation on strategy #2.</p> <p>Being frugal is not about being a hermit, just like having friends is not about spending money.</p> <p><em>How are you socializing frugally?</em>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-frugal-without-giving-up-your-social-life">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-12"> <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/10-ways-to-have-a-cheaper-evening-hanging-out-with-friends">10 Ways to Have a Cheaper Evening Hanging Out With Friends</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/15-ways-to-stay-on-budget-even-with-your-spendy-friends">15 Ways to Stay on Budget — Even With Your Spendy Friends</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/find-love-with-these-fun-and-cheap-first-date-ideas">Find Love With These Fun and Cheap First Date 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/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank">6 Summer Party Ideas That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</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/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living affordable entertaining cheap dates friends Mon, 11 Mar 2013 11:36:31 +0000 Philip Brewer 968270 at http://www.wisebread.com Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/potluck ideas.jpg" alt="Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet." title="potluck ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s potluck season, which means that soon you&rsquo;re going to be thinking, &ldquo;What in the world am I bringing to this thing?!&rdquo;</p> <p>These 23 delicious dishes are perfect for your next potluck, and they won&rsquo;t bust the bank in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">5 Potluck&nbsp;Parties That Help You Share the Wealth</a>)</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s start with the sweet dishes...&nbsp;</p> <h3>1. Butterfinger Pie</h3> <p>This <a target="_blank" href="http://dessert.food.com/recipe/butterfinger-pie-29478">Butterfinger pie</a> takes just 10 minutes to make, and it will probably be eaten quicker than that!&nbsp;</p> <h3>2. Chocolate Chip Cookies</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to bake these from scratch (no judging here). When your grocery store's off-brand, semi-frozen cookie logs go on sale (usually two for $4 at my local grocery store) pick up a couple. Before your next potluck, pop them in the oven half-an-hour before you leave for fresh, warm, home-baked cookies.</p> <h3>3. Fairy Bread</h3> <p>Popular in Australia for children&rsquo;s birthday parties, this is <a target="_blank" href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/fairy-bread/">white fluffy sandwich bread</a> with a layer of butter and then topped with colorful sprinkles. Cut off the crusts and then into triangles.</p> <h3>4. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins</h3> <p>Cream cheese seems to come up on almost everyone&rsquo;s &ldquo;indulgence&rdquo; list. Merge it with pumpkin, and you&rsquo;ll have <a target="_blank" href="http://www.food.com/recipe/pumpkin-cream-cheese-muffins-74401">muffins that everyone wants to gobble up</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h3>5. Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies&nbsp;</h3> <p>A <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Cinnamon-Oatmeal-Cookies-2">cool-weather twist on a classic cookie</a>. Something about cinnamon just screams &ldquo;cozy up!&rdquo; The best thing about this recipe is there are no exotic ingredients.</p> <h3>6. Saltine Cracker Chocolate Bark</h3> <p>On the streets it&rsquo;s known as &ldquo;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/08/chocolate-crack-chocolate-bark.html">chocolate crack</a>,&rdquo; and for good reason. I first came across this treat at a party, and I kept going back for more because I just couldn&rsquo;t figure out what was going on with this mysterious dessert. Hey, research needed to be done! The secret to this delicious never-before-seen, flaky, buttery-bottomed, melt-in-your-mouth, sent-from-heaven dessert was (you're never going to believe this) &mdash; saltine crackers! Bring this super-easy recipe to your next potluck, and you will leave with an empty plate and a whole new batch of friends.</p> <h3>7. Microwave Caramels</h3> <p>This <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theyummylife.com/Microwave_Caramels">microwave caramels recipe</a> is beyond easy, uses common ingredients, and the best part? It only takes six minutes to make! Bring them to the party on a cute dish (or put them in a tin, or aluminum foil, for easy co-worker/boss/postal worker holiday gifts), and you&rsquo;re done!</p> <h3>8. Never-Fail Pineapple Upside Down Cake</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.dole.com/EatRightLanding/EatRightRecipe/RecipeDetail/tabid/596/Default.aspx?contentid=1846">Sweet, juicy, and actually kind of refreshing</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h3>9. Instant Fudge</h3> <p>Get yourself one container of fudge frosting and one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Either mix the chips alone in the microwave and then add the frosting and stir together, or melt both at the same time. You must watch the chocolate very carefully to be sure that you don&rsquo;t overcook it. Throw in some peanuts (or any other kind of nut you like) to add some crunch. Place the mixture in a pan, refrigerate, cut, then serve.</p> <h3>10. Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes</h3> <p>These <a target="_blank" href="http://www.handletheheat.com/2010/02/cookies-cream-cheesecake-cupcakes.html">cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes</a> are completely decadent.</p> <h3>11. Pound-Cake Tiramisu</h3> <p>Love how the store-bought pound-cake in this <a target="_blank" href="http://www.marthastewart.com/336470/pound-cake-tiramisu?czone=entertaining/dinner-party-ideas/menus&amp;center=0&amp;gallery=876049&amp;slide=336470">pound-cake tiramisu</a> cuts down on the prep-time.</p> <h3>12. Baked S&rsquo;mores</h3> <p>These <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theaprongal.com/2011/11/baked-smores.html">baked s'mores</a> are a little more complex than some of the other recipes listed, but it&rsquo;s worth the extra effort.&nbsp;</p> <p>And now, time for the savory dishes...</p> <h3>13. Carrots With Ranch Dressing</h3> <p>Okay, before you dismiss this one as &ldquo;you&rsquo;ve heard it before,&rdquo; hear me out.</p> <p>Carrots are cheap. At .79 cents for a full bag you can&rsquo;t go wrong. Pick up some store-brand ranch and small, clear 3-inch cups from the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-easy-holiday-shopping-at-the-dollar-store">dollar store</a>. Slice up the carrots so they are about 4 inches tall. Squirt a 1/2 inch of ranch dressing into the bottom of each cup, and then add four or five carrot sticks to each cup. There you go! These are great because they are easy to handle at the party (no scooping dressing onto a plate and then having everything else roll into it), and everyone will think you&rsquo;re a genius for bringing such a healthy and easy-to-eat dish.</p> <h3>14. Mexican Mess Bean Dip</h3> <p>If a <a target="_blank" href="http://cheese.food.com/recipe/mexican-mess-bean-dip-293219">bean dip</a> didn&rsquo;t show up on this list it wouldn&rsquo;t qualify as a &ldquo;proper&rdquo; potluck post, so here it is and now this list is officially legitimate. Buy a bag of store-brand tortilla chips to accompany your dip, and off to the party you go!</p> <h3>15. Parfait Chicken Salad</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve only seen sweets done as parfaits; never something savory. Where have you been all my life, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Layered-Chicken-Salad">delicious savory parfait</a>?</p> <h3>16. Triscuit Pizzas</h3> <p>This is easy. Gather 1/2 lb. shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 lb. softened butter, 6 oz. tomato paste, 1 tsp. oregano, and a pinch of garlic. Mix all of the ingredients together, spread onto Triscuit crackers, and bake on a cookie sheet at 350&deg; until bubbly. While this one won&rsquo;t win any health awards with the 1/2 lb. of butter, it sure is good.</p> <h3>17. Hummus and Warm Pita Bread</h3> <p>This is the easiest one on the list. Pick up two packages of pre-made hummus, put it in your own bowl, and then warm some pita bread in the oven. Slice the pita bread into triangles and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm. Bonus points are given if you add olive oil and sliced olives to the top of the hummus.</p> <h3>18. Meat Pockets</h3> <p>These <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Potluck-Pockets">meat pockets</a> are cute and easy to handle at a party.</p> <h3>19. Baked Spaghetti</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2012/02/baked-spaghetti-recipe/">Baked spaghetti</a> is definitely different, and that&rsquo;s one of the great things about potlucks. You get to try a little bit of a lot of foods you wouldn&rsquo;t normally get to eat.&nbsp;</p> <h3>20. Blue Cheese and Walnut Spread</h3> <p>Sign me up! This <a target="_blank" href="http://www.marthastewart.com/336546/blue-cheese-and-walnut-spread?">blue cheese and walnut spread</a> is nutty and classy all at the same time.</p> <h3>21. Fruit Salsa With Baked Cinnamon Chips</h3> <p>This one&rsquo;s a lighter and healthier potluck option that straddles the line between sweet and savory. Is it a salad? Or is it a fruit dessert? <a target="_blank" href="http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/05/fruit-salsa-with-baked-cinnamon-chips.html">It&rsquo;s both</a>!</p> <h3>22. BLT Pasta Salad</h3> <p>A <a target="_blank" href="http://abirdandabean.com/blt-pasta-salad/">BLT and a pasta salad</a> got together, had a baby, and this is it.&nbsp;</p> <h3>23. Crock Pot Mac and Cheese</h3> <p>There's got to be a law somewhere that says you can't have a potluck without a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">Crock Pot</a>. Don't get arrested, make this <a target="_blank" href="http://tipgarden.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-pot-mac-and-cheese.html">Crock&nbsp;Pot mac and cheese</a> instead.</p> <p><em>What is your go-to recipe for potlucks? Do you have a winning recipe that everyone always loves? We&rsquo;d love to hear what it is!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anna-newell-jones">Anna Newell Jones</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">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-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</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/how-to-make-moonshine">How to Make Moonshine</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/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails">20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails</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/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</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/start-now-you-can-make-these-23-delicious-holiday-gifts">Start Now: You Can Make These 23 Delicious Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink affordable entertaining frugal recipes potluck recipes Wed, 05 Dec 2012 11:36:32 +0000 Anna Newell Jones 955506 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dinner_party_fun.jpg" alt="Dinner party" title="Dinner party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A dinner party never has to be over the top, but anyone who has ever hosted one knows that the cost can escalate quickly.</p> <p>In an effort to impress their guests, many hosts opt to make a fancy dish with expensive ingredients. Or they go out all out on table decorations. Or they pick up pricey bottles of wine. Now, what once might have cost $25 total has increased to $100 &mdash; an amount that quickly sucks all the fun out of having friends over for an evening of good food and conversation. (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> <p>If you&rsquo;re a fan of dinner parties and keen to avoid this common mistake, perhaps starting a frugal dinner club is a good idea. The primary purpose of the frugal dinner club is to bring your friends together so you can spend quality time together enjoying delicious grub without spending a lot of money. If this sounds like a club you&rsquo;d like to start, here are a few criteria.</p> <h3>1. Establish the Club by Inviting Your Frugal Friends</h3> <p>Everyone in your frugal dinner club should be frugal-minded and resourceful. These are your friends who live on a budget, always have a coupon for dinner or activities, and can seek out the best deals no matter where they are. You don&rsquo;t want those friends for whom money is not a concern or those friends who are too lazy to save cash when they can. Inviting the latter will defeat the purpose of the club and take away the excitement.</p> <h3>2. Establish the Frugal Dinner Club Rules</h3> <p>Once your club is established, it&rsquo;s important to set up rules by which the club will abide. They don&rsquo;t have to be so strict that they turn off some members, but they should adhere to frugal principles. Consider these suggestions to adopt as your own rules:</p> <p><strong>Individual Dishes Alternate Meal to Meal</strong></p> <p>I like to cook all kinds of different foods, so I wouldn&rsquo;t want to be stuck always bringing the main dish or the side dish; sometimes I may want to bring dessert. Alternating the types of dishes members bring to every club meeting will keep it exciting for everyone.</p> <p><strong> Use Only In-Season Ingredients</strong></p> <p>Using only <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">in-season ingredients</a> will help you narrow down your recipe choices, but it will also save you money since in-season foods are inherently cheaper than out-of-season foods.</p> <p><strong>Clip and Swap Coupons</strong></p> <p>Of course you&rsquo;re going to use coupons to buy food for your frugal dinner club. So to enhance your stash, make it a rule that every member should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coupons">clip coupons</a> prior to each meeting so you can trade after dinner.</p> <p><strong>Put a Cap on the Cost of the Dishes</strong></p> <p>The group can decide a reasonable price point for each dish based on the amount of members in the group, but the price point should be low enough that it requires smart shopping and creative cooking. I&rsquo;d also suggest that everyone keeps their receipts so the group can tally up the total at the next club meeting, so everyone can see how much money is actually spent and saved.</p> <p><strong>Raid Pantries</strong></p> <p>Before anyone goes to the market to buy food, one of the rules should be that they must raid their pantries for ingredients. There&rsquo;s no reason to buy anything you already have. After you've searched your pantry, use <a href="http://www.recipekey.com/">Recipe Key</a> to input items to find a suitable dish to make for the club.</p> <h3>3. Set the Frugal Dinner Club Schedule</h3> <p>Come to a consensus within the group to settle on the appropriate meeting schedule.</p> <h3>4. Assign the Frugal Dinner Club Dishes</h3> <p>Now that you have your friends lined up, the frugal dinner club rules set, and a schedule firmly in place, it&rsquo;s time to assign dishes (not to be confused with recipes; those are at each member&rsquo;s discretion). Who will make the main? Who&rsquo;s in charge of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts">dessert</a>? Discuss.</p> <h3>5. Sit Down for Dinner and Brag About Your Saving Savvy</h3> <p>This is the moment you&rsquo;ve all been waiting for. Gather for a meeting of your frugal dinner club and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Discuss the recipes (ask members to bring a print out for the rest of the group), the ingredients, what you had on hand and what you had to buy, how much you spent, and how much you saved. Then simply enjoy each other&rsquo;s company while stuffing your face with the satisfaction that you can throw a fabulous dinner party without inflicting any pain upon your pockets.</p> <p><em>Do you have a frugal dinner club? Do you have other suggestions for those who want to start one? Let me know 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-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">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/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</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/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed &#039;Em for Under $20</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/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend">40+ Cheap or Free Ways to Make the Most of the Weekend</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/easy-frugal-ways-to-have-people-over-even-if-you-dont-cook-and-clean">Easy, Frugal Ways to Have People Over (Even If You Don&#039;t Cook and Clean)</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/cheap-fun-and-libations-brewery-and-winery-tours">Cheap Fun and Libations: Brewery and Winery Tours</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink affordable entertaining dinner party frugal recipes things to do Thu, 23 Aug 2012 10:24:45 +0000 Mikey Rox 951304 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2772870188_4d647c7163_z.jpg" alt="cocktails" title="cocktails" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love a good cocktail, but I don't always like trotting out (or, moreover, buying) ten different bottles of stuff just to make one drink. With that in mind, I've compiled a list of cocktails that all require just two ingredients (not counting garnishes or things you likely have around, like salt).</p> <p>Whether you're trying to keep things simple at a party or just want to have ingredients around for something easy and delicious, these two-ingredient cocktails all require minimal investment and taste great. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">Great Budget Liquors</a>)</p> <h2>1. Dark and Stormy</h2> <p>The key to a great <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/drink/views/Dark-and-Stormy-235964">Dark and Stormy</a> is getting ginger beer, not ginger ale. Spicier than the ale, ginger beer gives this drink a great kick. Just don't sniff it unless you want to give your sinuses a rude awakening.</p> <h2>2. Paloma</h2> <p>There are a few variations of this <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/07/cocktails-the-paloma.html">super-summery tequila drink</a>, but at its most basic, it's simply tequila and grapefruit soda on ice with a lime garnish. You can add a dash of salt too, if you like.</p> <h2>3. Martini</h2> <p>Whether it's with gin or vodka, all you need to add is vermouth. If you want to move past two ingredients, you can always make your <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/dirty-martini/">martini dirty</a>, adding the delicious brine from the olive jar.</p> <h2>4. The Peat Racer</h2> <p>Before you start griping that the IPA ruins the scotch or the scotch ruins the IPA, give this beer-based mixed drink a try &mdash; or try one of the others from this Wall Street Journal article about <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904332804576538901540667040.html">two-ingredient beer cocktails</a>.</p> <h2>5. Greyhound</h2> <p>The <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/gryhnd_cktl.htm">Greyhound</a> is a grapefruit-and-vodka cocktail. When you add a salt rim, it becomes a Salty Dog.</p> <h2>6. Mimosa</h2> <p>A brunch classic &mdash; half orange juice, half sparkling wine.</p> <h2>7. Bellini</h2> <p>Similar to the Mimosa, the <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/bellini-recipe/index.html">Bellini</a> combines sparkling wine with peach puree.</p> <h2>8. Gin and Tonic</h2> <p>The name says it all. But if you're planning to down these to stave off malaria, <a href="http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1342/will-the-quinine-in-tonic-water-prevent-malaria">you're sadly out of luck</a>.</p> <h2>9. Camparosa</h2> <p>Intoxicologist has several <a href="http://intoxicologist.net/2011/05/entertaining-with-two-ingredient-cocktails/">two-ingredient cocktails</a>, but I'm especially intrigued by the Camparosa, a combination of 2 oz. bitter Italian Campari and 3 oz. grapefruit juice, served over ice with an orange slice garnish.&nbsp;Pucker up!</p> <h2>10.&nbsp;Shandy</h2> <p>There are a lot of variations on the <a href="http://beer.about.com/od/drinksmadewithbeer/r/shandy.htm">shandy</a>, but the basic version is mixing one part beer with one part of another beverage. Popular mixers include lemonade, limeade, ginger ale, and sprite.</p> <h2>11. Rum and Coke</h2> <p>A classic. For something different, try it with spiced rum.</p> <h2>12. Calimocho</h2> <p>Here's a less-expected cola combination &mdash; this&nbsp;Spanish drink is comprised of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/fashion/02shake.html">half cola and half red wine</a>. Every article about this drink makes the writer sound like a parent trying to get his kid to eat asparagus &mdash; &quot;Yes, it sounds gross. Please just try it.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Rusty Nail</h2> <p>What's more Scottish than scotch? A drink that <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/r/r/rsty_nl_cktl.htm">combines scotch with the Scottish liqueur Drambuie</a>.</p> <h2>14. Applejack and Cider</h2> <p>When I was still living on the East Coast, this was one of my favorite ways to welcome fall &mdash; a shot of applejack (an apple brandy) served over ice with apple cider.</p> <h2>15. Screwdriver</h2> <p>A shot of vodka with orange juice.</p> <h2>16. Cubicle Libre</h2> <p>This one is from our very own Philip Brewer &mdash; the cocktail he used to end his work-week with, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/less-or-cheaper">combining bourbon and Mountain Dew</a>.</p> <h2>17. Black Russian</h2> <p>Like <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/dining/03lebo.html?pagewanted=all">The Dude's favorite drink</a>, the White Russian, but without the cream, the Black Russian combines vodka and Kahlua.</p> <h2>18. French&nbsp;Farmer</h2> <p>One of the most delightful meal-starting cocktails I can remember having was the French&nbsp;Farmer at <a href="http://barbuzzo.com/barbuzzo/#">Barbuzzo</a> in Philadelphia, which combines sparkling wine and floral St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The company behind the liqueur isn't quite as flowery in their description; they simply call it <a href="http://www.stgermain.fr/cocktails.php?p=1&amp;r=StGermainChampagne">St. Germain and Champagne</a>.</p> <h2>19. B&amp;B</h2> <p>One of those classic cocktails that always makes me think of guys with snifters and cigars. The ingredients? <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/bnb_cktl.htm">Brandy and Benedictine</a>.</p> <h2>20. Gimlet</h2> <p>Like martinis, gimlets can be made with vodka or gin. Here's the recipe from my cookbook, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-old-lady-recipes-classic-frugal-cooking">Little Old Lady Recipes</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Gin</li> <li>Half as much Rose's lime juice as gin</li> <li>Lime wedges</li> </ul> <p>Mix gin and lime juice in a shaker with ice.&nbsp;Shake till the outside gets frosty. Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.</p> <p><em>Did I miss your favorite two-ingredient cocktail? Share it in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails">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/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</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/15-cheap-and-delicious-punch-recipes-for-holiday-parties">15 Cheap and Delicious Punch Recipes for Holiday Parties</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/what-booze-teaches-us-about-money">What Booze Teaches Us About Money</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/for-delicious-cocktails-infuse-alcohol">For Delicious Cocktails, Infuse Alcohol</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/25-easy-5-ingredient-recipes-that-save-time-and-money">25 Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes That Save Time and Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable entertaining cocktails simple recipes Wed, 11 Jul 2012 10:36:12 +0000 Meg Favreau 938926 at http://www.wisebread.com A Dinner Party for 6: Feed 'Em for Under $20 http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2773938704_efdb98a443_z.jpg" alt="dinner party" title="dinner party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you enjoy having dinner parties and entertaining, then you understand that costs can add up quickly if you&rsquo;re not careful. It&rsquo;s easy to allow our tastes to get the best of our budget. But there&rsquo;s hope for those with the gift of hospitality &mdash; dinner parties need not be expensive. In fact, here&rsquo;s how you can have an excellent, three-course meal for six for under $20. (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>Salad</h2> <p>A simple salad is easy to put together with all the pre-mixed bags of greens at the grocery store. You can get two 12 oz. bags of mixed greens for $3.33.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t forget the dressing. You can <a href="http://www.mrfood.com/Salad-Dressings/Basic-Vinaigrette-Dressing">make your own vinaigrette</a> with simple ingredients you probably already have in your home.</p> <h2>Main Dish</h2> <p>I love to grill. One of my favorite things to grill is chicken breasts, because it&rsquo;s like starting with a blank canvas &mdash; there are so many different spices and seasonings that can be added. I will often open our spice cabinet and experiment with a few different spices, but if you want to keep it simple, then season the chicken with salt and pepper. It&rsquo;s amazing how good simple seasoning turns out. If you have oregano, Italian seasoning, or basil, you can go with more of an Italian-tasting chicken breast. On the other hand, if you have a little chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper, you can easily tilt the chicken toward a Mexican flavor.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re looking to really impress the guests and are okay with climbing above the $20 mark for the meal, then try stuffing your chicken breasts with a quarter cup of shredded mozzarella cheese ($2.00 on sale for an 8 oz. package), a sliced tomato ($.33), and a few basil leaves ($.99 for a basil bunch). The final product will be worth the extra $3.32!<o:p></o:p></p> <p>I like to impress the guests by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbqu.net/season1/112_4.html">grilling chicken under bricks</a>. This also helps to keep the chicken from drying out, and it adds a little mystique to the dinner party too since the guests usually ask, &ldquo;Are you really putting bricks on top of my chicken?&rdquo;</p> <p>A perusal of the weekly ad for our local grocery store showed a big 40 oz. package of chicken breasts on sale for $4.47.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Sides</h2> <p>Just because you&rsquo;re going frugal doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to skimp on taste. I suggest picking up a 3 lb. bag of red <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/potato-ideas-that-pop">potatoes</a>, which at our local grocery store rings up at $2.50. Boil the potatoes in a small pot for about 30 minutes or until soft. Then drain the potatoes, cut in quarters, and put them in a bowl. Add a touch of olive oil and some seasoning (salt, pepper, parsley, basil, or oregano &mdash; whatever is on hand), and stir until the spices spread evenly.</p> <p>If you need an additional side, consider a can of vegetables ($.99), or take a look at this <a href="http://www.meijer.com/s/kraft-pasta-salad-italian-1-box-6-40-oz/_/R-118297">Kraft Pasta Salad</a> for $1.79.</p> <p>Total cost: $2.50&ndash;$4.29</p> <h2>Drinks</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t forget about a nice bottle of wine for dinner. I suggest you take one of two routes. The first would be to hope one of your guests brings a bottle of wine as a simple gesture of thanks since you&rsquo;re opening up your home.</p> <p>The second is to <a href="http://www.traderjoes.com/stores/index.asp">find your local Trader Joe&rsquo;s</a> grocery store and pick up one or two bottles of their &quot;2 Buck Chuck.&quot; These are the Charles Shaw house wines that range anywhere from $1.99&ndash;$2.99, and they are excellent.</p> <p>Total Cost: $1.99&ndash;$3.98</p> <h2>Dessert</h2> <p>What&rsquo;s a dinner party without <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts">dessert</a>? You could bake a pan of brownies, which will likely reveal to your guests that you really are trying to go cheap, or you could make an incredible looking and tasting dessert that will leave them asking for the recipe.</p> <p>What kind of dessert could you possible make for under $5 that will have this effect? How about a <a href="http://www.10buckdinners.com/?p=2275">no-bake chocolate chocolate cheesecake pie</a>? According to 10 Buck Dinners, this dessert comes in at a total cost of $4.43!</p> <p>So there you have it &mdash; your complete three-course dinner party for six that doesn&rsquo;t skimp on taste but spares the pennies.</p> <p><em>Bon appetit!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-topp">Jason Topp</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20">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/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/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</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/25-tasty-ways-to-use-chicken-stock">25 Tasty Ways to Use Chicken Stock</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-chicken-leg-and-thigh-recipes-from-around-the-world">15 Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World</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/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink affordable entertaining chicken dessert recipes dinner parties Thu, 22 Mar 2012 10:24:22 +0000 Jason Topp 913058 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Cheap Beers to Keep Your Holiday Season Hoppin’ http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-beers-to-keep-your-holiday-season-hoppin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-cheap-beers-to-keep-your-holiday-season-hoppin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/boddingtons.jpg" alt="Girl with a Boddington&#039;s" title="Girl with a Boddington&#039;s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hands up &mdash; who likes beer?</p> <p>Both my hands would be up, but that would make typing this a tad tricky. I have to say, though, this is one of the tastiest assignments I&rsquo;ve ever done in my blogging career. And I may have to follow it up with a sequel at some point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-great-uses-for-beer">21 Great Uses for Beer</a>)</p> <p>Over the last few weeks, I&rsquo;ve been sampling beers for you, the Wise Bread readers. Yes, it&rsquo;s a tough job, but someone had to do it. At least, that&rsquo;s what I told my wife. What follows is a list of the best 13 beers that are cheap and cheerful. There are so many good beers on the market, but I wanted to find drinkable beer that costs you $1 per 12 oz. bottle or less. Some come in at just 67 cents per bottle or can, others slightly tip the $1 scale. But they&rsquo;re all worth your money, in my honest opinion.</p> <p>Remember, these are not the kind of beers that make you sit back in your armchair and praise the brewmasters who concocted them. Those beers usually run you a few bucks per bottle wholesale, and even more in a bar. But hopefully, these beers will not want to make you convert to a glass of iced water with your holiday meal.</p> <h3>1. Boddingtons Pub Ale</h3> <p><em>Average price: $6.49 for 4 cans (16 oz.)<br /> </em></p> <p>Some may say I&rsquo;m breaking the price barrier with this one; it&rsquo;s often considered a pricier selection due to having just four cans in the box. But these are 16 oz. cans, so it&rsquo;s almost the same amount of beer as you&rsquo;d get in a six pack (6 x 12 = 72 oz., 4 x 16 = 64 oz.). And trust me, although you get a little less, the flavor is phenomenal. Being a Brit, I spent many a night sipping Boddingtons, and I still love it now. Known as the Cream of Manchester, it&rsquo;s a smooth pint of ale that goes down easy and leaves you wanting more. Yes, you&rsquo;re not going to get a bunch of this in, but for those who like ale, it&rsquo;s a real crowd pleaser.</p> <h3>2. Yuengling Premium Beer</h3> <p><em>Average price: $5.99 for 6 bottles</em></p> <p>I tried several beers for the first time when writing this article. Yuengling was one of them. I was a little hesitant &mdash; the reviews weren&rsquo;t stellar. But I found it to be quite a pleasant brew. It&rsquo;s a basic pilsner, pours clear and golden, and has the usual flavors of corn and grains, plus a slight buttery aftertaste. Not unlike PBR, it&rsquo;s very easy to drink, although it doesn&rsquo;t leave you thirsting for more. Again, something to help you stock up for parties without busting open the piggy bank.</p> <h3>3. Newcastle Brown Winter IPA</h3> <p><em>Average price: $6.99 for 6 bottles</em></p> <p>I&rsquo;m a HUGE fan of Newcastle Brown Ale (aka &quot;Dog&quot; in Newcastle and surrounding areas, where I grew up). So I was really surprised to see a Winter IPA from the Newcastle brand. I&rsquo;ve sampled several other varieties in the past, including Summer Ale and Werewolf, and they were so-so, so I was hoping for at least a little better. What I found was a very drinkable pale ale. My palette&rsquo;s not as developed as professional beer tasters, but I did detect notes of tea, caramel, and some spice in the mix. And it&rsquo;s got a creamy finish. For the price, it&rsquo;s well worth the money. You may even find it under $6 in your area.</p> <h3>4. Pabst Blue Ribbon</h3> <p><em>Average price: $8.99 for 12 cans</em></p> <p>Despite what a lot of the beer snobs will say, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-we-are-sayingis-give-pabst-a-chance">I like Pabst</a>, and I think it&rsquo;s got a crisp, clean taste. Plus, the price is rocking, coming in at well under 80 cents a can. It pours well, has a good head, smells malty with a touch of corn, and has a sweet aftertaste. Admittedly, it&rsquo;s no killer beer for the winter season; it&rsquo;s a much better summer drink. But if you like lighter beers and are on a very tight budget, this is a top choice.</p> <h3>5. Simpler Times Lager</h3> <p><em>Average price: $3.99 for 6 cans</em></p> <p>If you shop at Trader Joes, you&rsquo;ll know Simpler Times Lager all too well. It comes in a gold can with red and green type, and it&rsquo;s cheap. Like 67 cents a can cheap. But don&rsquo;t let the price fool you, although it&rsquo;s no award winner, it&rsquo;s very similar to Pabst, but a little lighter. With a crisp, sweet flavor, lots of carbonation, and only a very slight metallic taste, it&rsquo;s a good &ldquo;chugging&rdquo; beer for holiday parties when money is tight. Give it a try. If you don&rsquo;t like it, it&rsquo;s a great beer to cook with.</p> <h3>6. Samuel Adams Winter Lager</h3> <p><em>Average Price: $13.99 for 12 bottles</em></p> <p>You should always expect to pay a little more for the seasonal beers, but this winter variety of Sam Adams is priced the same as, and is a delicious variation on, the original. Pop the cap, and you&rsquo;ll be greeted with hoppy, malty, nutty aromas and a definite hint of Christmassy spices. You may even spot a little ginger, caramel, and cinnamon in there. It&rsquo;s very palatable, especially on a cold day when you want a beer but don&rsquo;t want the crisp sensation of a regular lager. Definitely one to have in the garage or basement for any occasion this holiday season.</p> <h3>7. Butternuts Beer &amp; Ale Moo Thunder Stout</h3> <p><em>Average price: $5.99 for 6 bottles </em></p> <p>I had to include at least one stout &mdash; after all, I much prefer dark beers. This one&rsquo;s a charmer. Brewed by Chuck Williamson in a converted dairy farm in upstate New York, it drinks like a much more expensive beer. As he says on the <a href="http://www.butternutsbeerandale.com/">Butternuts Beer &amp; Ale</a> website, &ldquo;no pretense, no snotty attitudes or haughty prices.&rdquo; Right on! Not as heavy as other stouts I love to imbibe, it&rsquo;s got plenty of malt and a dry finish. Do yourself a favor. Look for the label, a dancing cow being struck by lightning, and pick up a very flavorful six pack.</p> <h3>8. Budweiser American Ale</h3> <p><em>Average price: $5.99 for 6 bottles<br /> </em></p> <p>I have a confession to make. I don&rsquo;t really like Budweiser. Maybe it&rsquo;s because I tasted the far superior <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budweiser_Budvar_Brewery">Budweiser Budvar</a> (now known as Czechvar) first. However, a friend told me about American Ale, and I gave it a try. Not bad. Not bad at all. This is not in the same camp as Bud Light. With a nice copper color, a good head, and a sweet, malty flavor, it&rsquo;s got way more body than a typical bottle of Bud. With less carbonation than Bud, it&rsquo;s also easier to drink. And the price is definitely right.</p> <h3>9. Schaefer Beer</h3> <p><em>Average Price: $4.49 for 6 cans/bottles</em></p> <p>For a cheap beer, Schaefer&rsquo;s has <a href="http://schaefer-beer.com/history/default.aspx">quite the heritage</a>. Basically, two German brothers started making this beer way back in 1842, and in 1981 it was bought out by Stroh&rsquo;s. As you&rsquo;d expect from such a cheap beer, it&rsquo;s weak on the nose and sweet-tasting. You&rsquo;ll detect corn, grassiness, and sometimes a metallic, minerally aftertaste. But let&rsquo;s not forget, you&rsquo;re getting a really cheap brew (it&rsquo;s been found as low as $2.99/six pack in some states) and for a party or cookout, it does the job when you&rsquo;re on a budget. I&rsquo;d still rather drink this than a light beer from one of the big manufacturers.</p> <h3>10. Lionshead Pilsner</h3> <p><em>Average price: $7.99 for 12 cans</em></p> <p>Brewed in Pennsylvania by Lion Brewery, Lionshead beer is not ideal if you like a good head on your brew. It has minimal carbonation and is very light in color. Having said that, it goes down real easy. You&rsquo;ll detect barley, corn, sweetness, and a little malt. Lionshead has a slightly bitter aftertaste, but nothing you&rsquo;ll really care about. It goes down smooth, the price is terrific (around 67 cents a can), and because it&rsquo;s not so well known, you may well be treated with &ldquo;Lionshead? What&rsquo;s that?&rdquo; See if the newbies can figure out if it&rsquo;s a pricey beer or a cheap guzzler.</p> <h3>11. Genesee Cream Ale</h3> <p><em>Average price: $4.49 for 6 bottles</em></p> <p>A few bucks cheaper than Boddingtons, I wasn&rsquo;t expecting it to come close to one of my favorite ales. I was rather pleasantly surprised. It has a really good head, good carbonation, and it even smells creamy. Genesee has a hoppy aroma, a crisp, clean taste and finishes well. I didn&rsquo;t get any bitter aftertaste. The price is killer too, and many liquor stores will have it available in a 30-can pack for $17.99 or less. Well worth the money in my opinion.</p> <h3>12. Sierra Nevada Celebration</h3> <p><em>Average price: $11.99 for 12 bottles&nbsp;</em></p> <p>The price of this one varies quite a bit it seems. In my area, one store is selling a 12-pack for $9.99, another for $13.99. I asked a few people, they all seem to be picking it up for around $12-13 per 12 pack, but you may find it for $10. And if you do, grab it. This is one of the best-tasting beers on the list, and as a seasonal beer, it&rsquo;s the perfect time to drink it. Robust and rich, it&rsquo;s dry-hopped for a more intense flavor and aroma. What&rsquo;s more, it&rsquo;s got a kick, with a 6.8% alcohol content. Highly recommended.</p> <h3>13. Mississippi Mud Black &amp; Tan</h3> <p><em>Average price: $2.99 for a 32 oz. bottle</em></p> <p>This is the only single-serving (although it&rsquo;s quite the serving) beer on the list. I first discovered this a few years ago when I was buying beers to mix my own black and tan (stout and pale ale). Now, this is nowhere near as good as a hearty mix of Guinness and Bass Ale, I&rsquo;ll put that out there right now. But if you want something similar and don&rsquo;t fancy buying a bunch of beer to mix at home, this does the trick. It has a bit of a skunky smell, but it&rsquo;s easy to drink. It has some chocolate overtones, and the bottle is cool, too. You may well find it cheaper than $2.99; it&rsquo;s not a big seller.&nbsp;</p> <p>Well, those are my top 13 recommendations for cheap, drinkable beer this <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unusual-gift-ideas-for-a-memorable-holiday-season">holiday season</a>. If you have any that are well worth a try, and come in at around $1 a bottle, then please share. And as always, I&rsquo;d like to remind everyone not to drink and drive; be a responsible beer-lover, please.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-beers-to-keep-your-holiday-season-hoppin">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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