cheap holidays http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/15084/all en-US Gift Giving Hacks That Will Save Your Money and Your Sanity http://www.wisebread.com/gift-giving-hacks-that-will-save-your-money-and-your-sanity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/gift-giving-hacks-that-will-save-your-money-and-your-sanity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-123905333.jpg" alt="gift shopping" title="gift shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays are fast approaching. This knowledge tends to stress me out for two reasons:</p> <ol> <li>Every major bill of mine is due between now and February. My property taxes. My insurance. Every ding dang subscription including Skype. I have no money extra money to buy gifts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Every single one of my part-time jobs have end-of-the-year deadlines. I have no free time to go shopping.</li> </ol> <p>I lucked out for a long time. My immediate family doesn&rsquo;t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, and my extended family that does celebrate Christmas agreed to stop exchanging Christmas gifts a decade ago. I only had to figure out gifts for a few close friends and neighbors. Giving handmade and/or carefully selected holiday gifts was easy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>Unfortunately, I married into a stereotypically gigantic Catholic family. My husband is the youngest of six children. Suddenly gift-giving got really complicated. I needed to get organized. Here&rsquo;s a list of gift hacks that save my money and my sanity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-that-save-money?ref=seealso">25 Gifts That Save Money</a>)</p> <h2>Keep a Gift Diary</h2> <p>Yeah, yeah. Keeping all your gift-giving straight sounds like a Rich Person Problem. But you know, gift registries exist for reason. And that reason is avoiding embarrassment. Every year I hear some nightmare regifting story that usually involves a couple bringing a gift bottle of wine to a white elephant party&hellip;hosted by the person who gave them the wine in the first place. And although everyone has found that elusive one-size-fits-most gift that can be purchased in bulk, the awesomeness of many gifts fades with repetition. For example, a gift diary would have prevented my friend from giving me the exact same book two years in a row. Is my house so bad that I needed not one but two copies of the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0517577003/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0517577003&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=holidaygiftg-20">Martha Stewart Housekeeping</a> book? Sadly, I unwrapped the second copy in front of her, and I&rsquo;m sure the expression on my face, as I stumbled through a thank you, was not one of joy but of confusion. Awkward. At any rate, guess what she&rsquo;s getting for Christmas this year? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">A Guide to Regifting</a>)</p> <h2>Keep a Gift Drawer</h2> <p>Throughout the year, I sew and knit small handmade gifts like hats, gloves, and scarves and stick them in my Gift Drawer. (Fancier people commonly refer to a similar space in their home as a Gift Closet). I also collect small vintage items as future presents from garage sales and swap meets. The small drawer size ensures that my house does not become a storage shed for things I'm not personally using.&nbsp;A potential gift has to fit in the drawer, or it doesn&rsquo;t get to come home with me.</p> <h2>Pre-Shop for Next Christmas This Christmas</h2> <p>My friend Ellen is the master of this shopping technique. Ellen lives far from her large family. Rather than pay a week&rsquo;s salary in shipping costs or schlep all her gifts home with her on the plane, Ellen does all her family gift buying <i>for the following year </i>while she&rsquo;s home for the holidays at after-Christmas sales. After buying next year&rsquo;s gifts at a steep post-holiday discount, Ellen sneaks her purchases home and, while everyone else is fast asleep, she wraps and addresses everything in one fell swoop with paper and gift cards she also purchased on sale. She then shoves the wrapped-and-ready gifts under the bed (aka. the Gift Under the Bed Storage Space) in the guestroom, where they wait for her arrival next year.</p> <h2>Arbitrage Your Stuff</h2> <p>Throughout the year I trade in my old books for store credit at my local used bookstore. In November I usually have about $100 in trade saved up that I use to &quot;buy&quot; gifts for my favorite readers. Or sometimes, I just give my trade credit as a gift card to a fellow fan of the bookstore.&nbsp;For people who live in areas that don&rsquo;t have used book, record, or clothing stores, this idea can be easily replicated by selling your stuff online, and keeping your Amazon or PayPal account as your gift slush fund. Your house stays tidy, and you have a painless way of saving money for the holidays. Be sure to keep store credit receipts or gift cards either in your wallet for easy access or in your Gift Drawer or your gift diary. Also, pay attention to the fine print on store credit. Some places impose annoying &ldquo;use it or lose it&rdquo; deadlines. Unintentional book donations due to lost or expired store credit receipts hurt like a paper cut. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year?ref=seealso">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a>)</p> <h2>Gifts in a Jar</h2> <p>I'm a beekeeper, and I make award-winning preserves. Honey and jam are both great gifts. Since I'm already storing my surplus jams and pickles in the kitchen pantry, I'm not creating a storage problem in my house.&nbsp;Besides, space can be made at any time in the Gift Pantry by snacking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake?ref=seealso">15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</a>)</p> <h2>The Gift of Time</h2> <p>Instead of buying birthday presents for friends, I generally prefer to either bake them their favorite cake or take them to lunch. Either way, I get to enjoy the present too. For people on a money diet, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-free-gift-ideas">give friends coupons</a> for babysitting, a cleaned bathroom, a ride to the airport, etc...</p> <h2>Buy the Entire Collection, but Gift One Piece at a Time</h2> <p>My maternal grandmother perfected this technique, which works especially well for people with kids. Like a lot of kids, I had a rock collection. Because Grandma did not have the wonder that is the internet, and she didn't have time to go to a gem and rock convention every time she wanted to give me a gift, she bought thirty different &quot;collectible&quot; rocks during one visit to the Natural History Museum gift shop. For the next few years, she doled out the rock samples to me, one at a time, for every gift-giving occasion. The rocks were also individually labeled and packaged in a clear plastic display cases, so she didn't even have hunt around for gift boxes. She had the pleasure of finding the perfect (thirty) gifts, and the pleasure of watching me gleefully add each rock to my collection, with the convenience of one-stop, one-time shopping.</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Buy Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags</h2> <p>In addition to being an expensive, single-use item, most wrapping paper isn&rsquo;t recyclable. Instead of buying wrapping paper, I reuse brown craft paper, maps, photographs from old magazines or calendars. I also like to use things such as cereal boxes as wrap jewelry, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-holiday-gifts-from-the-thrift-store">cashmere sweaters</a>, or other fancy presents. (It's like a white elephant gift in reverse). Reused wrapping is way cheaper and saves time because I don't have to leave the house to find it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-handmade-and-green-wrapping-ideas?ref=seealso">10 Cheap Gift Wrapping Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>Make the Wrapping Part of the Gift</h2> <p>I like using vintage pillowcases and scarves as wrapping for things. For a recent gift, I packed a baby sweater into a Tupperware storage container instead of using a box and wrapping.</p> <p><em>Do you have a favorite gift hack? Please share your genius in the comments section!&nbsp;</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gift-giving-hacks-that-will-save-your-money-and-your-sanity">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/9-thrifty-meaningful-gifts-for-mom">9 Thrifty, Meaningful Gifts for Mom</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-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</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/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/the-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</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/the-5-best-underwater-watches">The 5 Best Underwater Watches</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Lifestyle Shopping affordable gifts cheap holidays product reviews relieve stress Tue, 11 Dec 2012 11:24:35 +0000 Max Wong 955129 at http://www.wisebread.com How My Hoarder Family Saved Christmas http://www.wisebread.com/how-my-hoarder-family-saved-christmas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-my-hoarder-family-saved-christmas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5241952209_fae44c7811_z.jpg" alt="Christmas tree" title="Christmas tree" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hoarding runs in my family. The only reason why most of our homes don&rsquo;t reflect the OCD chaos of our brains is because we manage our belongings with the ferocity that most people reserve for calorie counting and fantasy football leagues. While none of my relatives live in squalor, as my cousin Carolyn puts it, &quot;In our family, we file things horizontally.&quot; We are all wannabe minimalists with messy desktops. Although we joke about becoming crazy dog ladies or building a maze made of old National Geographic magazines in the living room, we all worry that one day we will fall victim to our belongings. So, after looking with mortification at the packed garbage cans stuffed with the aftermath of Christmas 2001, my extended family took a radical step in the direction of less stuff &mdash; we agreed to stop giving Christmas gifts to each other. Even to the kids. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-lessons-i-learned-from-hoarders">Simple-Living Lessons I Learned From&nbsp;&quot;Hoarders&quot;</a>)</p> <p>This decision had several unintended consequences, all of them good.</p> <h2>We Regained Other Celebrations</h2> <p>Last year, 38.9% of Americans <a href="http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&amp;op=viewlive&amp;sp_id=1225">started shopping for Christmas in </a><em><a href="http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&amp;op=viewlive&amp;sp_id=1225">October</a>,</em> a statistic that is entirely believable to anyone who has noticed Christmas decorations jostling for shelf space with Halloween costumes at stores across the country. In addition to freeing up more time and money for Halloween and Thanksgiving, family birthdays in December and January suddenly got the attention they deserved. My grandmother, who was born on December 28, told me that she never got a real birthday. Sandwiched between Christmas and New Year&rsquo;s Eve, her birthday had always been an important holiday <em>travel</em> day for friends and family.</p> <p>My youngest cousin&rsquo;s birthday is in the first week of January, so she was pleased that her birthday became a special day instead of just an afterthought to the December holidays. While Christmas presents were verboten, birthday presents were not. She quickly decided that the additional two weeks she had to wait to get &ldquo;The Toy of the Year&rdquo; were worth the extra attention.</p> <p>On a side note, people who hear about our no-Christmas-gift policy seem to worry that the kids in my family are somehow suffering from Scrooge levels of deprivation&hellip;which was something actually worried about for the first year. However, there are several gigantic loopholes in the no-gift rule. First, while the kids don&rsquo;t receive gifts from the family, they do get Christmas gifts from their friends. Secondly, everyone still gets a stocking full of candy on Christmas morning. Most importantly, during their winter break from school, the kids are allowed to ignore bedtime, sleep in as late as they want, eat dessert for breakfast lunch and dinner, and watch television with impunity. We had anticipated that there would be a lot of griping from the under-14 camp, but to their credit, I can&rsquo;t remember one instance where any of my younger cousins complained about their lack of Christmas gifts. Perhaps they&rsquo;ve been secretly pouting all these years, but I suspect that they prefer the additional freedom in lieu of opening a few more presents on Christmas morning.</p> <h2>It Allowed Us to Be Smarter Shoppers</h2> <p>Removed from the mass hysteria that is now part of Christmas shopping, we were able to shop after-Christmas sales without a deadline, but with all the post-holiday consumer reports. Because the kids got to play-test the &ldquo;must-have toys&rdquo; at their friends&rsquo; homes in the weeks after Christmas, their birthday present lists got shorter, not longer. Some things, they realized, just didn&rsquo;t hold up to the hype.</p> <h2>We Saved a Ton of Money</h2> <p>Last year, the average American shopper <a href="http://outright.com/blog/infographic-the-commerce-of-christmas/">spent over $700 just on Christmas gifts</a>. While my family is pretty frugal, our combined savings still amount to several thousand dollars every year. Not spending money on gifts that go under the tree allowed us to spend money on family experiences like tickets to the zoo to see the Christmas lights. Two years ago, our huge extended family went to Las Vegas for a reunion at Christmas, a trip that a lot of us would not have been able to afford had we spent the money on traditional gifts.</p> <p>Also, after Christmas, the price of just about everything drops dramatically. An expensive Christmas gift suddenly becomes an affordable birthday or graduation gift on December 26. When I got married this year, I know all the wedding gift cards from my relatives were purchased at a steep discount in January from gift card exchange sites like <a href="http://plasticjungle.com">Plastic Jungle</a>.</p> <h2>We Retained Our Sanity</h2> <p>Christmas shopping is stressful. A Consumer Reports survey from last year uncovered that 6% of Americans were <a href="http://www.creditdonkey.com/christmas-ghost.html ">still carrying Christmas debt from 2010</a> on their credit cards when they started shopping for Christmas 2011. British financial analysts estimate that one in three Britons will go into debt to pay for Christmas this year. Every January, credit counselors report a 25% spike in business as consumers come to grips with their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-holiday-debt-starting-now">holiday overspending</a>. I don&rsquo;t know one responsible person with debt who isn&rsquo;t haunted by it. We discovered how easy Christmas is to enjoy when there are no bad financial repercussions lurking around the corner.</p> <p>Additionally, while giving and receiving gifts should be pleasurable, a lot of giving has become a kind of social currency, with the givers hoping that the cost of their gifts are accurately appraised, for their full value, by the receivers. A lot of the pleasure of giving a gift is imagining the pleasure that it will bring the recipient. People are often so stressed out by end of the year deadlines that choosing gifts becomes more about efficiency and budgeting than about figuring out what will bring their loved ones the most joy. By removing the obligation of Christmas gifts, we were all able to delete a giant task from our end of the year to-do lists, which was, frankly, a relief.</p> <h2>We Saved a Lot of Time</h2> <p>I can&rsquo;t speak for everyone, but for me, shopping &mdash; even online shopping &mdash; takes up a lot of time. Not shopping freed up time to enjoy other holiday activities like trimming the tree, baking 80 dozen cookies to give out to friends and neighbors, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surviving-the-holiday-season-entertaining-and-being-entertained-on-a-budget">attending and hosting parties</a>, caroling, and looking at Christmas lights.</p> <h2>It Allowed Us to Be Generous</h2> <p>What is the Christmas spirit about if not kindness to others? Christmas morning is now spent serving Christmas dinner to people who really need a nice meal, not sitting around the tree. We have the extra time and the extra money to help out local charities. My great-aunt was a lifelong patron of the Dumb Friends League, aka the city pound. Every dog she&rsquo;d ever owned had been a rescue. One of our favorite holiday activities is bringing toys and treats to the pound at Christmastime and spending the day petting all the dogs.</p> <h2>It Gave Us New Holiday Traditions to Enjoy</h2> <p>Like ex-smokers huffing on second-hand smoke, my cousin Carolyn and I still love to window-shop the day before Christmas and experience the apex of American consumerism. Only instead of buying, we enjoy the vulgar splendor of the mall at Christmastime by people watching from the comfort of the Cinnabon.</p> <p>This year my family will celebrate our 10th gift-free Christmas. What started as a strategy to keep our closets tidy, ended up bringing us closer together with each other and our community. It&rsquo;s our own little Christmas miracle.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-my-hoarder-family-saved-christmas">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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</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/the-garden-as-classroom">The Garden as Classroom</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/the-ultimate-recycler-utah-man-saves-70-000-beer-cans">The ultimate recycler - Utah man saves 70,000 beer cans</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-paths-to-a-greener-back-to-school-season">6 Paths to a Greener Back-to-School Season</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/the-5-best-pet-flea-medications">The 5 Best Pet Flea Medications</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Green Living cheap holidays gift-free christmas hoarding Tue, 06 Nov 2012 10:36:44 +0000 Max Wong 955105 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. 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/21-great-uses-for-beer">21 great uses for beer</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/top-5-ways-to-hustle-free-drinks">Top 5 Ways to Hustle Free Drinks</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/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be If You Stopped Drinking</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/alcohol-is-good-for-your-heart">Alcohol is good for your heart</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/10-great-reasons-to-drink-beer">10 Great Reasons to Drink Beer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink affordable entertaining alcohol beer cheap holidays Tue, 22 Nov 2011 11:00:53 +0000 Paul Michael 792182 at http://www.wisebread.com