cheap treats http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2123/all en-US 15 Fun Things to Buy for Under $5 http://www.wisebread.com/15-fun-things-to-buy-for-under-5 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-fun-things-to-buy-for-under-5" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reading_magazine.jpg" alt="Couple reading a magazine" title="Couple reading a magazine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know what's fun? Pampering. Eating. Learning. Drinking. Socializing.&nbsp;Helping People. Basically &mdash; lots of things. And while there is a lot of free fun to be had out there, it's not unreasonable to buy yourself a little bit enjoyment on occasion (as long as you're spending consciously). With that in mind, here are 15 fun, (mostly) useful things that can be yours for a five spot. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a>)</p> <h3>1. A Magazine Subscription</h3> <p>You could blow your $5 on one magazine at the newsstand, or you could take advantage of one of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/magazines/b/ref=topnav_storetab_mag?ie=UTF8&amp;node=599858">Amazon's frequent magazine sales</a> and snag a full year's worth of issues for $5. Don't see something you like for $5? There are usually plenty of $7 subscriptions too.</p> <h3>2. The Ubiquitous Latte</h3> <p>If you read enough frugal living websites, you know that you're not supposed to regularly buy lattes (because, yeah, those little savings make a big difference over time). But an occasional latte &mdash; especially if you're sharing conversation with a good friend &mdash; can be a very worthwhile treat.</p> <h3>3. Fresh&nbsp;Flowers</h3> <p>I consider fresh flowers to be one of the ultimate indulgences &mdash; they're not practical, and they have a very limited lifespan. That said, I love the vibrancy they bring to a room. On my birthday this year,&nbsp;I spent $4 to buy fresh Gerbera Daisies, and it made me really happy to see them in my kitchen over the next week.</p> <h3>4.&nbsp;Exotic Fruit</h3> <p>Enjoy a bit of fruit you don't have regularly &mdash; lychees are my favorite. If your regular grocery store's &quot;exotic&quot; fruit collection is a few kiwis tucked next to the bananas, visit an Asian grocery store to find more unusual fruits like dragon fruit, mangosteens, and Asian pears.</p> <h3>5. An Accessory</h3> <p>Whether it's a scarf, new belt, or even just socks, perk up your wardrobe with a new accessory. Try scoping out discount stores like&nbsp;TJ Maxx, Ross, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-the-most-of-shopping-at-marshalls">Marshalls</a>.</p> <h3>6. A Bath or Makeup Product You've Never Tried</h3> <p>One-time packets of bath salts, nice bars of soap, trial size shampoos, and lots of nail polishes fall well under $5. Pick one and pamper yourself.</p> <h3>7. A Nice Beer</h3> <p>I've seen stores in more and more states where you can buy beer by the single bottle. If you like a nice beer (but not the dear price of a six pack), buy a single bottle. Personally, I love sour beers, and I'd recommend Flemish red ale. The Monk's Cafe one is good.</p> <h3>8. New Pens</h3> <p>Most of my pens are freebie ballpoint ones branded with company logos, but I love the feel of writing with something a bit nicer. Consider splurging on something that will allow you to write without constantly shaking the pen to try to get more ink out.</p> <h3>9. A Small Toy</h3> <p>I'm a fidgeter, and I love things like squishy balls that I can fiddle around with. I'll also never get tired of high-bouncing super balls. This is extra fun if you're with a kid.</p> <h3>10. Fresh Herbs</h3> <p>Fresh herbs can add such a wonderful flavor to food and drinks (mojito, anyone?). Or, instead of just buying some at the grocery store, purchase a small herb plant so you can have fresh herbs all year round.</p> <h3>11. A Kickstarter Project Donation</h3> <p>Lynn wrote last year about how spending money on other people is a way that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness">money can buy happiness</a>. Help fund someone's dream project by donating through <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/">Kickstarter</a>, where people raise funds for everything from making movies to recording concept albums to opening theaters and more.</p> <h3>12. A Cheap Show</h3> <p>From music to comedy to theater, there are always plenty of $5 or &quot;donation accepted&quot; shows going on. Check your local listings.</p> <h3>13. Used Books</h3> <p>Depending on your used book store and what you want to read, $5 could mean one book or 50 books.</p> <h3>14. A Nice Greeting Card</h3> <p>...which you can then use to write a note to someone.</p> <h3>15. New-to-You Thrift Store Clothes</h3> <p>&nbsp;A new shirt, new pants, or new dress could all be yours at the thrift store.<em><br /> </em></p> <p><em>What are your favorite things to buy for under $5?</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/15-fun-things-to-buy-for-under-5">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/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</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/16-everyday-things-you-shouldnt-be-paying-for">16 Everyday Things You Shouldn&#039;t Be Paying For</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/8-free-things-that-arent">8 &quot;Free&quot; Things That Aren&#039;t</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-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping cheap treats fun under $5 Mon, 30 Jan 2012 11:24:18 +0000 Meg Favreau 879972 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Ultra-Quick Homemade Desserts http://www.wisebread.com/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/desserts.jpg" alt="Young girls and dessert" title="Young girls and dessert" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Quick! Company&rsquo;s here, and somehow you forgot to plan for dessert. At times like these, you need some ultra-quick homemade desserts that make you look good and are a cinch to pull together. And when I say ultra-quick, I mean <em>ultra</em>-quick, as in, dump three things in a bowl and call it good.</p> <p>When I'm pulling together a quick dessert, I like to use fresh fruit. There is so much that can be done with it to make a quick but sophisticated dessert, without resorting to cake mixes, artificial sweeteners, and other shortcuts. Adding a shot of booze or coffee can also punch up the &quot;wow&quot; factor in a simple dessert. Of course, convenience foods can be a godsend, and some of these recipes freely make use of store-bought cake, ice cream, pudding, and whipped cream as components in an otherwise homemade dessert. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-making-cheaper-faster-better-meals">6&nbsp;Tips for Making Cheaper, Faster, Better Meals</a>)</p> <h3>1. Boozy Berries and Cream</h3> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t get much simpler than this. Wash and dry blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Douse them in a couple tablespoons of rum or limoncello, and if desired, a dusting of sugar. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream (or to make it faster, use store-bought whipped cream).</p> <h3>2. Yogurt Parfait</h3> <p>A yogurt parfait is a healthy dessert and is perfect for kids. Layer a good sweetened yogurt (I like the lemon yogurt at Trader Joe&rsquo;s &mdash; it&rsquo;s a bit sweeter than regular yogurt and more dessert-like) with cut-up fruit in a glass. Top with cookie crumbs or granola.</p> <h3>3. Chilled Peaches in White Wine</h3> <p>A sophisticated grown-up dessert that requires next to no effort, these <a href="http://orangette.blogspot.com/2009/08/tonight-at-five.html">chilled peaches in white wine</a> are a foodie&rsquo;s version of peaches in syrup. Toss ripe peach slices in sugar, and then douse them with a dry white wine. This dessert is best if you let it chill an hour in the fridge before serving, so toss it together before serving the main course.</p> <h3>4. Stout Ice-Cream Float</h3> <p>Beer and ice cream make a winning combination. Make a simple version of Epicurious&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Stout-Floats-with-Cocoa-Syrup-363725">stout ice-cream float</a> by putting a couple scoops of good vanilla ice cream in a beer glass and carefully filling it up with chilled stout beer. Top with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.</p> <h3>5. Ice Cream Sandwiches</h3> <p>So simple &mdash; ice cream sandwiches are a hit with kids and adults alike. Make the sandwiches with a good store-bought cookie (like Mrs. Fields or the oatmeal cookies at Trader Joe&rsquo;s) or homemade cookies. Ice cream sandwiches are best if you wrap them in foil and chill them in the freezer for half an hour before serving, but they&rsquo;re fine fresh as well.</p> <h3>6. Mini Trifles</h3> <p>Easy mini trifles look impressive but require no cooking &mdash; just assembly. Layer store-bought pound cake with vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and raspberry jam in pretty glasses. Top with a couple of fresh raspberries.</p> <h3>7. Chocolate Bark</h3> <p>Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt a pound of good-quality semi-sweet chocolate either in the microwave (zap for 30 seconds and stir) or over a double boiler on the stove. Using a spatula, spread the melted chocolate over the wax paper. Sprinkle with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-nuts-by-nutrition-and-price">nuts</a>, dried fruits, crushed candies, or a combination of all three, and press into the chocolate. Let cool, break up the chocolate bark into large pieces, and serve.</p> <h3>8. Grilled Fruit</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;ve already fired up the grill to barbecue dinner, you might as well use it to make dessert as well. Alternatively, use a stovetop grill or a preheated broiler. Thick slices of pineapple, mango, peaches, and halved ripe figs are delicious grilled until brown and piping hot (just three minutes a side). Drizzle the fruit with honey and serve with ice cream.</p> <h3>9. Super-Fast Apple Tart</h3> <p>Guests will think you slaved over this apple tart, when in reality it&rsquo;s about the easiest tart you can make. Cut a sheet of store-bought puff pastry in half lengthwise. Slice three to four apples into thin slices and toss them in brown sugar. Arrange the apple slices on the puff pastry and bake for 20 minutes. Ta-daa! Get the full recipe for these <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/quick-easy-and-yummy-apple-tart/">apple tarts</a> at The Pioneer Woman.&nbsp;</p> <h3>10. Chocolate-Covered Banana Pops</h3> <p>These chocolate-covered bananas are so adorable and they&rsquo;re the perfect finger-food for kids. Cut bananas into sections and skewer them on popsicle sticks. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave for less than 30 seconds). Coat the bananas, and then roll them in crushed nuts. Chill in fridge for 20 minutes or freeze them for a yummy frozen treat. Get the details for the <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/312777/chocolate-covered-bananas">banana pops</a> at Martha Stewart.&nbsp;</p> <h3>11. Strawberry Fool</h3> <p>A fool is a simple dessert made by mixing whipped cream with mashed fruit. In this case, mashed or pureed fresh strawberries, a hint of vanilla extract, some sugar, and freshly whipped cream form the base for this classic treat (find the <a href="http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/10/the-minimalist-strawberry-fool/">strawberry fool recipe</a> at the New York Times). Even the most cooking-challenged person can handle this one!&nbsp;</p> <h3>12. Sweet Bruschetta</h3> <p>Toast slices of store-bought pound cake and spread them with mascarpone cheese or ricotta. Layer chopped or sliced fruit on top of the cheese (peaches, cherries, strawberries &mdash; whatever you like), and drizzle with honey or maple syrup.</p> <h3>13. Affogato</h3> <p>Despite its fancy name, this classic Italian dessert is as easy as it gets. Put chocolate ice cream in a dish, top it with a shot of hot espresso (which you can make from powder), and finish with a dollop of whipped cream. Three ingredients, two seconds, one easy dessert.</p> <h3>14. Dessert Paninis</h3> <p>Preheat a panini press or grill pan. Butter two slices of white bread, and with buttered sides out, fill with your choice of sweet fillings (Nutella, bananas, peanut butter, marshmallows &mdash; you name it). Cook in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-panini-presses">panini press</a> or on a pan on the stove until outside is browned and inside is gooey.&nbsp;</p> <h3>15. Bananas Foster</h3> <p>Yes, you can make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">bananas</a> foster in 10 minutes. Cook butter, brown sugar, and rum together until it forms a sauce. Saute bananas until warm, drizzle with caramel sauce, and serve with vanilla ice cream. Get the simple <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/339343/bananas-foster">bananas foster recipe</a> at Martha Stewart.</p> <p><em>Do you have any trusted ultra-quick dessert recipes to share?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts">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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">25 Great, Cheap, and Easy Crock Pot Recipes</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-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch 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/25-tasty-ways-to-use-chicken-stock">25 Tasty Ways to Use Chicken Stock</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/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap treats dessert recipes easy desserts easy fast recipes easy recipes Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:24:27 +0000 Camilla Cheung 789869 at http://www.wisebread.com Sweet and Salty Snacks You Can Make at Home http://www.wisebread.com/sweet-and-salty-snacks-you-can-make-at-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sweet-and-salty-snacks-you-can-make-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chocolate_salt.jpg" alt="Salted chocolate" title="Salted chocolate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans &mdash; like no other culture &mdash; love their junk food. We&rsquo;ll stuff our faces with treats salty and sweet until we&rsquo;re intoxicated with saturated-fat euphoria.</p> <p>But what we love even more than sweet snacks and salty snacks separately are the two flavor profiles combined to create mouth nirvana of the highest degree.</p> <p>To get your double-the-pleasure fix without leaving the kitchen, check out these easy-to-make budget-friendly sweet-and-salty recipes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-pantry-snacks-for-unexpected-guests">Quick&nbsp;Pantry Snacks for Unexpected Guests</a>)</p> <h3>Sweet-and-Salty Pumpkin Seeds</h3> <p>This <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/sweet-and-salty-pumpkin-seeds-00000000021368/index.html">sweet-and-salty pumpkin seeds recipe</a> is easy to make, whether as a quick snack for yourself or finger food at your next fall fete. With only five ingredients &mdash; pumpkin seeds, unsalted butter, sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon &mdash; this crowd pleaser is packed with flavor and takes just over an hour to bake.</p> <h3>Fall Sweet-and-Salty Treat</h3> <p>If you want to satisfy your salty-sweet craving but have no time to fuss with prep work or an oven, this <a href="http://baking.about.com/od/candy/r/fallsweetnsaltytreat.htm">fall sweet and salty treat &ldquo;recipe&rdquo;</a> is for you. Just combine two cups of candy corn with an equal amount of dry-roasted peanuts to create a treat that tastes like a Payday candy bar.</p> <h3>Sweet-and-Salty Popcorn</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-gluten-free-desserts">Gluten-free</a> dieters, rejoice! This <a href="http://www.glutenfreecookingschool.com/archives/sweet-salty-popcorn-easy-gluten-free-snacks-for-the-super-bowl/">sweet-and-salty popcorn</a> is for you. After popping fresh popcorn, toss it with a butter-and-powered-sugar syrup (using gluten-free ingredients, of course), and sprinkle the coated corn with a teaspoon of salt. Great for a chilly evening in front of the tube.</p> <h3>Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels</h3> <p>This is probably my all-time favorite salty-sweet combo snack; melt-in-your-mouth chocolate combined with the crunch of a pretzel is the stuff culinary legends are made of. For a pared-down version of this <a href="http://candy.about.com/od/chocolate/r/dipped_pretzels.htm">chocolate-dipped pretzel recipe</a>, all you&rsquo;ll need is a 12-ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips, a tablespoon of shortening, and your favorite brand of pretzel &mdash; preferably the larger-sized kind, so you can dip them more easily. If you want to get fancy, once the pretzels are dipped, dip them again in a plate of sprinkles or small candies like mini M&amp;M&rsquo;s.</p> <h3>Sweet-and-Salty Snack Mix (for the holidays)</h3> <p>When Land O&rsquo;Lakes created this <a href="http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/1792/sweet-n-salty-snack-mix">sweet-and-salty snack mix recipe</a>, they were sure not to mention any other brand names. Luckily, I can tell what the generic descriptions of the ingredients are by looking at the photo. You&rsquo;ll need Bugles corn snacks, a box of Wheat Chex, small pretzel twists, pecan halves, and festive M&amp;M&rsquo;s, among a few other kitchen staples, like corn syrup, salt, vanilla, and, yes, Land O&rsquo;Lakes butter, to create this delicious mix. In total, you&rsquo;ll get about 10 cups of salty-sweet mix.</p> <h3>Chocolate Turtle Sweet-and-Salty Snack</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s interesting to see how creative people can be when they need something salty and sweet right away. This impromptu <a href="http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=333742">chocolate turtles recipe</a> hardly takes any time at all, which probably means the recipe&rsquo;s author needed her fix &mdash; and fast! To make this chocolate-caramel-pretzel treat in a jiff, place Rolo candies on mini pretzel twists and microwave for a few second until the chocolate is just soft. When you take the pretzels out, top them each with a pecan half. Quick and ingenious.</p> <h3>Sweet-and-Salty Caramel Snack Mix</h3> <p>No matter how you pronounce it, caramel is a silky-smooth confection that knows how to hit the spot. Your homemade version &mdash; using butter, brown sugar, Karo syrup, and vanilla &mdash; will be used to coat a mixture of graham cracker cereal (like Honey Grahams), honey roasted <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-peanut-butter-recipe">peanuts</a>, salted cashews or macadamia nuts, and Pretzel M&amp;M&rsquo;s in this <a href="http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/09/sweet-salty-caramel-snack-mix/">sweet-and-salty caramel snack mix recipe</a>. Your mouth is watering already, isn&rsquo;t it?</p> <p><em>Have a sweet-and-salty snack recipe to share? Let the world 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/sweet-and-salty-snacks-you-can-make-at-home">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/25-diy-halloween-treats-that-trick-or-treaters-will-love">25 DIY Halloween Treats That Trick-or-Treaters Will Love</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/10-indulgent-desserts-that-are-actually-good-for-you">10 Indulgent Desserts That Are Actually Good for You</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-cool-ice-cream-cakes-for-your-next-celebration">10 Cool Ice Cream Cakes for Your Next Celebration</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/17-classic-desserts-we-all-miss">17 Classic Desserts We All Miss</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-tempting-no-bake-desserts">10 Tempting No-Bake Desserts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap snacks cheap treats recipes sweets Wed, 28 Sep 2011 10:24:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 717240 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Frugal Compromises http://www.wisebread.com/12-frugal-compromises <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-frugal-compromises" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/subway_ride.jpg" alt="Woman waiting for subway" title="Woman waiting for subway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="158" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When we talk about frugality, it can be easy to get into an &quot;all or nothing&quot; mentality. Our two options are to eat a big meal out or cook at home. To have a lot of stuff or pare down all of our possessions to the very basics. But the reality is that there are a lot of savings compromises that can be made &mdash; frugal things you can do that, while they may not save you as much money as other efforts, might also save you time, make you happier, or make your life easier. Here are 12 frugal compromises to consider. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-agree-without-compromise">How to Agree Without Compromise</a>)</p> <h3>1. Buy Part of Your Meal Already Prepared</h3> <p>If you're running short on time, buy part of your meal already prepared and cook the rest. Rotisserie chickens are especially popular for this, but also consider things like side salads, bread, dessert, or even a pizza that you could pair with a salad.</p> <h3>2. Hire Moving Helpers</h3> <p>One way that I've come to define adulthood is owning furniture that I cannot conceivably move on my own. But instead of booking movers for my most recent move, I simply rented a U-Haul and hired moving helpers for two hours to load and unload the items I could not carry myself. I saved at least $150 over hiring movers (maybe more &mdash; the estimates I received were in the very broad range of $350 to $900!), and I didn't have to worry about being unable to rally strong friends ot help with the heaviest items.</p> <h3>3. Meet Somewhere Cheap for Dinner</h3> <p>Going out to eat doesn't need to be a fancy affair. Meet at a diner, sandwich shop, or somewhere else that's not too expensive.</p> <h3>4. Buy New Accessories</h3> <p>Add pizazz to your wardrobe with tights, a brightly colored belt, chunky necklace, or other inexpensive statement accessories.</p> <h3>5. Drink Cheap Beer...or Just One Nice Beverage</h3> <p>Personally, I go back and forth on cheap beer &mdash; I'm not above (and, especially on hot days, legitimately enjoy) beers like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-we-are-sayingis-give-pabst-a-chance">PBR</a> and Corona. But I also appreciate a well-crafted cocktail. The trick when ordering a fancy drink is to keep it to just one.</p> <h3>6. Hire a Cleaner Once a Month</h3> <p>Save time on house cleaning by hiring a house cleaner to do a deep clean once a month. You'll only need to do the more surface-level, day-to-day cleaning.</p> <h3>7. Don't Take the Car...Sometimes</h3> <p>All of the &quot;take public transit&quot; yammering can get old if you need to have your car for work, family, or other reasons. But you don't have to take your car all the time. Save on gas, parking, and wear and tear by carpooling, taking public transit, walking, or biking.</p> <h3>8. Get Takeout Instead of Delivery</h3> <p>When you get food delivered, you should give the driver a full tip (seriously...please tip the driver). But if you pick up takeout yourself, all you need to pay for is the food, plus maybe a buck or two.</p> <h3>9. Rearrange the Furniture and Buy One New Thing</h3> <p>Give a room in your house new life by rearranging the furniture and buying one new thing &mdash; art, a rug, a lamp, a slipcover, or even a small piece of furniture &mdash; to tie the new scheme together.</p> <h3>10. Have a Coffee Treat Day</h3> <p>By now, most of us have heard about the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-keeping-your-latte-factor-will-help-you-save-money">latte factor</a>&quot; &mdash; the idea that small savings, like making coffee at home, can really add up. But you don't need to do it every day. Choose a coffee treat day for yourself when you'll get a coffee from the coffee shop &mdash; whether it's to ease yourself into the workweek on Monday or treat yourself for making it through on Friday.</p> <h3>11. Trim Your Own Bangs</h3> <p>If you have the skills to fully cut your own hair, by all means do it. (I cut my own hair for several years, although it left me for a bit with a style that could only be worn one way and could occasionally be described as &quot;proto-mullet.&quot;) But even if you're a klutz with scissors, it's probably within your power to give your bangs a trim, extending the time between haircuts.</p> <h3>12. Use Disposables Alongside Reusables</h3> <p>Doing all of your cleaning with paper towels or all of your food storage in one-time-use bags is just wasteful. But sometimes those tools are helpful, which is why I fully believe that disposable zipper-lock bags can live in harmony with your use-again Tupperware, just as paper towels have their time and place in conjunction with rags.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite frugal compromises?</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/12-frugal-compromises">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/are-you-frugal-or-cheap">Are You Frugal or Cheap?</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/this-one-financial-trick-lets-you-buy-happiness">This One Financial Trick Lets You Buy Happiness</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/a-prairie-farmer-s-meal-plan-eat-for-a-buck-or-two-a-day">A Prairie Farmer’s Meal Plan: Eat for a Buck or Two a Day</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/pay-attention">Pay attention</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-life-hacks-for-college-students-or-anyone-else-trying-to-save-money">15 Life Hacks for College Students (or Anyone Else Trying to Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cheap Food cheap treats compromise happiness save time Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:24:19 +0000 Meg Favreau 691078 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/donuts_2.jpg" alt="Girls with donuts" title="Girls with donuts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s not always easy being thrifty. For me, it means not indulging my purse obsession as much as I&rsquo;d like, forgoing the pricey bottles of wine, and decorating my house with thrift-store finds. I usually don&rsquo;t mind, but sometimes, a little encouragement is in order. Here are a few of my favorite luxuries that are worth a modest splurge &mdash; they help me to persevere, encouraging me to take a long view of the frugal life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-choosing-and-defending-your-luxuries">On Choosing and Defending Your Luxuries</a>)</p> <h2>1. A Good Showerhead</h2> <p>Sure, you could shower every day with your apartment&rsquo;s original showerhead that sprays as much air as water and takes twenty minutes to wash shampoo out of your hair, but why suffer? A new showerhead will set you back $20 and is completely worth the investment for better water pressure, even spray, and perhaps even different spray settings. When I lived in China, I had to make do with some less-than-optimal apartments, but the one non-negotiable was that there had to be a clean, spacious shower with a good showerhead. It went a long way towards keeping me sane.</p> <p>Along the same lines, many old apartments don&rsquo;t have an aerator on the kitchen faucet, which means that the water splashes up whenever you turn it on. Invest the $2 in an aerator attachment from Walmart. The difference is amazing.</p> <h2>2. Quality Bed Sheets</h2> <p>Life is too short to spend it lying on pill-y, bad-quality bed sheets. You spend up to a third of your life in bed, so why not make your bed sheets good ones? They&rsquo;ll last longer anyway, so in the long run, they might save you money. Look for combed Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets with a thread-count of at least 300 (higher thread-count isn&rsquo;t always better &mdash; I always get a little skeptical when it comes to 1,000 thread-count or higher). Look for a well-known brand with good reviews. I&rsquo;ve heard good things about Costco&rsquo;s Kirkland Signature Pima Cotton sheets, which are top-quality but not too pricey.</p> <h2>3. Soft Toilet Paper</h2> <p>I used to buy whatever toilet paper was on sale at Walmart, and I ended up with coarse, crumbly toilet paper that chafed. Not fun. Now I&rsquo;ve found a brand I love, and I buy it in bulk when it&rsquo;s on sale or when there&rsquo;s a coupon, even though it&rsquo;s marginally more expensive than the cheaper brands.</p> <h2>4. Certain Food Products</h2> <p>For my family, buying milk from cows that haven&rsquo;t been treated with growth hormones, Omega-3 eggs, decent extra-virgin olive oil, and a few other food items is a priority, even though these food products may cost a little more. I believe that the investment in our health is definitely worth it in the long run. I make up for the extra cost by buying seasonal fresh produce on sale at our local market, eating meat less often, and cooking from scratch instead of using more expensive jarred and packaged goods.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. A Sharp Knife</h2> <p>I have one sharp santoku knife that I use for most cutting and chopping purposes. I have a few other slicing and paring knives, but the one I splurged on was the large santoku, which I use as a chef&rsquo;s knife. A sharp knife with a good weight is safer and makes cooking a breeze. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be super-expensive. Victorinox makes good-quality chef knives that won&rsquo;t break the bank. Trust me, buying ONE good sharp chef&rsquo;s knife is better than buying a whole block of cheap knives. Keep a sharpener on hand to hone the edge.</p> <h2>6. A Good Can Opener</h2> <p>For a year, I struggled with a dull can opener that gave my hands a workout every time I tried to use it. I refused to get a new one because my can opener WAS new. It just sucked. Finally, I caved and bought one at Marshalls for $5. It makes me happy every time I use it now. The smoothness of the mechanism and the sharpness of the cutter just make my heart soar.</p> <h2>7. Scented Hand Soap</h2> <p>Hand soap from Bath and Body Works is another item that I brought overseas with me when I lived in China. When on sale, these bottles of soap cost $3-4 each and went a long way towards making my apartment feel like home. Especially when you have guests over, a nice bottle of hand soap makes your bathroom feel more luxurious and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spa-bathrooms-on-the-cheap">spa-like</a>.</p> <h2>8. Date Night</h2> <p>Sure, you can&rsquo;t afford to eat caviar and truffles every week, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t have an evening to enjoy yourself, away from everyday responsibilities. Schedule a babysitter and plan a date night for you and your significant other, even if it&rsquo;s just a few hours at Starbucks or a leisurely meal at Burger King. It&rsquo;s the time away and the extra focus you have for each other that count. Try to make it a regular ritual that has special significance. It&rsquo;s a treat that you can look forward to every week or two.</p> <p>Little purchases can add up over time, so it&rsquo;s important to keep track of what you&rsquo;re spending for these small luxuries. You might find it helpful to give yourself an &ldquo;allowance&rdquo; to keep your spending in check. This means that you can spend your allowance money guilt-free, but you&rsquo;re not allowed to go over budget!</p> <p><em>What little luxuries do you think are worth the splurge? How do you keep them to a limit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">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/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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-fun-things-to-buy-for-under-5">15 Fun Things to Buy for Under $5</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/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping cheap treats luxury small splurges Thu, 25 Aug 2011 10:36:20 +0000 Camilla Cheung 678230 at http://www.wisebread.com TWINKIE SUSHI - Chopsticks optional http://www.wisebread.com/twinkie-sushi-chopsticks-optional <div class="recipe_title" align="left"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/twinkiesushi.jpg" alt="Twinkie Sushi" title="Twinkie Sushi" width="350" height="311" /></div> <div class="recipe_title" align="left"> </div> <div class="recipe_title" align="left">I am not exactly a Twinkie fan. I moved to the USA in my mid-twenties and so I hadn&#39;t acquired a taste for them. And most likely never will (although I did try a deep-fried Twinkie recently...not bad, considering).</div> <div class="recipe_title" align="left"> </div> <!--break--><!--break--><div class="recipe_title" align="left">Anyway, kids do love Twinkies. But they&#39;re not so fond of Sushi. So those clever (or devious) people at Hostess foods have decided to fuse the two ideas together and perhaps create something that adults and kids will love equally, or despise with the same passion. Either way, I think they&#39;re a novel way to dress up a party platter, they&#39;re nice and cheap to make, and if nothing else they&#39;ll be a talking point. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. </div> <div class="recipe_title" align="left"> </div> <div class="recipe_title" align="left"><strong>Items Needed:</strong> </div> <div class="recipe_title" align="left"> <ul> <li class="recipe_body">3 Hostess Twinkies</li> <li class="recipe_body">Assorted dried fruits</li> <li class="recipe_body">Assorted fruity candies</li> <li class="recipe_body">2 green fruit roll ups</li> <li class="recipe_body">Dried mangoes (looks like pickled ginger)</li> </ul> </div> <p class="recipe_body" align="left"><strong>DIRECTIONS:</strong></p> <ol> <li> Slice Hostess Twinkies into pieces about an inch tall.</li> <li>Slice fruit roll ups in strips to the long enough and wide enough to wrap around the Hostess Twinkie pieces. </li> <li>Wrap the fruit roll ups around the Hostess Twinkie pieces. </li> <li>Place dried fruits and candies into the cream filling. </li> <li>Place Twinkie rolls on a plate or in a bento box. </li> <li>Garnish with strips of dried mango to resemble pickled ginger if you wish! </li> <li>Serve with chopsticks if you wish.</li> </ol> <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/twinkie-sushi-chopsticks-optional">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/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts">15 Ultra-Quick Homemade Desserts</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/what-you-dont-know-about-sushi">What You Don&#039;t Know About Sushi</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/8-things-you-must-do-to-throw-a-frugal-fun-backyard-party">8 Things You Must Do to Throw a Frugal, Fun Backyard Party</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/sweet-and-salty-snacks-you-can-make-at-home">Sweet and Salty Snacks You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fuel-up-your-kids-frugally">Fuel Up Your Kids -- Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap treats creative ideas. kids food Party ideas Sushi Twinkies Mon, 19 Mar 2007 22:36:12 +0000 Paul Michael 364 at http://www.wisebread.com