Entertainment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5995/all en-US 20 Simple and Cheap Halloween Costumes for Kids http://www.wisebread.com/20-simple-and-cheap-halloween-costumes-for-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-simple-and-cheap-halloween-costumes-for-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/halloween-costume-children-124925068-small.jpg" alt="halloween costume" title="halloween costume" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have an almost 3-year-old daughter, and she's incredibly excited to dress up for Halloween this year. The thing is, we went out shopping for costumes the other day, and I was absolutely shocked at how much these little outfits cost. I complained to my own mother who, in turn, showed me photos of some of the costumes I wore as a kid. Guess what! They were all humble and homemade. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-diy-halloween-costumes?ref=seealso">Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes</a>)</p> <p>So, get out the glue, cardboard, and pipe cleaners. Here are 20 amazing Halloween costume ideas that are both adorable on your kid and sensible for your budget.</p> <h2>1. Black Cat</h2> <p>Dress your child in black pants and a black shirt or sweater. Use construction paper to cut out two triangles to attach to a headband for ears. Use eyeliner to <a href="http://makinbacon.hubpages.com/hub/catfacepaintinghalloweenchildrendesignstipstutorials">draw a black triangle</a> on your child's nose and then whiskers on his or her cheeks. Finish off by filling a long black sock with some stuffing and pinning it on as a tail.</p> <h2>2. Robot</h2> <p>Gather up any discarded boxes you were planning to recycle and use them to assemble a <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/robot-costumes/">DIY robot costume</a>. Paint with bright or metallic craft paint however you like. Decorate with &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; plastic bottle caps, stray buttons, and other discarded items.</p> <h2>3. Snail</h2> <p>Use brown craft paper to twist and turn into a shell for this cute <a href="http://ohhappyday.com/2012/10/snail-costume/">snail costume</a>. From there, you simply make a base using a square of cardboard and hot glue ribbon onto it so your child can wear the shell as a backpack.</p> <h2>4. Runner</h2> <p>Put your kid in his or her most athletic clothes &mdash; a t-shirt and shorts should do. You can add leggings if it's cold. Then choose a pair of sneakers. If you have a sweatband &mdash; great! To finish, pin one of your race numbers onto the shirt and add a finisher's medal (or borrow those items from a runner friend).</p> <h2>5. Aerobics Instructor</h2> <p>My mom taught dance aerobics in the 1980s, so I love this <a href="http://homemadebyjill.blogspot.com/2010/10/rubys-halloween-costume-baby-aerobics.html">throwback costume</a> that even a baby can wear. Dress baby in a onesie with leggings underneath and a pair of leg warmers. If you don't have leg warmers, cut the feet off a pair of old socks as a temporary fix. The author of the costume made a felt boom box. If you're not into sewing, make one using a small cardboard box and craft paint.</p> <h2>6. Angel</h2> <p>You can make some amazing angel wings using <a href="http://www.thoughtsfromalice.com/2014/02/coffee-filter-angel-wings-diy.html">cardboard and coffee filters</a>. Though this tutorial was originally intended for decorative wings, they'll attach to your child's body with ribbon much like in the snail costume instructions above.</p> <h2>7. Superhero</h2> <p>Dress your child in one color as a base and then craft a quick, no-sew cape <a href="http://eastcoastmommyblog.blogspot.ca/2014/09/no-sew-superhero-cape-and-cuffs.html">using an old t-shirt</a> (or you can buy one for just $1 at the Dollar Store). Then make cuffs using toilet paper rolls and a mask using construction paper. Decorate using whatever art supplies you already own.</p> <h2>8. Crayon</h2> <p>Have your child wear his or her favorite color from head to toe. These girls decided to <a href="http://www.costume-works.com/box_of_friends.html">color their hair</a> and loft with water bottles, but you could also make a quick cap using construction paper and ribbon. Otherwise, make a label using black paper and paint that says Crayola.</p> <h2>9. Ghost</h2> <p>Your classic homemade costume. Use a sheet or large piece of white fabric as your base. Cut holes for the eyes. Or you can buy this <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2479217/Would-spend-200-ghost-costume-Designer-sleepwear-brand-offers-600-thread-count-sheet-eye-holes-Halloween.html">exact same thing</a> for $200 with 600 thread count. Your choice.</p> <h2>10. Fairy</h2> <p>Most little girls already have one of those tulle dress-up skirts. Dress her in one color leggings and a shirt and throw on the poofy skirt. Head to your Dollar Store and pick up a few fake flowers to glue onto a headband. Craft some <a href="http://www.secret-agent-josephine.com/2009/09/fairy-wings-and-toadstool-cupcakes/">DIY wings</a> using cardboard, glitter, and ribbon.</p> <h2>11. Lego Man</h2> <p>If your child loves playing with Legos, this inexpensive <a href="http://www.costume-works.com/lego_man1.html">Lego Man costume</a> will surely be a hit. Use two cardboard boxes and some disposable bowls (or Solo cups). Glue everything together and then spray paint your favorite color.</p> <h2>12. Wind-Up Doll</h2> <p>Though this <a href="http://hartandsew.blogspot.com/2009/10/doll-costume.html">Wind-Up Doll</a> idea is originally for a girl's costume, it could work equally well for a boy. Use a toilet paper roll, a styrofoam ball, and a cardboard cutout to make a wind-up handle and spray with gold paint. Use elastic and brass fasteners to attach to your child's arms.</p> <h2>13. Artist</h2> <p>Dress your child in all black, including a beret. Cut cardboard in the <a href="http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/artist-halloween-costume">shape of an artist's palette</a>, paint white, then add color splotches and a paintbrush. Then cut two small holes in the top so your kid can loop the whole thing around his or her neck.</p> <h2>14. Jellyfish</h2> <p>All you need is an umbrella, some ribbon (or streamers, etc.), and embellishments for this <a href="http://www.acasarella.net/2012/10/diy-jellyfish-costume_29.html">DIY jellyfish costume</a>. Bonus: When you're done with Halloween, your child can continue to use the umbrella on rainy days for years to come.</p> <h2>15. Care Bears</h2> <p>Get the whole family involved with this no-sew <a href="http://seevanessacraft.com/2012/10/20-crafty-days-of-halloween-no-sew-care-bear-costumes/">Care Bears costume</a>. You'll need sweatshirts or hoodies and matching pants. The rest requires felt, paint, glue, some pipe cleaners, and a little artistic ability. If you don't want to go to all that trouble, I think you could draw the designs on paper plates for a similar impact.</p> <h2>16. White Cloud</h2> <p>This <a href="http://ohhappyday.com/2012/10/fluffy-white-cloud-costume/">white cloud</a> getup would be a lot of fun to wear. After you construct your base, the bulk of the costume is made from cotton batting or polyester pillow stuffing. Use whatever you have on hand. This cloud would also be cool if you spray painted it grey or black and added a cardboard lightning bolt.</p> <h2>17. Game Boy</h2> <p>Turn your baby into a <a href="http://www.reallyawesomecostumes.com/diy-game-boy-costume/">handheld gaming system</a> with a onesie, different colored felt, and glue. This costume is seriously adorable and &mdash; as the author writes &mdash; the hardest part is waiting for it to dry.</p> <h2>18. Litterbug</h2> <p>Tampa has a Green Halloween celebration each year. In 2010, a little girl stole the show with her eco-conscious <a href="http://whatsdoingtampabay.com/2011/10/3rd-annual-green-halloween-tampa/">Litterbug getup</a>, winning first place in the costume competition. Simply have your kid wear a solid color underneath a collection of taped-on (and cleaned off!) recyclables of all shapes and sizes.</p> <h2>19. Octopus</h2> <p>I laughed out loud when I saw this <a href="http://www.janemarieblog.com/2012/10/o-is-for-octopus-last-years-diy-halloween-costume/">DIY octopus</a> costume in my search. I've come across several variations, some with matching socks and some without. If you're on a tight budget, just use what you have around the house before buying anything new.</p> <h2>20. Masked Animal</h2> <p>If you don't have a lot of time or crafting ability, try these <a href="http://prudentbaby.com/2012/10/baby-kid/diy-animal-masks-free-template/">no-sew animal masks</a>. The template is free and this project is a fun one to get kids involved with creating. For the rest of the costume, have your child wear simple clothing so the mask is the focus.</p> <p><em>Are you proud of a DIY costume you made (or wore)? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-simple-and-cheap-halloween-costumes-for-kids" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Simple and Cheap Halloween Costumes for Kids" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Entertainment costumes dress up Halloween Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1237801 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Most Offensive Halloween Costumes Ever http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-offensive-halloween-costumes-ever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-most-offensive-halloween-costumes-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-halloween-costume-177282812-small.jpg" alt="businessman halloween costume" title="businessman halloween costume" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's the one day of year when you get to be somebody else. Just make sure your portrayal of that somebody else isn't offensive.</p> <p>Why? Well, for starters, because it's not nice. But perhaps a more convincing reason is because we live the age of smartphones and social media. If you wear a horribly repugnant costume to a Halloween party, chances are pretty good that you'll end up in the Internet's hall of shame. And once your name and photo start popping up on the blogosphere, there's no erasing that. Your career and credibility will tumble into a perpetual state of jeopardy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-hand-out-on-halloween?ref=seealso">What NOT to Hand Out on Halloween</a>)</p> <p>To avoid this unwelcome fate, we suggest following this simple formula: If you wouldn't want a photo of you in your costume circulating on the Internet, then don't wear it. Seems simple enough, right? Well, apparently not. Read on for our roundup of some of the most offensive costumes worn by folks who just didn't think it through.</p> <h2>1. Boston Marathon Bombing Victim</h2> <p>Not only did Alicia Ann Lynch, 22, of Michigan, wear red-splattered running gear and <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boston-bombing-victim-costume-sparks-outrage-threats-online-article-1.1505395">fake blood dripping down her face and legs</a>, she also posed with a toothy grin for a photo while wearing said costume and posted it to her Twitter feed. Big mistake.</p> <p>Lynch, who wore her ill-chosen Halloween costume to an office party, was promptly fired. Then she and her parents swiftly became the target of cyberbullying and death threats that persisted for months.</p> <p>&quot;I have been fired from my job,&quot; Lynch tweeted. &quot;I am paying for what I thought was a simple joke. I know it was wrong now. I wasn't thinking. I'm sorry.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman</h2> <p>Half-brothers William Filene and Greg Cimeno of Florida dressed as <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/10/dead-trayvon-martin-halloween-costume-not-okay.html">a black-faced Trayvon Martin and a trigger-happy George Zimmerman</a>. Then their mother posted a picture of them on one of her social media accounts. No, not because she wanted to publicly shame them for their racial insensitivity. Rather, because it was Halloween and she wanted to show off her sons' costume choice.</p> <p>In the photo, the man dressed as Zimmerman makes a gun with his fingers and holds it to his brothers' head.</p> <p>&quot;Happy Halloween from Zimmerman &amp; trayvon,&quot; wrote Caitlin Cimeno, the boys' mother. She punctuated the caption with an emoji smiley face.</p> <p>Caitlin Cimeno was fired from her job after social media users tracked down her employer, which terminated her position.</p> <h2>3. A Member of the Ku Klux Klan</h2> <p>Jessica Black of Virginia <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boy-kkk-halloween-costume-draws-threats-article-1.1505265">dressed her 7-year-old son as a Klansman</a> for Halloween. She even sewed the white robe and hood herself. Not surprisingly, people were enraged.</p> <p>&quot;It's a family tradition,&quot; Black told a reporter for a local television station.</p> <p>&quot;I did tell him that if you do it, you know there's going to be people talking about you, there's going to be people saying bad things about you when you do wear it,&quot; she said.</p> <p>When asked by a reporter why he wanted to celebrate the holiday dressed in KKK garb, the small boy replied, &quot;'Cause it was cool.&quot;</p> <h2>4. The Twin Towers on 9/11</h2> <p>College students Amber Langford and Annie Collinge, both 19 and British, dressed as the north and south towers of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks. The University of Chester students' costumes featured <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-24835322">smoke, flames, crashing planes, and dozens of people falling to their deaths</a>.</p> <p>The costumes won the girls the &quot;Best Dressed&quot; accolade at the pub where they celebrated the holiday. It also earned them a lot of disrespect across the pond, particularly from the families of 9/11 victims.</p> <p>&quot;I can't begin to tell you how angry and disgusted I am,&quot; said Liz Gilligan, whose husband died in the attacks. &quot;To say I'm shocked and upset is an understatement.&quot;</p> <p>Langford, Collinge, and the pub that rewarded the girls' costumes later issued public apologies for their insensitivity and poor judgement.</p> <p>&quot;We never meant to be offensive, but we apologize if any offense was caused,&quot; the teens wrote in their apology, which was printed in local newspaper. &quot;The idea was to depict a serious, modern-day horror that happened in our lifetime and was not intended as a joke.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Asiana Airlines Flight Attendants</h2> <p>Three men in Chicago wore <a href="http://nydailynews.com/news/national/halloween-costumes-slammed-mocking-asiana-airlines-crash-article-1.1501104">tattered uniforms, faux bruises, and fake blood</a>, calling themselves the victims of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash in San Francisco.</p> <p>Not only was their costume choice distasteful &mdash; it was also racist. The men donned name tags that read: Sum Ting Wong, Ho Lee Fuk, and Wi Tu Lo &mdash; the made-up names of the victims that were mistakenly reported in the news media after a summer intern at the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed them as the real names of the victims as a racist joke.</p> <p><em>What's the worst costume you've ever worn for Halloween? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-offensive-halloween-costumes-ever" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Most Offensive Halloween Costumes Ever" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment costumes cruel Halloween poor taste Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:00:06 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1236725 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make 8 Trending Halloween Costumes on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-8-trending-halloween-costumes-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-8-trending-halloween-costumes-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/minion%20costume.jpg" alt="minion costume" title="minion costume" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Halloween is a booming business, and the only thing more expensive than the treats for little tricksters are the costumes. Commercial get-ups can run into the hundreds, so many people are looking to Pinterest and other sites to turn their next disguise into a DIY adventure.</p> <p>So here's how to make some of the hottest costumes this season yourself for less!</p> <h2>Striped and Wrapped</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/candy%20crush.jpg" /></p> <p>Candy Crush Saga isn't just a game. For many, it's a way of life. This sickly sweet and addicting mobile app has many adults seeing images of brightly-colored candies in their dreams each night, so bringing them to life as a Halloween costume only makes sense. Simply get a big box and paint it on the front to look like a candy grid before cutting out holes for the head, arms, and legs (or <a href="http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/candy-crush-halloween-costume-for-kids/">use a sandwich board</a> for better mobility).</p> <p>You can also chose to dress like Tiffi, that little girl that cries at the end of each level. Popsugar has your shopping list for all the <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Tiffi-Candy-Crush-Costume-31956867">cute-sie accessories</a> you'll need to pull off the look.</p> <h2>Clash of the Clans</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4wsFVqzsQKY" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>This is yet another obsession for kids (and their parents), but the silver lining is that the costumes aren't that complicated. This video tutorial for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wsFVqzsQKY">making up a child to look like the goblin</a> takes patience, but isn't very expensive. Archers seem to be a simple costume as well, assuming you have a pink wig and both a green dress and hooded cloak. If you have old gear from a Renaissance Fair, you'll likely have what you need to dress up as many of the characters in this game.</p> <h2>Lego Minifig</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/lego%20minifigs%20costume.jpg" /></p> <p>This trend never seems to die out, and once again, Pinterest is full of Lego character costumes. While everyone can get the &quot;box body&quot; pretty easily, the head is what give people trouble. <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/LEGO-Man-Costume/">This Instructables</a> shows you step-by-step how to get it done in one weekend!</p> <h2>Minion</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/minion%20costume.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>These little creatures from the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042U94UQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0042U94UQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CRFREKZDNPRZNLAS">Despicable Me</a> franchise have been a huge success as both adult and kid costumes. Their simple features make them easy to duplicate in a DIY project. Most of the projects I've seen involve nothing more than a yellow hooded sweatshirt worn under a pair of denim overalls. Add some black rounded glasses and a toolbelt, and you have yourself a fashionable version of this cartoon trend! Or, check out this tutorial for an <a href="http://www.makeandtakes.com/last-minute-despicable-me-minion-costume">accessory Minion hat!</a></p> <h2>Monster High</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/monster%20high%20costumes.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>As much as I can't relate to this trend (I have five little boys), I do see it as any easy win for the DIY costume crowd. A private school uniform skirt and blouse altered slightly with some iron-on patches of spooky spiders or webs will go nicely with a black studded belt, black tights, and some creepy hair accessories. Don't forget to paint a few scars or stitches on the face!</p> <h2>Doctor Who</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/doctor%20who%20costume.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This is one alien that won't cost a fortune to replicate. Since any human can get away with looking like our time-traveling friend, you simply have to pick your favorite regeneration and buy the appropriate accessories. Will it be a bowtie? A fez? Something vintage, like a scarf? While some Doctors (like the 11th) weren't as quirky looking &mdash; and you might get confused with the Fonz &mdash; you can always prove a point with your own <a href="http://www.doodlecraftblog.com/2012/08/doctor-who-week-5-sonic-screwdriver-diy.html">homemade Sonic Screwdriver</a>!</p> <h2>Mario and Luigi</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/mario%20luigi%20costume.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The NES may no longer be functional, but the legacy of the two most famous Italian plumbers lives on! Mario and Luigi costumes are still for sale at major retailers, so it's a safe bet to make at home. A pair of denim overalls can be dyed bright blue and paired with a red long-sleeve tee for Mario (green for Luigi) and topped off with a red or green baseball cap. Mustaches are easy to find, too!</p> <h2>A Selfie</h2> <p>In this selfie-obsessed world, what's more fashionable than a pic of you? This tutorial for putting together an <a href="http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2014/09/teen-adult-halloween-costume-diy-instagram-board/">Instagram frame</a> is brilliant and surprisingly not too complicated. It's an acceptable solution for tweens and teens who may be forced to take younger siblings out trick-or-treating, but feel lame &quot;dressing up.&quot;</p> <p><em>Each year bring it's share of super heroes, angels, monks, and witches, but it's nice to bring a little creativity to the party &mdash; especially at a low cost. What frugal Halloween costume ideas will you try out this year?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-8-trending-halloween-costumes-on-the-cheap" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Make 8 Trending Halloween Costumes on the Cheap" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Entertainment cheap costumes costumes Halloween trendycostumes Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1236049 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-baking-cookies-516622037-small.jpg" alt="family baking" title="family baking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever been stuck wondering what to do with your kids on the weekend, this list is for you. You don't need to spend a dime to entertain your family and bond in the process. Sometimes the best things in life really are free! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend?ref=seealso">47 cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a>)</p> <h2>1. Visit Your Library</h2> <p>We frequent our local library at least every week for free storytimes. Plus, you can pick up books, DVDs, and other materials to entertain your child for free. Many libraries also arrange toys in their children's section, and it's a great place to meet other parents to set up play-dates.</p> <h2>2. Check the Community Calendar</h2> <p>While you're at the library, check your local paper (or click online) and any bulletin boards for any and all events going on in your area. Very often colleges, universities, and other community centers will host family events that are free and open to the public.</p> <h2>3. Crash Store Events</h2> <p>Sometimes book stores, grocery stores, craft stores, toy stores, and other merchants will host free activities. More often than not, these events are intended to get you to come into the store and buy things. So, consider leaving your cash and cards at home and sticking to the zero dollar budget.</p> <h2>4. Make Cookies</h2> <p>Spend a Saturday afternoon in and use your baking powers to mix up a big batch of sugar cookies. Take your time and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Then frost them. Get artistic. Encourage your child to take the lead. Small activities can turn into big learning experiences.</p> <h2>5. Play Games</h2> <p>Start a weekly tradition of playing board games with your kids. I've seen games that allow kids as young as three to participate. You can also try charades with older kids, and a deck of cards is useful in a pinch.</p> <h2>6. Camp at Home</h2> <p>Skip all the site fees and other camping costs and set up the family tent in your backyard. What I love about backyard camping is that you don't necessarily have to sleep outdoors to enjoy all the fun. And you can fire up the grill for a good old fashioned cookout! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-grill-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Grill Pizza At Home</a>)</p> <h2>7. Create a Sensory Bin</h2> <p>The youngest children get a kick out of <a href="http://www.writingchapterthree.com/2012/08/rice-bins-and-gymnastics-mats.html">homemade sensory bins</a>. Fill a shallow plastic container (choose one with a top) with rice, corn kernels, uncooked noodles, and anything else that boasts some interesting texture. It's like a cleaner version of a sandbox that you can play with indoors.</p> <h2>8. Visit Museums on Free Days</h2> <p>Many museums are either free or donation-only. Those that do charge admission sometimes have admission-free days each month or season. Check the museum's website or call ahead for more information.</p> <h2>9. Reuse Cardboard Boxes</h2> <p>Take all the cardboard boxes you intend to recycle and turn them into something great. You can make race cars, boats, robots, and even entire houses! We often do our grocery shopping at Aldi and use the boxes they stock to transport our food home. Our daughter gets hours of enjoyment! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">What You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>10. Build a Library</h2> <p>Have you heard of <a href="http://littlefreelibrary.org/">Little Free Libraries</a>? They are tiny &quot;houses&quot; you place books into for your neighbors to borrow. (They can leave books for you to read, too!) If this concept sounds cool to you, take a weekend to build and decorate a structure. Then identify a few old books on your shelf that you'd be willing to share. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-books-little-libraries-that-build-community-and-save-you-money?ref=seealso">Free Books: Little Libraries That Build Community</a>)</p> <h2>11. Melt Crayons</h2> <p>Take all those odds and ends of your child's crayons and turn them into neat shapes with swirled colors. You just preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, place crayons in a silicone mold, and <a href="http://comfyinthekitchen.com/2014/03/how-to-melt-crayons-into-molds/">bake for 15 minutes</a>. Let cool completely before using.</p> <h2>12. Ride a Bike</h2> <p>Head to a local park or hit the sidewalks for a family bike ride. You can have a destination in mind, like a playground, or just wander the streets. Sometimes you'll discover more free things to do &mdash; street performers, festivals, neighborhood gatherings &mdash; on the go.</p> <h2>13. Rake Leaves</h2> <p>It may seem like a chore at first, but getting the whole family involved with raking leaves will get the job done faster. Or maybe not. Half the fun of completing this chore with your kids is jumping in them. Make sure you drink a warm mug of cider when you're done.</p> <h2>14. Use Perks</h2> <p>If you have store or restaurant loyalty cards, take a weekend and use as many free meals, ice creams, pizzas, doughnuts, and whatever else you've earned. I like to store my coupons and cards in a plastic zip pocket inside a three-ring binder. That way, I don't lose anything and can quickly check there before heading out the door.</p> <h2>15. Go Geocaching</h2> <p>Take your family on a <a href="http://www.geocaching.com/guide/">real life treasure hunt</a> using your GPS device. You'll navigate to specific coordinates and look for clues to get you to your next destination. Little explorers are sure to love this activity.</p> <h2>16. Create a Home Theater</h2> <p>Save yourself the high ticket and concessions costs and watch a movie at home. Make it legit! Have the whole family wear their pajamas, pop some popcorn in your microwave, and turn out all the lights. You can even make it a double feature for the same $0.00 price tag.</p> <h2>17. Walk in Nature</h2> <p>Grab a bag or container and head into your backyard or local hiking trail. Have your child collect small plants, leaves, nuts, flowers, and any other natural treasures. Then bring them home <a href="http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection.php?Page=plantkey.php">and identify them</a>. Your little scientist might also like to make his or her <a href="http://www.mrspotter.com/terrariums-for-kids/">own terrarium</a> and add to the collections as weeks go on.</p> <h2>18. Party at the Beach</h2> <p>Well, now that the weather is getting colder, you won't go to the actual beach. Instead, have an <a href="http://www.howdoesshe.com/beat-the-winter-blues-throw-an-indoor-beach-party/">indoor beach party</a>. Turn the thermostat up a degree, fill up the tub with water and some floatation devices, and have you kid put on his or her swimsuit. You can lay out on the living room floor, pack and indoor picnic, and slip into your sandals.</p> <h2>19. Craft</h2> <p>You don't need an expensive subscription service to do crafts with your kids. Gather up all your crayons, markers, glues, glitters, stickers, pipe cleaners, and other supplies and create <a href="http://www.writingchapterthree.com/2014/09/diy-craft-kits-on-cheap.html">DIY Craft Kits</a>. Whatever you group together doesn't have to make anything specific. The magic is in the creativity.</p> <h2>20. Host a Sleepover</h2> <p>Invite a couple of your child's friends over for a sleepover using some of the activities above. You can make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home">homemade pizza</a> versus getting takeout. Play hide-and-seek with flashlights. Build forts. Play board games. If you kid is a little too young for a whole night, make it an afternoon!</p> <p><em>Any fun, free ways to keep the kids entertained that we forgot? Let us know below!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle bored entertaining games kids Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1235098 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Movie Theater Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-movie-theater-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-movie-theater-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-movie-theater-lobby-76767576-small.jpg" alt="family movie theater lobby" title="family movie theater lobby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on life-changing movie theater hacks, finding your passion, and beating the addiction to unhappiness.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Movies-35868516">13 Life-Changing Movie Theater Hacks</a> &mdash; Eating before you go and using apps like CineMode can help you save at the movies. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://yoprowealth.com/finding-your-passion/">A Secret to Wealth: Finding Your Passion</a> &mdash; When trying to determine your passions, remember it takes time and finding your passions starts and ends with you. [YoPro Wealth]</p> <p><a href="http://www.johnnymoneyseed.com/how-life-works/beating-the-addiction-to-unhappiness/">Beating the Addition to Unhappiness</a> &mdash; To choose happiness, respond to stimulus with a clear head and remove yourself from situations that make you unhappy. [Johnny Moneyseed]</p> <p><a href="http://kylieofiu.com/2014/10/how-to-get-money-fast-without-a-loan/">How to Get Money Fast Without a Loan</a> &mdash; Returning items and selling your stuff are just a couple ways to get money fast without having to take out a loan. [Kylie Ofiu]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lbeeandthemoneytree.com/new-rules-wedding-gift-etiquette/">The New Rules for Wedding Gift Etiquette</a> &mdash; If you are getting married, remember that you have 3 months to send thank you notes! [L Bee and the Money Tree]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://canadianfinanceblog.com/how-much-money-do-i-need-to-retire/">How Much Money Do I Need To Retire?</a> &mdash; Are you saving 10% of your income for retirement? Or are you familiar with The Rule of 20? [Canadian Finance Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/7-financial-moves-20-somethings-make/">7 Financial Moves 20 Somethings Should Make</a> &mdash; 20 somethings should make a debt-payoff plan and open a retiremet account. [Sweating the Big Stuff]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/how-to-best-use-your-extra-paychecks/">How to Best Use Your Extra Paychecks</a> &mdash; Use your extra paychecks to achieve your financial goals. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/not-your-average-list-8-thoughtful-way-to-keep-things-fresh-with-your-partner">Not Your Average List &mdash; 8 Thoughtful Way to Keep Things Fresh With Your Partner</a> &mdash; Laughing and rediscovering shared passions are just a couple ways to keep things fresh with your partner. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/how-to-cut-those-scary-halloween-costs/">How to Cut Those Scary Halloween Costs</a> &mdash; Using a sheet to make a ghost or mummy costume for your kids can help you save on Halloween expenses. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-movie-theater-hacks" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Movie Theater Hacks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment best money tips hacks movie theater Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1229417 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Times When You Really Should Bring a Gift http://www.wisebread.com/15-times-when-you-really-should-bring-a-gift <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-times-when-you-really-should-bring-a-gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dinner-party-gift-200329968-001-small.jpg" alt="dinner party gift" title="dinner party gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gift giving can be awkward and the etiquette tricky to navigate. Close friends and family who are possibly gift-worthy don't tend to ask for gifts outright on the invite, and many times, you don't want to ask if you need to bring a gift, either! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-holiday-gifts-to-give-the-neighbor-you-like?ref=seealso">9 Gifts to Give to the Neighbor You Like</a>)</p> <p>So here's our gift to you: a rundown of 15 semi-ambiguous instances when yes, you really should bring a gift.</p> <h2>1. First Visit to Someone's Home</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/house-warming-gift-83404222-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When you're invited over to a person's home in a formal sense, whether it be a neighbor, colleague, or an acquaintance with whom you'd like to become friends, it's a good idea to bring something like flowers, a wreath, or a fruit basket.</p> <h2>2. Dinner Party</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dinner-party-gift-74956908-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Find out what the menu is, and determine what item to bring. If you can't cook, a good bet is a bottle of wine, a pie, or an appetizer tray. If you're broke, offer to help clean up.</p> <h2>3. Funeral</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/funeral-offering-89333015-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This can be a sore spot. Funerals are so expensive that these days families set up donation funds, so ask if there is one. If not, send a care package of food, bring drinks to the wake, provide handkerchiefs, whatever feels right.</p> <h2>4. House Party</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/house-party-479625419-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The older the host, the more important this is. No one likes a mooch, so be sure to bring a bottle of liquor, wine, a case of beer, or some snacks. The more party supplies there are, the longer the party can go!</p> <h2>5. First Business Meeting With New Client or Partner</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/business-coworkers-gift-512216793-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This is especially true for international business meetings. Reserve this for when the contract is landed and signed. Once you have a working relationship, it's a good idea to send a card along with a bottle of champagne or get creative with something related to your services.</p> <h2>6. Father's Day</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/fathers-day-gift-200347312-001-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Everyone knows to get their mother something special on Mother's Day, but dads tend to get short shrift. If you have a good relationship with your father, send anything other than a card and a tie, like <a href="http://retail.theartofshaving.com">a fancy shave</a> or a dinner at a steakhouse.</p> <h2>7. Housewarming</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/move-in-present-83405615-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This one may be conventional wisdom, but now that fewer and fewer people can afford to buy homes, this can be a tough one for younger adults to master. Best bet: gift cards to places like Home Depot and Bed, Bath, and Beyond or freshly made food.</p> <h2>8. Wedding</h2> <p><img width="605" height="341" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/wedding-reception-gift-77662326-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>You're likely <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-attend-a-wedding-for-cheap-without-actually-looking-cheap">already spending a lot</a> to be at the wedding, but gifts are usually necessary. You will need to follow their lead. Some will ask for household items on Amazon, to donate to a charity, or for cash to put toward their honeymoon. Check their invite or wedding website for information.</p> <h2>9. Bridal Shower</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/bridal-shower-gifts-77736735-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The whole point is to &quot;shower&quot; a bride with gifts, right? Ask for the registry, or get a gift card. This is different from the bachelorette party, for which you generally do not need to buy a gift (unless specifically asked).</p> <h2>10. A New Baby</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/baby-shower-gift-83115678-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If a close friend or family member has a baby, you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-a-new-baby-really-needs">send them a gift</a> to celebrate. If they are extra close, you should get them something even if they don't have a registry. A Babies-R-Us gift card, a huge case of diapers, even a hand-me-down onesie is a huge help and appreciated.</p> <h2>11. Thanksgiving Dinner</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/thanksgiving-dinner-177712596-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Hosting Thanksgiving is a big undertaking! Many hosts try to do it all, and it can be hard for them to think of everything. Bring a homemade side dish, wine, dessert, appetizers, extra glasses, napkins, ice, whatever will help round out the menu and make the host's life easier.</p> <h2>12. Birthdays</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/birthday-party-451059429-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>There are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/only-celebrate-a-few-select-birthdays">some obvious milestones</a> that warrant gifts, whether they are in the form of gestures or material things &mdash; especially 1st birthdays, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, quinceanera, 18th, and 21st. If someone you are not very close to has a birthday, buying them a coffee, cocktail, or lunch will do; and a card always works.</p> <h2>13. Graduation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/graduation-present-483560965-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If a nephew, niece, grandchild, or child of a significant other graduates elementary school, middle school, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/useful-gifts-for-college-bound-graduates">high school</a>, or college, it's expected to give a gift. A copy of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679805273/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0679805273&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZNAUGZDJ3HB57XEN">Oh, The Places You'll Go!</a> will work if you don't know them very well, but usually a check, gift card, or a nice meal is a good way to celebrate their accomplishment.</p> <h2>14. Romantic Anniversary</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/anniversary-present-dinner-514248077-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Gender politics are pointless here &mdash; each person in the relationship should show a gesture of love on this day. Some jewelry, a nice dinner, a backrub, anything that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-steps-to-buying-lingerie-for-your-wife-girlfriend-or-significant-other">the other person enjoys</a> can be a reminder of your love.</p> <h2>15. Christmas</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/christmas-presents-82089991-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The biggest gift-giving day of all can be intimidating. You have a budget. How do you know who deserves a gift and who doesn't? If your workplace is having a gift exchange, one gift under $25 will suffice. Key relatives and best friends get presents. All other friends and neighbors? Your yearly holiday card will do just fine.</p> <p><em>Any gift-giving opportunities missing from this list? When do you bear gifts?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-times-when-you-really-should-bring-a-gift" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Times When You Really Should Bring a Gift" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment gift etiquette gift giving gifts good guests Mon, 06 Oct 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1226906 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/autumn-candle-178492659-small.jpg" alt="autumn candle" title="autumn candle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This time of year gets the best of me when it comes to my inner nesting goddess. Whereas during the summer I'd rather cool off than decorate our spaces, fall brings me indoors and into full-on festive-mode. If you've been to the store to check out how much little knickknacks cost, your eyes might bug out of your head (which might help with a Halloween costume &mdash; but still!). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-fall-pizzas?ref=seealso">15 Easy Fall Pizzas</a>)</p> <p>Try these 12 inexpensive projects using items you can find in your backyard or otherwise on the cheap.</p> <h2>1. Cozy Candle</h2> <p>This <a href="http://passionatepennypincher.com/2012/09/the-friday-fluff-up-6-decorating-at-the-dollar-tree/#">autumnal candle project</a> costs just $6 for two, and most all of the supplies can be purchased at dollar discount stores. Fill a glass candle jar with some un-popped popcorn, stick a candle inside, and tie some raffia ribbon in a bow around it. I suggest embellishing your finished piece with colorful leaves you find outdoors for free.</p> <h2>2. Thankful Tree</h2> <p>Celebrate Thanksgiving early this year by making a DIY <a href="http://www.simplyvintagegirl.com/blog/index.php/2012/11/16/the-thankful-tree-with-chalk/">Thankful Tree</a>. Fill a Ball jar with assorted nuts (or wine corks), then poke in a few sticks from outside. The rest is flexible, as the author uses wooden chalkboard tags to write down her thoughts. You can also use inexpensive paper tags. Tie a ribbon or some burlap around the jar and place on your mantel.</p> <h2>3. Fall Potpourri</h2> <p>Don't just make your place look like fall, let the scents mingle and linger as well. This <a href="http://diana212m.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-perfect-fall-potpourri.html?m=1">fall potpourri</a> is made using ingredients you likely have on hand, including orange peel, apple, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla and almond extracts, and plain water. Fill a stock pot and let simmer all day long to wrap yourself in the warm aroma.</p> <h2>4. Junkin' Pumpkins</h2> <p>Skip the patch this year and recycle your old aluminum cans to make these cute <a href="http://www.creativegreenliving.com/2013/10/make-tin-can-pumpkins.html">Junkin' Pumpkins</a>. Find some empty tin cans of assorted sizes and paint them orange using craft paint. Use branches and wire to make convincing stems, and then decorate with ribbon or whatever else you think will make them pop. Bonus: They won't rot, so you can keep them for next year's decor!</p> <h2>5. Gold Leaf</h2> <p>If you have an old frame begging for a photo, consider trekking outside and finding a leaf for this <a href="http://paulinaspassions.com/easy-diy-fall-decorations/">sophisticated art project</a>. Clean off any dirt or debris on the leaf with plain water, let dry, and then paint with metallic paint and let set. Place a clean sheet of paper or card stock behind the leaf and then frame for display.</p> <h2>6. Festive Garland</h2> <p>While you're looking for leaves, pick up some pine cones, too. You can make a <a href="http://blog.freepeople.com/2013/10/diy-fall-garland/">beautiful garland</a> by tethering the cones with twine or hot glueing other items you find &mdash; like flowers and leaves &mdash; to the string. Feel free to paint cones for a brighter look. Then hang over a door or fireplace mantel.</p> <h2>7. Pumpkin Planters</h2> <p>Maybe you'd rather hollow out your pumpkin and <a href="http://www.17apart.com/2012/10/how-to-fall-pumpkin-planters.html">plant some mums</a> inside. You'll need to drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, but the rest of the project is super easy. Pack in some dirt, plop in your plant, and water as usual. For the best prices on pumpkins and mums, head to a local farm.</p> <h2>8. Carve-Less Pumpkins</h2> <p>I hate carving pumpkins. I usually cut myself or make a huge mess. You can <a href="http://bliss-athome.com/2013/10/10/tribal-painted-pumpkins/">paint pumpkins</a> using acrylics for a gorgeous addition to your indoor or outdoor decorations. One blogger even <a href="http://alisaburke.blogspot.com/2010/10/pretty-painted-pumpkins-tutorial.html">snagged puffy paint</a> for an impressive 3-D impact. Or let your pumpkin double as a <a href="http://www.betterrecipes.com/blogs/daily-dish/2012/11/19/chalkboard-pumpkins/">message board or table decor</a> using chalkboard paint and chalk.</p> <h2>9. Wrapped Wreath</h2> <p>Use those yarn remnants to make a <a href="http://www.mysocalledcraftylife.com/2012/09/25/diy-yarn-wrapped-fall-wreath/">colorful wreath</a> you'll use for years to come. You'll need a wreath form, that you can find at most craft stores, and &mdash; of course &mdash; yarn. Wrap the yarn over the form until you get the look you want. Then decorate using buttons, fabric flowers, or anything else you like.</p> <h2>10. Nature Wreath</h2> <p>Not as crafty? It's okay! Check your local fabric or craft store for a <a href="http://thirdfloordesignstudio.blogspot.com/2011/10/tuesday-tip-fall-wreath-rosettes.html?m=1">wood or wicker wreath</a> and then use hot glue to decorate it to your best ability. There's no right or wrong way. You can make simple felt rosettes or use items you find outdoors &mdash; acorns, leaves, etc. &mdash; for a punch of color.</p> <h2>11. Sensational Centerpiece</h2> <p>If you're hosting any gatherings, you'll likely want to jazz up your dining table. Don't over-think or over-spend. Instead, <a href="http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2012/09/fall-table-centerpiece.html">glue together a few boards</a> (you can ask your store to cut them for you) and make a base to fill with whatever you choose. You can also use a container you already have on hand. Head to the farmers' market to stock up on small squashes, gourds, and pumpkins that will double as decor and food at a later date. Round out the look by placing a few candles in Ball jars.</p> <h2>12. Apple Candles</h2> <p>Or skip all that and try these genius <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273609/apple-votives">DIY Apple Votives</a>. Cut into the top of your apples with a paring knife to make enough space for your votive. You'll want to sprinkle a little lemon juice to keep the exposed fruit from turning brown. Oh, and you can skip the expensive steel tub and arrange these candles on your dining table atop a plate or other fire-safe surface.</p> <p><em>How do you decorate for fall? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Entertainment Home autumn crafts decor DIY fall festive Holidays Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1220813 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Entertainment Edition http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-entertainment-edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-entertainment-edition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-playground-486488359-small.jpg" alt="family playground" title="family playground" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we are featuring some of the most interesting articles from around the web about saving on entertainment!</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/keeping-your-kids-entertained-without-breaking-the-bank">Entertain Your Kids Without Breaking the Bank</a> &mdash; Taking your kids to a local park or playground can keep them entertained without breaking the bank. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/12/08/how-to-feed-your-soul-for-cheap-12-ways-to-enjoy-high-culture-for-less/">How to Feed Your Soul for Cheap: 12 Ways to Enjoy High Culture for Less</a> &mdash; If you want to feed your soul without breaking the bank, take advantage of student discounts and watch for specials. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Watch-Movies-Free-31004765">11 Ways to Watch Movies for Free</a> &mdash; Renting movies from the library or checking out Craigslist's free section can enable you to watch movies for free. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2013/01/22/board-games-stretching-your-entertainment-dollar/">Board Games: Stretching Your Entertainment Dollar</a> &mdash; When was the last time you played a board game with your family? [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/fun-and-frugal-family-entertainment-ideas/">Fun and Frugal Family Entertainment Ideas</a> &mdash; To have frugal fun as a family, cook together or hit up your local community center. [Gen X Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.johnnymoneyseed.com/living-on-less/living-on-less-cutting-the-cord/">Living on Less: Cutting the Cord</a> &mdash; Cutting the cord from cable and opting to use Netflix or Hulu could save you tons of money long term. [Johnny Moneyseed]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shoestringmag.com/books/cheap-reads-swapping-selling-renting-books">Cheap Reads: Swapping, Selling &amp; Renting Books</a> &mdash; Goodreads Book Swapping is one way to get books on the cheap. [Shoestring]</p> <p><a href="http://www.nevblog.com/how-to-crash-a-party/">How to Crash a Party</a> &mdash; What better way to have some free fun (and network) than crashing a party? [Neville's Financial Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://thatfinancechic.com/2014/05/25/sharing-is-caring/">Shared Experiences, Shared Expenses</a> &mdash; Remember that it isn't about how much money you spend, it's about the time you get to spend with people. [That Finance Chic]</p> <p><a href="http://buckinspire.com/public-library.html">Public Library</a> &mdash; Did you know that your local library probably has a pretty awesome DVD collection for you to rent from? [Buck Inspire]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-entertainment-edition" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: The Entertainment Edition" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment best money tips entertainment Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:00:04 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1205243 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Cheapest Dates That Don't Seem So Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheapest-dates-that-dont-seem-so-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-cheapest-dates-that-dont-seem-so-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-flea-market-76728941-small.jpg" alt="couple flea market" title="couple flea market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going out on dates doesn't have to break the bank.</p> <p>There are tons of fun ideas that work great for first dates or tenth dates, and may even help set you apart from the other Drinks/Dinner Daters. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-frugal-and-romantic-dates-at-home?ref=seealso">15 Frugal and Romantic Dates at Home</a>)</p> <p>Here are nine cheap date ideas that won't make you look like a cheapskate.</p> <h2>1. Stargazing</h2> <p>If you live in a big city, chances are good that you don't get a very good view of the celestial heavens. The solution? Hop in your car and get outside of the big city. Show your date something they haven't seen since they moved to town &mdash; the natural beauty of the stars. Pack a dinner and maybe even some candles.</p> <h2>2. Flea Market</h2> <p>Whether you buy anything or not, flea markets can be great places to wander around. Not only are you going to see some cheap items you didn't know you couldn't live without, you're also going to see some downright weird stuff you and your date will talk about for weeks to come.</p> <h2>3. Go Fly a Kite</h2> <p>When the weather is windy go get a kite and fly it. Not only will it end up setting you back less than ten bucks, it will also bring out a childlike whimsy neither of you have likely experienced for decades. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home?ref=seealso">10 Fun Toys and Games You Can Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>4. Brewery and Winery Tours</h2> <p>For the couple that likes to imbibe there's always a tour of the local brewery or winery. Don't drink? Try checking out the local creamery or an ice cream factory. Experience joy you haven't felt since your age was in the single digits.</p> <h2>5. Book Readings</h2> <p>Are you a cultured kind of person? Looking for someone else who shares your interest in the arts? Book readings are generally free and wrap in about an hour. From there, the two of you can grab a cup of coffee, and you'll have a lot to talk about after a reading &mdash; good, bad, or ugly. In the same neighborhood? Hit up an art gallery. Either go on a day when it's not expensive or find a cheap (or free!) one that's a little off the beaten path.</p> <h2>6. Volunteer Together</h2> <p>Volunteer dates show off your compassionate side while also allowing you to have a lot of fun. For example, you can head down to the local dog shelter and play with dogs that are in need of love. Watch out, though: You might end up taking one home with you.</p> <h2>7. Foreign Language Movie Night</h2> <p>One of the problems with a movie date is that it doesn't give you much opportunity to get to know one another. Solution: Get some foreign movies and turn off the subtitles. Make up the plot as you go along. Crack up laughing and get to know each other.</p> <h2>8. Take a Class Together</h2> <p>It doesn't matter what you don't know: There's a great chance you can learn it on the cheap through Groupon or HowAboutWe. The bonding experience can be great and you'll certainly remember it longer than even the best meal.</p> <h2>9. Bar Trivia</h2> <p>Here's one where you can actually leave with more money than you went out with: Go out to bar trivia and play to win. Even if you don't win you won't spend much money on beer and drinks.</p> <p><em>Got any great ideas for cheap dates? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheapest-dates-that-dont-seem-so-cheap" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Cheapest Dates That Don&#039;t Seem So Cheap" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment cheap dates dates romance Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1192000 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Work Habits From Country Music http://www.wisebread.com/5-work-habits-from-country-music <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-work-habits-from-country-music" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5-work-habits.jpg" alt="woman listening to music" title="woman listening to music" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Johnny Cash once described country music as, &quot;three chords and the truth.&quot; Now, the hard-drinking Man in Black may not have necessarily been talking about work habits, but it turns out country is full of work wisdom.</p> <p>The value of putting in a solid day's work was a consistent theme of my Southern upbringing. We valued a strong work ethic so much that I spent more than one Christmas morning raking leaves for my grandfather (after presents and breakfast, of course). Like almost anything, the workday is better with a soundtrack, and as a kid mine was country music. Lately (and surprisingly), those lyrics have been coming back to me, providing with much more than just different ways to execute a party in the back of a truck.</p> <p>Here are five work habits I've learned from country music.</p> <h2>1. Hold True to Your Own Vision</h2> <p><em>&quot;But you got dreams he'll never take away.&quot; &mdash; Dolly Parton's &quot;9 to 5&quot;</em></p> <p>No matter your boss or the work environment you're in, you can't ever stop dreaming. You have to set goals for yourself and work toward your end dreams. If you're lucky enough, one day you may even get paid to do something you've always dreamed of doing.</p> <h2>2. Work Hard, All Day, Everyday, Repeat</h2> <p><em>&quot;That's the only way I know, Don't stop 'til everything's gone&hellip; Full throttle, wide open, You get tired and you don't show it.&quot; &mdash; Jason Aldean's &quot;The Only Way I Know&quot;</em></p> <p>Every student poised to graduate from college should be required to listen to this before accepting their diploma. Here's what they don't tell you in school about the real world: Everyone is tired, everyone is busy, and no one wants to hear about it. Go to work, work hard, and don't complain about it.</p> <h2>3. A Good Attitude Changes Everything</h2> <p><em>&quot;I can't wait to get up in the mornin' and do it all over again.&quot; &mdash; Brooks and Dunn's &quot;Hard Workin' Man&quot;</em></p> <p>The takeaway from this is pretty simple: If you have to get up and go to work everyday, you might as well have a good attitude about it. Chances are good that you will spend the majority of your life working a full-time job &mdash; try to enjoy it somewhat.</p> <h2>4. Take Time Off</h2> <p><em>&quot;I cashed my check, cleaned my truck, Put on my hat, forgot about work.&quot; &mdash; Alan Jackson's &quot;Good Time&quot;</em></p> <p>Sometimes, you absolutely have to forget about work. You have to be able to turn off your computer, stop checking your email and relax on occasion. The more you're able to do this, the easier it will be for you to go to work energized and enthused for the task ahead.</p> <h2>5. Keep Things in Perspective</h2> <p><em>&quot;Have you ever seen a headstone with these words: if only I had spent more time at work.&quot; &mdash; Billy Ray Cyrus' &quot;Busy Man&quot;</em></p> <p>I haven't. And I hope I never do. Remember, a job is a job is a job and there is always another one around the corner <em>&mdash; </em>especially for someone with a great work ethic!</p> <p><em>Have you learned any lessons about work from country music?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-work-habits-from-country-music" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Work Habits From Country Music" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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>This post is by Lauren Cowling, managing editor of <a href="http://www.countryoutfitter.com/style/">Country Outfitter Style</a>. She grew up in the South and spent more than one holiday morning doing chores or manual labor. Naturally, she took this work ethic to the Internet where she regularly writes about pop-culture and entertainment. When she&rsquo;s not watching reality TV Lauren is googling facts about things she&rsquo;s seen on TV.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lauren-cowling">Lauren Cowling</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment General Tips Personal Development country music life skills work ethic Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:00:05 +0000 Lauren Cowling 1185009 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/watching-tv-78432183-small.jpg" alt="watching tv" title="watching tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unless you're watching the home shopping network with a rapid eye for deals, spending night after night in front of the TV ain't saving you any money in a proactive way. So maybe it's time for a little idea inspiration.</p> <p>Here are 25 frugal things you can do instead of watching TV tonight.</p> <h2>1. Go Thrift Shopping</h2> <p>Who needs more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too">reasons to love thrift shopping</a>? Thrifting can be a real money saver and wildly entertaining. Some shops stay open till 9:00 p.m., so make thrifting part of your prime time lineup.</p> <h2>2. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile</h2> <p>Even if you're secure in your job, be prepared for opportunities that come your way by having an updated resume at-the-ready. LinkedIn is how you present your professional image publically, so take a few minutes to make sure it's top-notch.</p> <h2>3. Set Some Savings Goals</h2> <p>Solo or with your significant other, sit down and decide exactly what you're saving for. What specific financial goals would you like to achieve in the next year? In the next five? By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-money-is-easy-if-you-set-the-right-goals">setting the right goals</a>, saving isn't just easier &mdash; it's a lot more fun.</p> <h2>4. Mend Some Clothing</h2> <p>Channel your inner Olivia Walton and tighten up loose shirt buttons, repair split seams, or darn a pair of socks. It takes only moments and saves buying new.</p> <h2>5. Review Your 401(k) or IRA Fund Performances</h2> <p>Take some time to review those prospectuses and quarterly statements from your 401(k) or IRA fund administrator. Are you satisfied with the results, or is it time to see if you can achieve better results? If you're nearing retirement, is the moment right to shift to more conservative funds?</p> <h2>6. Plan Your Holiday Shopping List</h2> <p>Avoid maddening crowds and purchase-panic by getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/early-holiday-shopping-why-i-finish-by-thanksgiving">head start on holiday shopping</a>. Determine what you'll need and leisurely start looking for deals on gifts, supplies, and essentials now.</p> <h2>7. Make Tomorrow's Lunch</h2> <p>Save money, eat healthier, and keep your mornings sane by pre-making tomorrow's lunches for work and school.</p> <h2>8. Clean Your Coffeemaker</h2> <p>I treat my automatic coffeemaker with the respect it deserves, because if it goes on the fritz, I go on the fritz. Extend the life of your true blue brewer by <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/269335/kitchen-tip-cleaning-a-coffeemaker">cleaning it regularly</a> with distilled white vinegar and water.</p> <h2>9. Organize Your Finances</h2> <p>Drowning in a sea of receipts, bank statements, and miscellaneous documents? Resolve to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organizing-your-financial-paperwork">organize your financial paperwork</a> by creating a simple system that you can easily follow.</p> <h2>10. Flip Your Mattress</h2> <p>Save money on a new mattress by extending the life of the one you have. Rotate and then flip your mattress every three or four months; rotate the box spring or foundation every six.</p> <h2>11. Perform Quick and Easy Auto Maintenance</h2> <p>Checking tire pressure and fluid levels regularly is a relatively painless way to keep your car running smooth. To keep it gleaming, skip the TV and give your ride a quick wash and wax.</p> <h2>12. Do a Digital Deep Clean</h2> <p>Defragment Windows, update your computer's anti-virus software, and delete old files that take up large amounts of space. While you're at it, clean the keyboard, screen, and exterior with the appropriate products to keep things working well and looking good.</p> <h2>13. Play a Board Game</h2> <p>Go retro by grabbing a game that doesn't have an LCD display. Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Cranium all have their own lessons to teach and are refreshingly low tech. Or, skip buying a game by playing charades.</p> <h2>14. Make a DIY Scarf Organizer</h2> <p>Ladies, does your scarf collection look like a psychedelic nest of confusion? Take some time one night this week and make a <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/39476934205340847/">DIY scarf organizer</a> using a plastic clothes hanger, plastic shower curtain rings, and decorative ribbon. It's simple and it works!</p> <h2>15. Send a Handwritten Note</h2> <p>Resurrect the art of the hand-written note and make someone's day. Nothing says &quot;I'm thinking of you&quot; like putting pen to paper &quot;just because.&quot;</p> <h2>16. Plant a Window Sill Herb Garden</h2> <p>If you don't have the yard space for a full-fledged vegetable garden, plant a mini herb garden on your window sill. Fresh and free herbs taste better.</p> <h2>17. Replace the AC Filter</h2> <p><a href="http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/maintaining-your-air-conditioner">Air conditioner maintenance</a> helps your central air system or window unit work better and use less energy. Clean or replace filters periodically and keep condenser coils dust-free.</p> <h2>18. Clean One Drawer or Closet</h2> <p>Cutting clutter is a marathon, not a sprint. Start slowly and accomplish one modest goal per evening or per week. Clean a drawer, closet, tote, or kitchen cabinet.</p> <h2>19. Take a Nap</h2> <p>That's right, get some shut-eye. There are few less expensive and more restorative things you can do to take care of yourself.</p> <h2>20. Go for a Walk</h2> <p>Walking outside is relaxing, social, healthy&hellip; and exactly what your loyal dog is waiting for. Flip off the TV, grab the whole family, and hit the bricks.</p> <h2>21. Pre-Cut Some Veggies</h2> <p>Convenience wins. Encourage wild and unregulated veggie consumption by pre-cutting them and storing in air-tight containers. Chop lettuce for salads, slice cucumbers, and peel carrots to promote free-range grazing in your household.</p> <h2>22. Clean and Organize Your Wallet or Purse</h2> <p>Does your purse feel like a lead weight? Is your wallet more of an in-pocket filing cabinet? Clean both and save money by actually <em>finding</em> some among the chaos.</p> <h2>23. Prepare a Back-to-School List</h2> <p>Keep your ear to the ground. The collective groan of millions of kids will be echoing across the land in just a few shorts weeks. Set down with your little learners, figure out what they'll need, and scout for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-items-you-should-always-shop-for-at-the-thrift-store">back-to-school bargains</a> now.</p> <h2>24. Recondition your Shoes</h2> <p>A little mink oil, polish, and buffing goes a long way in extending the life your favorite kicks. It just takes a few minutes per pair and you'll feel much more dapper.</p> <h2>25. Clutter-Bust with the Kids</h2> <p>Get the kids involved in de-cluttering. Have them choose a certain number of toys or clothes they no longer use or want. Teach them the lesson of giving to the less fortunate and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter">control toy clutter</a> at the same time!</p> <p>There are countless others things to do instead of staring at the TV (&hellip;assuming you haven't eroded your ability to count by too many hours spent staring at the TV!). Brainstorm your own list tonight by imagining the frugal and productive fun you could have if your TV suddenly bit the dust. Then, hit it with a hammer (just kidding) and start doing!</p> <p><em>What do you like to do instead of watching TV? Share your ideas with our readers in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment fun games pastimes tv Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:00:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1183441 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Things Good Hosts Never Do http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-good-hosts-never-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-good-hosts-never-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/party-host-153544612-small.jpg" alt="party host" title="party host" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I throw a couple parties a year and host overnight guests regularly as an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed?ref=seealso">Airbnb host</a>, but I'm far from the host with the most. Still, I strive to be better. That's why I polled a few friends and experts to see what's on their list of party fouls that a good host would never commit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ruin-the-party-11-things-guests-with-good-social-skills-never-do?ref=seealso">Don't Ruin the Party: 11 Things Good Guests Never Do</a>)</p> <h2>1. Expect Gifts</h2> <p>I don't expect anyone to bring me a gift when I'm hosting &mdash; and, honestly, I'd rather they didn't bring a gift unless it's something consumable (who needs more <em>stuff</em>?), and I'm not alone. Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, author of the critically acclaimed online advice column <a href="http://www.askapril.com">Ask April</a>, agrees. &quot;Good hosts will never insist on gifts. It's great to celebrate your birthday, anniversary or impending nuptials, but insisting or expecting gifts is greedy and bad form. That's not to say you shouldn't be gracious when you do receive presents, but if you're throwing an event to celebrate yourself, make sure the focus is on the celebration &mdash; not the bounty.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Let the Guests Fend for Themselves for Household Necessities</h2> <p>Susan Callender, founder of <a href="http://ohmygaucheinc.com/">Oh! My Gauche</a>, a service dedicated to social savvy and professional skills, says that good hosts will always have information on guest amenities &mdash; like password-protected Wi-Fi, washer/dryer, iron and ironing board, etc. &mdash; available where the guest can easily find them, like in a binder or folder in the guest bedroom. You also can add take-out menus, your home address and phone number (I doubt they have it memorized), and tourism information about your area if you'd like. It'll make the guest's stay hassle-free and more enjoyable.</p> <h2>3. Request That Guests Bring Something (Unless They Insist)</h2> <p>Whitney L. Smith, owner of the lifestyle blog <a href="http://pumpsandcircumstance.com/">Pumps &amp; Circumstance</a>, thinks it's rude for hosts to ask guests to bring an item to any event other than a potluck. &quot;I love entertaining, and one of the things I don't think is proper for a host to do is to request that guests bring something,&quot; she says. There is an exception, however: &quot;If guests <em>offer</em> to bring something it's OK to request ice or beverages, but to ask them to bring food is a no-no.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Let Guests Clean Up</h2> <p>The trash needs to go outside, your guest is on her way outside. Makes sense, right? Wrong. If they offer, great, but otherwise, hosting is not about efficiency; it's ultimately about providing a service to others.</p> <h2>5. Require Guests to Pay Unexpectedly</h2> <p>Maybe you're young, maybe you don't read Wise Bread enough and don't have the savings to throw a party where everything's covered. That's okay. But it needs to be made clear to your guests beforehand.</p> <h2>6. Make a Scene If Someone Brings an Unapproved +1</h2> <p>Gwendolyn Mulholland, owner of the family blog <a href="http://findingsanityinourcrazylife.com">Finding Sanity in Our Crazy Life</a>, suggests that hosts suck it up and keep their mouths shut about a guest who brought a date when plus-ones weren't expected. I agree with her &mdash; there's nothing you can do about it now, short of kicking them out, and you don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, do you?</p> <p>However, to the guest who does this &mdash; you should consider yourself lucky when your host doesn't make a scene. Consider that the extra person could throw off the dynamic of the room, especially if guests were invited based on compatibility. Also, the host prepared food for the invited guests, not the surprise guest. What if he or she doesn't like what's being served? What if the host doesn't have enough food? There are a few invariables here that you really don't want to tilt too far. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-pantry-snacks-for-unexpected-guests?ref=seealso">Quick Pantry Snacks for Uninvited Guests</a>)</p> <h2>7. Allow Anyone Underage to Drink</h2> <p>Advice columnist April Masini chimes in again with another really excellent tip: &quot;Good hosts never encourage underage guests to drink,&quot; she reminds us. &quot;Forget being the cool parent or the cool family friend. If there are underage teens and young adults at your home, you are responsible for what you serve them, and even if their parents say it's okay, it's your house, your rules. You'll save yourself a bundle of hassle if there's a potential accident that you are responsible for by serving underage guests, and if there isn't, you've set the standard at your house and everyone will know for next time. Better safe than sorry.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Run Out of Food and Drinks</h2> <p>When I host parties, I abide by the rule of seconds &mdash; I buy enough food for every guest to have them. Of course, some guests won't have seconds, so there may be a generous amount of food left (par for the course; it's always better to have more than enough than not enough), in which case you can do a few things:</p> <ul> <li>Send guests home with a plate for later.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pack the leftovers for lunch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Donate the food to a local organization whose volunteers might enjoy the home-cooked or catered food.</li> </ul> <h2>9. Neglect to Clean and Properly Stock the Bathroom Prior</h2> <p>Now we're getting into serious territory. If you've failed to stock your bathroom with the necessary essentials, you may very well embarrass the person who needs to call someone to bring the TP. Can you imagine? I'd die of humiliation and then come back to life as the ghost that haunts that terrible host forever. Also, there's this related tip from a friend: &quot;A good host would never invite someone over when their toilet is clogged. Been to a house party like that. Awful, awful experience.&quot; Let's leave it at that.</p> <h2>10. Stash Away the Good Bottle of Wine That the Guest Brought</h2> <p>&quot;A good host should always open a nice bottle of wine that a guests brings to a dinner or party,&quot; says Kelsey Graves founder of the party-inspiration site We Heart Parties. &quot;It is not polite to keep the nice bottle for yourself. Be sure to open it and share it with your guests.&quot; Another way to put it is: Stop being stingy, you lush!</p> <h2>11. Serve Themselves First</h2> <p>Let your guests have first dibs on the food that you've prepared &mdash; just like your grandmother did; she didn't eat until everybody else was fed, remember?</p> <h2>12. Allow Pets to Annoy Guests</h2> <p>I love dogs &mdash; I have a dog myself &mdash; but my husband and I take measures to ensure that he won't annoy guests when we host an event. For shorter gatherings, like a brunch at our house, he's fine in our bedroom for a couple hours. But for longer parties &mdash; like around the holidays &mdash; it's best for us to send him to daycare for the night where he can play with his furry friends while our guests can enjoy themselves without an animal begging for food or attention.</p> <h2>13. Fail to Introduce Guests Who Don't Know Each Other</h2> <p>If the party is heavy on mixed company, it's the host's job to acquaint everyone at the beginning. Make a habit of making introductions as soon as a guest arrives, so you don't get preoccupied, forget about the person, and let him fend for himself. Some people just aren't comfortable going up to strangers and making small talk. Not that I'm at all bitter or speaking from personal experience, of course.</p> <h2>14. Invite the Wrong Mix of People</h2> <p>If you're inviting a mixed bag of people who don't necessarily know each other, it's wise to consider the potential compatibility of guests as well, especially for a sit-down event or an overnight excursion.</p> <p>I tend to invite singles that I think might compliment each other and couples with similar interests. For an intimate dinner, for example, I'm definitely not inviting my very religious friends to dine with my LGBT-activist friends. While I'm all for rousing dinner conversation, there are some things better left unsaid. It also wouldn't be very fun for a single friend to attend an event filled with only couples. While not every person will become besties, you at least want the group to enjoy each other's company for a couple hours.</p> <p><em>What are some things that you think good hosts should never do? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-good-hosts-never-do" class="sharethis-link" title="14 Things Good Hosts Never Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle dinner entertaining guests host party pot luck Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1160904 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Attend a Wedding for Cheap (Without Actually Looking Cheap) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-attend-a-wedding-for-cheap-without-actually-looking-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-attend-a-wedding-for-cheap-without-actually-looking-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding-party-120702826-small.jpg" alt="wedding party" title="wedding party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is wedding season, and if, like me, you're at that age when all your friends are tying the knot, it can be a nightmare for your pocketbook. Modern weddings seem to be more elaborate than ever, piling on the costly obligations for guests who just want to show the happy couple some love. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shave-5000-off-your-wedding-expenses?ref=seealso">How to Shave $5,000 Off Your Wedding Expenses</a>)</p> <p>If you're tired of whipping out the credit card every time an invitation lands in your mailbox, this list of money-saving tips is for you.</p> <h2>Far Away? Send a Gift Instead of Attending</h2> <p>If you're hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from the wedding location, realize that it's okay to decline attendance. No invited guest is expected to attend, even if that's not explicitly stated by the couple. Especially if it's a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-planning-a-last-minute-wedding">last-minute wedding</a>. Instead, splurge on the gift and send it with a nice handwritten note of congratulations.</p> <h2>Find Your Own Lodging</h2> <p>When a couple knows people will be traveling to attend their nuptials, they often try to help by blocking off rooms at a local hotel. While convenient, never assume that this is the most cost effective option. Explore local hotel rates for yourself as well as options on Airbnb. If you know others who will be attending, think about getting an entire house or apartment, and splitting the bill.</p> <h2>Look for a Gift That's Thoughtful Rather Than Expensive</h2> <p>This is true 100% of the time, but especially if you're an out of town guest. Contrary to popular belief, there is no &quot;minimum price&quot; for a wedding present. Give from the heart. It could be something that's funny, practical, or homemade. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>Use the Registry to Your Advantage</h2> <p>If the couple announces that they've registered at one or more stores, it behooves you to investigate their requests as early as possible. Sign up for sale alerts and customer loyalty programs at those stores if they exist, then be ready to snag a wanted item when the cost is low or you've got a coupon.</p> <h2>Don't Take Gifts on the Plane</h2> <p>Once you've chosen your gift, ship it directly to the recipients rather than taking it on the plane (if traveling long distance). You'll save yourself the extra baggage fee and a huge logistical hassle. If you're traveling by car, obviously the converse is true. Save on shipping fees by bringing it yourself.</p> <h2>Extend Your Stay and Make it a Vacay</h2> <p>If you're going to three or more weddings in a year, there's a good chance your vacation time will go the way of the dodo. When a friend of ours recently got married at the beach over a long holiday weekend, we used the coincidence to our advantage: We arrived a day early and stayed a day late, turning it into a mini vacation.</p> <h2>Skip Pre-Wedding Events</h2> <p>It must be all the wedding shows on TV, but modern weddings have gone from &quot;a ceremony and a reception&quot; to three day long mini festivals. There are bachelor and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulously-frugal-bachelorette-party">bachelorette parties</a>, bridal showers, pre-wedding brunches and dinners, and spa dates &mdash; and that doesn't even include the main event! Unless you're immediate family or in the wedding, all of these are optional. Save big by skipping pre-wedding money pits.</p> <h2>Don't Be in the Wedding Party</h2> <p>If the bride or groom asks you to be in the wedding, it's a great honor, but not an obligation. Wedding party duties involve throwing showers, planning pre-wedding events, and buying expensive outfits that you'll probably never wear again. Be honest: Tell the couple that your budget doesn't allow you to participate in the wedding party, but you can't wait to attend the ceremony.</p> <h2>Be a Slow Gift Giver</h2> <p>Did you know that you're not required to bring the gift to the actual wedding? According to the Emily Post Institute, you have <a href="http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/wedding-registries-gifts-and-thank-yous/169-wedding-gift-tips">up to three months</a> from the date of the wedding to give a gift without violating any etiquette rules. So if money will be less tight in a few weeks, just wait.</p> <h2>Recycle Outfits</h2> <p>You don't have to wear something different to every wedding you attend. If some of the same people will be at more than one upcoming ceremony, invest in a classic outfit that can be made to look different by swapping accessories. You can also borrow something from a friend, or <a href="http://www.oprah.com/style/Rent-a-Dress">rent an expensive dress</a> and return it when done.</p> <p><em>How do you trim the cost of attending weddings? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-attend-a-wedding-for-cheap-without-actually-looking-cheap" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Attend a Wedding for Cheap (Without Actually Looking Cheap)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle cheap weddings gifts parties wedding guest weddings Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1157258 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can't Do Anywhere Else http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8750862293_65a85e9a5c_z.jpg" alt="red rock ampitheater" title="red rock ampitheater" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I moved to Colorado to attend graduate school, and fully intended to return to my home in the Southeast upon graduation. That was eight years ago. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-great-cities-for-job-seekers?ref=seealso">9 Great Cities for Job Seekers</a>)</p> <p>In my opinion Denver's a dark horse among American metropolises. It's clean, easy to get around, chock full of fun things to do, and just a short drive away from the most beautiful mountains in the country. Looking for quick, affordable getaway? Keep reading for activities you can only do in the Mile High City.</p> <h2>1. Smoke Legal Weed</h2> <p>If you haven't heard by now, Colorado is the first state to legalize marijuana for all adults over age 21. There are now approximately 100 legal <a href="https://weedmaps.com/colorado-recreational-marijuana">weed stores</a> in the Denver metro area hawking marijuana buds as well as THC-infused edibles of every shape and flavor. Been a while since you inhaled? Let one of the many <a href="http://www.coloradopotguide.com/marijuana-activities-in-colorado/">cannabis tour guides</a> do the driving for you.</p> <h2>2. Eat at a Restaurant Started by a Pal of Buffalo Bill</h2> <p>Henry H. &quot;Shorty Scout&quot; Zietz was a member of Buffalo Bill's infamous band of straight-shooting band of scouts. In 1893, Zietz opened the <a href="http://www.buckhorn.com/">Buckhorn Exchange</a>, a bar and restaurant that catered to cowboys, Native American chiefs, miners, railroad builders, silver barons, and anyone else brave enough to live in the Wild West. The Buckhorn Exchange is now in its second century of existence, and still holds the first liquor license ever issued by the State of Colorado.</p> <h2>3. Rock Out at Red Rocks</h2> <p>I've seen concerts in stadiums, iconic music halls, and even on a cruise ship. None hold a candle to the experience of attending a performance at Red Rocks amphitheater. This outdoor venue is both a geological wonder and a musical masterpiece. Known around the world for walls made of massive red boulders and superb acoustics, even a band you hate would sound good here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-incredible-places-you-must-visit-before-you-die?ref=seealso">25 Incredible Places You Must Visit Before You Die</a>)</p> <h2>4. See the Cliff Divers at the Real Casa Bonita</h2> <p>Before I moved to Colorado, I thought most of the places mentioned on South Park were fictional. I was wrong. Not only is <a href="http://www.casabonitadenver.com/">Casa Bonita</a> a real Denver restaurant, everything Cartman loved about it is real too: the treasure cave, the cliff divers, and yes, even the delicious sopapilla.</p> <h2>5. Stand Exactly One Mile High</h2> <p>The official elevation of the City of Denver is 5,280 feet &mdash; exactly one mile. Of course, the elevation varies in different parts around town. If you want to be a mile high (and you're not interested in the legal weed mentioned earlier) just head to the <a href="http://www.denverrelocationguide.net/2013/Denver-State-Capitol-is-One-Mile-High/">State Capitol building</a>. The 18th step leading into the building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.</p> <h2>6. Visit 22 Craft Breweries in the Same Day</h2> <p>If you love to drink good beer from craft breweries, Denver should be the number one destination on your travel list. There <a href="http://www.5280.com/magazine/2013/02/ultimate-guide-craft-brewing-denver?page=full">over 20 top notch breweries</a> in the downtown Denver area, from national brands like Blue Moon, to Colorado-only favorites like Breckenridge Brewery. Many of these breweries also offer tours in addition to tap room tastings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-reasons-to-drink-beer?ref=seealso">10 Great Reasons to Drink Beer</a>)</p> <h2>7. Take a Train Up the Rockies</h2> <p>No trip to Colorado is complete without at least peeking at the majestic Rocky Mountains. You could spend all day hiking to the top of a nearby peak, or you could cheat by letting a train do the work. There are <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/lifestyles/ci_15430925">eight scenic railroads</a> in the Denver area, and all of them will show you a side of the mountains people rarely get to see.</p> <h2>8. See a Cattle Drive</h2> <p>Although it's grown up and modern now, Denver is a cow town at heart. Once a year, the city embraces its ranch hand roots by welcoming the <a href="http://www.nationalwestern.com/">National Western Stock Show</a>. This 14-day event features a full-sized rodeo, livestock auction, a cow parade, and plenty of 10-gallon hats.</p> <p><em>Know any other special to Denver activities? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle Travel cheap fun cheap outings Denver travel Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1153954 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Affordable Amusement Parks That Are Just as Fun As Disney http://www.wisebread.com/8-affordable-amusement-parks-that-are-just-as-fun-as-disney <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-affordable-amusement-parks-that-are-just-as-fun-as-disney" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids-amusement-park-80620861-small.jpg" alt="amusement park" title="amusement park" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School's out and it's time for summer vacation. You may be tempted to head down to Orlando and spend hundreds of dollars for a multi-day pass to Disney World.</p> <p>I love Mickey Mouse as much as the next guy, but it's worth learning about the plethora of other theme and amusement parks around the country that offer fantastic experiences for a fraction of the cost. (And may not be as crowded.)</p> <p>From the coast of Lake Erie to the outskirts of Hollywood, there are plenty of options for summer fun, usually with additional family-friendly attractions nearby.</p> <p>Check out these suggestions and start planning that family trip now! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Holiday World</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Santa Claus, Indiana</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $34.95 for kids under 54 inches, $39.95 for adults if you buy online. Kids under 2 are free.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>The park is separated into sections based on popular holidays and is routinely rated one of the <a href="http://www.goldenticketawards.com/2013-park-ride-winners/">most family-friendly in the country</a>, as well as one of the cleanest. It has plenty of great rides for adults and kids, plus the Splashin' Safari Water Park. The Voyager roller coaster is considered one of the best wooden coasters in the world. There are some interesting perks, like free parking, sunblock, and soda.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>You're less than three hours from Indianapolis, home of the world's largest children's museum, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and other attractions. Louisville and Lexington, KY are also just a couple hours away and have a lot to offer for adults and kids. Also, basketball fans can check out French Lick, the hometown of NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird.</p> <h2>Hershey Park</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Hershey, PA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $59.95 for adults, $37.95 for kids. Children under 2 are free.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>A dozen great roller coasters for adults and kids, plus an array of water rides. And it's adjacent to Hershey's Chocolate World, where you get to see how chocolate bars are made and get free samples.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Hershey itself has some other great attractions, including a zoo and trolley museum. You're also not far from Pennsylvania Dutch Country, so watch out for the Amish and their horse and buggies!</p> <p>If you're a foodie, you don't have to settle for just chocolate. There are numerous factories in the area that offer public tours, including the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz; Herr's potato chips in Nottingham; Utz Snacks and Snyder's pretzels in Hanover; and the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia.</p> <h2>Knoebels Amusement Resort</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Elysburg, PA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free! (Ok, not exactly. Admission is free, but the rides are pay-per-ride and range between $1 and $3.)</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>The largest pay-per-ride park in the nation, which makes it a great deal if you have young kids or seniors who can't ride. Knoebels <a href="http://www.goldenticketawards.com/2013-park-ride-winners/">has been named among the friendliest parks</a> by Amusement Today magazine. It is not far from Hershey Park (see above) and the well-regarded Dorney Park in Allentown, PA.</p> <h2>Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Pigeon Forge, TN</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $92 for adults for for a multi-park ticket, $75 for kids under 12. Tickets to Dollywood alone are $58 for adults and $46 for kids. For Splash Country by itself, tickets are $47 for adults and $42 for kids.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>Rated one of the <a href="http://www.goldenticketawards.com/2013-park-ride-winners/">best overall parks by Amusement Today</a>, as well as one of the friendliest and cleanest. Country music legend Dolly Parton is the owner, and has her fingerprints all over the 150-acre park. There is plenty of entertainment, plus dozens of rides for adults and kids, including the new Fire Chaser Express, advertised as the first-ever family two-way launch coaster.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Dollywood is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, offering a beautiful experience for those looking for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Pigeon Forge is also home to a large attraction dedicated to the Titanic, and the Great Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster.</p> <h2>Cedar Point</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Sandusky, OH</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $49.99 for adults, $34.99 for kids. Discounted tickets on weekdays and if you purchase in advance.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>Widely regarded as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, this park features 16 coasters, including the legendary Millenium Force, plus several other record breakers. You may need two days to ride everything you want.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Cedar Point itself is on the water, and offers parasailing, watercraft rides, boat rentals, and even fishing expeditions. The nearby Kalahari Resort offers one of the largest indoor water parks in the country. If you're up for a longer trip, Cleveland, Toledo, and Detroit are short drives away.</p> <h2>Busch Gardens/Water Country USA, Williamsburg</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Williamsburg, VA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Busch Gardens is $72 for adults, $62 for kids between 3 and 9. Water Country USA is $50 or $42 for kids. A two-park card offering unlimited visits for anyone over age 3 is $97.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>One of the most beautifully landscaped parks in the country, Busch Gardens is separated into separate &quot;countries&quot; with their own unique character. There are great roller coasters, including the legendary Loch Ness Monster, plus good rides for younger kids. Water Country USA has about a dozen water rides, including the new Colossal Curl. And the entertainment and food is better than what you find at most theme parks.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>History buffs will love visiting Colonial Williamsburg, along with the Yorktown battlefield and the Jamestown settlement.</p> <h2>Knott's Berry Farm</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Buena Park, CA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $40 if you buy in advance.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>You could spend hundreds of dollars at nearby Disneyland, or spend $40 here for a day and have a blast. Check out Montezooma's Revenge, a steel coaster in its 36th year of operation.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Right in Buena Park, you can head to Medieval Times or the Titanic: The Experience show. You're also right near Anaheim, home of the Angels baseball team and a number of other attractions. And of course, Los Angeles is just a short stint away.</p> <h2>Six Flags Magic Mountain</h2> <p><strong>Location</strong>: Valencia, CA</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $44.99 with advance purchase.</p> <h3>What's Great</h3> <p>Just a couple hours north of Knott's Berry Farm, it may be worth it to check out the parks back-to-back. Six Flags Magic Mountain has a whopping 19 roller coasters, including the unique X2 ride, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-y-0IFiZqY" style="text-decoration:none;">featuring seats that rotate 360 degrees</a>.</p> <h3>What's Nearby</h3> <p>Valencia itself is a sleepy planned community. But Six Flags Magic Mountain is just a 30-mile drive north from Hollywood, and just an hour east of the Pacific Ocean.</p> <p><em>Whats your favorite non-Disney amusement park? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-affordable-amusement-parks-that-are-just-as-fun-as-disney" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Affordable Amusement Parks That Are Just as Fun As Disney" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Travel amusement parks travel vacations Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1152743 at http://www.wisebread.com