hosting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9157/all en-US Ask the Readers: How Do You Host a Summer Party on a Budget? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-host-a-summer-party-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-host-a-summer-party-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/summer_beach_party_000012317579.jpg" alt="Friends hosting summer party on a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-host-a-summer-party-on-a-budget#comment-778019">Emily</a>, Amanda, and Steve for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>The summer season is great for fun in the sun &mdash; and parties! Hosting a fancy shindig can get expensive, though, so many of us will look for ways to cut back on costs without sacrificing a good time.</p> <p><strong>How do you host a summer party on a budget?</strong> What are your go-to dishes for feeding a lot of people? Would you ask your guests to provide some of the food or supplies?</p> <p>Tell us how you host a summer part on a budget and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a class="rcptr" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="79857dfa194" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_sy1uypvs" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa194/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, July 6th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after July 6th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how you host a summer part on a budget and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-host-a-summer-party-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-best-entertainment-tips-a-chance-to-win-tickets-to-a-broadway-show">Ask the Readers: What are Your Best Entertainment Tips? (A Chance to Win Tickets to a Broadway Show!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-the-biggest-item-in-your-budget">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s the Biggest Item in Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-would-you-balance-americas-budget">Ask the Readers: How Would You Balance America&#039;s Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-gift-cards-make-a-good-gift">Ask the Readers: Do Gift Cards Make a Good Gift?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Giveaways Ask the Readers hosting party Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:00:35 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1472067 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Host a Great New Year's Eve Party for Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-great-new-years-eve-party-for-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-host-a-great-new-years-eve-party-for-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010753226_Large.jpg" alt="new year&#039;s eve party" title="new year&#039;s eve party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hands down, New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday &mdash; and I've thrown some parties, y'all. Some of them have been major blowouts while others have been small gatherings. Personally, I prefer the intimate shindigs &mdash; and so does my wallet. If that's your goal this year &mdash; and it should be &mdash; this post is for you. Out with the old, in with the new, as they say. And here are several ways to shave a few bucks off the bill while you're at it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas?ref=seealso">Class Without Tons of Cash: Frugal Cocktail Party Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>1. Limit the Guest List to a Friendly Few</h2> <p>Sure, it's fun to invite all your friends and their friends and their friends' friends to your New Year's Eve party, but it requires a massive budget; that's a lot of mouths to feed, after all. In reality, every name on your guest list is a dollar sign, and the tighter you keep it, the less you'll have to spend. So instead of inviting the whole neighborhood and the next town over to your soiree, extend an invitation only to those few friends with whom you enjoy spending time and who are totally okay with a run-of-the-mill, at-least-we're-together, end-of-the-year celebration. You'll have a better time entertaining seven people instead of running around trying to please 70.</p> <h2>2. Repurpose Your Christmas Decorations</h2> <p>You don't have to run out to the party store for New Year's Eve decorations if you already have Christmas swag. You can keep your holiday house like it is &mdash; less hassle; still festive &mdash; but if you want to give it a different look, get creative and repurpose your existing decorations. Instead of tons of color, concentrate on a simplified palate &mdash; think white, silver and gold &mdash; and decorate accordingly. Store the Santas for this fete and focus more on the seasonal aspect of the celebration and you're good to go.</p> <h2>3. Shop for Snacks in the Seasonal Section</h2> <p>The day after Christmas everything holiday related goes on sale &mdash; and that includes any food items in festive packaging. In the first few days after December 25th, you can expect at least 40% to 50% off, but if you wait until a day or two before New Year's Eve, you can probably score a greater discount. Normally I'd tell you that if you want the pick of the litter, it's ideal to scoop up the deals early (like right away), but that only applies to decorations and other Christmas paraphernalia. Festively packaged food items, on the other hand, tend to stick around until the very end of the post-holiday purge. Time your trip just right and you can feed your friends an incredible array of snacks for anywhere from 50% to 90% off the regular retail price. If that's not winning, I don't what is.</p> <h2>4. Cut Back on the Booze Selections</h2> <p>You and your friends will probably want to drink on New Year's Eve, and it's easy to bust your budget on buying enough alcohol to satiate their thirst. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you don't have to provide enough booze to get everyone blitzed out of their mind; you're not throwing a party at the Playboy Mansion. Secondly, what you serve is up to you &mdash; not them &mdash; so whatever you provide is at your discretion.</p> <p>I've found that a great middle ground is to offer beer and wine (domestic light beer and cheap bottles of wine are fine; I prefer Miller Lite and Barefoot, respectively), but if you want to offer liquor, I recommend creating a signature drink that reduces the number of bottles you'll have to buy while at the same time giving your party a personal touch. You also can give your guests the option of bringing their own booze. I always let my guests know what I'll have on hand and leave it up to them to bring a beverage of their choice if what I'm serving isn't exactly their favorite. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails?ref=seealso">20 Tasty Two Ingredient Cocktails</a>)</p> <h2>5. Skip the Full Meal and Serve Apps Instead</h2> <p>It's not cheap to feed a crowd these days, which is why you should forget about slaving over a hot stove to make a full-blown feast for your New Year's Eve guests. In addition to the deeply discounted snacks you scored, a selection of hot appetizers will suffice &mdash; and you can still totally pull off quantity <em>and</em> quality in this regard. Shop the warehouse clubs for party-size platters and frozen snacks that you can pop in the oven. Pizza also is a filling-but-affordable crowd pleaser. You can really save some dough by picking up premade crusts, sauce, and cheese &mdash; you can make about six pizzas for under $20 if you shop smartly &mdash; that'll put smiles on everybody's faces.</p> <h2>6. Hack Your Way to Delicious Desserts</h2> <p>Every New Year's Eve party needs some sweet stuff, but you can go over budget very quickly if you're not careful. To throw a party for under $100, you need to avoid premade, store-bought desserts all together. That means alternatively you'll need to put on an apron and get in the kitchen, and even if that's not your strong suit, you can churn out a few crowd-pleasers. Jell-O &mdash; both the gelatin and pudding &mdash; is cheap in the box, and you can use either one of those treats as a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.jello.com/recipes/">base for all kinds desserts</a>. If you want to get a little fancier (still without spending much), try this&nbsp;recipe for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kingshawaiian.com/recipes/kings-hawaiian-cream-puffs/">easy-breezy cream puffs</a>.</p> <h2>7. Turn on the TV and Break Out the Board Games</h2> <p>Usually I'd tell you to turn off the TV when hosting a party, but New Year's Eve is an exception to that rule. Whether you're a traditionalist who likes to ring in January 1st with New Year's Rockin' Eve or a glutton for punishment with Anderson and Kathy, you'll find hours of festive entertainment that that'll not only provide a bit of background noise but also start a few conversations. Bring out some of your favorite board games too (you don't want guests occupied solely by the TV) for a few rounds of friendly competition. All this fun is for free.</p> <h2>8. Ask Your Guests to Bring a Bottle of Bubbly</h2> <p>In addition to limiting the booze selection you're offering, you may want to consider asking your guests to bring a bottle of bubbly. Most attendees will bring a host gift anyway, but by asking specifically for champagne you'll have more room in your budget for food, and it'll ensure that there's plenty of variety when it's time to clink glasses. Salud!</p> <p><em>Do you have more ideas on how to host a New Year's Eve party for cheap? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-great-new-years-eve-party-for-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-of-the-most-costly-new-years-eve-parties-ever">8 of the Most Costly New Year&#039;s Eve Parties Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-non-depressing-ways-to-spend-nye">5 Frugal, Non-Depressing Ways to Spend NYE</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-avoid-awkward-moments-at-white-elephant-parties">4 Ways to Avoid Awkward Moments at White Elephant Parties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-charming">How to be charming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-host-an-oktoberfest-party-on-the-cheap">16 Ways to Host an Oktoberfest Party on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment cocktails hosting New Year's New Year's Eve parties Sat, 27 Dec 2014 10:00:15 +0000 Mikey Rox 1273736 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Host House Guests Without Going Crazy http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-house-guests-without-going-crazy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-host-house-guests-without-going-crazy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-73782927.jpg" alt="hostess" title="hostess" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ben Franklin (or whoever actually said it) was right: Fish and house guests stink after three days. Having other people in your personal space can be stressful, no matter how much you like them or how otherwise close you feel to them. With the holidays upon us, it&#39;s time to reflect a little bit on the mixed blessing of the house guest and how <em>you</em> can survive the impending invasion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-tips-for-hosting-holiday-houseguests?ref=seealso">15 Tips for Hosting House Guests</a>)</p> <h2>Preparing for Your Guests</h2> <p>Like anything else, preparing for house guests the right way can go a long way toward making it easier for you to stay sane.</p> <h3>Get Your House in Order</h3> <p>Try not to have any outstanding errands when your house guests arrive. This will just create an additional layer of stress. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/company-coming-10-areas-to-clean-to-make-it-count?ref=seealso">Got Company? 10 Areas to Clean</a>)</p> <h3>Prepare Their Necessities</h3> <p>If there&#39;s a guest bathroom, make sure that it is well stocked. Try to anticipate needs in advance to allow for an easy transition.</p> <h3>Give Them a Place to Sit</h3> <p>Putting a chair and a lamp in the guest bedroom makes it more likely that they will go there to take time for themselves &mdash; and get out of your hair.</p> <h3>Tell Them Things to Do</h3> <p>You might not be able to play tour guide, but you can play travel agent, giving them a prepared list of activities going on during their stay.</p> <h3>Give Them Instructions</h3> <p>A small set of instruction manuals, things like how to use appliances or remote controls, make it less likely that guests will bother you with questions.</p> <h2>When They Arrive</h2> <p>When your guests arrive you can make things easier for the rest of the trip with just a few simple steps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most?ref=seealso">How to Be the Host With the Most</a>)</p> <h3>Take Their Things</h3> <p>Taking their things to their room allows you to put everything they have in one place, rather than allowing it to spread out over the whole house.</p> <h3>Give Them the Tour</h3> <p>Show them around your house so that they know where everything is.</p> <h3>Serve a Snack and Cocktails</h3> <p>A light snack and cocktails are a great way to make sure that everyone is in a great mood and the stay starts out on the right foot. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-pantry-snacks-for-unexpected-guests?ref=seealso">Quick Snacks for Unexpected Guests</a>)</p> <h2>During Their Stay</h2> <p>Here&#39;s the meat of the visit: Their stay. A long stay can be a difficult thing, but attention to some small details can make it go a lot smoother.</p> <h3>Put Them to Work</h3> <p>When a house guest asks if he or she can help with dinner, don&#39;t give them some vague direction that you&#39;d appreciate help. Instead, tell them that you want them to chop onions or something else specific.</p> <h3>Invite Other Friends Over</h3> <p>If your house guests are coming for a longer stay &mdash; where &quot;longer&quot; means more than 36 hours &mdash; invite some of your local friends and family over for a big dinner.</p> <h3>Inquire Into a Longer Stay</h3> <p>You&#39;re not in college anymore, so couchsurfing is for family members only. If someone is staying with you for more than a couple of days ask why and in a way that is polite, yet pointed, so they perhaps start looking for the nearest Motel 6.</p> <h2>Dealing With Problems</h2> <p>Have a problem guest? Here&#39;s how to work it out with a minimum of muss and fuss. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette?ref=seealso">Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a>)</p> <h3>The Slob</h3> <p>Be apologetic and call yourself a &quot;total neat freak,&quot; while directly informing your guest that you need him to clean up after himself.</p> <h3>The Overstayer</h3> <p>This is one of the trickier ones to work out and why it&#39;s best to get a firm timetable on how long the person plans to stay &mdash; before they arrive. The best way to deal with someone that you fear might overstay their welcome is to give them chores &mdash; take out the garbage, do the dishes, etc. Be firm about the limits of your hospitality.</p> <h3>The Couch Potato</h3> <p>Got someone who comes to visit and just sits on your couch all day? Give them ideas for what to do, things that are fun that will get them out of your hair for a bit. In a worst-case scenario, just hope that they aren&#39;t staying with you for that long.</p> <p>Whether you have the best or the worst house guests in the world, these simple tips will dramatically improve your quality of life when your home becomes a hostel.</p> <p><em>How do you manage a house full of guests?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-house-guests-without-going-crazy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most">Have Houseguests? How to Be the Host With the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget">Throwing Awesome Parties on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home guests hosting houseguests Fri, 20 Dec 2013 11:24:38 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1099978 at http://www.wisebread.com Throwing Awesome Parties on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/backyard_party.jpg" alt="Backyard Party" title="Backyard Party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you start living on a budget, you might think parties will be the first thing to go. But consider an important philosophical question &mdash; what good is life without parties and revelry? You work hard, and it's not so you can live in a tiny apartment and eat rocks. It's worth splurging on the little things every now and again. Even when you do decide to indulge a bit, you can do so on a budget. Put simply &mdash; you don't need a ton of money to throw a killer party everyone will remember. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/class-without-tons-of-cash-frugal-cocktail-party-ideas">Class Without Tons of Cash: Frugal Cocktail Party&nbsp;Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>What Makes for a Great Party?</h2> <p>A great party is made up of four key elements, whether we're talking about your 6-year-old son's birthday party or a cultured soiree for the grownups. These elements are:</p> <ul> <li>Good People</li> <li>Good Food</li> <li>Good Drinks</li> <li>Fun Stuff to Do</li> </ul> <p>The first and fourth can be free. If you're partying on a budget, you're probably going to be able to do a better job on the middle two than you might think.</p> <h2>Good People</h2> <p>Good people is something that I can't really help you with. You either know them or you don't. Fortunately, getting them to your party is easier (and more affordable) than ever. Putting the word out on social networks, then gently reminding people to show up is a sure-fire method of packing your party with interesting people. One of the biggest gambles people take when attending a party is knowing if anyone good will be there. A Facebook page for your party will let people know precisely who to expect. Make sure to get people to RSVP!</p> <h2>Good Food</h2> <p>If you want a party with truly good food, you need to start cooking. While you can purchase bulk foods at discount prices, you've moved past the point in your life where a bag of Cheetos in a bowl counts for party snacks. Instead, focus on doing either one large thing very well or several little things that all stand out. It's easier than you think to prepare snacks, and while I'm not going to advise anyone to serve nothing but Ritz Crackers, you ate a ton of Ritz Crackers with cheese on top when you were a kid for a reason &mdash; they're delicious.</p> <p>Don't write off the idea of having a potluck, either. These aren't just an excuse for you to save money on cooking supplies. Particularly in foodie circles, you'll find that a potluck is a bit like a rap battle. Everyone is going to be bringing their &quot;A&quot; game. This allows you to have top-quality food at your party with little cost to you, while also making an affordable party even more of an event.</p> <h2>Good Drinks</h2> <p>Let's assume that by &quot;good drinks&quot; we mean &quot;good drinks for adults,&quot; by which we mean &quot;booze.&quot; Building a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cocktail-time-great-budget-liquors">home bar on a budget</a> is a whole article on its own. However, there are some guiding principles to filling your bar with good drink that are especially applicable when hosting a party:</p> <ul> <li>Nearly every cocktail can be made if you have a bottle each of scotch, bourbon, gin, rum, and vodka. Barring either expensive taste or prolific drinking ability, a good bar set up is going to put you back about $50.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take care of wine and beer by encouraging guests to BYOB on that front. Stress that you will take care of the hard stuff, and no one will have a problem.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>As if this needed saying &mdash; better doesn't always mean more expensive, and a lot of this has to do with taste. The present author can't stomach Bushmill's, but loves drinking Grant's neat. Conversely, he understands the appeal of Grey Goose, but not Bombay Sapphire. Your mileage may vary, but the ultimate determiner is always taste.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If your friends are the &quot;Kool-Aid + Booze = FUN!&quot; types, a large bottle of just about anything will do. A bottom-shelf handle of Bourbon and another of vodka will probably keep this crowd happy. We know that college is over, but whatever. Some people aren't super choosy, and that's OK.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Put simply &mdash; set a budget, stick to it, and buy the most diverse liquor cabinet you can afford.</p> <h2>Fun Stuff to Do</h2> <p>This literally does not require a dime of expenditure on your party. &quot;Fun stuff to do&quot; might mean nothing more than enjoying a meal and good company. It might mean something as elaborate as projecting a film onto the wall of your apartment. Many times the good people part takes care of this. Still, even the most well-intentioned parties have a habit of dying grizzly deaths. When this happens, rely on the following:</p> <ul> <li>Mental <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-family-friendly-games-for-your-holiday-party">games</a> seem to be coming back in style. Having a copy of a question book like <i>If...</i> or a game might elicit groans from cynics at first. See how many cynics are left in 15 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Forget what your mother told you &mdash; people love talking about politics, sex, and religion.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>While it won't work with CDs, going through a pile of old, musty records is quite an experience, especially at the end of the night when a party is dying down.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Even just natural social graces can count as fun stuff to do. If you are a particularly adept matchmaker, you will also be good at introducing people in such a way that no one will notice or care that witty banter is &quot;all&quot; your party had to offer.</li> </ul> <h2>Getting the Most Out of Your Low-Budget Party</h2> <p>A lot of throwing the perfect low-budget party is appreciating the simpler things in life and paying attention to the small details that matter. Think back on the best parties you've ever been to. What is it that made them great? Chances are, it had little-to-nothing to do with how much money was spent. The secret to revelry on a budget is recognizing that it is far more subtle things that make for a good time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-save-money-at-the-bars">4 Ways to Save Money at the Bars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-scrumptious-super-bowl-party-snack-ideas">Flashback Friday: 122 Scrumptious Super Bowl Party Snack Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-alternative-uses-for-lemons">25 Alternative Uses for Lemons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink Home alcohol cheap parties cheap snacks hosting Thu, 17 Nov 2011 11:36:30 +0000 Nicholas Pell 787805 at http://www.wisebread.com Have Houseguests? How to Be the Host With the Most http://www.wisebread.com/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012626359Small2.jpg" alt="Cooking dinner for guests" title="Cooking dinner for guests" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="157" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Throughout the year we host lots of tourists, thanks to our side hustle on Airbnb and Roomorama, the how-tos of which <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extra-income-online-5-websites-that-can-seriously-pad-your-pockets">I&rsquo;ve written about</a> a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">couple times</a> on Wise Bread.</p> <p>In hosting these strangers, there comes a responsibility to provide them with a certain type of experience &mdash; clean accommodations, local intel, and general knowledge on how to get from A to B. That&rsquo;s all they&rsquo;re looking for, really; if they wanted four-star service they would have booked a hotel. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-your-own-hotel-deal">Negotiate Your Own Hotel Deal</a>)</p> <p>Hosting friends and family, however, is a different dynamic. They require more of your time and effort &mdash; and secretly want a higher level of hospitality. I&rsquo;m happy to provide it, of course, but the situation can go south rather quickly if you&rsquo;re not on top of your game.</p> <p>To help you maintain your sanity &mdash; and send your guests off with smiles on their faces &mdash; here are a few things that I&rsquo;ve learned along the way.</p> <h3>1. Provide Fresh Linens, Toiletries, and Other Grooming Products</h3> <p>When hosting guests, I recommend offering everything a hotel has in terms of linens and grooming products &mdash; within reason. Fresh linens and towels are a given (although I&rsquo;ve stayed with friends who are stingy with their towels &mdash; you know who you are), but a lot of hosts forget that travelers sometimes overlook the small stuff when packing &mdash; shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, razors, etc. For this reason, I keep a small stash of these items in the pantry. They were all free or low cost, too; I take a few extra on my way out of the hotel, or I pick up bulk packs for about a dollar each at local outdoor markets.</p> <p>Be mindful, too, that some people are a little more high-maintenance when traveling. Many ladies require a hair dryer &mdash; and after several requests, we bought one for our guests, to their delight &mdash; while other folks, both male and female (myself included), must have access to an iron when away from home. We&rsquo;ve got our guests covered there, too. I know what it&rsquo;s like to have to go to a nice restaurant in a wrinkled shirt while on vacation &mdash; something I would never do at home. Having these products and accessories on hand will not only help your guests relax and have a better time, but they&rsquo;ll appreciate your attention to detail and thoughtfulness.</p> <h3>2. Have Healthy Snacks and Fresh Fruits Within Reach</h3> <p>When guests are on vacation, they want to sleep in. Doing so, however, could mean that they&rsquo;ll miss breakfast around the corner. To make sure they&rsquo;re fed and ready for their day, I always have cereal, bagels, fresh fruit and/or yogurt available. It&rsquo;s great to grab and go, and these items also give your guests something to snack on later in the day, which helps them avoid spending a ton of money on unhealthy in-between meals. Don&rsquo;t forget to put it in plain view, too. Your guests may feel uneasy about rummaging through your fridge or cupboard to find the goodies. When it&rsquo;s out in common areas &mdash; the counter! &mdash; that usually indicates that it&rsquo;s fair game. Of course, you can also tell them to help themselves as well.</p> <h3>3. Stay Current on Local Establishments, Deals, and Events</h3> <p>One of the first things people ask when they arrive at our place is &quot;where are the good bars and restaurants?&quot; Luckily, we have several just around the corner (we live in NYC). If you live further away from highly populated areas, consider collecting local take-out menus (with coupons, if possible) to create a mini directory of the places you personally recommend. In that directory, also keep a log of each establishment&rsquo;s happy hour specials and hours; everybody enjoys a little R&amp;R, especially when it&rsquo;s half off. In addition, I also visit the tourism bureau a couple times a year to pick up maps, deals, and event listings so I&rsquo;m always tuned in to what&rsquo;s going on when my guests arrive. For instance, I know that the MoMA is free on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. Thus, I will give my guests that info when they arrive, so they don&rsquo;t inadvertently pay for something that they could have gotten for free.</p> <h3>4. Direct Your Guests to a Nearby Market to Buy Their Own Food</h3> <p>Even though I suggested that you provide breakfast and snack items, I highly recommend that you kindly inform your guests where the nearest market is so they can buy any other sustenance they require. If you fail to do this, you could be eaten out of house and home. Most people get the hint, but if you&rsquo;re afraid some guests may not be so adept, try this approach. When you get to the kitchen during the requisite tour, stop at the fridge. Tell your guests that they&rsquo;re welcome to anything you have, but you&rsquo;d prefer it if they&rsquo;d purchase their own juice and milk, since you tend to consume a lot of those particular beverages and they&rsquo;re rather expensive. Guests will absolutely do this, and while they&rsquo;re at the supermarket they&rsquo;ll pick up other items they want to eat during their stay. It&rsquo;s a brilliant strategy &mdash; you still come off looking generous and your guests have more of the snacks they love.</p> <h3>5. Explain General Rules of House Etiquette</h3> <p>We once hosted two girls who were an absolute nightmare. Every time they left the bathroom it looked like a bomb went off at the Maybelline factory &mdash; water, hair, and makeup everywhere. Since then, I tell every guest that stays the night in our home that the sink is off limits as a storage space; they&rsquo;re welcome to keep necessary toiletry items in the shower area, but the sink must stay clean of hairbrushes, toothbrushes, cosmetics and other grooming products. The other thing that really bugs me is crumbs on the kitchen counter. After a particularly messy couple stayed with us and left a trail of food everywhere they went, I put my foot down. During the initial tour, I politely explain to my guests that they can either wash their dishes themselves or put them in the dishwasher and that a quick pass with a paper towel on the counter will get rid of the crumbs in flash. Haven&rsquo;t had a problem since.</p> <h3>6. Suck It Up When It Comes to Climate Control</h3> <p>A home can never be too cold for me, but it can definitely be too hot. I can&rsquo;t sleep if it&rsquo;s too warm &mdash; and too warm for me is 65 degrees &mdash; so staying more than one night with hosts who are climate misers is dreadful. Because I&rsquo;m particularly sensitive to this issue, I&rsquo;m keen to ensure that my guests are comfortable when sleeping at all times. If they need more warmth, I&rsquo;ve got many blankets at the ready. If they need it cooler, they can blast their own private window unit until their noses freeze and fall off. The minimal increase in the electricity bill during their stay is worth the satisfaction of knowing that my guests are comfortable &mdash; and not complaining that I&rsquo;m a cheapo.</p> <h3>7. Make and Offer Meals When You Have Time</h3> <p>Are you making brunch on a Sunday morning? Invite your guests. Making dinner for two but have enough food for six? Invite your guests. Preparing a homemade dish and offering it to your guests will not only save them money and feed them better, but you&rsquo;ll get to spend quality time with the ones you love over delicious food and rousing conversation. And if they&rsquo;re professional houseguests, they&rsquo;ll know how to thank you &mdash; by supplying the booze. Always a treat.</p> <h3>8. Keep Video and Board Games for Rainy Days</h3> <p>You can&rsquo;t predict the weather, and you&rsquo;ve got to be prepared for poor conditions during your guests&rsquo; stay. When it&rsquo;s rainy, snowy, sleety, or slushy, I inform my guests that hidden in the credenza are many popular one and multiplayer board and video <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-family-friendly-games-for-your-holiday-party">games</a>. They&rsquo;re already bummed out because of the weather &mdash; and I don&rsquo;t need them moping around my house, bringing me down &mdash; so I want my guests to be entertained until the storm passes. If they&rsquo;re lucky, they&rsquo;ll get to witness me kill my husband at Mario Kart.</p> <h3>9. Avoid Smothering Your Guests With Attention</h3> <p>Your friends and family came to visit you, yes. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean they want to spend every waking minute in your company. Back up a little and let them breathe. Suggest a few activities they can do on their own while you run a few errands &mdash; anything to get them out of the house and staying active without feeling like you&rsquo;re blowing them off. It&rsquo;s better for both parties if there are a few hours of down time, especially during longer stays; a weekend isn&rsquo;t so bad, but a week can work your nerves. A TV in the guest room helps as well. If your guests are tired or just need a quick nap, they can close the door, turn on the tube and unwind.<o:p> At the same time, so can you.</o:p></p> <p><em>What tips do you have for entertaining houseguests? What are some things that hosts should avoid? Let me know in the comments section.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-house-guests-without-going-crazy">How to Host House Guests Without Going Crazy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips friends & family hosting houseguests Thu, 19 May 2011 10:36:29 +0000 Mikey Rox 544690 at http://www.wisebread.com Special offer: 250GB online storage account for free - UPDATE http://www.wisebread.com/special-offer-250gb-online-storage-account-for-free-update <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/special-offer-250gb-online-storage-account-for-free-update" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/logowhite.jpg" alt="fd" title="fd" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="62" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've written about free online storage in the past, but nothing comes close to this. For a limited time, filedropper.com is giving away 250GB storage accounts to bloggers for free. This account usually costs $10 a month. THIS DEAL HAS ENDED, BUT I DO HAVE SOME SLIGHTLY GOOD NEWS...</p> <blockquote><p>UPDATE: I got in touch with Jay from FileDropper. As I suspected, the killer traffic from Digg and Reddit was responsible for the deal ending so early. Jay cannot give out any more free Gold accounts, but has offered to give Ten 5G accounts (usually $12 a year) to Wisebread readers. I will be offering the first two accounts to Michelle and Norm, who tried and failed to get the Gold account. If anyone else wants a 5GB account, leave your comment here. I will arrange it for the first 8 commenters WITH A GOOD ENOUGH REASON to get one. A simple &quot;I want it&quot; won't be enough to qualify. Thanks folks. &nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>I've been test-driving this service on-and-off all day and I can't find a flaw, other than the upload limit...which is 5GB! I searched my system and I'd say 98% of my files fall beneath that size. Even a DVD movie rip is generally below 5GB so that it can fit onto a regular DVD.</p> <p>What I also like about filedropper is the sheer simplicity. There's no complex interface or software to download. It's as basic as it gets. There are a few google ads and a donate button which makes me think that this could really pay off for the site via Adsense money. But they're very small, a tiny distraction and well worth it for the amount of space and freedom the account gives you.</p> <p>The deal expires on May 15th, so sign up quick. Just go <a href="http://www.filedropper.com/special.php">here </a> and give a name, password and email address. That's it, no huge form, it takes seconds and you're off and running. Let me know how it works for you, I've found it to be excellent and well worth the price (or should I say no price) of admission.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/special-offer-250gb-online-storage-account-for-free-update">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-8gb-ipod-touch-from-bbva-compass-bank">FREE 8GB iPod Touch From BBVA Compass Bank (Colorado)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-norton-antivirus-software-2007-0-after-mir-updated">FREE Norton Antivirus Software 2007 - $0 after MIR - UPDATED!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laptop-travel-kit-free-after-rebate">Laptop travel kit - FREE after rebate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/treat-yourself-to-self-with-a-free-subscription">Treat yourself to SELF with a free subscription</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-weirdest-freebie-ever">Is this the weirdest freebie ever?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Freebies data giveaway hosting online storage Mon, 28 Apr 2008 01:47:45 +0000 Paul Michael 2045 at http://www.wisebread.com