Entertaining on a Budget
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Entertaining on a Budget

Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 at 4:52 pm
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Okay, now that we are into November, I am starting to panic. There will be a whole host of gatherings at my house starting with the big one on Thanksgiving. I don’t even know how to brine a turkey, but I guess I’ll just have to learn. One thing I do know, though, is how to save money. You bet that I am going to apply that knowledge this year to save as much as I can with entertaining.

Here is what I plan on doing.

I think food will be my biggest expense. To save money on groceries, I’ve been gathering the coupons for some of the special foods that we will need for the holidays. Our local grocery store offers a free turkey with points, and with a family of five, I should be making enough purchases there to qualify. Anything that is non perishable can be picked up as soon as a good sale comes along.

I’ll also be combining coupons and sales, and then stacking the coupons when I can.
This strategy also applies to cleaning products. I will definitely be stepping up the cleaning for company. Generic cleaners and home made cleaners (such as vinegar and water to wash windows) will save a bunch of money.

For some affairs, I can get away with hosting a pot luck. This will cut down on the food costs, and we will all get the benefit of everyone’s favorite dishes!
When I provide all of the food myself, it is often cheaper to make it all from scratch or at least assemble it myself. For example, instead of buying a cut fruit platter, I will buy the fruit whole and cut it.

For music, I already have a bunch of holiday music on my iPod, but I’ll still be looking out for more. Amazon often offers free music downloads. Napster is offering a free trial of downloads, too. There are also a number of online sources for streaming holiday music, such as http://www.accuradio.com/holidays/

Did you know that you can often save on wine and alcohol when you go almost to the source. Large distributors often sell to the public. Local shops may also have some great recommendations on less pricey but excellent wine and other beverages.

Do you have any other tips for saving money when you entertain?

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.