Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheap Date


Memorial Day unofficially kicks off the summer entertaining season. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve told you, the media’s told you, your employer’s told you…times are tough. That doesn’t mean the party’s got to stop. Just get drunk at home.

In order to entertain at home on a budget, here are some simple tips.

* Don’t waste money on stamps. Send friends an email or free evite. If times are really tough and you don’t have access to a computer, call your friends (after 9 and on weekends when it’s free!).

* Plan your party after dinner. This way, guests won’t expect to eat a full meal and apps can be purchased for a low-cost. If you really must provide dinner, go for an Italian, Mexican or Asian theme. Pizza/spaghetti, stir fry and tacos are cost-effective meals that can be made in large quantities.

* If possible, plan early. If your birthday is in August and you want to have people over, make your supply list now. When you see things like cups, plates, beer, wine, alcohol, etc. on sale, stock up! If your super stingy, save plastic forks, spoons and knifes from take out food or pick up some extras when bringing dinner at home.

* Become your own ice machine. Water is free (well, kinda). Rather then buy a ton of ice, starting making it a few weeks ahead. Yes, this tip is extremo el chepo, but you might save yourself like 10 bucks overall.

* If you plan to serve liquor-based drinks, mix up a few pitches of popular drinks ahead of time. This way, you can control how much alcohol is being used. If you set up a bar with bottles, people have a tendency to over pour, which sucks up all of the alcohol. Some ideas for pre-made drinks can include Captain & Cokes, Cosmopolitans, Sangria, Mojitos, Seven & Seven and Manhattan’s.

If you really want to play up a Recession-theme, here are some tips that will make your friends chuckle:

* Create two ingredient cocktails like Fago (generic) pop and vodka. Give your drinks names like the “Stimilus Package” or the “Bailout.” Buy a case of Keystone for the boys.

* Friends will love your recession menu. Head to the local McDonald’s and attack the $1 menu. Fries, nuggets and burgers will make for a happy meal.

* Air FoxNews and drink each time the broadcaster says an economic buzz word.

* Send friends home with $1 store gifts as favors. Or if the party if for your birthday, tell guests you are only accepting gifts purchased at The Dollar Store. In college, we had a white trash Christmas bash where there was a $1 Store giftexchange. It was awesome.

(Sources: chowhound.com; Photo: allposters.com and nationalpost.com)

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