Warm weather is here and your backyard is calling for a barbecue. You’re ready to go but your budget is saying, “Hold up, wait a minute.” Have a great cookout does not have to break the bank. You can have fun, a fabulous menu and decorations on the variety of budgets. Here’s how.
Start with a realistic budget. We’re going to look at what can be done with $25, $50 and $100 for 15 people. Do what you can do to make the event as spectacular as you can. What people come for that is priceless is the enjoyable company of family and friends. Plan your guest list and invite the people who you want to spend time with. Invite the fun people in your life who will add joy and pleasure to your barbecue.
If all you have is $25 to spend on a cookout use that money for the following:
Decorative Paper products (plates, cups, and napkins)
Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish
Charcoal for the grill
Flowers for a centerpiece
You are providing the barbecue basics with a well-set table and floral centerpiece, an amazing fruit punch with frozen juice and freshly squeezed lemons and a hot grill.
The menu is:
Divide the menu among your invited friends and this barbecue becomes a group effort potluck. Food is excellent as a glue between family and friends. The people you invite will welcome the opportunity to bring a dish and join in the fun.
For the $50 budget start with the same basics of the $25 cookout and add the meat. Spend $25 on ground beef and buns, hot dogs and buns, drumsticks and wings, barbecue sauce, sliced cheese.
Find friends to also bring coleslaw and fruit salad. Ask someone to bring flowers from their yard for your centerpieces. They add beauty without any cost. Have nice vases to put them in. Decorate your table and backyard furniture.
For the $100 budget start with everything that’s included with the $25 and $50 budgets. With the extra $50 that you have, you can do several things. Double your guests and you will have the necessary money to double everything that you have. Make sure you also double the number of people bringing dishes.
You can also add more to your menu with the additional money with dishes that you make like mac and cheese, corn casserole, chicken kabobs, grilled vegetable kabobs, zucchini gratin, turkey and veggie burgers.
The extra money can also be used to buy more ingredients for the amazing fruit punch like blended strawberries and pineapple.
Having a great barbecue doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose your budget, get started and enjoy the fun. Visit our Recipe page here.
Are you constantly in awe of the amazing architecture magazine covers showcasing phenomenally decorated homes, perfectly staged and scattered with luxuriously looking details? You want that for yourself, don’t you? But then you remember that there are thousands of dollars invested into those rooms on the covers, and you definitely don’t have those funds. Don’t worry, there are ways to make your home looks just as amazing without breaking the bank. We’ll give you some ideas that will spark your imagination, and you can take it from there.
Start with a clean slate
If you want to make your home look elegant and luxurious, a paint job is a good place to start. Both warm (e.g. beige) and cool (e.g. grey) neutrals can serve well as the backdrop for the rest of your designing endeavors. A monochrome color scheme is the best choice, but if you consider that too boring, you can use different tones of the same color or introduce subtle elements of other shades.
Add a focal point
Every room needs something that will instantly draw attention. What that will be depends on your preferences. You can design an entire wall as a focal point where you will create a wall gallery, or use more subtle hints, such as one piece of artwork, a striking chandelier, a unique furniture piece, or wallpaper.
It’s all about the reflection
The combination of matte paint finish and reflective surfaces brings sophistication into any space. This is, at the same time, very affordable to achieve. All you need are a couple of stylish designer mirrors, which will serve both as decorative elements and a means to create the illusion of spaciousness. If they have metallic frames, they will fulfill their purpose even better. For their second task, the mirrors need to be located properly (opposite a light source or a window).
No, we haven’t finished with reflection yet. Not only mirrors and glass provide that sparkly lux feel inside a room. You can also use other metallic accessories, such as flower pots, vases, pendant lamps, light fixtures, coffee table, etc. Metals you choose will depend on the rest of your décor, but the types that are trending now are copper, brass, rose gold and aged silver.
Set the mood
The thing that affects the overall ambiance of some space the most is the lighting. Although the mood isn’t something that is tangible, there are some foolproof methods to do it properly. Layering the lighting types is the most efficient one. This means you should introduce ambience, task and accent lights, and create a pleasant and warm atmosphere.
Layer the textures
A room that has only one or two simplistic texture looks dull and poor. On the other hand, the room that is too cluttered, looks cheap and corny. It is up to you to find the right balance between the two and enrich the space with area rugs, throw blankets and interesting upholstery. Some of the most elegant things you can introduce are a velvet-upholstered sofa, sheepskin rug and a leather armchair.
A whole new window
Windows are essential, because they allow natural light in. However, they can also be used to enhance the “expensive-looking” interior design. Besides pulling the curtains back to allow plenty of natural light, you can make your windows pop by using upscale window treatments or installing shiny metal framing. Woven bamboo shades and wooden blinds are a subtle, yet effective addition to your million bucks décor.
Less is more
Interior design can certainly stir up your emotions and motivate you to buy and display various different items. However, it is important to be in control of the amount of items you are using in your place. Going minimalistic is the best road to take if you want to create a tasteful, yet exquisite interior, so throw away everything you don’t need and find adequate storage for the rest of your things.
So you see, there is no need to ask the bank for a loan. Your house can be magazine cover-ready in just a few steps.-
Whether you want to have a quiet, intimate ceremony, can’t be bothered waiting around to save up to get married, or would rather spend your money on taking your family on vacation, there are many reasons to choose to tie the knot on a budget.
But, budget weddings aren’t always easy – the wedding industry is full of high-priced products and services, so no matter how good you try to be with your spending at the beginning, there’s always a high risk that you’re going to overspend.
So, with that in mind, we’ve scoured around and found these top tips to help you put together the perfect budget wedding.
Tip #1. Save on the Engagement Ring
Before you even get started on your budget wedding, you’ll need to pick out an engagement ring. Unless you’re having a budget wedding so that you can afford a lavish diamond, chances are you won’t be willing to break the bank on the ring.
Thankfully, there are many great ways to save money on the traditional symbol of your engagement. From second-hand rings to online stores with great deals on diamond sets, there’s no need to pay over the odds.
Tip #2. Search Second-Hand Goods
The great thing about planning a wedding on a budget is that you’re always going to find something suitable that’s second-hand. And, since people only tend to use their wedding items once, you can often expect to find high-quality goods that you can barely tell have been used at all.
Whether it’s the bridesmaid’s dresses, suits for the bridegroom’s party, the table decorations or even the bride’s wedding dress, don’t rule out pre-loved items; they can save you a great deal!
Tip #3. Get Married Outdoors
Getting married outdoors has a lovely charm to it and many natural outdoor areas can be used for free when it comes to tying the knot, saving you a massive expense in terms of the venue. Whether you choose a forest, the beach, or even your own back garden, outdoor weddings make for perfect photo opportunities and you can set a very romantic scene with fairy lights whilst you party into the night with your new life partner.
Tip #4. Ask for Gifts that You Need
If your family and close friends have begun to ask what you would like for a wedding gift, then take advantage of this to ask for items that you need and save money on them. Or, perhaps you could ask your family to pool together to pay for your honeymoon instead of buying wedding gifts.
Tip #5. Electronic Invites
Paper wedding invitations are nice, but in 2017, it’s not only expensive to get them printed, it’s also a far cry from being eco-friendly. Plus, in a world where everybody invites each other to things on social media, is an electronic invitation to your wedding really a bad idea?
It doesn’t have to be in the form of a Facebook event; there are many methods of inviting family and friends to your wedding online. For example, you could upload a YouTube video invitation and send your guests the link.
Tip #6. DIY Wedding Favors
The cost of wedding favors can soon add up. So, why not get crafty and make them yourself? There’s a huge assortment of ideas to choose from when it comes to DIY wedding favors; you can use candy, ribbons, flowers, cupcakes, and more.
If you really want to get stuck in, you could even try making your own candles for the reception tables; this could seriously reduce your costs!
Tip #7. Something Borrowed
Yes, borrow whatever you can possibly get your hands on for your wedding! If you have a close friend or family member who recently tied the knot, why not ask them if they have any items left over that you could use? Or, perhaps you know somebody who could loan you a classic car? Maybe you have a friend who works in event planning and they can lend you accessories for your wedding dinner. Ask around; you’ll be surprised at the types of things people can have lying around which might come in use to you on your big day.
Tip #8. Bake Your Own Wedding Cake
If you can bake a yummy cake, then why not save money by baking your own wedding cake or cupcakes? This way, you can decide exactly how much you need, rather than paying a professional to bake a wedding cake that could end up mostly going to waste.
Or, if you still want to have a beautiful cake to celebrate your wedding, you could still bake it yourself; just pay to have it professionally iced afterward. This will be much cheaper since you’ll only be paying for the icing and the service, rather than the whole cake.
Tip #9. Rent a Suit
When it comes to buying a suit for the bridegroom, a tight budget can run the risk of you being forced to make a poor-quality choice. Instead of purchasing a suit, a rental option can work out much cheaper and be far more convenient; after all, you probably won’t be planning on wearing your wedding suit every day.
Alternatively, you could ditch the suit altogether – if you’re getting married on the beach, for example, it’s unlikely you’ll want to get fully suited up.
Tip #10. Opt for a Winter Wedding
Choosing to tie the knot during the colder months of the year isn’t very common, which is why it’s a favorite time of year for wedding bargain-hunters. Since venues aren’t getting very many bookings during the low season, they tend to offer much cheaper prices on hiring and package deals.
Winter weddings might not offer the glorious sunshine that you can get during the warmer months, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as romantic. In fact, a Christmas wedding can be even more stunning.
Tip #11. Marry on a Weekday
Since most people choose to get married on a weekend when they know most of their guests will be free to attend, it’s not uncommon to see venue hire prices drop when you move your nuptials to a weekday. Getting married on a Thursday or Friday might not be possible for everyone, but if you can get the time off work and give enough notice for your guests to do the same then it might just work out.
Tip #12. Have a Long Engagement
Many couples are in a rush to tie the knot as soon as possible after getting engaged. But, waiting a little while longer can certainly make it easier to save money on the total cost of your wedding.
When you have more time to work with, you can save more money and you’re also able to hunt around for better deals and bargains for your big day.
Tip #13. Use the Same Venue for the Ceremony and Reception
Booking two separate venues for your wedding is always likely to cost more than simply using the same venue all day.
If this is possible, then using the same venue for both your wedding ceremony and the reception will not only help to keep your wedding cost down, it’ll also be more convenient for your guests as it doesn’t require them to travel any further.
Tip #14. Have a Courthouse Wedding
For couples who are looking for a quiet and intimate ceremony with only close family and friends around them, a courthouse wedding could be ideal. There’s no confusion since you are guided through the process.
In addition, there’s no need to turn up like you’re going to any old courthouse appointment; many brides will still wear a wedding dress and there’s the option to invite a small number of guests. Look around for historic courthouses in or close to your location that could provide the perfect setting for your wedding.
Tip #15. Opt for Artificial Flowers
Real flowers are lovely to look at, but when it comes to picking flowers for your wedding you can always expect to pay a premium for the real deal. Instead, go for the artificial variety – not only do they look very realistic, they can also be sold on after your wedding to get your money back.
Tip #16. Accept Help
Chances are that once they heard you were planning to get married, your family and friends have been desperate to do something to help you out. Maybe your mom can’t wait to get started with baking your wedding cake, or perhaps you have a cousin who has offered to arrange your flowers. If people offer to help you with your wedding, then take them up on it! Their time and assistance are a lovely wedding gift that’s much more valuable than a toaster.
Planning a beautiful wedding on a tight budget isn’t impossible.
Disclosure: This blog received a form of compensation for this publication. All opinions are my own.
Do you dream of heading off on a relaxing holiday abroad? Want to enjoy the history of Rome, the buzz of New York or the tropical rays of Jamaica? Whatever your dream destination, we are providing some informative money tips to help you get there.
Save for a Holiday Like Paying for a Debt
A holiday is a luxury, but it is also a considerable debt you need to pay to enjoy that luxury. You must, therefore, look at paying for a holiday as an important bill. We recommend going away and reviewing your finances to see how much money you will need to put away for a holiday each month. This will help you identify how long you need to make your dream holiday a reality.
Once you know how long it will take, you should transfer the money out of your bank and into a savings account each pay day. Therefore, you will know exactly where you stand in regards to your finances at the start of each month, so you will not be tempted to dip into the pot.
Sell Your Unwanted Items
Do you have items across the home you no longer use? For example, do you own a musical instrument you never play? Do you have an out-dated games console that’s just taking up space? Maybe you have a drawer full of mobile phones. If so, you can sell the items at second–hand stores or on online websites, such as Amazon, Craigslist, and eBay.
Also, don’t forget about unwanted gift cards. Don’t put them in a drawer and forget about them. We recommend visiting ejgiftcards.com to receive a free quote for your gift card. If you are happy to proceed, they will provide the monetary value directly into your PayPal – so you can add the money into your holiday savings account.
Holiday Comparison Websites
Never pay full price for a holiday you can find much cheaper elsewhere. It is important to do your homework to discover a deal that ensures you receive value for money, and one of the best ways to do so is with holiday comparison websites, as they will pull together the most competitivedeals across the internet. You can also look at the recommend travel websites.
Delete Your Cookies
You might not realize it, but those troublesome internet cookies could significantly boost the price of your holiday. The cookies allow a website to identify if you have visited before. So, when you look for the previous deal, they can shoot up the price of the holiday. You should, therefore,delete your cookies each time you visit a website to book a trip or another product.
Consider All-Inclusive Holidays
All-inclusive holidays might look like a significant expense at first, but they could potentially save you a considerable amount of money in the long-term. After all, you will need to save up for holiday spending money, as well as for the flights and accommodation. If you are traveling as a family, an all-inclusive package will ensure both the adults and children can eat and drink as much as they like the hotel. Therefore, you will not have to worry about saving a considerable amount of holiday money for food and drink.
Disclosure: This blog received a form of compensation for this publication. All opinions are my own.
When you commit to living a more frugal lifestyle, meals at restaurants are among the first to go. For the cost of a meal at a restaurant, you could easily make four or five meals at home for the same price. Yet eating at home day in and day out can get old fast. You need variety — and sometimes you just need a night off from the kitchen.
You can treat yourself to meals out and still stick to your frugal living plan. Here are a few tips for how you can save money while eating out so you can maintain your budget and still enjoy a good meal that you didn’t have to cook for yourself:
Fill Up before the Main Course
When you’re hungry, you’re likely to order everything on the menu. You can avoid over-ordering and save yourself a lot of money by filling up before the main course. Either grab a snack from home to eat on the way, or order water and snack on free breadsticks before your meal arrives. You’ll be able to order a smaller meal and save a lot of money.
Share a Dish
Most restaurant meals are two or three times a normal serving size. Not only will you end up paying more than you need to, but you’ll end with two or three times the amount of calories, fat and sugar that you need. You can save your pocketbook and your diet by sharing a dish instead of ordering one for yourself. Just ask for an extra plate and divide your entree at the table.
Choose an Appetizer
Many restaurants offer appetizer versions of their entrees. Even the stand-alone appetizers are big enough to eat as a meal. Save yourself some money by ordering an appetizer for your meal instead of an entree that can cost twice the price. If you’re really famished, order a side salad with your appetizer. You’ll likely still come out ahead on the bill!
Eat Off the Kids’ Menu
Like the appetizers, the kids’ menu is often a reflection of the main menu on a smaller scale. You can order dishes that are smaller versions of main entrees for a fraction of the cost. Just beware as some restaurants prohibit adults from ordering kids’ entrees. If this is the case, ask if you can order a half dish instead of a full.
Go On Special Nights
Many restaurants offer special promotions, such as a two-for-one deal or a Kids Eat Free night. More restaurants are also offering pre-set meals that include two entrees and an appetizer for a set price — usually far less than you would have paid regularly. Take advantage of these promotions and plan your outings accordingly. You’ll end up saving as much as 50 percent off your bill.
Skip the Extras
As large as restaurant meals are, you don’t need to order anything else besides the main entree in order to feel full and satisfied. Don’t order an appetizer or dessert. If you want something sweet, wait until you get home to enjoy some ice cream or another treat. Of course, you should never order alcohol at a restaurant as you’ll pay three or four times what the drink would cost you to make at home. You can easily spend more on alcoholic drinks than on your whole food order.
Eating out can be expensive, and if you’re trying to live a more frugal lifestyle, you should limit eating out or cut it out entirely. However, if you just need a night off or a little variety in your routine, you can use these tips to save money while eating out so you don’t break your budget.
What else do you do to save money while eating out? Share your tips in the comments!
About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching Indian cookery school. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.
*Life of a Southern Mom received a free sample or compensation for this post. All opinions expressed below are 100% my own.*
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