I’ve always loved eating out, but I found that I was spending way too much on each trip and thought I would have to give up restaurants completely. I was totally wrong, though! Eating out doesn’t have to be banned completely when you’re on a budget – especially if you follow these tips…
Instead of ordering an entire kids meal that your kiddo likely won’t eat more than 3 bites of, just get a few dishes that the whole family can share! Just be aware that some restaurants may charge an extra fee for sharing plates.
Opt for water
Ordering soft drinks (or coffee or juice or tea) for everyone in the family is going to add up quickly – you could buy a whole liter of soda for around the price of one glass at a restaurant. Instead, have everyone opt for a water! Not only is it healthier, but your wallet will thank you.
Find promotions and discounts
Groupon always has lots of great discounts for restaurants, and it often forces you to try out somewhere new! Also, lots of places offer days where kids eat free, and sign up for emails to score birthday discounts (lots of places offer up a free entree for the birthday boy or girl), free appetizers and more!
Take leftovers home
Never be shy about asking for a to-go container to take home the rest of the bread or the last few bites of pasta. You’ve paid for all of it, so don’t just leave it behind!
Say “no” to appetizers
You’ll likely get plenty of food with your entree, so unless you have a coupon for a free appetizer, or it’s your favorite part about that restaurant, steer clear. Ask for extra bread or a basket of fries to munch on instead.
I LOVE crepes.
They are just so easy to whip up with kitchen staples you likely already have on hand! I’m about to take the ease one step further, by whipping them up using NO mixing bowl. Yep, you read that right! No mixing bowl needed – the only supplies you’ll use are a clean recycled plastic water bottle, a funnel, a frying pan and a spatula.
If you’re a camper, you’ll want to keep this recipe handy as it would PERFECT for camping! Simply add all the ingredients to the bottle and store in a cooler until breakfast time for super easy, low-maintenance crepes!
- 2/3 c. flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. milk
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil or melted butter
- Optional: Powdered sugar, Nutella, whipped cream, fruit
Place the funnel to the bottle nozzle and start adding the flour, eggs, milk, sugar and butter or oil. Screw the lid back onto the bottle, and shake until the ingredients are well mixed. (This would be a great job for a kiddo to help with!) Butter your frying pan and place on medium heat, then pour enough of the batter to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping when it reaches a golden brown color. Put the crepe on a dish and add your choice of toppings (Nutella with lots of berries is my favorite!) fold in half or roll, then top with powdered sugar.
SO simple, and SO yummy.
If you’ve got a party coming up soon, and you’re worried about pulling it off without breaking the bank, you should know that it is TOTALLY possible to have a super fun an successful party without spending much money at all! Be sure to set a budget ahead of time, and then check out these tips…
Get creative with finding decorations for your theme. Balloons are fairly inexpensive, and can make a room feel very festive. You can also use decorations from a previous holiday or party, or ask to borrow decorations from a friend or family member. Remember not everything has to be of excellent quality; if your budget is limited there are always good options that don’t break the bank.
The amount of money you spend can vary greatly depending on the number of guests. If you do it only for a small group of children your expenses will be much lower and if you consider that there will be adults, obviously the expense will be greater.
The schedule is very important, plan it after lunch or after dinnertime so you can prepare only snacks, appetizers and other light foods. That way you can leave more free room in your budget for other things.
The cheapest option is your house or in the house of a family member or friend – or if weather-permits at an outdoor park. If you choose to rent a place like a club house or a party room do it during the week and at earlier hours, as that will also reduce rental costs.
Sure, you could save more money if you use your regular plates and cutlery. But time is money, and spending hours doing the dishes after your event is, in my opinion, not worth the few dollars you can spend on disposable items. Try to buy them at your local dollar store or buy with coupons during a sale to get them for cheap! And don’t throw out the extras, save them for next time (no one is going to care if there are a few Batman plates mixed in at your 4th of July BBQ).
If you decide to have a lunch or dinner party, make it a potluck! Ask your close family or friends to help you by bringing a favorite dish or drink. That way you aren’t spending as much and you will have a larger variety of foods. Plus, the homemade dishes can be a great conversation-starter!
Do not consume soda if you have the option of preparing flavored waters. Aside from being healthier, it can also be less expensive. Also, put names on the cups so the children and adults will keep their own as this limits the amount of orphaned cups that get thrown away.
Instead of shelling out a fortune on a cake from a bakery, try your hand at making your own! You can snag a box of cake mix for a couple bucks and whip up your own frosting from ingredients in your pantry. A couple dollars worth of sprinkles and fun candles will be all you need to make a cute cake.
Do not spend money on paper invitations. Instead, use social networks like Facebook to create your own event with all of the details on your party. It’s easier to see who can attend this way, and all without spending a single dollar.
Hate throwing out moldy berries?
Every time I head to the grocery store I seem to end up with at least on package of berries. Whether they’re for a recipe I’m planning to make, some smoothies, or just as a snack, I love keeping my fridge full of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries at all times.
Berries can also be a big pain, though. I find that unless they’re all eaten within a few days they go bad and I’m forced to throw them out. It’s particularly sad when I know I spent nearly $5 on an 8oz carton of raspberries, and they’re all going to waste!
After doing a bit of research, I’ve come up with 3 tips that can help all you berry fans out there save some serious money and make sure that you never have to toss out moldy berries again!
Stock up during sales
It’s rare to find a coupon for berries, but if you do, run to the store and use it! Also, check the weekly ads from your favorite grocery stores to see if anyone is offering up a sale. When the prices have been cut on the berries you like, stock up! Don’t worry, even if you grab 5 packages of blueberries, I promise none of them will go to waste if you follow the other 2 steps…
Soak in a vinegar bath
I’ll admit, when I first came across this “vinegar bath” tip for extending the life of your berries, I was skeptical. But now that I’ve tried it and have seen raspberries last in my fridge without any mold for nearly two weeks… I’m sold.
Simply mix 1 cup white vinegar with 3 cups water in a large bowl. Place the berries inside the mixture and let soak for at least 2 minutes. Afterwards, rinse off the vinegar and pat dry. The pH of the vinegar is what kills off any mold spores and bacteria – greatly extending the life of your berries.
Store extras in freezer
Place the amount of berries you expect to be able to eat in the fridge and then store the rest in an airtight freezer-bag. Berries stay good in the freezer for around a year! I love to add a cup of frozen blueberries to my warm oatmeal for breakfast, or I make smoothies or berry pie!
There ya go! 3 simple tips to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to berry-buying! Let me know what you think in the comments below! 😀
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