I have been searching high and low for a budgeting "system" that works for me. Dave Ramsey's approach is awesome, I have friends that follow it religiously and have been rewarded accordingly. I however, need a system I cannot cheat! I lack restraint and need the structure but prefer something black and white and extreme. I fell in love with Ann Newell Jones blog, and then she saved. She went on a "spending fast", only spent money on what was absolutely necessary and ended up paying off her debt of 23k in 15 months. I am on a spending fast, mostly because I have nothing to spend since we are reduced to only one income.
My husband and I have alot of friends that like to get together for dinner and drinks. Most of them do not have children and can get up and go spontaneously. We have a little bit more freedom now that are kids have reached teenage-hood. My girlfriends and I like to get together frequently and my kids are always on the go. So how do you entertain and be entertained when you are not spending money? Well I have come up with a few ideas.
ORGANIZE A PROGRESSIVE DINNER. Each course is served at a different house. You could kick off with drinks and apps, or opt for ending the night with a great dessert made from scratch. Use what you have. Friends will jump on board for this night in event, and may even be intrigued to stay in more often.
HOST A DEATH BY CHOCOLATE, ICE CREAM SOCIAL OR POKER NIGHT. Have everyone bring something to contribute. If playing poker, instead of using money or chips you could wager services and specialties. The IT guy in the group can cough up an hour computer session and the stay at home mom can offer up babysitting or home baked cookies.
PICNICS NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE. Whether for a romantic date night or evening with a small group of friends, packing a "grown up"picnic for a night in the back yard or out on the terrace, it can be a great time to catch up without disturbances.
A GOOD GAME OF FRISBEE, FRISBEE GOLF, HACKY SACK etc. always is fun, not to mention active! Under street lights or at dusk, can be a great way to unwind with friends.
MOVIE NIGHT. Take it to the next level by constructing a "screen" out of white queen size sheets if someone can borrow a power point projector from work or choose to have it at the home of whoever owns the largest T.V. Make it a themed party like Lebowski Night, bathrobes only.
Credit Image: ginnerobot on Flickr
COOKING SCHOOL. A new twist on the old dinner party. Have everyone contribute a recipe to a theme, bring the ingredients for their dish. While cooking, everyone will be enjoying eachothers company and a glass of wine.
CRAFT NIGHT. Hang with the girls while making arts and crafts. Decorations for the home, gifts for showers or the holidays. Making it a monthly meet will allow everyone to contribute an idea or project. Accompanied by a glass of wine or cocktails or include the kids. A fun way to get creative.
HOST A SPA NIGHT OR DIRECT SALES EVENT, hosting a direct sales event doesn't cost you a thing and usually you can receive free items just by hosting the party. The Body Shop has great natural and organic products, Mary Kay has been around for years, both will pamper your girlfriends with a "spa treatment" and introduce them to new products. There are many out there that offer recipe sampling with their kitchen ware. Purses, jewelry, candles the list goes on and on as to what the direct sales world has to offer, also might introduce you to a way to make some extra cash.
There are alot of things to do for free. In the summer look into movie nights on the roof, festivals, concerts and markets. During the winter, especially during the holidays there are tree lightings, concerts and performances all over town. If you go to your cities homepage, you will find a calendar of events, most for free.
Happy Friday, enjoy staying in, it's all the rage in these times of financial cut backs!
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