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Dine out without breaking the bank
While admonitions to quit dining out sound wonderful, few of us stick to beans and rice at home every night.
Hashmi's family members will often eat something light before dining out, such as a small salad or half of a sandwich. At the restaurant, they order an appetizer, which is often less expensive than an entree but still full-size. Or, if they do order a full meal, they ask the waiter to "take half to go," and are served only half of the portion at the table.
"Restaurant portions are huge," Hashmi says. It's also better for your health and pocketbook to scale back.
Or take a cooking class to learn to saute and flambe. "Learn a skill that will end up paying for itself," says Stephanie Ann Welbes, the author of "The Cheap Diva's Guide to Frugal and Fabulous Living."
Community colleges are good sources for affordable, noncredit classes that boost your knowledge without depleting your bank account.