smart spending

Recover from a holiday spending hangover

Frugalize your parties
Frugalize your parties

Just because it's January doesn't mean the fun needs to stop. You can invite friends and family over for gatherings but still be frugal.

Choose a daytime get-together, such as a brunch or luncheon, to celebrate birthdays or other occasions. These tend to be less expensive because you can skip the alcoholic drinks, says Stephanie Nelson, who blogs at "CouponMom."

"Invite fewer people and keep it casual -- chili and hamburgers rather than beef tenderloin," Nelson says. If you want to do a dinner, don't offer multiple side dishes. Instead, go for one-dishers such as enchiladas or lasagna. Watch for menu items to go on sale in the weeks before.

"Guests always remember whether or not they enjoyed the company at a get-together, not necessarily whether it was a white tablecloth affair or not," Nelson says.

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