College Dorm Must Have Item – The Mini Fridge

minifridge-feature

Mini Fridge with Lock

When I was in college, the most important item I owned was a mini fridge that had a lock. Gone are the days when a mini bar fridge is only found on motel and hotel rooms. Nowadays, many people have this into their home. Due to the versatile sizes of the mini fridge, the idea fits perfectly within places like sleeping quarters, study, lounge room or somewhere else at home when a conventional refrigerator is too large. Also, they are available in different styles, shapes and colors so they can match to the decor of your home.

 

Buying the best mini-fridge

Even during summer or hot seasons, this mini fridge proves to be handy when you want to get close to your favorite cold drinks while watching the television or having some conversation with friends and family. There are several different things to remember when shopping for a mini-fridge.  Although mini fridges are smaller and usually much cheaper than regular refrigerators, they both do the exact same thing;  keep food cold or frozen. Mini-fridges are perfect substitutes for refrigerators in college dorm rooms or RVs, or when you are running out of room in a main refrigerator.

 

Freezer Compartment in a Mini-Fridge

If the mini fridge has a freezer compartment, you can even have ice cream or ice blocks anytime you want without going to the kitchen. A mini bar is also useful during special events like game nights, dinner parties or cocktail parties. There is no need for you to rummage the full main fridge because you can use the mini bar and get the drinks you want in there.

But most people prefer using mini bar fridges or display cooler in their bedroom since they are completely silent compared to conventional refrigerator. Such units are also frost free so it is perfectly fine for you to store perishable goods at the right temperature without the freezer burn. It is important to check how big the freezer is in the mini-fridge. Different mini-fridges can vary quite a bit in the size of their freezers. If you find yourself needing more storage space in the freezer, it may be worthwhile to also get a separate mini-freeze to go along with your mini-fridge.

 

Reliability of a Mini-Fridge

Another great reason why it is good to have this in your home or even your office is these fridges are durable and reliable when it comes to maintenance. If you choose the type which has freezer feature, you will have to defrost every six months or so and there are no other additional hassles that come with the maintenance of this mini fridge. Defrost the mini-fridge freezer ensures that there is not too much ice building up and that the fridge remains clean.

Most of these mini units feature innovative insulation and lock technology which is very helpful in keeping even temperature throughout and in keeping warm air out and cold air in effectively. This means that it can consume less electricity helping you keep the power bill down. Today’s mini-fridges have very efficient energy costs. For a family that does not use much storage space in their main refrigerator, it may make sense to use a smaller mini-fridge to keep energy costs low.

A lot of modern homes today make mini bar fridges a great accessory. They are versatile, small in size and very convenient. You can use it during dinner parties or when you need to have convenient drink close. When it comes to the price, you will be more fascinated because they are not overly priced. They can be found on most appliance stores but they are also available on the internet where you can choose from a wide range of these units in terms of color, design and style. The one downside of buying a mini-fridge on the internet is that shipping costs could be high. Mini-fridges are pretty heavy to ship. This is when it might be easier to head to a store to pick it up in person.

 

Mini-Fridge Size and Mini-Fridge Capacity

Portable fridges comes in so many different sizes, and the available storage space varies widely from 6 cubic feet to less than 1 cubic foot. It is absoultely essential that you find out how big a mini-fridge you would need before buying on.  Choose a mini-fridge with the right capacity for what you intend to put in it and no bigger. If you simply want to keep a few beverage cans cold, then a small countertop fridge will do. If you will be using the fridge to store food, in addition to drinks, than you will want one that is much bigger and might feature a freezer.

The smallest mini fridges (sometimes called cube fridges), are good for keeping beverages cool and little else. Most of these models are about 17 to 21 inches square in size — small enough to fit beneath a desk — inexpensive and usually made of cheap components that make them inefficient and unreliable. Midsize mini refrigerators cost slightly more than cubes, but they perform better with roughly the same footprint. The larger models are about 24 to 28 inches tall and have a capacity of 2.5 to 2.8 cubic feet.

Getting even larger, there are two door mini fridges that have a larger freezer component. Tese models have a separate freezer space, similar to a full-sized top-freezer. Their thermostats are located in the freezer, so temperature performance is much better in that section than in the refrigerator. This would be recommended if you intend to keep lots of different frozen foods.

 

Availability of Mini Bar Fridges

When on the lookout for a mini bar fridge, you can search around so many websites to find and compare the best and most affordable deals. Many stores online offer discount rates on their display cooler and you will be surprised at the amazing prices they can offer you. There are many bits of information offered on the internet such as review sites that can help you choose the perfect fridge for your home or office.

Compact refrigerators are a great way to store leftovers and other essentials without putting too much of a dent in your wallet. Depending on your living space and daily demands, you may opt for a larger unit with a better cooling capacity for storing larger quantities of food or a much smaller and simpler fridge for beverages. Certain features, such as guaranteed quiet operation or a designated beverage holder, might prompt you to choose one unit over the next.

 

Other College Dorm Room Essentials

  • You have to have a mattress topper. Those dorm beds are the most uncomfortable things ever.
  • A good pair of headphones. You will live in a tiny room with another person. Wearing headphones can make you feel like you are by yourself.
  • Everyone always forgets things that are only used weekly instead of daily, like nail clippers and laundry detergent. Don’t forget those.
  • A brita water pitcher (Dorm water for whatever reason always seems nasty)
  • A mini fridge
  • Toliet Paper – Just something people forget when moving into a new place for the first time and the thing you will immediately hate not having.
  • A really good chair, something you can sit in for 8 hrs if needed.
  • A Costco sized bottle of Aleve/Ibuprofen. After night of drinking, BEFORE you go to bed, take one along with drinking a full glass of water = zero hang over. NO TYLENOL with drinking
  • A Costco sized bottle of imodium (come on you’re going to eat cheap ramen noodles and crap your stomach isn’t always going to be great)
  • Laundry transportation, Bags preferably.
  • A good foam pad – http://www.thefoamfactory.com/
  • Pots and pans. Or at least a pot. Mac and cheese/ramen work much better this way.
  • Silverware. Also at least one plate, bowl, cup…but preferably more. coordinate with your roommates
  • Bathrobe. Unless you and your new roomies are uh super friendly right away.
  • If your parents are taking you dorm shopping stock up on stupid stuff you don’t want to spend your money on. (Shampoo, razors, deoderant, etc)
  • Shower shoes. Dorm showers are (typically) not the cleanest places. Get yourself those, a shower caddy, and a nice robe to wear from the dorm to your showers and back.
  • A plunger, if you have non-communal bathrooms. My freshman year my room was the only one on the hall with a plunger and we had people knocking on our door a few times a week to borrow it.
  • Don’t worry if you over pack too much you’ll figure out what you need.

5 Tips for a Budget Friendly College Move In Day

5 Tips for a Budget friendly Move

If you’ve moved away from home to go to college before, then you may have a lot of opinions about living on-campus versus living off, where the cool parts of town are, and who your favorite (& worst) roommates were. Or, you’re at least forming them, depending on what year you are in. Maybe you’ve moved every year, or you’re about to.

During my college career, I moved a total of five times. And, each time was hectic and unplanned. I’ve recruited unwilling friends and borrowed my dad’s truck for multiple trips across town. Truth be told, I’ve hated every minute of it.

Making a College Budget

Since college I’ve moved 3 more times. And, guess what? According to statistics, I’ve got 3.4 more times to go (but I bet I have more). You’ve potentially got a lot more moves to go through as well. And drawing from my experiences, I’ve gathered some budget-friendly tips for college move in day, so your next move can run smoother (aka less stressful).

Go the Hybrid-Move Route.

The cheapest way is to do everything yourself. But let’s face it– it sucks having that responsibility! Finding a vehicle to borrow, recruiting reliable help, and potentially injuring yourself with heavy-lifting is simply not worth the trouble. But, while hiring a full-service company is ideal, the cost is simply unjustifiable. A Hybrid Move combines best of both worlds.

What exactly is hybrid moving? You rent the truck or shipping container, and then separately hire the number of movers you need for the hours you’ll need them. It does require a little more organization up-front, but the money you’ll save is worth it. Plus, you don’t have to think twice about how you’re going to move that cool piano your ex-roommate abandoned.

Sell, Donate & Ditch.

On second thought, maybe you should cash in on that piano. Not only will you make a pretty sum of money, but you’ll have a lighter load to move. Smaller/less stuff will mean a cheaper truck or container to rent, as well as fewer hours of moving labor help to pay for.

Plus, having cash during a potentially-costly time in your life will feel good. Hopefully you’ll stress less over whether or not you’ll get your deposit back, and if it’ll be in time to give to the next landlord.

Moving for a New Job?

If you’re fresh out of college and was just offered the job of your dreams, then congratulations! This is a huge win not only for your career, but potentially for your pocketbook (at least during tax season). Indeed, some moving expenses related to work are tax-deductible, so check into current tax laws to see what applies in your state, and save all your moving-related receipts.

Don’t Buy Boxes– Rather, Find Them!

It may be tempting to pay for moving-specific boxes. But, let’s face it– that’s lazy. Most establishments you frequent regularly are begging you to take their boxes.I’ve heard the boxes from liquor stores are good because they are built more sturdily than most and you can just ask the stock person if you can have them.

For example, a friend of mine scored big at the local gas station during her last move. She found one that kept a pile of flattened cardboard boxes behind the counter. When asked what they were used for, the clerk responded that they were from shipments, and they were just waiting for their dumpster to be emptied before throwing them out. She asked if she could have them, and he gladly gave them all to her.

I’ve also found great boxes at liquor stores. While often times these boxes aren’t the biggest, they are designed for holding multiple, heavy bottles at once, so you can rest assured that your boxes won’t fall apart during your move. And, similar to my friend’s new favorite gas station, liquor stores tend to always have boxes they’d like to get rid, and generally ASAP. Go to any Grocery stores in the afternoon. Everyday they restock their shelves and teardown boxes. Ask them if they can set some boxes aside for you. Nursing home. Call and ask for someone in housekeeping. Ask for empty diaper boxes. They’re sturdy and have handles and aren’t so big that they get super heavy when filled. Ask for a certain number and promise to pick them up at a certain time. Bigger places will have more.

 

Where to get free packing paper!

If you have a neighbor or family member/friend who gets the paper, just ask them to toss you all their old papers instead of throwing them out/recycling them. I use newspaper when I do art projects all the time and my parents get the newspaper every day, so when I’m low on paper I just ask them to fill up a bag full of paper from their recycling bin and hand it off to me.

Go to the grocery store or another store that sells papers and ask if you can have any old/unsold papers at the end of the day/week. Just explain you’re moving and if they have any free boxes/papers/etc you would really appreciate it. You could just take a bunch, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I think it’s nicer/better to ask.

 

Pay in Pizza and Beer.

Finally, if anything, here’s the best insider secret I can possibly give you. Pizza and beer can move mountains. Seriously. Call up the laziest friend you know. If you’re in college, you know at least one person who wakes up at 5 pm, right? Ask them if they’d help you for free pizza and beer. Chances are, they will.

Truth be told, you haven’t seen this person work or even lift a finger (how do they go to class or pay rent?) the whole time you’ve known them. Yet, here they are, holding one end of your couch while schmoozing with your dad, who’s holding the other end. And knowing that tip alone, makes moving not so bad after all.

 

Using Amtrak to Move Cheaply Across the Country

Regarding moving costs: If you don’t have any pieces of big furniture to move (and aren’t driving), by far the cheapest way to do it is Amtrak. You pack things up into medium sized boxes and drop it off to ship maybe the day before you fly out. When I did it, I think the cost was something like $50 plus $0.50 per pound, so I moved all my books and shoes and offseason clothing and dishes and such for less than $150. I flew Southwest, checked 2 enormous bags, and that was that! If you know anyone in the area who has a car that can help you pick them up at the station, that’s great but otherwise I think renting a truck at Home Depot or via something like the Getaround app is also pretty cheap.

If you go Amtrak, shipping for small items becomes so cheap that you can actually acquire stuff over time and move it there instead of having to wait and get it all there your first week. At my school, at the end of the year there would always be people throwing away tons of completely usable housewares and items like pantry staples and spices. That, combined with my parent’s castoffs, were enough to keep me going for a while.

14 Money Saving Tips for College Students

14 saving tips for college students

You’re in college for a reason. To learn, right? To set yourself up for a rewarding life of getting paid to do the things that fire up your brain. Well, your course-load won’t reflect this, but you’re also in college to learn how to manage your money. And there’s never a better time than when you don’t have any J.

Here are my top money saving tips for college students that will help you get through school with cash to spare and no debt other than your student loan.

14 Money Saving Tips for College Students

  1. Don’t wait.

    Don’t wait until you have more money to start to save. It’s a myth that can trap you for life – you do not need to make more money to start to save.

    Track your spending for a month to see how it lines up with your budget. Almost every person who does this is surprised how much more they spend than they thought – usually on things like eating out and beer. Make it cool to be nerdy about spending. Take advantage of free online tracking software like trackeverycoin or mint. Or keep every receipt and tally up the results manually. Whatever. Just try it, and get the real picture of what you’re spending by tracking every time you pull out your wallet.

    Assuming you have no student loan debt, think about opening up a Roth IRA and contributing something to it on a regular basis. You qualify because you have earned income. A ROTH contribution allows your money to grow tax free, is easy to set up, and offer a wide variety of investments. The original amount contributed can be withdrawn at any time without penalty because it is paid in post tax. So, for instance, if you needed to make a down payment on a home in a few years you could use the money you had contributed to your Roth.

  2. Get inspired.

    Check out this cool savings calculator. Plug in one of your basic expenditures, like your morning coffee, and see how much you could save by cutting back just a bit. For example, that $2 daily cup of coffee is $14 every week. Cutting back on that one thing alone would add up to $3718 in savings over just 5 years.

    Apply for scholarships as often as possible. You don’t always have to be a star student to qualify and even a small bursary can be a big help.

    What’s it worth to live off campus? Residence or dorm living is MUCH cheaper. Yes, it’s pretty tempting to share that cool off-campus apartment with your best buddies, but think about the electricity bills, laundry costs, transportation costs to and from college… and then compare with the costs of residence.

  3. Get What You’ve Already Paid For.

    Bone up and make sure you know all of the free stuff that comes with your tuition. College tuition often includes free access to libraries (some provide free movie rentals), gyms, intramural sports, student clubs, guest speaker series, and entertainment on-campus. Take advantage of them and save your $$.

  4. Cellphone!

    Be sure you’re on the most economical cell phone plan for your needs. Maybe get on a family plan with your parents – that way everybody saves. Tip: texting is expensive. Companies charge both sender and receiver of text messages, so consider using web-based messaging services like Facebook (sorry) or Myspace. Or send email!

    Gotta make a budget. Whether you start one on the back of a napkin, or set up your own detailed spreadsheet, planning where you will spend your money each month is hands down the best way to take control. There are all kinds of tips out there on how to set up a personal budget, including one of my faves here. Don’t just take it from me. Try it yourself and see how much easier it is to save if you have a good idea what the big picture looks like on the personal finance front.

  5. Beans over beef.

    I’m talking grocery shopping here. Meat is much more expensive than beans. Buy groceries instead of eating out. And buy on sale. Buy in bulk.

    Plan your meals, and spend an afternoon a week preparing quick easy meals that you grab from your own freezer or fridge at a fraction of the cost. It’s definitely cheaper to go make your own food with what you get from the groceries but it gets hard when you got hw and projects. I usually get $400 meal plan and ramen and $2 Trader Joe’s frozen dinners during my studying term so I can just eat and gtfo to study. You can live off of $200 a month in most areas unless cost of living is really high. What I’d do is get a crockpot ($60) and make meals in bulk. You’ll get more meals for less money by slow cooking. And it doesn’t take much of your time. Set it up in the morning. Eat it for dinner. Then leftovers. With intelligent freezing, you could also unthaw previous meals for variety once you get things going.

  6. Absolutely avoid credit.

    Okay, except for your student loan. Pay with cash or debit. If you have a credit card, put it away and don’t use it except for emergencies. If you don’t have a credit card, don’t get one. There are all kinds of companies who love to get college students hooked on their credit tools, charging outrageous interest and laughing all the way to the bank while you struggle under the load of compound interest on the charges you rung up. Don’t get caught up in that trap!

    Credit cards do relatively little to effect your credit score in a positive way. Assuming you’re paying your bill off completely and on time. I had one for years and it didn’t really do anything. When I bought my first car on a 5 year loan plan, my credit shot up and after around 12-18 months of paying into it I had an immaculate credit rating.

  7. Pay interest.

    What? You heard me. This may be counterintuitive, but don’t just let your student loan sit there accumulating interest. Make the monthly interest payments and reap the benefits that will accrue. Here’s a great article on how this works and how much it can save you in the long run.

  8. Study on the cheap. Buy used textbooks! Every textbook for every class doesn’t have to be brand spanking new. Look for the used bookstores on or off campus. Check out ads in the student paper. Search for online versions of the books you need. The little bit of time and effort you put into looking for and buying used textbooks will save you BIG in the long run. And, as mentioned in another blog on this site, sell your own textbooks too once you’re done with them.Buy international editions, often can get a much cheaper current version, but sometimes have to get the previous edition to get a great deal. International edition is the same but on cheaper paper and not hardback. Exactly same content though. Textbook publishers have begun to change the homework problems in international editions more and more. That being said, you can easily get a considerably less expensive international edition and borrow a friend’s copy (or library copy on reserve) to make sure you’ve got the right pages at the back of the book! It’s well worth the extra leg work in many cases. International editions used to be identical to the main versions, but a few years ago the supreme court made a landmark decision that essentially said textbook publishers had no basis for prohibiting the sale of international editions in the United States. In reaction to losing that cases, textbook publishers started charging more for international editions, and also began changing homework problems in certain books in an effort to get college students to pay more for the main versions of books, but everything else is still the same.
  9. Ditch the driving.

    Carpool sounds so lame so we won’t use that term here. But gas, parking, parking tickets and tow charges all add up. Fast. So, hitch a ride with friends, or better yet, take transit.

    With a little thought, a little planning, and little adjustments in your behavior, you’ll develop great habits today that will make a big difference tomorrow. I promise.

Save On School, Spend On Booze! 12 Crazy Tips For Saving Money On Textbooks

12 Tips for Saving Money on Textbooks

In many countries, college is nowhere close to thrifty. On top of all the effort you need to put into studying and doing assignments, you’re likely to be left with a mountain of debt after graduation (Unless of course you live in Europe like myself and/or not go to college at all.). Professors don’t pay for textbooks. They get them for free so that they can evaluate them and decide if they want to use them on our course. When a new edition comes out the publisher’s rep will usually email a professor and ask if you’re interested in seeing it. A few days later it’s on your desk with a nice note offering to discuss the changes they’ve made.

As you know, I am a big fan of digital tools and as you may have guessed, I will suggest you ditch the physical textbooks altogether and replace them with e-books, but that’s not all. Here are some tips on saving money on textbooks.

 

How to Save Money Buying Textbooks

1. Buy used …

First tip – just to have it included on the list – is to simply buy used textbooks. You can find these on Amazon, Craigslist and other online marketplaces (some are listed bellow). There are brick and mortar stores that hold used textbooks, so try getting them there, and some libraries sell older versions of those as well.

When seniors graduate they will gladly sell you their books – you could even buy lots of them in the summer and sell them on when school starts. At our school, we had this once-a-year textbook fairs where we could sell last year’s books and buy ‘new’ ones.

2. … and sell your own.

If also works vice versa – after you’re done with school, sell those textbooks either to freshmen, friends, or online (for example here) and make your money back.

4. Pop! Pop! Pop! Watching Prices Drop

It’s a good idea to buy textbooks later in the year – some of the listed, ‘required’ ones might not be needed after all and you could just study from yours or your friend’s notes. After the first month or so prices tend to drop, especially on used textbooks, and it gets easier to haggle the price down.

5. International edition of college textbooks

Consider getting an international edition off of Amazon/eBay, especially as a US student (I know, I know, the US textbook market is a scam). The covers might look a bit different, but comparing a few random pages, the index, and the page count will likely reveal that it’s essentially the same book only a lot cheaper – even including shipping charges! Be sure to check for the right unit system though.

Instead of shelling out $200 per book, you can order the international version for $20- $50 USD on Abebooks.com. The only difference is that it’s the same print quality as newspaper. The books come from India where copyright laws aren’t as strictly enforced and People can’t afford the glossy paper and colour. So the printers have to compete with the bootleggers and price the books competitively.I found it humorous that the books came with a holographic sticker for authenticity, yes it is that bad over there. Hopefully if enough students start importing textbooks from India, they might reconsider their Satanic pricing schemes in NA.

6. Oldies But Goldies

Your professor might be ok with you using an older edition of the textbooks, as they mostly don’t change much – except for maybe the examples. Write a polite email to them asking if that would be ok and if they have any information on how suitable is that older edition. They might even be able to share an unused copy if you’re super nice.

7. Arr, Arr!

You can always try the ‘nasty’ way and just borrow the textbooks from friends or the library and scan/photocopy them up. Another way is to buy them from a store, scan them and then return them for a refund. I’m not saying you should do it, but I hear there are digital editions of some books available where pirates gather online.

8. Scan It Up

If you happen to do a lot of scanning of what are, naturally, your own books that you purchased in a perfectly legal matter and acquired their authorship rights, you might want to invest in a DIY book scanner like this one. You could hypothetically make money by selling these scans or copies to your buddies and schoolmates, but that would be illegal.

9. Print-on-demand

Another thing that is illegal is sending digital textbooks, snatched from the world wide web, to a print-on-demand company and making a physical copy for little money. I totally do not recommend doing that.

10. Best Roomie Ever

If your roommate is taking the same classes, convince her to share the same textbook and split the costs of the purchase.

11. Ditch The Extras

Some textbooks offer additional stuff like online courses and downloadables, but you don’t need to pay for these if you don’t need them; the publishers in USA are required to offer the plain version by law.

If you are assigned a custom edition, 90% of the time it is just the basic ISBN with either certain chapters cut out OR just a different binding (ie softcover instead of hard cover).

The way that you can check is open up to the copyright page (usually the second page). It will say what source material and ISBNs the book is taken from. This will tell you what real edition you can buy instead.

The custom editions never have material custom made for your class. Most of the time it’s just professors that were talked into “making it cheaper for students” by sleazy sales reps.

 

12. Finally: Let’s Get Digital

In regards to digital copies, investing in a tablet computer or an e-reader can be a perfectly reasonable decision, especially since you’ll never have to print out another textbook or buy it at the full price. Getting a used device will save you even more money.

BONUS: A List Of Places To Get Textbooks Online

There are some websites that have electronic versions of textbooks available online for free. Below are some of the better websites for free online textbooks:

Buy:

Digital:

Classified ads:

Rental:

 

How to Throw an Awesome Party on a Budget

How to throw an awesome party on a budget

Good day everyone. So maybe you’re expected to throw a party soon – for the upcoming halloween or later on for christmas or new year’s. Let me share a piece of knowledge right away – organizing parties is a pain. And not just that, it’s super lavish. I tried to collect some of the best tips for making a party on a budget.

And as always, if you like the post, subscribe to our newsletter (see the bottom of this post)!

How to Throw an Awesome Party on a Budget

  1. First off, the party needs music. This is an easy one, you can just hook up a pair of normal speakers to a laptop and you’re good. Use that laptop to play music from Youtube, 8tracks, Spotify, Pandora, and similar services. I recommend 8tracks, which is essentially a youtube player except you let other people compile the songs for you. Super easy. The genre will largely depend on the audience, but I think you can’t go wrong with 90’s or oldies goldies.
  2. Related to the previous tip, if you don’t have a certain gear, for example good speakers, or an x-box, crockpot, enough plates, (we’ll talk about all that in a second) just borrow it. It’s best to get them from friends, but you might be able to get it at second-hand stores as well – it won’t be free though.
  3. Cheap Party Decorations -Pick a colour/theme and stick to whichever you decide: you could go ‘picnic’ with red and white checkered tablecloths from the dollarstore, white and kraft paper with an accent colour is pretty, ‘vintage tea party’ is very pretty – tea cups with your treats in it, doilies from the dollar store will add to the effect. Look around in your environment and see what you can find. Wildflowers look awesome in mason jars as well as vases – they look great in buckets, even. Think about family members and what they might have which could add to the overall look. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! :)I’m not sure how economical helium-filled balloons are where you are, but lately I’d purchased a roll of white gift-ribbon from the dollar store and hung them from the tops of door frames (they stand up better than crepe paper and create a nice curtain) and purchase 2 dozen helium balloons which I just separate to float on the ceiling, letting the ribbons dangle (you can curl them, too). Once I turn the light down a bit, they create awesome atmosphere. Throw some candles on tables (even tealights in interesting containers) and you’ve got all you need for decorations – sometimes less is more!!

 

Cheap Party Food for a Budget Party

  1. Ordering pizzas can get expensive, since most pizzas are just not free. You still need to serve food, though, and oftentimes, asking people to chip in is not an option. One thing that you can do is to ask people to bring their own food. But don’t just say that, tell them that it’s going to be a surprise party since nobody will know what exactly you’ll all be eating. You might get 20 bags of chips and 1 sandwich, but hey, it’s not a queen’s reception, right?
  2. You can do the same with alcohol. Tell guests that it’s going to be a cocktail party and have them bring different syrups and spirits. Then let them experiment with them and everyone will just have a good time.
  3. On your own, including buying munchies? Lower your costs by buying exotic stuff. Let me elaborate; some foods on, say, asian market, are very unknown to most people, so they don’t know how much they cost. You will be able to impress guests without having to fork out a lot of money. So where do you get this stuff? Try finding brick-and-mortar foreign stores in your town, bug your internet friends abroad, or simply order online.
  4. Make buffalo chicken dip in the crockpot. It’s super easy, pretty cheap (you can used canned chicken or chicken thighs) and only requires a few ingredients.
  5. Tacos, sandwiches, tortillas and similar make the best drunk food. But why make them yourself if you can have your guests make them? Just offer a few dips, veggies, cheese, nacho, guacamole, hummus, soups, ground beef, jalapeños, and other ingredients and let them fill up their tacos (*giggle*). You could do the same with baked potatoes.
  6. You could find some chicken on sale and cook and shred it up for chicken salad type of topping for crackers. The celery you put in the chicken salad is really cheap and you could just cut some stalks up for regular snackies too. Maybe throw some peanut butter on some of them.
  7. If the guests happen to be baked themselves, they might prefer sweets. Chocolate is not too cheap most of the time, but if you get a deal, make a chocolate fondue. Everyone will love it. And/or serve some cut up fruits, make a fruit salad, or fruit skewers.
  8. You can always turn the party into a pot luck and ask each of your guests to bring in a little something of their own. Then on top of whatever you’re able to afford preparing you should have more than enough to feed everyone. Plus it’s fun!
  9. Before we move on to booze, here are just a couple more ideas for dirt-cheap party foods: make arancini or fried potato balls with a dipping sauce, or grilled polenta. To lower the cost of tortillas even further, you can make your own (it’s like making pancakes).
  10. Cheap Cakes for Parties – Definitely go a boxed cake. I’m not sure if you have icing sugar at home, but you could compare pricing to see what is more economical where you live – a home made frosting here or a store bought can. If you have food colouring (and again, these are all items I have in my pantry, so what’s “cheap” for you may require an investment, and now probably isn’t the time for that), you can make a ‘piping bag’ out of a sandwich bag with the corner cut out of it, and decorate by tinting your icing to a different colour.

 

Cheap Party Drinks for a Budget Party

  1. You don’t have to add to your already huge expenses by buying soft drinks. Instead, you could offer sweetened ice tea (tea+sugar+ice=ice tea, duh), garnished or flavored water, homemade kombucha, or drink mixes like Kool Aid.
  2. My ex knows somebody who is a firm believer in grain alcohol (ethanol). He mixes it with juice just like you would do with vodka. I should probably also point out that the guy’s a scientist, which may come as a no surprise. Anyway, that’s a great frugality lesson right there, just don’t drink lab alcohol.
  3. You could make your own. Seriously, you can safely make your own beer, but it won’t save you much money. On the other side, there are other alcohols that will save you money, for example sangria – you just need to use the cheapest wine. As well as sangria, this awesome blog suggests you can make hooch out of regular juice with a little help from our close friend yeast.
  4. If you have a Costco near you, the Kirkland liquor is mass produced by big name liquor companies and comparable or better in quality than most. In some states you do not need a Costco membership to buy liquor there.If you are looking for “nice” name brands, I would personally get the following:
    • Tito’s Handmade Vodka
    • Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky
    • Tanqueray Gin
    • 1800 Silver Tequila

    If people are making mixed drinks out of those, it might be wasteful overkill. Don’t cheap out and get Burnetts/Andre/Charles Shaw. May as well get Franzia at that point. A lot of other Trader Joes wines are good though.

  5. Try to stretch all the booze you’ve got, meaning that you should offer non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic drinks with booze to mix. Another way to get waaay more drunk by drinking beer into which has been added a shot of hard liquor. Just saying.
  6. As it turns out, vodka is fun. Make a hole in a watermelon and just pour in vodka in until it’s full. Wait a couple of hours and repeat. Repeat and repeat and repeat until you can. Cut it up and offer to guests. Instant s**tfacedness. Or you could do drunken gummy bears.
  7. Drinks for in-between, DDs – iced tea, hot tea – both super economical. Look in the freezer aisle for frozen juices from concentrate if you have to – dress them up with some fruit. A go-to for me, which is also very responsible (got to make sure the drinkers are getting their ‘tweenies’) is to have a nice big jug/decanter (I have a vintage drink dispenser I received for a gift one year)full of water with lemon slices. It looks super pretty and is thoughtful, without being expensive, at all. You may be able to borrow something like this from a family member or friend. Combined with tea or iced tea – you have your bases covered.

 

Other Budget Party Tricks

Ok, a few more tips just jammed into this paragraph for the outro: get help with cleaning afterwards, preferably from the party attendees, have a party outside if indoors is not an option, always party-proof the place (like remove carpets, house plants, etc), if you’re above 12, do not choose a theme for your party – if you’re under 12, however, you should ask the guests to dress up so you spend $0 for decorations. Also, instead of lame board games you should have an xbox kinect or wii for entertainment (see tip #1).

Just have fun, survive, and remember to never offer to host a party again. Cheers! Bookmark this page and reference it next time you’re looking to throw a party on a budget!