Posts Tagged ‘Budgets’

Halloween On A Budget

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Love Halloween parties but are concerned about the cost this year?  Don’t let the poor economy take the night away.  There are plenty of economical ways to have your party and treats too.  A popular DIY treat is the White Chocolate Covered Marshmallows. These wonderful sweets not only work as a tasty treat but also can double as a decoration.

Or try the Halloween Monster Appetizer; this will add delight to any table.

Halloween decorations and costumes are for only one night of the year, so you need to be cost effective in your purchases.  The Poundland stores have a good selection at the right price.

50th Wedding Anniversary Party

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Here’s a great idea for a 50th wedding anniversary party, make it a family reunion. Not just gathering for a few hours, make it a long weekend. When our parents had their 50th anniversary, we came up with many ideas on how to best celebrate this big event, it’s 50 years people. We considered many different ideas including renting a banquet hall, catering meals, entertainment, decorations; you know, the works. But what was really important to the special couple was not the food, the decorations or any of the normal party stuff; it was family. So what better than to have the grandparents, their kids and all the grand children together, relaxing and having a good time?


The location was chosen based upon two things; first was being within a reasonable distance for most people and second finding a venue large enough accommodate 45 family members, yes a large family and this was just the grandparents and immediate family. We happened to choose the Nebraska State Park at Ft. Robinson, a beautiful location with lots of history. Ft. Robinson has some lodging that was former officer’s quarters that date from 1874 to 1909 that sleep 20 people each. Everyone was accommodated with two of these beautiful old buildings and a few kids on the floor with sleeping bags.


The meals were provided by the family, no catering necessary. Each sibling’s immediate family members were responsible for one meal; the cooking, serving and clean up. The majority of food was serviced buffet style with the actual cooking done a couple days before. Crock pots are great appliances that make serving large numbers of guests very convenient.


If you don’t have a nice state park with lodging facilities, consider some resort condos or local hotels with a banquet room. Where ever the location, listen to the anniversary couple and what they would like to do. Usually the 50th wedding anniversary is more about family then anything else.

Caribbean Vacations Using the Weak USD

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Planning a trip to the Caribbean, you may want to plan you destination based upon the local currency. Places using the Euro will likely be more expensive, in the order of 50% to 60% more expensive. Based upon their national affiliation with France, several islands use the Euro as their currency. Since the USD has steadily fallen in value against the Euro the last several years, these destinations will cost you more if you normally use the USD.


Popular destinations that use the Euro are Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barts and St. Martin. Travel expenses like accommodations, restaurants and retail goods will all be priced higher. One good comparison is the island of Sint Marrten/Saint Martin. This is one island with two sides; the Sint Marrten side is Dutch and the Saint Martin side is French. So here just traveling a short distance for dinning can make a big difference in what you pay, spend your money on the Dutch side for a big savings.


The islands of St.Thomas and St. Marrten provide a large number of duty free shops for your shopping pleasure. Most of these shops are for jewelry and liquor that can have large discounts over what is found in the US. There will also be a few shops selling camera and electronic gadgets; however here the prices will be more competitive to the US prices.


Here is a list of popular destinations in and around the Caribbean and their currencies. Other than the Euro, the value of these other currencies is closely tied to the USD. It is always a good idea to check the exchange rates prior to making any final travel plans.


  • Anguilla: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Antigua: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Aruba: Aruban Florin
  • Bahamas: Bahamian Dollar
  • Barbados: Barbados Dollar
  • Belize: Belize Dollar
  • Bermuda: Bermudian Dollar
  • Bonaire: Netherlands Antilles Florin
  • British Virgin Islands: United States Dollar
  • Cancun Mexico: New Mexican Peso
  • Cayman Islands: Cayman Islands Dollar
  • Curacao: Netherlands Antilles Florin
  • Dominica: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Dominican Republic: Dominican Republic Peso
  • Grenada: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Guadeloupe: Euro
  • Cozumel Mexico: New Mexican Peso
  • Jamaica: Jamaican Dollar
  • Martinique: Euro
  • Montserrat: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Netherlands Antilles: Netherlands Antilles Florin
  • Puerto Rico: United States Dollar
  • Saba: Netherlands Antilles Florin
  • Saint Barthelemy: Euro
  • Saint Croix USVI: United States Dollar
  • Saint John USVI: United States Dollar
  • Saint Kitts/Nevis: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Saint Lucia: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Saint Martin FWI: Euro
  • Saint Thomas USVI: United States Dollar
  • Saint Vincent: East Caribbean Dollar
  • Sint Eustatius: Netherlands Antilles Florin
  • Sint Maarten: Netherlands Antilles Florin
  • Trinidad/Tobago: Trinidad/Tobago Dollar
  • Turks/Caicos Islands: United States Dollar
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: United States Dollar


There are still some very good deals, especially when traveling this time year when the off peak season has just started. So go enjoy the beach!

Birthday Party Depression

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Here is a topic that needs more attention. Parents, usually mothers, can get depressed when faced with their child’s upcoming birthday party. There is so much to consider; the number of guests, the location, the entertainment, the competition with their friends birthday parties and the ever increasing cost. When the parent wants the best for their child and can’t bear to have them be disappointed on their birthday, it is very easy to fall into the “got’ a have” circumstance. Is this today’s culture or is it some type of obsession?


In many cases, the party costs have gotten “out of hand” with custom cakes at $1000, party rental places at $500 for four hours, an entertainer at $300 and party favors at $20 per guest. There are birthday parties that rival weddings, costing tens of thousands of dollars. The driving force is the parent’s need to provide the best or the need to compete with your their friend’s birthday parties or both.


Younger children do not care about the expensive cakes, the over-the-top entertainment or how their party compares to their friends party. These children just want to have fun. Older children who request the extravagant party and have no real sense of costs, parents just need to take control.


Here are some ideas to help keep the cost under control:

  • Make the cake and other food items yourself. A standard cake usually tastes just as good as or better than your custom designed cake anyway.
  • Keep the guest list to only close friends and family.
  • The location can be your home or backyard or the local park.
  • Choose a mid afternoon party time to save from serving a full meal.
  • For activities, do art projects and yard games.
  • Make the invitations yourself.
  • Plan a budget and stay with it.


Remember that the way to keep the cost of any event low is to keep thinking on a smaller scale and be more active in the planning, the cooking, the creating and the activities.