As budgets get tighter and who knows when the end is in sight, lets talk about how you can entertain without spending a lot of money. First of all, if you are hosting a party take some advice from Donna Pilato, Guide to Entertaining, on Money Saving Party Ideas.
Interestingly enough, many people have not changed their drinking habits, but there are always options for cocktails that don't cost a fortune and give you a variety of tastes with just a few random ingredients. My top ten includes the Cape Codder, the Margarita and Daiquiri complete with fresh fruits of all kinds, the Black Russian and the Lemon Drop. For all of these you can go with your favorite budget spirit and cover any inadequacies of the liquor with mixers. Also, if you're interested in one drink that will do most people well for the entire night, there's always the Long Island Iced Tea family and the ever-popular Collins and Sour Drinks.
For the beer drinkers there are a few tips from Bryce Eddings, About.com Beer Guide, that can help you through a budget crunch: Buying Good Beer on a Budget. I especially appreciate his advice on thinking local, avoiding trends and patronizing your local brew pub (don't forget to tip the bartenders). If wine is your thing, Stacy Slinkard (Guide to Wine) has 20 great picks under $10 (Smoking Loon is one of my personal favorites).
Now, on to budget food that cover a variety of cuisines...
- Budget Recipes for Under $10 - from John Mitzewich, Guide to American Food
- Budget Desserts - from Carroll Pellengrinelli, Guide to Desserts
- Budget Family Meals - from Stephanie Gallagher, Guide to Cooking for Kids (serve the unforgettable Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers)
- Mexican Food on a Budget - from Chelsie Kenyon, Guide to Mexican Food
- Greek Food on a Budget - from Nancy Gaifyllia, Guide to Greek Food
- Frugal French Cooking - from Rebecca Franklin, Guide to French Food
- How to Host a Middle Eastern Food Party on a Budget - from Saad Fayed, Guide to Middle Eastern Food
- Southern Fried Catfish - from Hank Shaw, Guide to Fish and Seafood
- Australian Meals on a Budget - from Syrie Wongkaew, Guide to Australian/New Zealand Food
- Forget the Chinese restaurant, many of their dishes are inexpensive to make at home: Chinese Restaurant Recipes - from Rhonda Parkinson, Guide to Chinese Food
- Popular Dutch meals are relatively easy and cheap - from Karin Engelbrecht, Guide to Dutch Food
- Budget-friendly, cross-cultural Eastern European main courses - from Barbara Rolek, Guide to Eastern European Food
- Take the time to make a great German Bread that's budget-friendly - from Jennifer McGavin, Guide to German Food
- Simple Indian Fare - from Petrina Verma Sarkar, Guide to Indian Food
- Pasta is another favorite that doesn't have to cost a lot and stuffed pastas are always a favorite and not as hard as you think - from Kyle Phillips, Guide to Italian Food
- Sushi Rolls: inexpensive, versatile, satisfying and always impressive - from Setsuko Yoshizuka, Guide to Japanese Food
- Kimchi Fried Rice - from Naomi Imatome-Yun, Guide to Korean Food
- For an informal affair you can't beat this Traditional Cuban Sandwich - from Hector Rodriguez, Guide to Latin and Caribbean Food (pair with simple rum cocktails of course)
- Tagines (more veggies than meat) - from Christine Benlafquih, Guide to Moroccan Food
- It's interesting and cheap and will have people saying "Wow, what's this," well it's Karelian Hot Pot (it's not lutefisk and that's a bonus) - from Kari Diehl, Guide to Scandinavian Food
- After the party you can find many things to do with any left overs - from Elaine Lemm, Guide to British and Irish Food