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Thrifty BBQ ideas

With the price of protein products on the rise, the traditional friends and family BBQ with all the fixings is compromised for budget conscious foodies. Here are some tips to help boost flavour and not break the bank for your next feast.
DIY When it comes to marinades, dressings, refreshments and desserts, skip the grocery departments and make your own. How difficult is it to whip together a batch of sangria?* So easy to toss a salad with basic oil and vinegar dressing (and seriously better), make an easy meat marinade from standard fare in your pantry (olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, soya sauce, herbs, garlic, honey, and trusty s and p) – these are all things you probably have on hand. Throw together an easy peasy pavlova and fresh berries for dessert. A healthy crowd pleaser; all you need are eggs, sugar and fresh berries.
Family style Buffets are an inexpensive way to serve a meal, and it enables guests to customize what they are eating. Ideas? A taco bar, a salad bar… serving food this way can also limit your need for much meat so it’s also healthier.
Fresh deals Before long weekends many grocers promote deals on fresh meat, which means fresh will cost less than frozen and it’s a good idea to snag these deals and stick most of it in your freezer for your next gathering.
Stay basic Don’t get lost in fussy appetizers and sides. It’s easy to over prepare these items and have lots of leftovers. Keep things simple: fresh veggie platters always disappear. People appreciate the low fat option, and kids love them. Cheese and crackers are always a crowd pleaser. Potato salad, Caesar salad, corn… You can still glam up these basics with what you serve and how you serve them, but you know that they will appreciated.
Stock up Like meat, party basics such as sodas and condiments often go on sale just before long weekends. Capitalize on these grocery store promotions by keeping your eyes peeled and stocking up on favourites when they go on special.

* Tightwad’s white wine sangria

You need a large pitcher for this; preferably clear glass because sangria is just so pretty.

1 litre white wine (crisp is better – pinot grigio works well)
½ litre soda
1 cup sprite/7up
½ orange, sliced
½ lime, sliced
2 oz. triple sec
2 oz. peach liqueur
garnish with handful of fresh fruit… sliced peach, mango, raspberries, blueberries… anything goes
sprigs of mint or basil

Combine all of the ingredients in the pitcher. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Serve in tall glasses with ice (don’t put ice in the pitcher, it will melt and dilute the mix).

Frugalicious weekly web crawl

Gardenista Stop the Itch: Natural Mosquito Bite Remedies
84rd and 3rd Strawberry and Blood Orange Frozen Margarita
Down to Earth How to Make Soap - New Recipe
Couple Money How to Encourage Your Spouse to Start (and Keep) a Budget
Daily Finance Options 3 Financial Lessons from Warren Buffet
Gail Vaz Oxlade No Brainer Ways to Save

Marbles: don't lose 'em, use 'em

Marbles are pretty. And actually pretty useful. Here are some ideas:

Flower power Add marbles to a clear vase of flowers to add colour and texture to the stems.
Curtain weight Lightweight fabrics can billow, and - unless you like billowing curtains - cut a little slit in the hem of the textile and weigh it down with a marble in each corner of the bottom hems. 
Wildlife attractor The reflection of the sun hitting marbles in a birdbath attracts birds.
Design accessory Fill holes in your fence with marbles; creating a delightful play of colour.
Level Tote a couple of marbles with you when house hunting. A marble will quickly let you know if the floors are level.
Mixer Paint, lotions, anything that needs combining, a couple of marbles will help do the trick. 
Another way to jazz up our friend the mason jar Float candles in a mason jar with marbles. Colourful and pretty. Also in terrariums, aquariums... 
Pie weights Keep piecrusts flat. Simply fill the bottom of the crust with a layer of (clean) marbles and bake according to instructions. Let them cool before removing.
Massage tool Add marbles, Epsom salts and warm water to a foot bath and roll your tootsies over them for an instant spa treatment. 
Geocache item Make the find even more fun by adding marbles to the cache.
Boiling buddy When the water boils, the marble rattles. Good safety measure too, in the event you forget that the kettle is on.
Potted plants Marbles are excellent aerators; add a layer to the base of a pot before putting in soil, providing a place for water to collect so roots don’t get waterlogged.
Educational tool Playing with marbles will help children understand math and quantity, speed and gravity.

Your children and money

Along with eating their veggies and looking twice before crossing the street - if you can engage your child in financial discipline, you are contributing to them developing healthy financial habits. It is easiest to start the lessons at a young age, especially in an engaging and practical way, so that building wealth coming naturally. Here are three tips to help you get started:  
Use cash Avoid the use of plastic around kids. Children need to see actually money physically leaving your hands in exchange for goods, so they understand that most things in life come at a cost. It also makes the piggy bank more legitimate for them. If kids don’t see you using cash, what are they saving nickels and dimes for? 
Use practical scenarios Have your children help you create shopping lists, set budgets and putting them to practical use at the grocery store. By including them in the setting of a financial goal, you are teaching them patience, planning and strategy when it comes to money – and the best way to get what you need. They may even find ways to save money on the shopping trip! And that’s what you want: the beginnings of strategic thinking, understanding the value of a dollar, and even better, learning to stretch a dollar. 
Needs vs. wants Teach children the difference. Period.   
Make it fun Monopoly, Payday… this old board games are important teaching tools in your arsenal regarding personal finance, basic math skills and creative thinking.
Make it pay Start your children on an allowance - Tightwad thinks that allowance is important, and should be based on age and also earning it. Here are some good tips.

Just had your do done?

Tightwad treated herself to some foils and a cut recently, and had to admit it looked pretty good. A couple of days later her friend asked, "so, did you get a head shot?" Of course, it's a no brainer! Your hair is at the best it's going to look... may as well take advantage of it. Oh well, next time.

Trailing plants idea

Tightwad is trying something new this year to bring some plant wow to her patio. On the top step she has planted a pot of nasturtiums, hoping for a glorious riot of hanging red and yellow flowers when coming up the stairs. Nice for garnishing salads too!