By Rico Dilello
Being Italian, I was spoiled growing up with fantastic home cook meals. My mother and all my aunts made everything from scratch, tomato sauce, pasta and pizza, we never eat out. It is no wonder that I find eating out at an upscale “fine dining restaurant”, a total waste of money.
You pay extra for atmosphere, presentation and the portions are small for the price that you pay. Add a bottle of wine or a few alcoholic drinks to your eating experience and the bill quickly adds up. Avoiding expensive restaurants could save a lot of money over time.
My favorite money saving idea is a “dinner club”. We started one by chance many years ago. We were young, broke and had small children so it was difficult to keep in touch with everyone. One of the wives came up with the idea of a dinner club. It worked out great because we had five couples.
We took turn hosting with the hosting couple providing the main course. Each visiting couple would bring a bottle of wine and were assigned side dishes. The four categories were Appetizers, Salad, Veggies and Dessert. It gave us a chance to try different recipes and we ended calling ourselves the gourmet club. We were all saving money but still enjoyed great inexpensive gourmet meals.
The key to our success was planning the next get together a head of time. We all brought a calendar to decide which meeting date was good for everyone. (We now use the calendars on our mobile devices) The gourmet club strengthened our friendship that started back in high school. As the kids got a little older, we included them for a summer get together.
Most of us are retired now and have grandchildren but we still get together 5 times a year. Our summer gourmet get together has expended to 30 adults and six grandchildren. My daughter decided to host the first pot luck dinner for all the gourmet kids a couple of years ago. It was a huge success and a new tradition has been created.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to have fun. Getting together with friends on a regular basis to play cards or watch old movies can be very entertaining. Use your imagination, saving money is the simplest way to maintain your wealth. Once you start, you would be surprised on how quickly the extra dollars add up.
By Rico Dilello