In what’s likely to be known as The Summer of Our Gas Discontent, Allen and other gurus of good living say a little nip and tuck to your entertaining plans can make even the most stringent budget turn into a good time.
After all, if impoverished misery loves company, what better excuse can there be for having a party?
“There are certainly lots of things you can do to have a great time on a budget,” says Allen, a regular judge on Iron Chef America and a lead personality on Bravo’s Top Chef. “For instance, foods that a lot of chefs cook at home are not the most expensive cuts. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.”
If we’re honest, much of our time with friends is simply spent sitting around, chewing the fat. In an ideal world, that might be done in some far-off locale, but this year we’ll use our back porches and yards to imagine faraway places.
Not going to the beach?
Grab those beach chairs, umbrellas and mats and set up a luau in the back yard… unless you can convince your neighbor who has a pool to get in on the act and offer up his own private Waikiki.
Can’t afford to drive to the lake for camping, as you might ordinarily do?
Who says you can’t camp in your own private wilderness preserve, also known as The Back Yard. A small, portable grill can be had for $19; toss in a $4 bag of charcoal, and you’ve got your campfire. Set your tents around it, pack the best camping cooler with your regular camping fare, and you and your friends have replicated the great outdoors without leaving home.