How to Master Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

by Renee' Anderson 10. December 2013

Holiday Entertaining

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Why not invite your friends, family and co-workers over?

What? You can’t afford to? Sure you can.

Here are some holiday party tips that won't hurt your budget:

1. Décor

Cut your tree yourself and use the trimmings! If you’re lucky enough to live close to farmland, drive around the corner to a small farm and cut your own tree down. Aside from being inexpensive, searching for and cutting your own tree down can become a favorite tradition for your family. Then, when you get home and your husband (or the designated tree trimmer) cuts those low branches off, be creative and make some decorations for inside and outside of the house. See our Pinterest page for specific ideas.

2. Drinks

Provide a “signature cocktail” and beer. There’s no need to offer a large variety of of wine, beer and liquor. Something sweet, sparkly and festive is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Others will be happy with whatever kind of beer you can find on sale at your liquor store. Don’t forget to provide water, maybe some homemade iced tea (with sugar and lemon), and juice for the kids. Personally, I think buying soda is not necessary - more people these days aren’t drinking soda in an effort to be healthier. Visit our Pinterest board to see some fun signature cocktail recipes.

3. Food

Now let’s focus on the food. First rule: if someone asks if they can bring something, say “yes please.” You don’t need 25 different food options. You just need a well-rounded menu with enough of each dish. Whether you’re having hors d’oeuvres or a full meal, do as much as you can ahead of time. For a dinner party-style meal, pasta is usually a good way to go, for example, stuffed shells. Stuffed shells are easy to make ahead of time with no expensive ingredients involved, and are generally liked by most people. You could always throw some sausage in a crock pot with some easy homemade tomato sauce if you feel the need to have a meat option. Add some bread and salad (a Cesar salad is elegant yet doesn’t have many ingredients so remains it cheap - dress it up with a homemade Caesar dressing), and you have an elegant Italian meal! Check out our Pinterest page for more food ideas.

4. Mood

Don't forget to stream your free Pandora holiday station to really set the mood!

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How to Keep Your Wallet Stuffed This Thanksgiving

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Daylight Savings 2013: Your 25th Hour

by Renee' Anderson 31. October 2013

25th Hour Clock

For all of you who consistently say, “I need another hour in the day,” here it is…this Sunday, November 3rd the clocks will fall back. Yes, that’s right, we will gain one whole hour in our day.

What does this mean?! Lots of things, but most importantly:

  • The sun will start shining through your windows at an appropriate time, so that when your alarm goes off, you'll actually feel like you SHOULD be getting out of bed instead of waking up to darkness and thinking how ridiculous it is that you have to start your day when you can’t even see out your window.
  • This Sunday you'll have an extra hour to get yourself set up with 1st Mariner’s Online/Mobile Banking suite! From Online Bill Pay to Mobile Deposit, you are sure to save time by banking when it’s convenient for you, and all with the click of a button or tap of the screen. Take advantage of the 25th hour DST is providing us with to get yourself set up with 1st Mariner’s electronic suite, and then you won’t NEED an extra hour in your day! Besides, that probably won’t take the full hour, so you could still catch some extra zzzz’s, paint your nails, catch up on your TiVo shows, or take more time deciding which players you should start in your fantasy football line-up.

What will YOU do with your extra hour this Sunday?

If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out these realted articles:

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Summer Food Savings: Buy Local

by Renee' Anderson 12. August 2013

Fresh Local Produce

Along with the hot summer sun comes delicious fresh produce! With the health food/organic craze, more and more people are investing in what they eat. And, when I say investing, I do mean investing. Buying fresh, organic produce can be pretty expensive. However, beginning in late spring, there are ways to cut your food bill and still eat healthy.

Based on Maryland’s climate, now is the perfect time to enjoy locally grown produce. The savings on local produce varies depending on what and how much you’re purchasing, but the bottom line is, you WILL save money. Instead of paying mark-ups on tomatoes shipped from California, you can pick one from your own backyard, or grab some from your local farmer’s market. Not only are you saving money, but the quality of the food is SO MUCH better. I tend to exaggerate often, but seriously, the difference in fresh produce and several day old produce is remarkable.

Another option, if you are able, is to grow your own goods! Prepare a garden in your backyard. If there’s not enough room, be creative. Throw some veggies along the side of your house that gets the most sun. Or, you can even grow some veggies in pots on your patio/deck/front stoop. Last night I walked out to my garden and pulled a green bell pepper off my plant, went inside, cut it up and as soon as I bit into it I felt a huge sense of satisfaction. The pepper was delicious and so much better than what I buy in the wintertime at the grocery store. It was crisp, juicy, sweet and full of flavor!

One more benefit of buying local produce is you’re helping to support our local businesses. As a local bank, 1st Mariner is continuously finding ways to support our community. You can too!

Here is a list of some local farmers' markets you might want to try out:

Baltimore Farmers' Market and Bazaar

Baltimore County Farmers' Market at the Maryland State Fairgrounds

Bel Air Farmers' Market

Westminster Farmers' Market

Anne Arundel County Farmers' Market

Howard County Farmers' Market

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out these related articles:

Why Buy Local?

Is Growing a Garden "Worth It"?

Buy Local, Bank Local

 



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