My Journey out of Debt

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Socializing on a Budget

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I have read several posts describing saving money by having potluck gatherings with friends, including one of my first posts. Each guest, or couple, brings something and contributes to the menu.

It's a great way to socialize with friends without having to pay for and prepare an entire meal for a large group of people all by yourself.

Socializing on a BudgetWhat if I were to tell you there was a way to make it even more interesting, fun, and even educational?

It's your potluck dinner super-sized. It's potluck on steroids.

It's The Championship of Potluck Dinners.

We call it Gourmet Club.

We have eight couples that participate, and we each sign up to host the monthly event once a year.  About a week before the event, that month's host sends out an evite, announcing the theme of that month's gathering.  The host is responsible for the main course, and each couple able to attend responds indicating what part of the meal they can bring (appetizer, side, or dessert).

The theme can be anything from a place, to an event, or even a decade. Participants are encouraged to dress up according to the theme.  Some themes that we've had are:

A Place:  France, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Hawaii are just some of the places we've "visited." 

An Event:  One couple hosted "The Grammy's."  We dressed up in formal wear, and were greeted by a plastic red runner leading to the front door upon arrival at the hosts' home.

A Decade:  Last September we had a 70s-themed Gourmet Club where we all dressed up in clothes that were way too tight.

Each couple scours the Internet, cookbooks, or any other resource they have available to find a new recipe to master. 

On a night of Gourmet Club, we gather at the hosts' home to sample all the wonderful things that the members have prepared.  It's simply amazing what people can create when they just have to concentrate on one part of a meal.

One particularly memorable theme for me was French.  The host went a little overboard and made Beef Wellington for the main course, and someone else made a spectacular French Onion soup.   Along with the other items that were prepared, it is easily one of the top 5 meals I've ever eaten.

Our Gourmet Club provides the following great qualities: 

1.) Keeps us connected with our friends by scheduling an event with them each month

2.) Is always a great time

3.) Keeps down the price per person for a great meal

4.) Encourages people to prepare and eat new and exciting food items

5.) Adds a "fun factor" to see how people will dress up

6.) Gives the potential to add new menu items for everyday life

If you're looking for a way to spice up your social life by trying new foods, dressing up like it's Halloween once a month, AND doing it on budget, give the Gourmet Club concept a try.

If you do, come back here and post how it worked for you.

We're always looking for great ideas to make it even better!

Related Links:

In Debt...and Ready to Party!

Stepping up Your BBQ Game

Super Bowl Celebration: Great Ways to Entertain without Breaking the Bank

Debt ChroniclesTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Hey, Trais, we used to belong to one of these.  It was an international dinner club.  The theme was always the cuisine of a particular country.  Only the host couple planned the menu, choosing the recipes and then let the other couples choose which recipes they'd like to make & bring.  It was just 3 couples per dinner and each month you ate with 2 different couples.  The entire club was huge.  You got to meet new people and you had the food to start the conversation rolling.  This club met in Oct., Nov., Feb., March, and April each year.  It was organized by a local women's club, but anyone can do it.    Lots of fun!

  • Hi Maggie, That sounds interesting - trying new food AND meeting new people!  For us, it's kind of nice that it's a close group of friends - these "events" tend to go into the wee hours of the AM.  :)

  • Your body speaks volumes about you; the majority of communication takes place non-verbally and subconsciously.

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