Entertaining at home doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, parties on a budget require some creative planning that we think is a fun challenge! If you’re looking to save on your next shindig, we rounded up some great ways to keep costs down from The Kitchn.
Every profession has its secrets: information that could save you time and money if only you were party to it. We spoke to a number of professionals and tradies who shared some inside information that might just make your life a little easier next time you need to call on someone.
One common tip from a number of tradies was never mention a figure you were thinking of paying for a service. If you say something along the lines of “I can’t pay any more than $1000 for this job” then you can guess to the dollar what you’ll be charged.
Here are some other tips they shared:
Contractors and builders
• See if you can negotiate on the builder’s margin. This fee is usually in the fine print (although not all builders have it). Often it is only noticed when additional work needs to be carried out – i.e. an extra window put in. Some builders charge for the cost of the window, the labour, and then an additional margin, which can be a shock if you’re not expecting it.
• A contractor is there to see your building plans carried out. He or she is not there to give you design tips on what you should be doing, so if this is what you expect, forget it and employ a designer.
• And here’s one we hear about all too often but it’s worth emphasising: if you pay too much upfront to your contractor, there’s a good chance he or she won’t come back and finish the job.
• Monday is always their busiest day as this is when they get the most calls asking for someone to correct the mistakes made by their DIY efforts on the weekend. So you might want to choose another day if you need any electrical work carried out.
• Many people use liquid drain cleaners to clear blockages but these can eat away the pipes. A plunger is best for this job.
• A common appliance breakage involves the plastic washing machine hose, which can cause a lot of damage if the room floods. You can avoid this by replacing a plastic hose with a stainless steel hose.
• It may seem obvious but make sure you know where your main water turnoff is. Too many people are left with flooded homes because they don’t know where it is.
• When it comes to mechanics it appears Friday is the worst day to book your car in for a service, as they like to finish early and rush off. Monday is usually the best day.
• You should also be wary of discount offers for oil changes or tyre alignments as these often lead to you agreeing to pay for additional services you don’t need, such as new brake pads. Stick to the mechanic you have a trusted relationship with if you are unlikely to know whether your car does need any additional work.
• One way to check on the freshness of flowers is to see how many outside petals have been removed. The more that have been removed the less fresh they are.
• You know those little packages that come with the bouquet you receive? They actually work. Ask for more when you buy flowers, and follow the instructions.
• Apparently you can be too organised if you’re getting married, especially if you pick the flowers before you pick the bridesmaid dresses. A common occurrence among brides is a change of mind when it comes to colours, and when this happens, it requires another trip to the florist to pick different flowers. So remember: dresses first, then flowers!
• There are recipes galore in books and on websites, but the advice from chefs is not to follow a recipe to the letter as not all of them work. Recipes should only be used as a guide, and you should be constantly tasting throughout the process to make your own adjustments.
• Ever wonder why the food on the cover of the magazine doesn’t look like the food you’ve just cooked? Food stylists use all kinds of tricks to make food look appealing. The beautifully glazed leg of lamb in the photo that you’re drooling over has probably been coated in raspberry jam then cooked for 10 or so minutes to get the lovely glazed look. And the gentle steam cloud wafting up from behind it? Chances are it’s the result of a tampon dropped in boiling water and placed behind the meat. So don’t be disheartened if your roast doesn’t look as good – at least you can eat yours.
Have you got a trade secret you’d like to share? Post a comment below.
And remember MY CONCIERGE SYDNEY can help with your renovation design needs and then work with your builder to make it happen. Exactly the way you want.
MY CONCIERGE SYDNEY. Making life better.