231. Remember that entertaining doesn't have to be expensive – the whole point is to be together with the ones you love. So if you are on a very limited budget, don't be shy about asking everyone to contribute to the meal (you can opt for potluck or assign specific dishes to each guest). You might also plan a progressive party if everyone lives close to one another, with each course served at a different house. If you make the event festive, who cares that you are serving chili or a pasta dish rather than an expensive roast? Trying to impress your guests? Consider splurging on just once fancy thing -- perhaps have a shrimp appetizer before a linguine carbonara entree, with simple fruit sorbet and cookies for dessert.
232. When cooking for your guests, turn down your thermostat a few degrees to save on energy costs — with the oven going, everyone will still feel warm and cozy.
233. Great budget bubblies -- Freixenet from Spain has long been one of my favorite bubblies. I drank it in college and have served it at parties ever since. It is in expensive but delicious. Korbel from California is another favorite. Both my sister and I served it at our weddings -- and never regretted doing so. Want more budget bubbly suggestions? Click here for five more.
234. You don't need an assortment of fancy serving dishes to make your table look attractive when you entertain. Instead, you can use various fruits and vegetables as festive containers: use a bell pepper for the dip you serve with crudité (lots of colors to choose from); and use a large pumpkin to serve pumpkin or squash soup.
Here is an alphabetical list of free samples which we've found available across the web:
235. Arm & Hammer will send a tube of their sensitive toothpaste
236. Aveda offers a free birthday gift just for signing up.
237. Epiderme Repair Cleansing Milk
238. Garnier Fructus Pure Clean Clear 2-in-1 Shampoo and Garnier Ultra-Lift Serum and Moisturizer.
239. Lacoste fragrance sample (for men or women)
240. Lipton Tea & Honey will mail a mango pineapple sample.
241. L'Occitane offers a free in-store facial via their Facebook page (after you "like" them you'll receive store info to call and book an appointment)
242. Nordic Naturals will send you a free vitamin pack (wellness, sport, or pet).
243. Pristine Skin Care products customizes offerings to fit your skin type
244. Propel Zero will send a powder stick if you like them on Facebook.
245. Target.com mails free samples - the selection changes often and they go fast
246. Uni-ball sends a Jetstream 101 pen sample.
247. Walmart also lists a changing menu of free samples on its web site.
248. Of course, free offers change all the time, so find the latest and greatest on these web sites:click here for a list of stores that are generous with their free samples. You might also be interested in checking out our list of travel freebies - extras that you'll find handy when you're on the road.
Want to see more of our 365 ways to save? Check out the list of tightwad tips from January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October.