Before my layoff earlier this year, my lifestyle was not exactly glamorous, but I also never gave things like buying a round of drinks much thought. Now that we’re paying more attention to our budget, we can’t join our friends on every outing. And yet, socializing over food and drink is one of our favorite things to do! So that’s why I opened the yard last week for a potluck BBQ. We supplied the meat and a small assortment of drinks, friends brought salads, condiments, and plenty of beer. Not only was this a huge success — people arrived early, stayed late, and chatted around the makeshift “fire pit” above (I used a metal flowerpot from IKEA with a few bricks underneath it) — we didn’t break the bank. Even better, because we weren’t driving ourselves crazy by trying to prepare every single item, getting ready for the party was much less stressful than any I’ve ever thrown. But the real sign of its success? One of our friends wants to make it a regular thing, so she volunteered ot host next month! This is recessionista living that I can get into! –Mary T.