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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

20 Fun Ways To Reduce Energy Costs While Entertaining

Brenda and I braved the summer by reducing our air conditioner usage. We enjoyed some of the warm afternoons by the reservoir. We learned that the heat is more bearable when you're busy walking, talking and listening to music. As the days get cooler it's a time to count costs while considering creative ways to cut costs when entertaining the family.

Here are a few for starters.
1. Use candles, night lights or low voltage lamps (Makes things more cozy)
2. Older laptops and desktops are a powerful light source and act as space heaters
3. Use solar power for daytime power usage
4. On colder days cook in the morning or early evening at sundown to warm the house up
5. Make canned dinners and lunches in jars to reduce energy consumption
6. Cut down on gasoline usage by riding a bike...
7. Taking more walks
8. Shop online while making use of  free shipping offers
9. Invest in an energy efficient flat screen TV and enjoy movie nights at home (You'll also save on gas, increase car and battery life, reduce emissions and mileage.)
10. Enjoy more candle light date nights at home

While we are constantly on the look out for ways we can simplify and cut out needless costs we realize that there are times we owe it to ourselves to enjoy some quality entertainment, recreation and pampering. That said, the next budgeting task at hand is to estimate the cost of entertainment and recreation expenses when planning a family night or family reunion.

1. Keep the itinerary simple
2. Hold the event in a park or large home with plenty of yard space
3. Let the professionals in the family provide entertainment
4. Swap recipes and have a pot luck banquet dinner
5. Use home made DIY decorations
6. Use DIY game supplies
7. Print your own flyers, invitations and banners
8. Send invitations via email or social network
9. Buy bulk supplies at the lowest costs available online using free shipping offers
10. Use candles to light low light areas in the evening

Family reunion planning requires making and sticking to a practical budget. One of the most gratifying benefits is that you can finally put your experience and skills to work planning and organizing the event. When planning a family reunion during the fall and winter months allow your children to participate.  Children can be given hands on training to create a budget list, calculate funds needed, maintain a ledger and roster and consider creative ways to increase funds in the reunion treasury. as said one of the best ways to increase funds is to cut back. So how can you reduce costs and save funds when entertaining the family?

Fimark's new Family Reunion Planner Social for Google users  provides a ready made family reunion spreadsheet which lists invitees names and contact information, counts the number of households, RSVP status, estimates event costs and calculates event fees. It's a great way to keep track of T-shirt orders and survey results for each attendee. The spreadsheet is in Google docs format located on the Reunion Planner interface.

You can create a short survey form with personalized survey questions and submit it via email to all invitees in Google file share and collect survey results as they are submitted in real time over the Google Drive network. The results are sent directly to your Google Docs family reunion spreadsheet. Read more here.

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