Wine with dinner? We just finished a pleasant meal of spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic bread, and a glass of wine. Having wine with the meal added a lot. It added a more relaxed atmosphere. It added a romantic touch. It made an ordinary meal special.
When pinching pennies, spaghetti makes a very frugal meal. You can saute a few onions and vegetables; add a cheap can of commercial spaghetti sauce; season with a few herbs; and you’ll have some very good, very inexpensive sauce. For the most part, the economy spaghetti is just as good as the expensive brands, if cooked properly. Just about any bread product -- white bread, short dated French or Italian bread, even hamburger or hot dog buns -- nicely toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with garlic powder will make good garlic bread for the meal. Adding a glass of cheap wine takes this simple meal to another level.
Another biggie for pinching pennies is eliminating wine, beer, and liquor. Doing so can save a bunch of money. But, everything needs to be taken in perspective. Wine with every meal may be something you really can’t, or shouldn’t, include in your budget.
Wine with dinner, sometimes, though, can be worth the cost. It doesn't have to cost a lot. Some cheaper wines are very good.
When you do chose to enjoy a bottle of wine, chose a more affordable bottle. We’ve found quite a few different wines we like at about $3.00 a bottle. When a grocery or liquor store discontinues a brand, many times there is cart full of bargains to select from. Many grocery stores that have their own exclusive brand, usually at a price point under $5.00 per bottle. I’ve found even the wine snobs have a tough time giving poor reviews to some of the $3.00 wines.
In our travels, we once found a liquor store that featured short dated and excess stocked wines. Prices started at $4.00 for a case of single serving bottles of table wine. They went up to hundreds of dollars for vintage bottles. All were incredible prices to someone.
You may find a wine at your local store that you like and stick with it. Or, you may be adventurous and try what you find with an intriguing label and an intriguing price. There are bargains out there. Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to forgo all the pleasures in life. For us, that includes enjoying an occasional, glass of inexpensive wine with dinner.
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Editor's note: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article. We share shopping and cooking -- as well as occasional bottle of wine with dinner. It doesn't sound classy to call them "cheap wines," but price wise, that's what they are, most all costing under $5.00 a bottle. ~ Coleen