LOS ANGELES ( TheStreet) -- Do you tend to be surrounded by friends who expect fine things, even at casual July 4th barbecues?Do they scoff at anything less than a Stella Artois, mock any rose that isn't Domaines Ott and shun the idea of eating meat wedged between anything other than organic, locally made wholegrain rolls? Perhaps it's time to initiate some financial reforms, much like the banking and investment industries did last week, with some surefire barbecue cutbacks. Start with a good invite: Nothing says "I still party like a frat kid" like an Evite or Facebook event posting. Why not get creative with an email insert sent directly to a guest's email, offering a personal touch even if you decide to bcc your entire address book? Before you hit "send," decide if it will be a day or evening party. Daytime parties should be from noon to 5 p.m., give or take an hour, and ideal for anyone with a beachfront pad or backyard swimming pool. An evening dinner party should start at 7 p.m. or no later than 8 p.m. Summer theme punch: This two-tier budget-saver not only keeps you from having to book a bartender for a summer mixer but also allows you to turn unused or aging fruit or vegetables into a delicious cup of summer. People love a punch, especially in summertime. Over the past year we've been wooed by the Cucumber Facial served at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. It marries mint leaves, cucumber and vodka in a refreshing spa-like twist to the classic vodka spritzer. Also, don't be afraid to get creative with old strawberries or unused watermelon that can be blended, combined with soda water and rum or tequila to make a delicious version of a margarita or daiquiri. Pretty summer appetizers: White table cloths, flower pedals and a hearty appetizer spread will keep guests noshing, allowing you to pare the pricier main course. Cheese boards, tasty crab-and-sour-cream dips or even a gussied-up version of the classic brat-dog are all tasty ways to incorporate summer in an appetizer buffet that doesn't break the bank. Be sure to have room-temperature foods on the table as the party begins, with hot dishes served once guests arrive.