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Entertaining on a Budget

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Whether you are hosting a backyard BBQ or a holiday feast, entertaining guests can be a financial investment. If you are planning an upcoming event for family, friends and neighbors (perhaps the big game), here are ten tips to entertaining on a budget.

#1 Add Accessories

Whether you are a host with the most or a hostess with the mostest, you will want to look the part. Just because it’s your party doesn’t mean you need to purchase a brand new outfit. Instead, upgrade your look by adding a few new accessories. You can even consider borrowing a favorite piece from a family member or close friend.

#2 Bake Up a Brunch

Breakfast and brunch foods are delicious and can feed the masses. Eggs can easily whip up a tray or two of breakfast casseroles and frittatas. Plus, who doesn’t love crispy crispy bacon and savory sausage links with a stack of freshly flipped flapjacks.

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#3 Consider Your Cut of Meat

Steaks are delicious and are perfect for a small, intimate affair, but if you are hosting a larger crowd, consider sticking to other delectable dishes like burgers or hot dogs.

#4 Decorate

Decorating for a party can take away from menu funds, so get creative. In cooler months, gourds, pumpkins and squashes can be used to hold candles, flowers and ice. In warmer weather months, fill clear containers with colorful berries and citrus fruits. You can even pick flowers from your garden to save money on floral arrangements.

#5 Ditch Disposables

 When hosting events, paper plates and plastic cutlery are popular go-to options, but they are an added expense. Instead, use your own dinnerware and flatware. Don’t worry if it all doesn’t match. It will give your party a one of a kind vibe.

#6 Email Invitations

Save money on paper invitations and stamps by sending out email invitations. Look for a website that provides templates so you don’t have to worry about the invitation designs. You can even call or text guests to save the date.

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#7 Host a Potluck

Why plan, prepare and purchase an entire menu when you can host a posh potluck instead? Ask guests to bring their favorite dish to share. Create a sign up spreadsheet so everyone can double check the list to make sure there are no duplicate dishes.

#8 Make Your Own Ice

This may sound simple, but buying ice in bulk for beverages can really add up. One week before your party, freeze a big batch of ice (more than you think) and set it aside for the big day. Be sure to make a note or tell your family this ice is specifically for the party so no one uses it before your event.

#9 Serve Seasonal

When it comes time to plan your menu, stick to produce that is in season. Fresh fruit and vegetables that are in-season are almost always cheaper than produce that is out of season, so stick to options that are close to home and locally grown. Plus, they will taste better too.

Tip: Instead of purchasing precut fruit and veggie trays, purchase whole produce instead. It’s less expensive.

#10 Stick to One-Pot Dishes

One pot dishes like chili, lasagna and slow cooker meals provide more mileage meaning you will get more servings from your ingredients. You can even make it a theme for the entire night. One-pot potluck party anyone?


Bonus Tip: Shop the sales! That’s always an easy way to save money when entertaining guests.

Use these ten tips the next time you are entertaining on a budget and enjoy some savings by being savvy.

Explore more articles by Ashley Martens on the Discover Blog.