- Add a Warm Greeting
- Bake Up a Brunch
- Consider Your Cut of Meat
- Ditch Disposable Cutlery and Dishes
- Email Invitations
- Keep It Simple
- Make Your Own Ice
- Plan a Potluck
- Serve Up Seasonal Dishes
- Shop the Sales
- Stick to One-Pot Dishes
Whether you are hosting a backyard BBQ, a watch party for the big game, or a holiday feast for family, friends, and neighbors, entertaining guests can be a financial investment. You have to set a budget for purchasing beverages, food, and anything else you may need for hosting. It can really add up! If you are planning an upcoming event where you will be entertaining a gaggle of guests, here are 12 easy tips for entertaining on a budget.
Add a Warm Greeting
Welcome guests with a homemade sign as you gather together. It does not have to be anything fancy either. Grab that small chalkboard you use for family notes and write a warm greeting and welcome sign. If this is a whole family affair with adults and children alike, assign the kids the duty of creating a one-of-a-kind sign to hang up and welcome guests as they enter your humble abode.
Bake Up a Brunch
Breakfast and brunch foods are delicious and can easily feed the masses. Eggs can easily become a tray or two of breakfast casseroles and frittatas, while crispy slices of bacon and savory sausage links pair perfectly with a stack of homemade pancakes, toast, or waffles.
Consider Your Cut of Meat
Steaks are absolutely delicious for dinner and are a perfect protein selection for smaller, intimate affairs, but if you are hosting a larger crowd, consider sticking to other delectable dishes like hamburgers and hot dogs that can easily feed a big group of people.
Decorating for a party can take away from food 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 professional floral arrangements.
Ditch Disposable Cutlery and Dishes
When hosting larger events, paper plates and plastic cutlery are popular go-to options so you do not have to worry about washing dishes, but disposable options are an added expense, which can detract from your food budget. Instead, use your own dinnerware, cloth napkins, and flatware. Do not worry if it all does not match. It will give a cozy and unique vibe to your dinner party.
Save money on paper invitations and stamps by sending out email invitations. Look for a website that provides templates so you do not have to worry about designing the invitations yourself. You can even call or text message guests to save the date.
Keep It Simple
If you plan on making one or two desserts, skip the original recipes that require multiple ingredients that can really add up and opt for a simpler option like a premade mix (check out these ones from Renewal Mill). Renewal Mill Sugar Cookie Mix is gluten free, vegan, and made with upcycled organic okara flour, a delicious and versatile superfood. All you need to do is add oil and water for cookies that taste so good it is just like grandma made them.
Make Your Own Ice
This may sound super 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 the party.
Plan a Potluck
Why plan, prepare, and purchase meals and 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 that includes beverages, appetizers, desserts, entrées, side dishes, and snacks so everyone can double-check the list to make sure there are no duplicate dishes. This way, everyone can enjoy a bite of everyone else’s famous or favorite recipes.
Serve Up Seasonal Dishes
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. They will taste better, too. Instead of purchasing precut fruit and veggie trays, purchase whole produce instead. It is way less expensive.
Shop the Sales
One of the simplest ways to entertain on a budget is to shop the sales at the local farmers markets and grocery stores. Do your research and review the weekly flyers. Cut out some coupons before shopping for your huge haul so you can save some money and maybe even splurge a little bit more on more specialty items including cheese, meat, and wine.
Stick to One-Pot Dishes
One-pot dishes like chili, lasagna, and slow cooker meals like pulled pork or shredded chicken provide way 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?