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Entertaining on a Budget

Anyone who knows me knows i love to entertain. The fall and winter seasons provide many opportunities to celebrate, but wining and dining loved ones can be costly. This year, with a little creativity you’ll be throwing the best bash while sticking to your budget with these helpful hints:

Party Themes:

Consider going outside the box and having a non dinner party. Thanksgiving themed tapas, holiday desserts, brunch, and wine and cheese events are a great way to throw a fun festive event without provided a whole meal. Also, have your party at non-meal times so guests will understand they should not expect a full meal.


If you have friends / family that does not drink you just scored by eliminating the single biggest party expense. However . . . many people do like their adult beverages when out and about. If you are inviting people to your home and preparing all the food, there is nothing wrong with making the event BYOB. This is also a great way to try new items without committing to a whole bottle. If you want to provide the alcohol yourself consider serving an event appropriate punch (this is also a great way to make a theme go through out the party if you are into that kind of thing). Punch is great because you can stretch one bottle of liquor or wine into more servings, you can also get away with serving a less expensive brand that if the bottle would be out for guests to make their own beverages.


There is nothing wrong with hosting a potluck. However, if you are the host you should provide the main dish and maybe fill in a missing side or two. Hosting a potluck does require coordinating with your guests on their dishes – no one wants to go to a 7pm party where there is turkey, mashed potatoes and 5 different trays of cookies. If you do want to provide dinner, a pasta based meal is going to be your most affordable option – and it’s very easy to cook for a large group. During the holiday season turkeys can be found for great prices if you have your heart set on a more traditional meal; chicken in your next best bet. If you want to be a little more fancy while still staying on a budget, consider making Cornish game hens, they can typically be bought for $2 each and look very elegant when served. If you are serving appetizers, you will want to have at least 5 different items, try limiting your appetizers to only one or two containing meat as those will be your more costly offerings.


Desserts can be very expensive or very cheap, it depends on your willingness to bake. A homemade cake is cost effective and can be personalized to your event. Pies are always great during this season – check your grocery store because often times the price of ingredients is the same price as a readymade pie. If baking isn’t your thing but you don’t want a fancy bakery dessert, consider creating s ‘more packages and having a fire pit to roast the marshmallows – your guests will love the childhood indulgence.


You probably have all the materials you need already to create festive décor. Soup cans and jar that have been washed out make great follower and candle holders when dressed up with a little bit of ribbon. Turn a wine glass upside down and use as a tea light holder. Seasonal fruits in a decorative bowl always make a great center piece, as does a cluster of candles.

No matter how you choose to entertain this holiday season, having fun is always the key ingredient to a successful event. Cutting costs should help cut stress and let you enjoy your event. Happy Hosting!


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