4 Money-Saving Tips for Your Next Party
Entertaining, be it colleagues, friends, or family, has a bad reputation for being expensive. From purchasing extra food, supplying drinks, and decorating, having people over to your home can really put stress on your budget. But, entertaining doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can host parties in your home without worrying about spending more than usual during your weekly grocery store run. All you need to do is pick the right time to host, affordably tasty food to serve, and avoid going over the top. Whether you are on a strict budget or not, saving a little extra money certainly can’t hurt. So, take this as a challenge to see how affordable you can make your next get together.
1. Potluck-style party
Depending on the crowd, you could choose to host a potluck-style party where guests are asked to bring a dish to share. I love this option when you are entertaining on a budget, since you get to taste different foods and all of the pressure for cooking (and spending money on food) isn’t on your shoulders. Most guests are also more than willing to bring complimentary dishes or drinks, so you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking. I’ve found that when you invite friends, family, or colleagues to a casual potluck, it is best to let them know what you’ll be making. This helps your guests to also plan what they can prepare.
My favorite foods to prepare for a lunch or dinner potluck are fresh tortellini, a large salad, pasta salad, or chips with homemade salsa, guacamole, and/or a Za’atar beetroot dip.
2. Pick the meal carefully
Just as with going out to eat in a restaurant, breakfast tends to be the cheapest meal of the day while dinner is often the most expensive. Opting to entertain for breakfast or brunch can save a serious amount of money. Plus, everyone loves spending a relaxing brunch at a friend’s house. And don’t feel shy about hosting a potluck brunch if your budget really is tight!
My food picks for hosting brunch include a yummy quick bread or crumb cake, bagels and cream cheese, fresh fruit salad, and yogurt parfait with fruit, granola, and honey. If you are concerned about picky eaters or want to provide a bit of fun, you could turn the yogurt parfait into a make-your-own station, with different granola, fruit, honey, and nuts on offer. Add a freshly brewed pot of coffee and options for tea, and you’ve got yourself a perfect brunch get together.
If breakfast isn’t your thing, how about hosting a happy hour or aperitivo? You could provide light snacks like chips and dip, a bread, cheese, and meat platter, and sliced vegetables with dip. Not only are those snacks tasty, they are also easy to throw together when you get home from work. Perhaps supply a bottle of wine or six pack of beer and ask your guests to do the same. Then you are all set for a fun after work party!
3. Use loyalty cards when shopping
I love loyalty cards. While doing your regular shopping, you can take advantage of special sales or deals and often accumulate points that can go towards future shopping trips. Whenever possible, I use a loyalty card, especially when shopping for a party since discounts really do add up to major savings.
4. Keep it casual
Hosting a casual party is much less stressful because you can ask your guests to bring a dish and you don’t need to worry about a special outfit or decorating. A casual party doesn’t require anything more than cleaning up, preparing a dish or two, and setting out utensils, plates, glasses, and napkins.
Along the same lines as keeping it casual, try not to go over the top. At family gatherings when I’m not hosting, I’ve noticed that there is always enough food to feed a small army and I never leave without a packed Tupperware full of leftovers. While I love leftovers, it isn’t really necessary to offer so much food when you host a party. All you need are a few solid options to keep guests fed and having fun.