Tips for Entertaining Cheaply

Hosting a holiday party can be fairly expensive, and sometimes costs hundreds of dollars. This doesn’t mean that you should nix your plans to host a Christmas party. Just be sure to follow some of these tips and make your life easier this season.

If you are having friends and family members over, ask everyone to bring a dish. Take responsibility for the main course, like a turkey, ham, lasagna, or whatever you choose. Then have your guests bring side dishes and desserts. Everyone can showcase their cooking skills by making their trademark recipes, which will add an element to dinner conversation. This is also a bonus after the meal, when they take their dirty baking dishes home with them.

Consider having a “liquor potluck” in addition to the meal. Omitting the cost of beer and wine can considerably reduce the financial strain of entertaining on the host.

Save Money by Cooking Foods Yourself
Instead of buying a veggie or fruit platter for around $20, trying picking out some of your favorite fruits and vegetables and slicing them up yourself. Crudités are always a popular snack, and can also be affordable. Also, a good cook can save money on preparing dishes that you might usually choose to cater or buy pre-prepared.

Pass on Healthy Items
At holiday parties, most people indulge in unhealthy foods. This means sugar, fat, and fried. Don’t overspend on fat-free and organic ingredients or on leaner cuts of meat. Most party-goers will enjoy the fare no matter how it’s prepared or with how many calories.

Limit the Wow Factor
While it is nice to indulge around the holidays, not every dish has to be fillet mignon, lobster bisque, or shrimp cocktail. Sometimes the tastiest dishes are the simplest. This will also help you save money at the checkout line.

Buy in Bulk
Now’s the time to use that food club card! If you are planning on having a lot of people over for a holiday party, you may want to buy some items in bulk. If you don’t have a store like that available in your area, buy as large of cans as possible to reduce the price per unit. If you know your local butcher or are having some items catered, and are buying in bulk, you may even be able to negotiate a lower price.

The bottom line is that parties are a time to have fun with friends and family, not bust your budget. Good luck and happy holidays!

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