Hosting has its perks: When the party comes to you, you never have to leave the comfort of your own home.
But as your guest list increases, so do your expenses. The cost of food, drinks and décor adds up quickly when you’re hosting. If you’re entertaining on a budget, here are a few tips to keep costs in check so you can be the host with the most—without breaking the bank.
1. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
Before you step foot in the grocery store, make a shopping list and settle on your budget. If you head to the store without a list or a budget, it’s easy to get carried away and find yourself with a cart full of items you don’t really need.
Spend time putting together a menu using ingredients that offer the most bang for their buck so you can feed a crowd, even on a budget.
2. Think beyond sit-down meals.
Hosting your sister’s wedding shower but can’t afford to buy lunch for 20 people? Luckily, not all events need to revolve around meals. Host a mid-afternoon shower with tea and sweet snacks. By planning your party at a time when people don’t expect a full meal, you’ll save on food costs.
You can also host a potluck where everyone brings a dish to share. This frees you up to focus on the main course and leave the sides, appetizers and desserts to your guests.
3. Decorate on a dime.
Yes, it’s possible to create a picture-perfect party on a tight budget! Borrow décor from friends or whip up your own DIY projects to spruce up the space. Head to Pinterest to find decorating ideas, or start with this list full of low-cost décor inspiration for your next soiree.
Spend where it counts.
Will your guests remember your elaborate centerpiece for years to come? Probably not. There’s a better chance they’ll remember your delicious artichoke dip, or that awkward moment when the wine ran out. Better to put your money toward creating an amazing experience for guests than curating a beautiful space that’s more fashionable than functional.
At the end of the day, remember that your party is an opportunity to bring people together. Whether you host a picnic potluck or a five-course dinner, the lively conversation and memories you make don’t cost a thing.
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