This time of year calls for festive get-togethers, holiday cheer and more often than not – spend, spend, spending. From gifts to decorating to parties and more, the holidays can no doubt take a toll on your wallet. However, if you’re on a budget and love to host – don’t cancel that festive shindig just yet. We’ve rounded up 10 genius tips for entertaining on a tight budget this season.
Limit Your Guest List
Yes, the old saying goes: the more the merrier; however, that’s not always the case when you’re on a budget. If you’re having a hard time keeping the guest list to a minimum, try inviting a specific group of people: just family, friends or coworkers. Keep it small and intimate and your wallet will thank you.
It’s easy to get carried away with holiday decorations. Wreaths, garlands and lights definitely add up. However, there are plenty of easy DIY decorations that will add festive cheer to your home. Wrapped presents or paper snowflakes are classic choices. Also, borrow from nature: pinecones or sprigs of evergreen will bring holiday flair.
Ditch the Disposables
Disposable serving ware – including plates, cutlery and cups – all cost money. Ditch the plastic or paper and opt for the real deal instead. Don’t worry if everything doesn’t match: it’ll add to your party’s charm. If you don’t have enough dishes to serve your guests, borrow some from a friend.
Serve One Cocktail
Freeze Ice in Advance
Instead of buying big bags of ice on the day of your party, freeze a few trays of your own in the week leading up to your holiday get-together. Bonus: you don’t have to carry those heavy bags of ice home from the store!
Bring Your Own
Another way to cut down on costs – and, quite frankly, the stress – of hosting a holiday party is to make it a potluck. That way you can serve your famous shepherd’s pie, but get the chance to eat your aunt’s nacho dip and your best friend’s gingerbread cookies too. If you’re really keen on making all the food yourself, ask your guests to BYOB instead.
Shop Your Pantry
If you’re going to make some food yourself, scan your pantry and see what you can make with what you have on hand. Things like crackers, tuna and pasta can transform into some mouth-watering dishes. Plus: it’s a nice way to clean out your cupboards before the New Year.
Pick a Food Theme
Another way to keep the menu budget-friendly is to stick to a theme. Something like just desserts or just pizza will cut down on the number of ingredients you need to buy. If you want to serve a meal, consider a brunch. Breakfast food is often more affordable. It’ll also decrease the size of your cocktail menu.
Meat can be pricey, so keeping your holiday party menu vegetarian can save you some coin. Whether you stick to snacks (cheese, bread and fruit) or have a full-on meal (think vegetarian lasagna or chickpea stew), going meatless is easy, affordable and delicious.
Keep it Fun
There are plenty of free and budget-friendly things you can do at your party to keep it festive and fun. Depending on your guest list, you can plan to watch holiday movies, go caroling, decorate cookies or play games.