You love your friends and family, you love hosting and planning a party, you want to begin a new tradition or continue an old one, but you’re tight on cash - who isn’t in some way at this time of year?
It's important to consider what's really important to you and the party, and then on the flip-side, what are the other elements that aren't as critical. Maybe it's really important for you to fill their bellies and show off your culinary skills, so a potluck would be out of the question. Or maybe you want to go all out on a theme and decor, so the food isn't as important to you. Maybe this means kicking off the party with a bottle of Champagne to really celebrate the holiday season, then switching to less expensive bubbly options, such as Prosecco or Cava, for the rest of the night. No matter what, this is your party and you set the rules!
Our day seven money saving tips will help you to continue with your party, host your wonderful family and friends, yet also save your cash for other necessities:
Consider the alcohol - When trying to watch your spending this is a great place to start. Consider serving your guests a feature cocktail, this will save you from having to stock all the possible liquor and mix options that your guests could want. When planning for a feature cocktail, ensure the ingredients include things you'll actually use afterwards, together or separately. You don't want to get stuck with massive bottles of liqueurs that you will never drink again, and therefore become a total waste of money. Adding a simple sprig of rosemary can go a long way to making your feature cocktail look more fancy, and totally Instagram worthy. Also keep the wine and beer simple with one type of each. Your guests may even bring some wine so you can dip into that as well. Finally, never feel bad about making it a BYOB.
Make it a potluck - everyone who’s hosted a party knows how much work and money goes into it, so your guest will be thrilled to bring one thing rather than host the party themselves! Be clear on what you are serving and the categories that you’ll need to compliment it, for example appetizers, salads, desserts etc. Ask your guests to tell you what they are bringing so you know what’s missing when someone kindly asks what you need. Better yet, use this Sign Up Genius tool, in order to have guests sign up for what you need, this way everyone can see what others are bringing as well. Don’t be afraid to put wine or beer on the list if you need that too!
Take people up on their offers - if it is or isn’t a potluck, there must be something that someone can bring to help you out, even if it’s borrowing decorations, wine glasses. or a great platter so you don’t have to buy anything.
If doing a dinner, consider high volume, low cost foods. Think of these great make ahead options - pastas like lasagna or homemade mac and cheese, chiles, casseroles, and stews. Or a little more work the day of, but fun to have - a taco bar, baked potato bar, or mashed potato bar.
Consider the timing - if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on food, have an 8 p.m. start time, after dinner. Let your friends know that there will be snacks so they know to eat before they arrive. Likewise, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on alcohol, consider hosting a brunch.
Coming up next, 5 last minute hostess gifts to have on hand.