Let’s face it—hosting gets EXPENSIVE. And in today’s economy, you might find yourself taking pause before offering to throw a party because of the price tag.
But while money is absolutely something that cannot be ignored, I believe the most important and God-honoring part of hosting is the extension of hospitality. This mantra helps me center myself and reminds me that a fancy meal and perfect décor are not the goal of hosting—connecting is.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled 5 tips on how to host on a budget and keep welcoming loved ones into your home.
1. Keep the meal simple. Soup, spaghetti, tacos, homemade pizza; these are all main dishes that are much cheaper than a large cut of meat, but just as tasty! If you need some great meal ideas, The Kitchen has a handy blog filled with meals that feed 10 people for $20 or less.
Another option is to host when it isn’t time for a large meal. Invite your friends over for coffee and some muffins in the morning, or for dessert and tea in the afternoon.
2. Accept help. If guests offer to pitch in—let them! There is nothing wrong with taking someone up on their offer, and it will make them feel good to help. Maybe one of your guests is known for their amazing cookies, and another for a delicious family salad dressing. Play to everyone’s strengths and you will end up with a meal everyone will love.
3. Use what you have. It’s easy to feel like you need to go out and buy fancy decorations for every dinner party, but that’s just not the case. Before running to the store, do a sweep to see what you already have that can up the ambiance. Light candles, turn on some music, snip some flowers from your garden or pull out some pretty dishes passed down from your grandma. You’ll be surprised what you can come up with by utilizing the resources around you.
4. Shop smarter. Now if you do have to make some purchases for a party, such as a baby shower, birthday party or bridal shower, there are some ways to help keep costs down. Stores like Party City have decorations at a reasonable rate that will allow you to add a little pizzazz without breaking the bank. And while it is far from glamorous, Dollar Tree can also be a treasure trove when it comes to inexpensive balloons, plates, cups, streamers, and more.
If you need something with a little more polish, services like Sophistiplate allow you to buy dinnerware that looks stunning but is actually paper. While they are not what I would consider cheap (the Timeless Table Setting for 8 costs $61.00), they are a nice option if you want the look of real dishes without the cost. The flatware from the set is also reusable.
5. Plan ahead. If you know a big event is coming up or you’re someone who loves to throw a Christmas party every year, prep for it! Set aside a little money each month so when it comes time to throw your party the price tag doesn’t sting as bad. And remember—if you paid in cash, it was free. 😉
What are some budgeting strategies you use to help make hosting more affordable? I’d love to hear your tips!