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5 Tips for holiday entertaining on a budget

Cheer, family, good tidings, what other words come to mind when you think of the holiday season? How about the word “expensive”? With all of the traveling, gift buying and party planning that goes on during this time of year, it can be hard to stick to your budget. But don’t let that turn you into a Grinch.

With a few simple tricks, you can easily scale down your holiday entertaining without sacrificing the fun.

 

Downsize the menu

There’s no need to serve a full multi-course meal with three desserts and a full bar. When you’re entertaining on a budget, opt for just a few crowd-pleasing appetizers that are easy to prepare and serve. Offer only a handful of beers and wines to complete your simple yet elegant menu.

Confirm your invited guests and plan for a meal to limit leftovers and reduce the cost (which also helps with clean-up afterwards).

 

Shop smart

Get creative by finding cheaper substitutes for more costly ingredients. Buy generic or ff-brand instead of name brand as no one will see the packaging once everything is on display.  Build your menu around sales prices and plan in advance so you have time to make cost-effective choices rather than face last-minute spending.

When it comes to décor, ask to borrow what you don’t have from a friend or family member. Decorating tips and ideas abound on social media, so search fro those that use items you already have on hand rather than buy new items for one-time use. You can also check out these seven must-have apps to help you survive the holidays.

 

Share hosting duties

Team up with other family or friends for a joint holiday gathering. Divide up expenses to alleviate the financial burden of hosting an entire party on your own. You could also ask guests to bring a favorite dish, holiday drink, or dessert to share. This works especially well with casual or smaller get-togethers.

Let your food choices also extend beyond your one big gathering. Easy health snacks, such as carrot strips and apple slices can feed the kids throughout the week, not just during the holiday event.

 

Plan a party theme

It’s easier to keep expenses from getting out of hand when your party has a solid game plan. Try a cookie swap, tree-trimming, or holiday craft party to keep costs down and your guests entertained.

If you find yourself hosting more than one event, such as a school event early in the season and family between Christmas and New Year's Eve, planning ahead and finding ways to tie the theme into multiple events will allow for decorations, supplies, and resources to be reused, pulling double duty and cutting expenses.

 

Decorate with simplicity

Choose a few areas of your home to highlight, like your entryway, kitchen, and table spread. A few pillar candles, wreaths, and festive ornaments can go a long way. There’s no need to overdo it.  Guests will enjoy your company and spending time together more than they will focus on the ornaments and that extra strand of lights.

Keep your events focused on the most important elements of your event - spending time with family and friends - and your holiday entertaining is sure to be a hit without breaking the bank.

Tags: Budgeting, Seasonal Spending, Spending