Entertaining is a rite of passage for any household in the spring and summertime. Between the official holidays and the nights you simply want to relax with friends and family, throwing a party can get a little pricey. If you’re hoping to make the most of the warmer weather this year without breaking the bank, here are some cost-effective entertaining tips to get you through the planning process.
Tip #1- Plan Ahead
While spur of the moment plans might come together, try your best to plan ahead for all your get-togethers by multiple days or, preferably, weeks. The reason for this is that last-minute decisions can lead to costly prices on your end. If you weren’t able to purchase snacks or drinks ahead of time, shopping last-minute could lead to higher prices and rash decisions which can burn a hole in your pocket. Or worse, if you have no food to cook and have to order in, the fees and tips can add up big time! So, try your best to think and plan ahead where possible.
Tip #2- Utilize Deals
Want to go out instead of hosting at your home? Look ahead of time to see if there are any local deals to take advantage of if your group is flexible. By looking for options with a reduced price for meals or admission to an activity, you can save the excess funds for another night or splurge on dessert afterward. Utilizing sites like Groupon make cost-effective entertaining easy- you can discover new ideas and find reduced-price group packages. Also consider signing up for local business newsletters for deals and savings that can be used when it comes time for venturing out.
Tip #3- Have a Potluck
Not only can this save money, but also time. Ask friends and family to bring their favorite dishes for a special event and save yourself the hassle of cooking enough sides and mains for everyone. If you feel a little guilty about asking guests to bring something, you can volunteer to cover the mains, such as barbequing the hamburgers and hotdogs, and everyone can bring their favorite side. That provides guests with flexibility on both costs and their personal tastes, making sure there’s something for everyone.
Tip #4- Bring It Home
Doing something new and exciting may be perfect from time to time but entertaining outside the home can become expensive quickly. Instead, try getting creative with your at-home entertainment to add some variety to your entertaining. There are plenty of fun events to host such as rotating game nights, sips and paints, dessert decorating, home-based karaoke, and more. Each of these can cost hundreds for a few hours of fun while out, but bringing it home means only paying the cost of supplies, which in some cases can be used time and time again!
Tip #5- Decor
Home entertaining can be a bit mundane if it’s in the same spot and the environment is the same every time. If you’re looking to spice it up, try shopping at your local discount store to find cheap décor such as streamers and balloons or themed summer décor like tiki. Adding these can be fun and inexpensive, with décor sometimes costing under $10 for the entire room or space! Not only is décor from discount stores affordable, but it can also be saved for next year and can really elevate the experience.
Tip #6- Borrow What You Don’t Have
If you’re hosting a big get-together and don’t have quite all the materials or space, try asking neighbors or others for spare supplies. For example, borrowing a folding card table from your next-door neighbor is much easier and cheaper than going out to purchase your own simply for entertaining one night. Though, if you’re planning to continue hosting get-togethers, it may be worth investing in your own so you aren’t having to worry about the logistics of tables and chairs at each event. Make sure to invite those you borrow from when appropriate!
Tip #7- No Need to Show Off
Just because you technically can, doesn’t mean you need to. If loved ones are coming over to visit, keep it simple and stay true to yourself. It can be easy to fall into a spiral of wanting the newest and best place settings and décor to impress guests, but it is not necessary. Not only will you burn through funds on purchases that weren’t needed, but it can be a slippery slope trying to continually update and change to simply impress others. Chances are, if people are journeying to your home to spend a night or day with you, they’ll be happy for the hospitality!