Hosting on a Budget

It’s that time of the year again. It’s holiday season. Regardless of what you celebrate, one commonality of these months is the sheer amount of food that goes around. You and your friends may participate in a potluck or a Friendsgiving celebration. If you’re hosting here are a few tips to help you to be the hostess with the mostest, while keeping your pockets intact.

  • Do not feel obligated to host. It is perfectly okay to not be the ringleader in the holiday dinner games. Slide over to a friend’s house and bring a dish instead. This will alleviate stress and money concerns on your end.
  • Start shopping in advance. Creating a list and shopping at least a week in advance will cut down on the amount of unplanned expenses. Last minute runs to the store and impulse buys are a definite way to burn through money, especially during the holidays.
  • Create a budget. Having a specific dollar amount is important because it’s easy to overspend. Creating this boundary will keep your pockets together.
  • Potluck. Choosing to label your dinner a potluck will not only alleviate the stress of being a host, but will also help to keep money in your pockets. If everybody brings a specific dish, then you should have a variety of entrees, side dishes and desserts.
  • Skip the disposable utensils. Although washing dishes can be a pain, you’ll still be able to feast with old fashioned silverware for free.
  • Give back. Instead of hosting a big shindig, gather your group and do some good for charity. While this isn’t the typical sit around Thanksgiving feast, you and your friends will be making a change.
  • DIY decorations. Take simple things like pinecones and leaves from outside and spray-paint them. These make for practically free decorations. You can also look to retailers like Five Below and the dollar store to find cheap decorations. Strategically placed decorations also help create an illusion of having more things on the table than you actually do.
  • Making things from scratch. While it may seem more tedious making things like gravies, sauces, and deserts. They are cheaper if you make them yourself.
  • Don’t be extra. Jumping off the idea of using cheap decorations… be sure to buy what you need and what you need only. Do you really need to purchase three packs of decorative napkins?
  • Go out to eat. While you’d be spending money dining out as group, one thing is guaranteed: you will only have to pay for what you eat.
  • Watch Netflix. Another idea for a Thanksgiving-esque gathering that won’t cost a bunch is simply hosting a movie or game night. People can bring their own snacks in addition to you providing low cost ones like popcorn and candy.
  • Buy in bulk. Depending on your party size, you could potentially benefit from buying in bulk. Buying in bulk will allow you to get a large quantity of items for a cheaper cost in the end.
  • Use those leftovers. After the party there may be leftovers. Be sure to find ways to repurpose them or at least send people home with food so it doesn’t go to waste.
  • Choose one. Serve either deserts or appetizers not both.
  • Limit people. Create a guest list and stick to it. Inviting people outside of your initial group requires more food which requires more money that you didn’t intend to shell out.



If you do opt for the feast here are some cheap and easy to make bites.

  • Cheap recipe suggestions
    • Noodles are relatively cheap and pairing them with sauce makes a perfect meal.
    • Taco Party. Making tacos and having everyone bring their favorite fixings makes for a festive bite.
    • Baked Potato Bar. Who doesn’t like a loaded baked potato?
    • Chips and Dips. Chips with an assortment of homemade dips can get and keep the party going.