Tips for Entertaining on a Budget

Planning parties can be fun and exciting, but they can sometimes be expensive, especially if they aren’t planned ahead of time. However, if you are on a budget and want to plan a gathering with friends and family, you can still enjoy a great party without overspending. It might seem a little intimidating, but with these tips, entertaining on a budget would be possible.

Plan Ahead

 a girl wearing a checkered blouse writing on her red journal

The first thing you must do when planning a party with a budget is to plan beforehand. Planning as early as possible will allow you to assess everything you need and help you look for the best possible deals when purchasing the supplies required when decorating your home and the food and drinks you’ll serve. 

Planning ahead will save you from the stress that last-minute decisions may cause and will also help you avoid overspending.

Set a Budget

a girl calculating her expenses on a calculator

Before you plan everything that’s going to happen at your party, it is important first to set a budget to know how much you could only spend for your party. Determine everything you need and estimate how much everything costs to figure out the amount you’ll likely spend so that you can set aside that amount beforehand. 

Track your Budget

two one-hundred-dollar bills inside a brown envelope

Once you decide on your budget, you must stick to it. One way to ensure that you stick to your budget is to keep track of it by listing down every transaction you make or by creating a worksheet.

To track your budget, you must first list all the things you will need for your party in one column and allot an estimate of the amount you could spend on each category in another column. The categories may include food, drinks, venue rental (if you’re not partying at home), tableware, decorations, music, entertainment, etc. It is important to determine the essential things you need for your party so that you will know how to divide your money into each category properly to make budgeting and spending a lot easier. 

If you are tracking your budget manually, having envelopes and labeling them with different categories you will need would be really helpful and would make budgeting hassle-free. Provide each category with a single envelope with a label consisting of the name and the amount spared for that category. Place the money allotted for each category inside the envelope, and make sure not to use the budget intended for one category to pay for the expenses of the other category. You may also keep receipts inside the envelope to help you track your expenses.  

Food and Drinks

a small group of people laughing at the dinner table

When having a party, most of your budget will definitely go to the food and drinks category. It is essential that your guests will be happy and satisfied with the food and drinks you serve during your gathering. However, spending a lot of money is unnecessary just to give your guests a fulfilling meal. You can still have your guests leave your party with a satisfied stomach without overspending on the food.

First and foremost, you must check the number of guests you want at your party. Note that the bigger your number of guests, the bigger the amount you’ll spend on food and drinks. Since you’re working on a budget, limiting the number of invited people is ideal to avoid spending over your limit. 

Another way to stay aligned with your budget on food is to consider which time of the day you’ll be having your party. Since you’re on a budget, the ideal time to throw a party would be during the afternoon, wherein you’ll only serve snacks and drinks instead of a full meal. Hosting a party during noontime or in the evenings would require you to serve your guests a full meal, which is a lot pricier than serving them snacks. However, if you want to host during the evenings, you may ask your guests to come after dinner, wherein you can serve appetizers, snacks, and after-dinner drinks.  

Another tip to avoid spending too much on food is to check on your pantry before going to the groceries. You won’t need to shop so much if you already have the ingredients you need in your pantry. So before deciding on the food and ingredients you need to buy, you must first look around your pantry and kitchen and think of the food you can make from the ingredients you already have at home. Aside from saving money, this will also help you use up everything you have in your pantry before they expire. 

Aside from these tips, going meatless could also help you save so much money when planning a party. Meat can be very expensive, especially if you are planning to serve a huge group. You should not worry since there are still a lot of alternatives for meat that won’t cost you a huge amount of money without sacrificing flavor. 

Use Reusable Plates and Cutlery

a girl preparing the table setting

Disposable plates and cutlery are surely hassle-free and will spare you a lot of time and energy since you don’t have to handwash them after the party. However, they can be an added expense, which you can avoid, especially when you are on a budget. So instead of using disposables, opt for reusable plates and cutlery you have at home. u

Using everything you have at home is sustainable and could help you save a lot more money. You don’t have to worry about your plates and cutlery that don’t match. What’s important is that they all serve a purpose during your dinner party, plus you can cut your expenses by using them. 

Be Extra Creative When Decorating

a girl laying a white tablecloth on the table

You won’t need a lot of money to be extra creative. Being creative means, you know how to utilize everything you have at home and make them work to create wonderful and welcoming party decorations. 

For instance, you can pick beautiful and colorful flowers in your garden, arrange them, and put them as a centerpiece on your table. During the fall, you can use pumpkins and squashes as decorations or candle and flower holders. If you have an orchard at home, you can use your fruits to add color to your party. 

You can actually do a lot of beautiful decorations with the things you have at home – all you have to do is to be creative and think outside the box. 

It may be difficult to avoid overspending on parties, but one way to ensure you stay on your budget is to always keep everything simple. You don’t have to host huge and extravagant events for your guests to enjoy. Sometimes, having a simple and intimate gathering with the right people is enough for your guests to consider the party worthwhile. 

Also, if you need recommendations on what to give party hosts, you may check out our Fall Hostess Gift Ideas