Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

The holidays are coming up quickly, and if you’re like me, that means soon you will be hosting family and friends for holiday meals.  I absolutely love entertaining during the holidays.  I love to cook and host a good party, so the holidays are just an excuse for me to go all out.  I know what you’re thinking though.  How can I entertain and stay on a budget?  Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to blow your budget and can still be fabulous.  Here’s how I keep it in check:

Plan ahead

The very best tip I have for staying on a budget during the holidays, or any time for that matter, is to plan ahead.  Now is the time to start planning your holiday menu.  Figure out how many people you plan to host and start researching your menu items now.  Look for recipes that use similar ingredients to keep your shopping list at a minimum.  I also like to use this time to look for recipes for my leftovers, which helps me stay under budget the week following the holiday meal.

Once you have a general menu in mind, make a list of all the items you’re going to need.  Be sure to include things like paper products, aluminum foil and other things we tend to forget.  Also, now is a good time to take inventory of your pantry items like spices and sugar.  Nothing is worse than realizing you don’t have salt or butter on Thanksgiving morning!  Been there!

Shop Sales and Shop Early

Now that your list ready, start keeping an eye on your store sales ads.  Stores start running holiday promotions now in anticipation of the approaching holiday season.  Pantry items will keep and that turkey can stay frozen throughout the season.  Look for coupons and store promotions, too!  Some stores even offer deals for a free turkey when you transfer a prescription to their pharmacy.  Not a bad way to get that prescription filled and an item checked off your list for FREE all in one trip!

Don’t be afraid to enlist help

Ask friends and family to bring a side dish, beverage or dessert.  Guests will be happy to out and it sure will help your budget.  Hosting a meal is a lot of work.  Cooking, cleaning, planning … Don’t feel ashamed to ask people to pitch in.

Repurposed décor

There is no need to buy décor for a holiday party.  Take a look around your house for things you can use instead.  Our Halloween pumpkins (uncarved ones of course) get repurposed as Thanksgiving table centerpieces.  I have leftover vases and candles from our wedding that I pull out for almost every party.

Do you have some pretty flowers in your garden that fit with the holiday theme?  Use them!  Here’s a Thanksgiving table from a few years back using flowers from our yard and candles from around the house.

Have a stash of cardstock, wrapping paper, paint, fabric or other crafty items?  Look for ways to use those.  I used leftover cardstock and stickers to create this fall-themed vase that I use year after year.

The place cards on this table were created using unused gift tags I had lying around.

Christmas Table

Enjoy the Season

With your planning done, your shopping complete, and your guests signed on to help – sit back and enjoy your holiday season.  Plus, with the money you saved on entertaining you can do some extra holiday shopping!

Happy Holidays!

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