There are plenty of reasons why people look forward to big dinners with family members. Young kids get an excuse to eat foods their parents save for special events, like plates of cake slices or a heap of mashed potatoes. Adults use the time to catch up with extended family, and college students enjoy the free food.
It’s fun to go to someone’s house for a big dinner, but the hosting responsibilities eventually pass on to you. After every dinner, you know your turn is coming soon. How will it compare to Thanksgiving at your aunt’s house or the Super Bowl cookout your dad hosted last year?
Now the time has come to invite everyone over to your place, and you have no idea where to start. Your limited budget only makes things trickier. Before you send out cancellation notices, read about these four ways to save money when hosting a big family dinner. With the right tweaks to your plan, your party will be the kind of success you can be proud of for years to come.
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1. Budget in Advance
Most of the time, you’ll know you’re hosting the next family dinner well in advance of the actual date. That’s when it’s time to sit down and budget. Work through your personal finances to see how much money you have left over to spend on the dinner.
You’ll need to think about things like how many people will attend and decide how much they’ll eat to determine the length of your grocery list. Do you have enough seating, or will you need to rent chairs? You’ll also have to stock up on napkins and trashbags, plus extra toilet paper in every bathroom.
2. Get Supplies at Discount Stores
Sometimes party supplies cost more than you can afford. In addition to silverware and napkins, you might need a bigger pot for a recipe or a centerpiece for your dining table. Search through discount stores in your area for more budget-friendly options.
3. Use Versatile Ingredients
The party dish you’d love to make looks great but requires special ingredients. Instead of making it, look for recipes that use versatile and budget-friendly ingredients you can reuse in your daily life afterward.
Sweet potatoes are a great example of this. You can use them in everything from pies to casseroles and buy them for $1 per pound on average, depending on where you shop. This kind of thinking will save you money before and after the party.
4. Order What You Can
There’s no shame in ordering food in bulk. Buying a fried turkey will save you money if your other option is to purchase the supplies for cooking it on your own, plus the ingredients. Buying cans of gravy or frozen veggies could help you make more food and save money.
Ask for Help
Another option is to ask for help. People won’t think the party is a failure if they bring their own drinks or bake a tray of desserts. Try these tips to save money on your upcoming family dinner so you can enjoy it as much as your guests.