Entertaining For Less
By Jonni McCoy


It’s that time of year! It’s the season that we entertain the most in, whether it’s a harvest party, Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner or a Christmas party. But just because we are on a tight budget doesn’t mean we have to scrimp on fun. Here are some tips that have gotten us through years of fun entertaining despite out tight times. I hope they help you have a festive and fun season.

Share the load: Have guests bring a dish or beverages so that you are only making the main dish. Most people want to help out. Assign all of the side dishes and beverages as they RSVP.

Go vegetarian:  Since meat is one of the most expensive ingredients in a meal, make a meatless dish. There are plenty of nice main dishes that are meatless and your guests probably won't notice. For ideas, search the web (, or go to the library and check out some of the gourmet cookbooks.

Pick a cheaper meal: Dinner is the most expensive meal to make, so try another meal if your budget is tight. Desserts are great, so is tea time, lunch time or brunch.
We have 3 annual neighborhood parties that we accomplish for cheap this way. Our most successful has been the neighborhood Thanksgiving Piefest. Each family brings a pie and we offer the plates, forks, coffee and whipped cream. Everyone loves trying the different desserts and we have a great time visiting with each other. Our summer party revolves around the grill with each family bringing a side dish, drinks, or contributing to the meat. The Christmas party is run the same: bring your best Christmas hors d’oeuvre and the host provides the beverages. These affordable activities provide us a way to connect even though we are all busy and going our separate ways.

Decorations don't have to be costly: Use as much nature as is available to's free. Use leaves (press them as soon as they fall to preserve them), branches and boughs, pinecones, or buy gourds (they are usually 50 cents each). Make candle holders by coring an apple (the day of the event). Get the children involved by having them make handmade decorations.

Printable invitations can be found free on the internet (,, or use a paperless invitation with or

The most important tip to remember is to make it warm and casual. Most people are not coming to be impressed with your party layout, but rather to have a good time with friends they enjoy. So focus on the people and not the stuff. After all, it's the reason we get together.

Happy merriment!

This article is copyrighted and no portion can be copied without permission.  Miserly Moms™ 2009