Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to Host the Holidays on a Budget

The holidays bring joy to your life as friends and family call to your door. However, they can also bring a lot of worry with them, as the parties, meals, decorations and presents that you are required to provide make a dent in your budget and eat into your savings. There’s no need to worry, though, there are ways to provide a wonderful holiday experience without breaking the bank.

Be Prepared and Plan Ahead
Saving money at these times really starts twelve months beforehand. Firstly do not throw out leftover paper napkins, crackers and so on. Put them all away for next year. If you have any money at all to spare head to the shops the week after the holiday -- you won’t believe the reductions. Paper plates, serviettes, festive tablecloths and other easily storable supplies and decorations make a holiday party or meal special. All these little extras cost a fortune when added up but are reduced to two for the price of one or even three for the price of one in the post-holiday sales.

Ask for Help
There are three types of hosting over the holidays. There is the big dinner, the group of friends or family over for a meal and the larger party of thirty or forty people. Trying to provide all the food and drinks will quickly eat into anyone’s budget.

Alcohol is very expensive. Rather than asking people to bring food to a party, ask them to bring a bottle of wine or a few beers. The exception to this is the sit-down dinner. Then it is a good idea to ask people to bring desserts and side-dishes. Make sure to speak to each person and tell them what kind of thing to bring or you could end up with five bowls of sprouts and no potatoes. 

For the group of friends it is nice to invite them to supper rather than dinner. Supper is normally two courses, a meal and dessert. It means the host is less busy and can enjoy the evening better, and it is much cheaper.
The large group coming for an evening party can be difficult. A big curry or beef stroganoff with rice and pasta goes well if one wants to serve a hot meal.

See if you have any friends who can buy at a wholesalers. Buying in bulk at wholesalers cost far less. Normally you wouldn’t want these quantities so it would be a waste, but for a party the bulk items are great. You can even buy cheap metal knives and forks if you don’t want to use plastic

DIY What You Can
If you are rich in time but low on cash, consider DIY as much as you can. Rather than paying a fortune for a holly wreath, head out to the hedgerows and clip a few branches from different trees – add some ribbon and a wire frame and you have a beautiful wreath for just pennies.

Rather than buying expensive pre-made appetizers and canap├ęs, have a baking day where you make them yourself. This can also be a great way to spend time with the kids in the run-up to the holiday and let them feel more involved in the celebrations.

The holidays are meant to be a joyful time for hosts as well; after all, you don’t want the stress to leave you needing rehab with Clarity Way! Use these tips to minimize the financial stress and strain of hosting the holidays.

Carly is a freelance writer who loves animals, spending time outdoors, and traveling. She loves how blogging allows her to share her writing with a large audience on the internet.

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