Although currently I am still a poor student, that doesn’t stop me from hosting dinner parties. I love having people over and enjoying good food and even better company. This year I vowed I would have dinner parties once a week, but that got to be beyond expensive and I was forced to abandon that dream.
To entertain you don’t need endless money and time by any means. I had to cut down on my once a week plan but I probably have a dinner party at least once a month. I never throw huge lavish bashes where I hand out gift bags and serve filet minion. Instead, I keep the budget small which makes it entirely possible do have parties often without murdering my bank account.
With these party tips you can get a group together and introduce your friend from work to your friend to the gym, because you think they would get along perfectly. And you can do all of that at a reasonable cost!
Skip the silk placemats and fancy napkins
These items can be expensive and if you haven’t invested in reusable placemats and cloth napkins, never fear. These days it is incredibly easy to find beautiful paper napkins and place mats. They are usually about three bucks a pack, and add elegance to your dinner. This also helps with clean up, you can save time by not having to wash the linens.
Make it vegetarian
Meat can be super expensive especially if you’re having a big get together. For this reason make your diner party more affordable by keepings it vegetarian. I’ve tried to service four chicken breasts to twenty guests, and they were not amused when they each got one tiny nugget of stir-fried chicken. So host a brunch or a meat-less Monday get together, where you can serve eggs and pancakes or a spring pasta dish respectively. This will significantly cut your cost and allow you to spend more money on other cheaper proteins like cheese.
Ask your guests to bring something
If your friends offer to bring something, don’t claim you have it covered. Let one friend bring an appetizer and another bring a dessert. As a poor student I personally love to have potluck dinners. That way my friends can still get together, with there being enough food to go around and without me having to front all the costs. Potluck dinners are a great way to share costs so consider this for your next get together.
Class up cheap ingredients
Buy cheap ingredients and add a little something to make them special. For example buy packaged ravioli at the store and then make a sage brown butter sauce. Or for dessert buy a pound cake and serve it with fresh strawberries. These store bought items are so simple, cheap and easy, and can be instantly upgrades with just a couple of ingredients.
Make a cocktail
Bottles of wine can get expensive. So why not make a wine and juice cocktail. Or add lemonade to your beer for a German touch. Juice is much cheaper than alcohol so dilute a little of your spirits with something else. I personally love white wine and ginger ale, although I might be the only one so this might not be the best dinner party cocktail.