entertaining on a budget

Apartment Parties: Entertaining on a Budget

Life can get expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your social life. Entertaining on a budget is easier than you think!

Stock Up on Essentials

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money, but only if you’re buying things you’ll actually use. If your patio is the go-to spot for summer cookouts, buy essentials like charcoal and aluminum foil in bulk. If refined dinner parties are more your style, look for value size packages of nonperishables like pasta, grains, and bottled sauces. Buy more expensive items like wine, spices, and artisanal nonperishables when you find them on sale, instead of paying full price the day you’re entertaining.

Just Say No to Disposables

Disposable products like paper plates and foam cups are incredibly convenient. They’re also expensive, and most are a burden on the environment. Instead of spending an extra ten to twenty dollars every time you entertain, opt for inexpensive, reusable alternatives. If you want all of your party ware to match, check the seasonal section of your local big box store. You’ll find heavy plastic plates, tumblers, and serving dishes; look for solid colors instead of seasonal patterns, so you can use them all year long. Inexpensive metal flatware can usually be found with cooking utensils and camping gear.

For more elegant party ware, visit a few thrift stores for glass and ceramic options. You may even stumble upon a few pieces of china! Mix and match patterns you like, or patiently build a collection of your favorite pattern as you find it. While you’re there, look for vintage table clothes and linen napkins to add extra charm to your space. For more inexpensive décor ideas, click here.

Keep it Simple

Overcomplicating your menu and décor is the most surefire way to break your budget, not to mention what it does to your stress levels. Recreating your favorite celebrity chef’s signature meal will get expensive fast and unless you’ve mastered the recipes before hand, there’s no guarantee you’ll end up with something you actually want to serve to your guests. Stick to inexpensive, easy to execute favorites like pasta with salad or a DIY taco bar to keep your guests and your bank account happy.

As Pinterest has soared in popularity, so has the pressure to have the perfect DIY décor at every party. But when done correctly, less is definitely more. If you’re hosting a dinner party or shower, pick up a few inexpensive fresh flower bundles from your grocery or big box store. Arrange one into a centerpiece and separate the others into small bud vases. Scatter the smaller arrangements around your apartment to add a subtle, refined touch. A balloon arrangement and a few well placed streamers add a festive vibe to birthdays and other celebrations without overwhelming your budget or your space.

Entertaining on a Budget: The Not So Secret Weapon

Potlucks are the not so secret weapon when it comes to entertaining on a budget. Choose a main course, then ask each guest to bring an appetizer, side, beverage, or dessert. You can also take the potluck approach to entertainment! Host a movie or game night and ask guests to bring their favorites! Potlucks ease stress in your time and budget, and sharing favorite foods, games, and movies allows everyone to get to know each other a little better.