1) Don’t do it all yourself. While I’m not encouraging a potluck party, if you’re hosting it’s a good idea to make the meat and ask everyone else to bring sides.
2) Make it yourself. The trick is – if you have more time than money make it from scratch and do it yourself. That means don’t call the caterer; you can do this!! It will save you so much money to fix your own veggie tray or make some cookies.
3) Plan ahead and shop the sales. Very shortly some stores will start running crazy deals on turkeys. As soon as I see those ads I go and buy a few turkeys to store!!
4) Buy seasonal decorations and re-use them each year. This is also a good way to recycle. I just keep a box downstairs with different seasonal things in and I haul them out as needed. I often purchase them at the end of the season when they are dirt cheap and then keep them for the next year. Last week I just pulled out some Thanksgiving napkins I bought at 75% off last year.
5) Buy party products from dollar stores. They have some great decorations there and there’s no need to spend tons of money on decorations.
6) Don’t do alcohol or limit how much you do. The booze is where a chunk of change can go so if you are going to have it, why not do a BYOB? One cheap idea is to do mulled wine or cider as you can get the cheapest wine you can find and “doctor” it. Here’s a great recipe. Or, a non-alcoholic drink is to heat apple juice (made from concentrate in a carton is cheap and works fine) and pour over thinly sliced ginger and lemon.
7) If you’re sending invites, I have a couple of ideas:
* Buy some at the dollar store and mail them.
* Do email invites instead using a service like evites.com
* Send postcards. For a party we had I made pictures of my son and on the back wrote the
details and addressed them. It was cheaper than buying an invite and only cost me a postcard
8) Do brunch. If you can choose a time, choose a brunch as it’s the cheapest meal of the day!
9) Serve pasta. Again, if it’s just a Christmas/ Thanksgiving party and not on the actual day, why not do a nice pasta dish? There’s nothing that says you have to serve steak.
10) Avoid disposables. Running the dishwasher a few extra times will cost less than purchasing paper plates and cups, plastic silverware, and one-use roasting pans and pie plates.
Above all, remember that your guests are coming for a fun time with you. Don’t get stressed out by all the preparations, enjoy the day!