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Creative Ways to Entertain on a Budget This Festive Season

01 November 2018
Creative Ways to Entertain on a Budget This Festive Season -  entertaining on a budget

Few things leave a wallet worse for wear like the festive season. Admittedly, it’s really easy to get carried away in the festivities and lose track of how much money goes into gatherings with family and friends. But that’s not to say that budget-friendly entertaining isn’t possible. With a bit of planning and dash of creativity, there are actually plenty ways to wow your guests within the confines of a budget.

1. Shop for seasonal produce

Build your menu around recipes which use ingredients that are currently in season. Seasonal produce is significantly more affordable because it’s more readily available in stores. You can save even more by buying fresh ingredients directly from local farmers at a farmers’ market, for example. Wondering which ingredients are in season during summer? Take a look at this handy fruit and veggie chart for South Africa.

2. Make smart choices

As divine as fillet steak is, it’s also one of the most expensive cuts of meat to serve at a dinner party. Why splurge on expensive meats when you can whip up a mouth-watering meal from more reasonably priced cuts. For example, pot-roasted brisket and slow-roasted pork shoulder are two tasty, belling-filling dishes. Although less tender, these cheaper cuts merely require more cooking time to truly shine on a plate.

3. Make your own

It requires a fair amount of time and effort, but the rewards of making your own food are well worth it. Pre-packaged meals and store-bought salads, although convenient, are overpriced and packed with preservatives and hidden unhealthy ingredients. You can save money by making your own dishes and dips from scratch, and your guests are sure to appreciate the tastier, healthier homemade options.

4. Use what you have

Instead of spending money on new décor or extravagant bouquets, consider using or repurposing the things you currently have in your home and garden. For example, used tin cans can be upcycled into attractive candle lanterns perfect for setting the scene on your patio. There’s also much to be said about the understated beauty of single-stem flowers in glass bottles.

5. Stick to simple favourites

Fancy drinks and desserts can eat away at a budget very quickly, which is why we recommend sticking to easy ideas that are always well received. Having loved ones over for a braai? End the night on a sweet note by toasting some marshmallows over the hot coals. Effortless but oh so delicious! Another idea is to have a large dispenser filled with water and fresh citrus or herbs. This simple and refreshing drink will negate the need to buy expensive fruit juices and sodas.

6. Have a serving strategy

Fill your guests’ tummies by serving a variety of inexpensive snacks beforehand. Fresh, crusty bread works wonders when dipped in a simple blend of fresh garlic and olive oil, for example. If you’re serving the food buffet-style, you can also place budget-friendly side dishes at the start of the buffet table and end off with pricier dishes such as the meats.

7. Host during off-peak hours

Instead of a grand dinner, try hosting a get-together at off-peak entertaining hours. For example, you can invite everyone over for a brunch picnic in your backyard or afternoon cocktails and canapes. You won’t need to buy as much food or spend nearly as much time slaving away in the kitchen.

8. Get everyone involved

Don’t be shy to accept your guests’ help when they offer it. Next time someone asks if there’s anything they can bring, give them an item on your list. They’ll probably be more than happy to oblige and you’ll be relieved of one less thing to stress about. Potluck dinners are also a great option if money is really tight. Ask each guest to bring something different and offer a small prize to the person who brings the best dish.

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What are some of the ways you save on entertaining costs? Share your fabulously frugal ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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