Entertaining

HOST AN AWESOME WINTER GATHERING FOR $50 OR LESS

Baby, it’s cold outside and you have one question in mind for the weekend: to go out or  not to go out? Let’s weigh the options.

First, there’s going out, which means catching up with friends you probably don’t get to see nearly enough. That sounds amazing, right? But consider the downsides: trekking out in the cold, potentially plowing through snow banks in your favorite heels, and then overpaying for a few cocktails. (Plus, depending on your mama status, you may need to mess with a babysitter, too).

Now let’s talk staying in. The couch sounds comfy, right? Throw on a cozy sweater, break out a bottle of wine, put on your best jazzy playlist and you’re set. That is, if you love your alone time.

The downsides: Netflix only has so many movies. And comfort means giving up a night with friends – or does it? We say you can hibernate AND have some fun – all within your budget. Get the best of both worlds – staying (and saving), while hanging out.

BUDGET BEFORE FUN

First things first. Let’s keep this budget in check. We all know hostess costs can get out of control fast. Establish a number early on so you can plan your guest list, types of food (apps instead of a meal helps save), and any splurges accordingly. Here’s an idea: try spending less than you would on dinner or a movie and drinks. That’s probably around $50.

BYO BEVERAGES

Costs can skyrocket when you cover drinks for everyone. Here’s a quick fix. You offer a venue and food, and your friends can bring the drinks. If several pals bring a bottle of wine or 6-pack of beer, spirits will flow freely all evening. No one will mind chipping in. After all, they can contribute a bottle of wine from the store for the same price as they’d spend on one glass at a restaurant!

DITCH DISPOSABLE ITEMS

Not at the end of the evening – before it even starts! We’re saying don’t use them at all. The cost of paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable utensils adds up fast – and don’t real dishes feel more fancy anyway? Clean up will take a little longer, but it’s nothing a dishwasher (or you and a few friends) can’t handle.

KEEP THE MENU SIMPLE AND SEASONAL

Set your menu around go-to recipes with simple ingredients. It’s less risky, stressful and expensive than serving elaborate dishes. Besides, let’s be real – what lady doesn’t love a little bagel dip every now and again?

Now by simple, we don’t mean boring or unhealthy. Let the season inspire you. What sounds especially delicious right now? Pear and blue cheese salad, roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic or homemade kale chips warm out of the oven are all delicious dishes that will satisfy your seasonal cravings and wow your friends. Your local grocery chain will usually have weekly sales on their most abundant, in-season items, so be sure to check for coupons.

With a few budget-savvy plans in place, you’re ready to get your party started! So let the creative juices flow, click send on some free e-vites, fluff those sofa pillows and open your door to a whole season of warm, winter get togethers. Cheers!

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