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19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

It’s so exciting to host guests for a holiday celebration! But with all the things that we do during the months of November and December (travel, buying gifts, decorating, etc.) our budgets can be spread very thin. With both the love of holiday celebrations and the need to stretch a buck in mind, I came up with 19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget.

First of all…

Shop Smart

Planning ahead, making a list, and shopping smart for the best deal are key tips if you want to save money on holiday entertaining. Last week I hit up my local Dollar General store for some household essentials:

19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget 19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

Here’s what I purchased and why I love these products:

Paper Napkins – We go through a lot of paper napkins during the holidays! Mardi Gras® helps you serve up some unexpected mealtime merriment when you need it most with our saucy collection of super fun & super fetching napkins – the perfect way to keep it clean and get a not-so-serious conversation started!

Paper Plates – Paper plates are a lifesaver! Whether you’re hosting a lot of people for a Christmas party or just need a night off from washing dishes, paper plates can simplify life… a very good thing during the busy holiday season!

Affordable Dixie® Everyday paper plates are perfect for the snacks of the season and durable enough for those lighter holiday meals with the people you love. Or if you’re planning a holiday feast, reach for Dixie Ultra® paper plates. They hold up to 2 pounds of food, so you can replace your real plates with real freedom to celebrate the holiday.

Paper Towels – Be prepared for holiday cleaning! Brawny® Paper Towels can handle anything from your toughest messes to simple, everyday cleanup.

Toilet Paper – Toilet paper is such a basic need, so stock up! Quilted Northern Ultra Soft and Strong® toilet paper is strong and flexible, giving you a comfortable clean.

Click on the items in this picture to check out and purchase these items!

Deal Alert

Stock up for the holidays and make your dollar go further with these awesome Georgia-Pacific essential products at Dollar General. Starting 11/19/17 through 12/23/17 only, Buy 3 Participating Products, Save $3! (Valid on Angel Soft® 12 Family / 12 Big Lavender, Sparkle® 6 Roll, all QNUSS 9 Mega and QNUP/QNUSS 12DR, Dixie® Everyday 9in 86 ct, Dixie Ultra® 10in 44ct, Brawny 6 Large Roll, Mardi Gras 200 ct)

19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas party, or over night guests, here are some great ways to save money and host well:

Plan ahead – Take some time to sit down and plan out your celebration weeks or even a couple of months before your guests arrive. Some categories to plan for are food, decorations, invitations, parking, entertainment, gifts, childcare plans, and cleaning (before and after the celebrations!). The more thorough you are in your pre-holiday planning, the more easily you can find places in your plan to save money.

Set a budget – Once you have your plan, set a budget. Set a reasonable budget including a little extra for items you may have forgotten, then stick to it!

Borrow – Instead of buying items you need for hosting guests, consider borrowing them from friends and family. For example, if you need an extra table and folding chairs, ask around to see who might have one you could borrow instead of running to the store to buy a new table. Make a list of items you need and reach out to see who has them that you could use. Keep an inventory of all borrowed items and be sure they’re labeled. Return them promptly after your event.

Cut your own greenery – Consider cutting your own greenery for holiday decorating. Even simple bare branches can be turned into beautiful, cheap decorations by hanging them with clear fishing line and decorating them with Christmas ornaments. Branches can also be spray painted white for an extra cool touch. 

Basic drinks – Cut down on excess expenses by choosing just a few drinks to serve. Go with crowd pleasers!

Simple decorations – Skip out on buying a whole bunch of new decorations and use what you have on hand. Candles are a great way to add a festive touch for very little cash. Greenery, a Christmas tree, candles, and some twinkling Christmas nights are all you need to set a festive mood.

Overnight Guest Hosting

Have essentials handy – Think of all essential items your guests will need and place them in very easy to spot places. 

  • A bin of clean towels in the bathroom
  • A basket of toilet paper rolls on the back of the toilet
  • A bag of toiletries for guests to use in the hall closet
  • Extra blankets at the foot of the bed
  • Bottled water on the nightstand
  • Label kitchen cabinets so items are easy to find
  • Plenty of drinks stocked in the fridge for easy access

Think of all the things your guests will need and make them easily accessible to add to their comfort during their stay. 

19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

Plan meals ahead – Make a list of all meals your guests will have with you during their stay. Plan a menu for each meal and send it to your guests. Ask for feedback on the plan in case there are any food preferences and allergies that would mean you need to reconsider the meal. Once you are confident that you have a meal plan that will please your guests, make a list and plan your shopping for the best deals.

Move things around – Go through your house and find items that will add to the comfort of your guests stay and place them for easy access. So, instead of having the soft throw blanket folded in a drawer, lay it over the foot of the guest bed. Instead of Christmas magazines in a basket hidden beside a chair, display them on the coffee table for guests to enjoy. Instead of having fresh fruit and snacks put away in a cabinet, place them in a basket on the table for easy to access snacks.

19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

Holiday Parties

Do it yourself – Skip the caterer and make the food yourself. Prepare make ahead dishes that can easily be heated and served.

Plan a thrifty menu – Rather than planning a fancy (expensive) menu, brainstorm cheaper options that will still be delicious.

Ditch dinner – Just skip dinner altogether and serve an appetizer and dessert buffet. Or just host a dessert party.

Potluck party – Ask guests to bring a side dish and a dessert to share. You just provide the place, drinks, a main dish, and the eating utensils. 

Ask for help – Call in some back up! Ask friends and family to help with the event.

Online invites – Gone are the days of guests expecting an invitation in the mail. Save the cash on printed invitations and just send an invite online.

Music – Christmas music is a great way to set a festive mood for free!

Holiday scents – Fill your house with warm aromas of cinnamon, apples, cranberries, and citrus. The happy smells add so much to a holiday party! You can do this easily by adding a little water to a sauce pot then throwing in fragrant things you have on hand: a sliced orange, cinnamon, cloves, cranberries, etc. Simmer on low for yummy smells that will fill your house!

Free entertainment – Sing Christmas carols, set out supplies and instructions for cutting paper snowflakes, play a Christmas movie, host a gift exchange, play the ‘guess who’ game (place a name tag on guests backs with the name of a Christmas character and they have to guess by asking other guests yes or no questions throughout the party), set up tables with board games, set out a card table with a holiday puzzle, host a cookie decorating party.

Just Celebrate!

There are so many ways to enjoy the holiday season with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Just go for it! Plan a fun, comfortable event that won’t break the bank and make some memories.

Click here now to find a Dollar General near you for great savings on holiday hosting essentials! You can also click here for more helpful entertaining inspirations.

19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget | Save Money | Christmas Cash | Thrifty Holiday | #FrugalChristmas #InexpensiveChristmas #HolidayParty

19 Comments on 19 Tips for Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

  1. Jen Temcio
    November 20, 2017 at 11:31 am (9 months ago)

    I am so glad that you recommended paper plates. My sister and I were talking about how nice it is to visit with family instead of being stuck in the kitchen doing dishes. Older generations may think it tacky but it really is a solution to enjoying more family time.

  2. Susan Evans
    November 20, 2017 at 11:56 am (9 months ago)

    If everyone brings something, the food won’t cost nearly as much for the person hosting the event.

  3. Tara pittman
    November 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm (9 months ago)

    Paper plates are good for a large crowd. I call them my good china.

  4. Monica Parlee
    November 20, 2017 at 5:23 pm (9 months ago)

    Lots of really great tips for entertaining on a budget! I love lots of them but especially borrowing some needed items and also your hints for overnight guests.

  5. Natalie
    November 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm (9 months ago)

    The Dollar General seems to have some great deals! I love finding bargains at my local dollar store too.

  6. Rachel
    November 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm (9 months ago)

    Great ideas. I love paper plates – makes for such an easy cleanup!

  7. Claudia Krusch
    November 20, 2017 at 10:51 pm (9 months ago)

    The Dollar General is a great place to stock up on all your holiday needs. They always have a great selection for every holiday.

  8. Marcie
    November 20, 2017 at 11:22 pm (9 months ago)

    I need to get better about borrowing from friends or family or using our local Buy Nothing group. I end up spending so much on items that get used one time.

  9. Aduke Schulist
    November 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm (9 months ago)

    How have I never thought to make sure I have enough toilet paper? The thought seriously never crosses my mind when hosting.

  10. Tina Gleisner
    November 22, 2017 at 10:20 am (9 months ago)

    You’ve got some great ideas & I love the one about putting together a basket of goodies to help your guests enjoy their stay more … perfect!

  11. Cynthia Nicoletti
    November 22, 2017 at 10:42 am (9 months ago)

    I love the Dollar General. I am always stocking up on what I need.

  12. Gingermommy
    November 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm (9 months ago)

    YES! These are really great entertaining on a budget tips. I am going to have to keep them.

  13. Cat Khanh
    November 23, 2017 at 10:46 am (9 months ago)

    Lots of useful tips! Thanks for sharing all of these! I love to part of preparing for overnight host, it is very useful!

  14. Leigh Anne Borders
    November 23, 2017 at 6:32 pm (9 months ago)

    What a great list of ideas for entertaining! I am always trying to do that on a budget. It can certainly be done!

  15. Kelly Hutchinson
    November 23, 2017 at 8:52 pm (9 months ago)

    I am a planning person, so I always have my. menu and stuff done weeks in advance. Stocking up on essentials is a great tip.

  16. Natasha
    November 24, 2017 at 12:52 am (9 months ago)

    Love these tips! I’m thankful that I didn’t host Thanksgiving this year. But these tips are sure to save. Love the idea of cutting your own greenery.

  17. Jennifer L
    November 24, 2017 at 10:47 am (9 months ago)

    Some really great tips especially about borrowing things. I love to go after Christmas shopping to get all these Christmas decor/ themed items and save them for next year.

  18. Blair villanueva
    November 26, 2017 at 5:37 pm (9 months ago)

    Paper plates are convenient and ecofriendly. We also use eco-friendly paper towels at home and office.

  19. Oyinkan
    November 26, 2017 at 6:51 pm (9 months ago)

    Paper plates are definitely great for the budget. & keeps you from washing dishes afterwards.


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