Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Frugal Entertaining

I love to entertain and have company.  Nothing brings me greater joy than having a houseful of people and enjoying blessing friends with my cooking.  However, it can be costly if you aren't careful.  My biggest problem in entertaining is not to go overboard in my desire to offer enough food, as well as a variety.

However, you can entertain and still stay within a budget.  

On Saturday we had an open house here for our new church family and ended up with about 30 people.  However, because money is tight, I couldn't afford to spend a fortune.  So the first thing I did was to take stock of what I already had in the house and created a menu around those items.  I knew I was still going to have to purchase items, but I managed to stay under $50 which I thought was pretty good given the amount of people here.

Since it was an open house and people were coming and going throughout the afternoon and evening, I kept it to finger foods.  I also used little glass, dessert plates I had rather than paper to keep the costs down and garbage out of the landfills.  I just washed a few here or there when there was a lull.

Here was the menu:

5 different kinds of cookies - sugar, black and white checkerboards, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and lemon tea tots
Lemon bars
Cheese and crackers
Veggie platter with spinach dip or onion dip
Cream cheese and a choice of three kinds of jelly (hot pepper relish, jalapeno, or strawberry) on wheat crackers
Hummus with homemade pita bread wedges
Bruschetta with capers and black olives and homemade French baguette slices
Punch made with sparkling cranberry and cranberry juice (I sliced an orange and added frozen cranberries to pretty it up)

One way I kept the cost down is to make everything from scratch.  So the cookies, breads, hummus, bruschetta and dips were all made ahead of time.  The jams were from this past summer.  The lemonade was made from real lemon juice and not a mix.

A couple of people brought a dish too so it made things stretch even further.  

Anyone who knows me, know I love to decorate the table for special occasions.  Again, I love to do this without spending a fortune.  I decorated the table with items I had on hand, and paper punched hearts.  My one splurge was $8 worth of roses.  I love fresh flowers and rarely buy them but they were on sale so I snatched them up.

I ended up with a lot of food leftover because I made too much, as usual.  To be honest, I'd rather have too much than not enough.  I took a platter of cheese and crackers, as well as leftover lemon bars to church the next day.  We still are munching on cookies and leftover dips.

So you can entertain, be generous and still be frugal as long as you plan ahead and are willing to save some money by making many of the items yourself.  I'm linking up with Rebecca's Blog today.  She is always inspirational in sharing ways to save money!