Tips on Creating a Budget Friendly Dinner Party & Menu

Establish a Budget

As a host/hostess, you should start with a realistic budget. Make a list of items for the party including decorations, drinks, food, invitations, music, and paper goods with a specific amount for each item.

Dinner Guests

Consider how many people will attend your dinner party. A small dinner party may have up to ten guests while a large dinner party may have over twenty guests. This will help you calculate your dinner menu, including when you will hold the party. Also, a small dinner party forces guests to interact with each other more, which refocuses their attention away from the decorations and dinner menu.

Invite guests with various interests and backgrounds to provide a wide array of topics including dining, hobbies, parenting, and working.

Dinner Menu

The dinner dishes should include mostly pasta and vegetables with limited focus on beef or poultry. For instance, an appetizer should include a salad filled with cucumbers, onions, red bell peppers, and tomatoes with grilled chicken and topped with vinegar. The vegetables provide vitamins and minerals while the chicken provides protein.

Another option is to have guests bring one dish each. This creates a sense of belonging, slight competitions since each person wants to make the best dish, and saves you money because the dishes are divided among several people instead of you as the host/hostess.

Dinner Dessert

A typical sheet cake for twenty people can costs over $50.00 in most cities and you have to consider any special ingredients such as peanuts or walnuts. Plus, homemade goods can be adjusted to meet various needs. For example, one cake can be baked for chocolate lovers while a second cake can be baked for those with dietary considerations such as diabetes so less sugar/sugarless.

As a host/hostess, enjoy your budget-friendly dinner party by concentrating on the good company instead of expensive food, drinks, and decorations.

Additional Money Saving Tips

  • Send invitations through email, or phone your guests directly. Emailing the invitations will save on envelopes and stamps. If you don’t want to email your invitations, try making your own to cut back on costs.
  • For flowers, buy ones that are in season or make a flower arrangement using flowers from your own garden. Buying non-local, out of season flowers can be expensive.
  • Serving alcohol can be very costly. Try hosting a "BYOB" dinner party. Asking your guests to bring their own bottle of their favorite drink will cut back your costs significantly.
  • To save money on the cost of the main dishes, offer bread with the meal, since it’s affordable and filling. Also, make your own veggie platters and mini sandwiches and place them out for the guests to munch on before dinner.