Uncategorized March 26, 2024

Hosting on a Budget by Windermere Staff

Whether you’re inviting family over for a holiday celebration, hosting a birthday or graduation party, or just want to hang out with a few friends, we’ve got some tips to keep costs down while ensuring everyone has a good time.


Plan a Potluck

Perhaps the simplest, and most obvious, way to keep food expenses down when hosting is to ask your guests to contribute. Consider splitting up assignments by first letter of last names. For instance, last names starting with A-H bring beverages, I-P bring sides, Q-V bring salads, and W-Z bring desserts. This works well for holiday gatherings, but only use the letter assignment system if you’re not hosting a lot of family members who share the same last name!

Gather for Games

Board games, charades, or Pictionary using an easel are fun for all ages, and no one expects a full meal while you’re playing. Games can create a fun theme for birthday or anniversary parties, too. Provide a few snacks, beverages, and the games themselves and you’re all set.

Make It a Movie Night

With streaming services and inexpensive rentals like Redbox, having friends over to watch a flick is an easy and affordable way to spend time together. Supply the popcorn (and maybe a few of your favorite kinds of candy) and you and your guests are in for an evening of fun for only a few dollars. Movie nights are a fun idea for older kids and teens as well. Whether you want to turn it into a slumber party is up to you!

Bake up Brunch

There are a million ways to use the relatively inexpensive grocery items like eggs, potatoes, and pancake mix to whip up a delicious brunch. Egg casseroles or quiches with fresh veggies are easy to make ahead of time and can expand how many people a few eggs can feed. Hashbrowns or home fries are instant crowd pleasers. And who doesn’t love pancakes?

The best thing about brunch is that you can serve it anytime. Whether your invitation list consists of early risers or sleepy heads, anytime between 9:00 AM and early afternoon is perfectly appropriate.

Shop Your Own Supply

Using what you already have stocked in your fridge and pantry is not only less spendy than a big store run, but it’s also handy if a party comes together at the last minute. Fruit, crackers, and cheese can quickly turn into attractive and tasty appetizers. Any kind of protein, rice, some beans, tortillas, and cheese can turn into a make-your-own taco bar.

More: Charcuterie board inspiration 

Scope out the Sales

If you’ve got enough of a head start, planning the food and beverages you’re going to offer at your shindig around weekly or seasonal sales can save a pretty penny. Keep an eye out for grocery store circulars, coupons, and online ads that offer special deals on party favorites like soda, chips, and crackers. Shopping early can also pay off for big holiday meals. For example, many stores sell frozen turkeys weeks before Thanksgiving for a fraction of what you’ll pay for a fresh turkey the week of.

Serve a Signature Cocktail (or Mocktail)

Stocking a bar can easily become your party’s biggest expense, especially if your guests expect premium booze. Instead of purchasing all the bar staples and several varieties of beer and wine, create a signature cocktail (or mocktail) that only calls for a few ingredients and that you can make in advance. Sangrias, mojitos, and margaritas are great in big batches. A simple sorbet punch is a sure winner for the mocktail inclined.

Leave the Music to Us

Setting the tone with music is key to a great time. Windermere Real Estate has several playlists ready-made for your event. Choose one based on the vibe you’re going for from dinner to pool parties.

Follow us on Spotify 

We hope these ideas help inspire you to host a gathering of your loved ones soon!