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10 Tips for Saving Money on Holiday Entertaining

By - Posted on December 1, 2014

‘Tis the season for celebrating with family and friends, but that doesn’t mean you should overspend on your festivities.  If you will be hosting a party this season, it pays to plan carefully and shop smart. Here are 10 tips for saving money on your holiday entertaining.

  1. Shop at commissaries – Service members and their families are eligible to shop at commissaries, which offer items at cost plus a 5% surcharge. This is a great opportunity to save big on food for your holiday party.  People can typically save more than 30 percent on their purchase when compared to regular commercial prices.  Use this store locator to find a commissary in your area.
  2. Try to get a free ham or turkey – Many grocery stores offer programs that reward frequent shoppers with a free ham, turkey, or other food for the holidays. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, look for stores in your area that may be offering this type of promotion.
  3. Take advantage of warehouse store military discounts – Some warehouse stores like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club offer special incentives or discounted memberships to military. These stores sell items in bulk amounts so that you can stock up on food, paper goods, and cleaning supplies, usually at very competitive prices.
  4. Don’t overbuy – It is easy to overestimate how much food you will need for your holiday meals. Use these handy tips to figure out the correct amount of appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, drinks, and desserts you will need to serve your guests.
  5. Forget dinner – Instead of a formal dinner, invite people over for wine and hors d’oeuvres. Or have a cocktail party with signature holiday drinks.
  6. Have a set time – The longer people stay at your home, the more food and drinks you will need. To help keep your party planning budget in check, invite people for a set time, for example 8pm-11pm.
  7. Limit the guest list – Limit your guest list to just 10-12 close family members or friends. By keeping your holiday party intimate, you’ll spend less on food and drinks, but get to spend more time with the people who are most important to you.
  8. Throw a potluck party – Ask each guest to bring their favorite dish. Make sure you have a good selection of appetizers, side dishes, main courses, holiday drinks, and desserts.  You’ll save a lot of money, reduce stress, save time, and have a variety of different foods and drinks to choose from.
  9. Save on holiday party decorations – You don’t have to spend a lot to make your home look festive. Reuse your holiday decorations from last year, add holly branches or evergreen twigs to a vase, or go to a dollar store and pick up some low-cost decorations or craft supplies so you can create your own. Need inspiration? Check out these 10 cheap, easy and gorgeous DIY holiday decorations.
  10. Get creative – Host a holiday movie night with popcorn and simple snacks. Invite your friends over for a holiday decorating / tree trimming party. Have a New Year’s Day brunch. These are affordable ideas that will be lots of fun for you and your guests.

Posted in Financial Tips & Advice