How to host a party on a budget.
photo: iStock

I entertain pretty often and hosting people can get expensive! I live for the idea of having my friends and family over, but don’t want to feel like I’m breaking the bank every time I do. Over time, I’ve paid attention to what works and what doesn't, and have compiled a list of six budget-friendly entertaining tips. 

They've been really helpful to me, and I hope they can save you some of that hard-earned paycheck, too. After all, sharing is caring – so, let’s get to it! 

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Hostess tip #1: Slow cook a bigger, inexpensive cut of meat. Think chicken thighs and drumsticks, beef sirloin or pork chops. These cuts of meats can run you between $2.50 and $6 a pound. Plus, the rich flavor that develops when slow cooking meat will have your guests craving more. 

Hostess tip #2: Cook dishes that provide large portions at a minimal cost. Bring on the pasta! My staple go-to is lasagna. You can spend less than $20 bucks on all of the ingredients and feed roughly 10 people. Now that’s a meal! For an extra five bucks, you can throw in some garlic bread as a side, and voilà – an amazing, flavorful meal! 


Hostess tip #3: If you are a wine drinker and normally like to keep vino on hand, buy it by the case. The cost per bottle is cheaper and sets you up for some impromptu entertaining. 

Hostess tip #4: Avoid buying alcohol at your local liquor store. Instead, purchase it at wholesale places like Costco or BJs. Believe it or not, Trader Joe’s is also a great option — you can buy a decent bottle for $4-$5, like the Trader Moon Cabernet! These larger retailers are able to offer deeper discounts, giving you more bang for your buck.

Bonus tip: If you're up for a bit of a challenge while traveling, pick up a couple of bottles at the duty free shop. Now, that’s savings!

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Hostess tip #5: Any stylish table needs flowers, and these babies can get expensive. Have no fear – you'll spend less than $20 at your local supermarket (again, Trader Joe’s is great for this). This works great in a pinch.

Hostess tip #6: Buy neutral, but inexpensive dinnerware that can be used over and over again. Remember, it’s all about not having to spend tons of money every time you entertain.  I have white plates, which I picked up at Home Goods, and spent only $2.99 per plate. To be honest, I’ve used them so much, I'm probably overdue for new ones.

Okay stylish hostesses, the moral of the story is not to stop entertaining, but to save some extra bucks when doing it. Until the next budget-friendly party!

Kathleen Pagan is a Founding Creator and lifestyle blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala, you can find her at