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Hosting a dinner feast during the holiday season can almost be as expensive as gift giving, especially if you are hosting dinner for a big group. Here are some ways to keep it inexpensive yet enjoyable.

1. Stick to your set budget

It is easy to go overboard while thinking of what to prepare for the festive dinner especially when you don’t have a budget. Try not to go grocery shopping without setting a budget, be strict with yourself and stick to what you’ve set. Decide in advance how much you’re willing to spend on food and entertainment, pay with cash and not credit card in order to stick to your budget.

2. Simple is best 

The dinner doesn’t have to be a 10-course dinner, especially if you are preparing dinner with limited help. Keeping it simple saves you time and money. It is also less tiring and you will thank yourself for keeping it simple. 

3. Plan your menu in advance

Write out your menu, everything from drinks, snacks, main course and desserts. On a separate list, write another list of everything else you need to buy for entertainment. Remember to plan your menu based on your budget and according to your list, trust me, it will save your sanity.

4. Lookout for promotions

Once you have your list, keep a lookout for promotions whether you are buying online or travelling to the store. Some supermarkets advertise their promotions online and outside their stores, you could take note of these promotions.

Additional tips:
•    Some stores offer senior citizen discounts, if you have a senior citizen at home, bring them out for your grocery shopping trip and enjoy some discounts!
•    Collect points/rebates from your grocery shopping for future use.

5. To the waist but not to waste

Some of us would worry about dinner going to our waist, but most importantly, we don’t want the food to go to waste. To solve both problems, cook and serve adequate instead of large amount of food, as much as you don’t want to starve your guests, they can always go back for seconds and help to finish other leftovers.

6. Cut Back On Snacks

There’s nothing worse than not being able to enjoy the meal you prepared with all the effort you’ve put in because you’re full after snacking on the nuts, teacakes, chips and biscuits. It is hard to decide on which snacks to cut down on because you want to spoil your guests with the wide variety of snack selection. But, having a variety of snacks can be pricey, so make the choice to serve a smaller selection to leave room for the main attraction. 

7. Sharing is caring

There is another way to help you save time and money...organise a Potluck! Just remember to make sure everyone knows who will be bringing what dish so that you don’t end up with duplicate dishes or worst, everyone bringing drinks!

Here is what you can do:
1) Create a groupchat
2) Share the number of guest attending 
3) Be wary of dietary concerns and share it with the groupchat (religious/allergies/beliefs)
4) Ask who will be taking up the appetisers, soups or salads, mains, desserts and drinks and what dish in particular. If you know of someone who can’t cook, request for the person to buy something or get the drinks (you would be lucky if all your guests can cook).

An example of a potluck list:

You don’t have to blow your budget by hosting dinner for a big group. Plan ahead, buy food on sale (but check the expiry date!!!) and keep it simple and you will have a festive feast and a healthy wallet!

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