Hosting for the Holidays…without Going Broke

by Pressy Long, CFP® on Thursday November 02, 2023
Posted in Category: Budgeting
Tagged with : ,

Shocked Young Woman Checking Grocery Bills In Kitchen

The holiday season can be a magical time of year filled with warmth, laughter, and, of course, holiday gatherings. If you’re a brave soul hosting this year, those holiday meals can come with some significant holiday bills and a fair amount of stress.

So, what can you do to create a memorable experience without breaking the bank?

Glad you asked! Here are some tips to host like a pro while maintaining financial discipline along the way.

Set a budget: Depending on your research, the average cost of a Thanksgiving feast will tip the scales between $150 and $200. If you’re like me and enjoy a festive beverage with dinner, that average can be even higher. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your holiday gathering and stick to it. A good rule is to estimate $15-$20 per guest, although your costs will vary. When budgeting, remember quality over quantity. It’s better to serve a few solid dishes and provide a welcoming atmosphere than to overextend your budget on extravagant or an excessive number of dishes that can lead to stress. Consider DIY decorations to save money and plan activities that require minimal spending like board games and at-home holiday movies.

Shop smart: Create a detailed shopping list based on your menu and stick to it to avoid falling for impulse purchases. Take advantage of sales, discounts, and coupons to stretch your dollar further.  Consider the commissary for cost-effective bulk purchases and take advantage of promotions and store loyalty programs. Remember, every dollar counts. ‘Tis the season for savings!

Solicit side dishes: Encourage your guests to bring their favorite side dish, dessert, or beverage. If you have family in town, especially little ones, involve them in the cooking process. Cooking can be an entertaining activity for guests of all ages. If cooking isn’t their thing, remember my mom’s favorite quote, “This house isn’t going to clean itself.”

Savor and celebrate: Enjoy the rewards of your hard work! Take time to engage with your guests, share stories, and celebrate the holiday spirit together. Finally, sit down and savor the delicious food you’ve prepared and create some lasting memories.

Hosting a holiday gathering is an opportunity to showcase your skills in planning, budgeting, and leadership and it can be a rewarding experience. By planning and budgeting wisely in advance, you’ll not only create a memorable gathering but also ensure that you can enjoy the season without worrying about financial stress. So, get ready to host the holiday celebration of a lifetime!


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