This idea has really started to resonate with me. After a Christmas party that carried a nearly $20/head charge, the Super Bowl, and my birthday coming up, entertaining has just been on my mind. I try to stay away from entertaining as a topic here because there are many excellent blogs that cover it. However, I did want to make this post.
So from personal experience I can say that parties are expensive. Buying food, wine, beer, and cocktails can cost hundreds of dollars before party favors or plastic china (you know, the good stuff). These tips will help control the costs and make the party fun.
1. Do Not Be Afraid to Have a Liquor Potluck
Unless the cook has a reputation as a wine collector or beer expert, she should not be afraid to ask others to bring the booze. This eases the financial burden on the cook and scratches off at least one store from her errand list. More importantly, it lets others take a role in the party. Guests that enjoy wine or have a favorite beer or mix a great cocktail are more than happy to share their passion. Also, having others share their liquor will broaden everyone’s alcohol horizons.
2. Make the Expensive Items
While it okay to buy from the store, sometimes this is not always the best strategy. If a home cook can prepare a dish more cheaply than it can be purchased (barbecued items are a good example) the cook should strongly consider making it rather than buying it.
3. Leave Healthy at the Store
A party is a time to eat junk food, fried foods, and desserts; all of those things that most people eschew during the normal work week. This means that the party host does not need to worry about buying the best organic produce, reduced fat cheeses, or leaner cuts of meat. All of these things cost money though their absence will scarcely be missed by partygoers.
4. Buy in Bulk
In larger cities, most cooks know someone who has a wholesale club membership or have one themselves. Because the cook is preparing food for a large number of people, this is the ideal to use those memberships. If such a store is not available, the cook should still try to buy things is as large of cans as possible to lower the per unit cost. Lastly, depending on the store, the cook may be able to negotiate a lower price on a larger order.
5. It is Okay to Limit the Wow
While it is generally good to have one or two signature dishes at a party, not everything needs to be made with filet, lobster, and shrimp. Sometimes the best dishes are the cheapest.