As we move on and up in life, the desire for some quality time with friends becomes more important. That doesn’t mean we all have hundreds of dollars to spend on fancy candles for the table or expensive cuts of meat, though. We’ve pulled together a few ideas for throwing a classy and inexpensive dinner party for under $50.
Don’t make the classic mistake of forgetting to include incidental costs for an event! If you don’t have 6 full sets of plates, flatware (aka utensils) and cups, you’ll need to budget in costs for disposable versions. The bulk of your money will be going toward food, but if you’re able to round it all out with a few dollars to spare then a few flowers might not go amiss.
Whether it’s the offer to bring a bottle of wine or a side dish, don’t be so quick to turn down an offer for help with your dinner party. Guests often feel most comfortable when they feel like they can contribute to an event. The same goes for an offer to help cook. Extra hands in the kitchen means you get to avoid pricey convenience items in favor of more flavorful and inexpensive versions from scratch. It can be a blast to cook with friends, too.
Meat and meat products can be downright expensive, depending on where you live. While it’s not universally the case the vegetarian versions of classic dishes, such as black bean enchiladas or veggie stews, will be the cheaper option — you can often get by with a much smaller grocery bill. Just remember to have filling ingredients, such as rice or starchy vegetables and a healthy fat sauce.
Use What You’ve Got
Before you dive into planning your menu, take stock of what your kitchen already has. Do you have plenty of leftover garam masala from a recent weeknight recipe? Or maybe there’s some chicken sitting in your freezer. Using these as the basis for your dinner party will save you a few bucks and can even inspire you toward a fun theme for the evening with friends.
Don’t let your desire for a tighter budget perpetually keep you from hanging out with friends and loved ones. There are plenty of ways to balance being the perfect host while keeping your bank accounts happy.