How to Be the Host With the Most and Spend the Least

Are you the designated party planner and all-the-time host in your group of family and friends? Perhaps you just have the gift of hospitality, or maybe everybody just enjoys being in your home. Whatever the reason you find yourself inviting folks over on a regular basis, you can be the host with the most while staying on budget. Here are a few ways to cut back so you can kick back and have a great time.

1. Plan a Seasonal Menu Using What's on Sale

Every get-together must have food — because that's really what people are coming over for — and you'll do your wallet a favor by planning a seasonal menu based on what's on sale at the supermarket. Once you identify your cost-savings ingredients, enter them into a recipe-by-ingredient search engine to find easy-to-make dishes using what you have on hand.

2. Skip Traditional Invitations in Favor of Evites

I haven't sent out formal invitations in years. Even my wedding invitations were evites. And you'll save a bundle by inviting your guests via Evite or Facebook. The benefit of using these services is threefold: You'll save on materials and postage (a real budget killer), the RSVP process is just one click, and you can add descriptive details that paper invitations prohibit due to lack of space. The money you'll save is better spent elsewhere, like on desserts or adult drinks — the two things everybody enjoys the most at a party.

3. Host the Party Outside of Your Home for Easier Cleanup

The biggest downside to hosting a party is the cleanup. Dirty dishes all over the place, plus overflowing trash from all the throwaway plates and utensils can really put a damper on an otherwise special day. You'll save yourself a lot of after-party hassle by planning an event outside of your home — like in a park or public pavilion — so at the end of the event, you can just gather everything in the disposable tablecloth, throw it in the trash, and get on with your day.

4. Plan the Party for a Time of Day That Requires Less Food and Alcohol

It's basic logic — plan a party at nighttime and you'll have to buy much more food than you would at, say, lunchtime, or during a time where people are between meals. For instance, you can get away with crudite and fruit trays, a cheese plate, crackers, and a dessert at a party from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., but you'll need more substantial options, like meatballs, wings, and sandwiches (which are expensive, by the way!) for a party hosted anytime from 5 p.m. on. Plan wisely to catch people full from a regular meal to save.

5. Turn Your Event Into a Potluck

Reduce all those hours in the kitchen preparing food for your guests by turning your party into a potluck. Great guests always want to bring the host a gift anyway, so this helps alleviate that pressure. To pull this off without a whole lot of stress, create a list of dishes and allow your guests to claim which one they'll make. This allows people to choose their specialties, or if they have none, the choice to buy a decent store-bought version.

6. Get More Mileage Out of Your Alcohol With Club Soda

Unless all your friends are sober, they'll expect some sort of alcohol at your gathering. It's helps people relax, too, so the party will be livelier when you serve booze. To make your alcohol go the extra mile, prepare a signature cocktail in a pitcher beforehand so you can monitor how much alcohol is going in. You also can take money-saving blogger Karen Hoxmeier's advice by serving wine spritzer with one cup of wine, a half cup of club soda, Sprite, or 7-Up.

7. Make Your Event BYOB

Another way to cut back on the cost of the alcohol you're supplying is to make the shindig BYOB. So you don't come off as being a cheapskate, apply some logic to this decision.'s chief cocktail officer Trisha Antonsen advises to share the menu in advance and ask people to bring a wine or beer pairing of their choice. "Alcohol can be one of the most expensive aspects of the meal," she says. "Asking people to find a pairing saves you money on the host end."

L.A.-based event planner Jenn Infanto adds, "When hosting a themed event, like Oktoberfest, I love to have my guests BYOBeer from local breweries to create a 'bottle share.'"

Additionally, this is a great way to get people involved in the party and create conversations once they've arrived. Plus, everyone will have something to drink that they like while sharing their favorites with others.

8. Stay on Top of Climate Control

It's important to make sure most guests are comfortable, temperature-wise, during your event. While you can't please everybody — somebody is always too hot or too cold no matter how temperate the room is — you can do a few things to ensure an even temperature throughout the party by opening windows, turning off heat-making appliances like the oven, or adjusting the thermostat as you go along. Or, if you're tech savvy, install a self-adjusting thermostat such as the Lyric WiFi Thermostat from Honeywell. It uses geofencing technology to adjust your heating and cooling system to the ideal temperature when you're home, turning off when you're gone, and powering back up when it senses you're coming back.

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Hosting Christmas this year? Want to do throw a party thats budget friendly and cheap! Here are the tips and ideas on how you can be an amazing host, but spend the least. Frugal holidays here we come! | #moneysaving #frugalliving #hosting

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