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Money Tips: Elegant Holiday Entertaining for Less

Money Tips: Elegant Holiday Entertaining for Less

Are you excited about entertaining friends and family this holiday season but worrying about how you’ll keep your guests jolly on a limited budget?  Fret no more!  Whether you have been the host with the most for years, or this is your first time taking on a holiday get-together, by following some simple tips, you can serve up a chic yet affordable holiday celebration that guests will be sure to remember for years to come.

10 Tips for a Frugal & Festive Holiday Soiree

  1. Look for sales at your favorite grocery stores.  During the season, holiday foods and related items are priced to sell.  Also, most food markets have bonus/rewards cards.  Once you accumulate a certain number of points you can redeem free holiday merchandise like turkeys, hams, or vegetable lasagnas.
  2. Clip coupons.  Look in your Sunday paper and online for money-saving coupons.  Check out sites like and  Some stores also offer a significant discount of $20 or $25 simply for switching your prescriptions over from your existing pharmacy to theirs.  If you don’t mind switching, this is a simple way to quickly pick up some extra cash for the grocery store.
  3. Accept helpful offers.  When family members and friends ask if they can bring something to your gathering, take them up on it.  If they suggest a specific dish, go with the flow.  If they are open to suggestions, provide a specific idea for something you know you might need such as an extra appetizer or dessert.
  4. Shop at warehouse stores like BJs and Costco.  Here you can stock up on things such as baking needs and beverages like water and soft drinks.  These items are often specially priced at this time of year as well.
  5. Make things from scratch instead of buying prepared foods.  Bake your own desserts rather than visiting your favorite bakery - you could save up to 50% on things like pies and cookies.  Make your own appetizer trays such as cheese, crudité, and fruit rather than buying them ready-made – they are relatively easy to prepare and the mark-up on store-bought versions is high.
  6. Make a list of your guests and don’t overbuy.  Be realistic about how many people you will have and how much they eat or don’t eat.  Wasted food is the most expensive kind. 
  7. Keep it simple.  Avoid making too many different things – a menu inspired by the “less is more” theory is often more elegant while being less expensive and less stressful.  Focus on a few dishes that you know how to prepare well, rather than trying out ten new creations.
  8. Find holiday cheer for less.  During this time of merry, wine and spirit stores offer special holiday buys for your eggnog, punch bowl, or champagne toast.
  9. Go with a traditional tablescape.  Although we’ve become accustomed to using paper, plastic, and Styrofoam plates and cutlery over the years, in light of today’s green efforts, the holidays are a perfect time to break out the good china and silverware.  You’ll avoid spending money on paper goods while also doing a good deed by creating less waste for the environment. 
  10. Go with organic holiday décor.  Rely on the natural elements outside of your door.  Collect some twigs and pine cones or a few sprigs of holly from your backyard, coupled with a scented candle and some fresh seasonal flowers from your local nursery.  Voila - festive trimmings for under $10!

Even while cutting costs you can host a fabulous holiday fiesta that is sure to impress your guests.  Enjoy planning and throwing your cost conscious holiday party this season by keeping it smart, simple, and spirited!

By Cyndi Cohen
Published December 16, 2011
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