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10 Ways to Save Money on Your Holiday Party

Entertaining makes me feel all warm and holiday-spirited inside, and there's something priceless about seeing so many people you care about enjoying each other's company. However, hosting holiday parties can become pricey if we don't plan properly and have trouble editing our party vision to make it more economical.

Because so many of us have the tendency to go all-out in the name of the season, The Wall Street Journal asked Sarah Carey, the food editor at Martha Stewart Living, for her advice on throwing a bash on a budget. Here are her helpful tips.

  1. Replace the formal sit-down dinner with buffets of simple but tasty appetizers and dishes.
  2. Go potluck — make one main dish and ask guests to contribute sides and desserts.
  3. Scan your cabinets, freezer and refrigerator and consider creating a menu around what you already have on-hand.
  4. Give yourself more than a few days to shop so you can scout coupons ahead of time.
  5. Scope out the dollar-store for everything from cheap spices and cake mixes, to wine glasses and paper products.

To see five more money-saving party tips,


  1. Look for gimmicks from major retailers that offer short-cuts and discounts. BJ's, for example, has put together a menu for 20 people that costs less than $100.
  2. Cook and prepare as much as you can yourself.
  3. Serve a special cocktail or drink rather than stocking a full bar.
  4. Use dishes instead of paper plates to save money.
  5. Find low-cost or free entertainment, like creating a holiday playlist on your iPod.

What are your hostess money-saving tips?


Join The Conversation
jadenirvana jadenirvana 7 years
I expected these ideas to be a bit more revolutionary coming from Martha Stewart. I say preserve the classic dinner party by doing a one-dish dinner like a stew or risotto, do tons of candles and a sexy homemade playlist on your ipod. Ask everyone to bring a wildflower or branch from their yard and make an impromptu centerpiece. Another thing I like to do is make homemade versions of party games. I made a home made version of the game Dirty Minds making up my own clues and it was a huge hit-it was fun to make and I probably saved myself about $40.
codewhiz codewhiz 8 years
My husband and I are having a party this month but it's not a holiday party, it's a reunion with our former colleagues who got laid off like me. We'll order food from a favorite chicken eatery and a centerpiece that will double as dessert. We will buy the beverages from CVS and we're borrowing chairs and supplies from my dad. For entertainment we will still play our Christmas CDs along with my homemade "hobo dance party" mix which I got the idea from the L.A. Times. :P
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
BYOB is always a cool party, where everyone brings a bottle of wine to share, it is like a wine tasting! :)
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
The dollar store is an EXCELLENT will literally be surprised at the stuff you find there. The single specialty cocktail is a really great idea too.
seryscarlett seryscarlett 8 years
Make a punch instead of serving a variety of cocktails. Go with inexpensive wine from Trader Joes. You can always just pour red wine into a decanter and no one will be the wiser. Look for "party kegs" or "minikegs". You can find lots of great German beers in minikegs (Warsteiner, Monschoff, etc).
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
these are some good ideas. i always think about the cooking shows that show you great things that you can make with the RANDOM stuff that's in your cabinets - that could really make for some good apps if you have the imagination.
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