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Listen to our latest episode!
Made at Home: Taste Buds on a Budget Series! Part 4: Entertaining
Join me as I partner with University of Georgia FCS agent Becca Stackhouse to bring
you a new food budgeting series. Learn ways to save money on food as you plan, shop,
prepare, and entertain!
by Katie Cullum
One of the things that I've missed most during this pandemic is getting together with
real, live people! I miss my small group on Sunday night (and our rotation of tacos,
sandwiches, casserole/soup, pasta). I miss potlucks, birthday celebrations, and having
people over for dinner. One day, I'm sure we'll be getting together again. And when
we do, I don't want to blow the budget on it! Maybe I've saved money by not entertaining,
but I'm sure we spent it all on snacks to eat at home!
Check out our newest video below.
I think I've suggested this before....because it is a very effective way to save money!
If you don't plan very well, you may decide that a shrimp and crab boil would be
fun. So you invite your friends, and start buying the stuff....and realize that this
may get out of hand. So PLAN.
Are you going to have a complete meal? Or maybe just appetizers? Maybe just some
snacks to munch on while watching the game? Or are you going to celebrate a birthday
with cake & ice cream? Or cake, ice cream, little smokies, vegetables, fruits, hot
dogs, etc.? Are you going to be outside or inside?
Make a plan first! And make sure your plan works for your budget.
One of the more expensive parts of entertaining is the main dish or protein. Prime
rib and fresh shrimp sounds really good, but is it in your budget?
Look for sales - check out sale flyers, social media for your local grocery stores,
and specials to get good deals on the protein.
Use inexpensive cuts of meat - low and slow can turn a tough cut into mouth-watering
BBQ. I like to cook kalua pork in my slow cooker - it's not too expensive per pound,
it's easy, and the slow cooker does most of the work while I get other things ready.
Especially after a pandemic, people will be ready to party and will probably ask you
what they can bring. So let them help! Potlucks help spread the cost around.
People also like to bring food that they eat. Lots of people have allergies, sensitivities, strong dislikes/likes, so bringing
a dish they can eat may be welcome!
You may be on budget with the protein, but what about drinks? If you serve alcohol,
the cost will definitely go up.
Depending on the event, could you use real glasses or your plastic cups instead of
buying disposable? Do you really need bottles of water or sodas, or could you serve
lemonade you mixed up? What about some infused water? I would really enjoy a healthy option!
Instead of buying ice at the last minute, use your icemaker! A few days ahead, empty
the icemaker into a bucket or bag in the freezer.
This tip is probably the best one besides Plan. Are you trying to impress everyone
with your Pinterest-worthy bash? Or do you just want to have fun with friends? You
don't really need 3 main dishes, 10 sides, and 5 desserts do you?
Keep it simple. Pick 1 main dish from what's on sale, 2-3 sides, and 1 dessert. That
should be sufficient!
DIY - cut up your own veggies instead of buying a big tray. You can use the leftovers
in a salad, omelets, egg muffins, casseroles, etc. And you got to pick what you like!
Guests may not need much entertaining. And they may not like games anyway. But it
wouldn't hurt to have a few board games available for inside, and some outdoor games
for the outside crew. Don't rush out and buy a bunch of games though - ask friends
or neighbors if you don't have much yourself.
You can probably do this yourself also! Again, keep it simple. No need to buy up
every shamrock for St. Patrick's Day.
Check out dollar stores for inexpensive decorations. I prefer to get solid colors
that can be used for multiple occasions. I got some red sheets on clearance - and
I use one for a Christmas tree skirt. I can use them as tablecloths for Christmas,
Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth, and more! Be flexible. Use what you
have - you can use pretty glasses or other stuff hanging out in the cabinets!
Keep clean up in mind. Do you need lots of trash bags? If you use all disposable
plates and cups, you may! If you use a mix of your everyday plates and glasses, maybe
not as many trash bags. Do you have a dishwasher? It wouldn't take long to wash your
dishes, and you'd have less trash and mess.
I hope this tips help you save a little money when you host your next bash!
1 Can Black Eyed Peas, drained1/3 cup Diced Green Onion1/3 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper1 Small Tomato, diced1/2 bunch Fresh Cilantro
3 tbps Lime Juice1 tsp Olive Oil1 tsp Salt free Seasoning1/4 tsp black pepper
If you missed one of the previous sessions, check them out below!
Made at Home: Taste Buds on a Budget - check out the whole series!
Part 1: Planning