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Having friends and family over from near and far, especially if you’ve been away from each other for quite a while is one of those times worth looking forward to. There’s no doubt that lavish get-togethers are fun, memorable and enjoyable.
Sadly enough, the same can’t be said about the behind-the-scenes expenditures involved. Most of us will absentmindedly go out of our way to ensure that we give our guests a one-of-a-kind reception.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to entertain guests in style without breaking the bank and working within your budget.
1. Decorate Your Living Room for Less
The first thing that catches the eye of anyone who steps into your living room is your style. Here is where all the action happens. There’s no denying that the constant wear and tear makes our living room look old-fashioned, drab and in need of some serious sprucing.
In the context of our small budgets and busy lives, it gets hard at times to make one or two alterations to our living room setup. Here’s where cheap, small tweaks come in handy. There are several ways to freshen up the decor within your living room without spending large sums of your hard-earned money.
Add Some Greens To Your Room
Going green not only adds color to your living room but a touch of nature as well. Concerning style, plants add in a splash of coolness and classiness depending on the spaces they occupy in the room.
For best results, strategically position them in dark corners with a lamp on top. The light will ensure your plant lives while simultaneously resulting in a stylish corner arrangement.
Change Your Living Room’s Color Scheme
Bringing out the colors in any room is the most natural and most affordable means of redecorating it. Only pick out a bright color scheme that is entirely different from what it was initially.
If you prefer a more professional theme, match and mix 2-3 colors. Use dull colors to accent specific areas of the room or paint one wall an entirely different color.
Add a Couple of Decorative Pieces of Artwork
Among the most affordable methods of decorating your room is through artwork. You don’t necessarily have to purchase expensive artwork when you can create it yourself. Awaken your artistic side with a few designs of your choosing.
If you’re not so much into art, assemble a collage of dry flowers, leaves or pictures that will have an appealing look once you frame the whole thing. If you want to create a tapestry-like wall hanging, mount artistic pieces of cushion covers or fabrics.
Don’t Neglect Your Floors
For most people, changing their drab or dull carpeting or tile layout is a costly move. The more reason to just let your floor be, right? Wrong. Give your living room floors a new lease of color and life at almost no cost at all.
Depending on your living room’s theme and your initial budget, there is a wide range of affordable floor coverings to choose from. Purchase your preferred coating and roll it out strategically across your living room. Just be sure to leave your floor more radiant than it was before.
Get Your Upholstery Changed
While adding to your collection of furniture can be a headache in terms of costs, you can get your upholstery changed for significantly less. Your old, worn-out sofas will look rejuvenated once more at a fraction of the price it would have taken to purchase new furniture.
If you can’t afford an expert to do this for you, go on and shop around for new cushion covers, shawls, and throws that match or come close to your living room’s theme color. What matters most is your desired style.
Make Your Living Room Spacious
You probably have a small living room that has space than it has now. Lucky for you, there’s a simple trick you can use to add an illusion of extra space in your living room. A few mirrors on the wall are a great option as compared to wrecking walls. By placing them in a precise, strategic spot, you might end up taking second glances at your living room’s actual size.
Make Florals a Thing of the Past
Flowers are known to take a big chunk of one’s budget. Therefore, you might want to consider platters instead of flowers. You could try out edible flowers and fresh herbs that you can place in classy yet affordable vases.
They can as well be used as a garnish on platters that will look stunning without having to attend to them at night. The presentation is key! Place these eye-catching beauties strategically in communal areas within your living room.
2. Keep the Victuals As Simple as Possible
Your choice of food and drinks (victuals) should give you a triple win by saving you time, money and stress.
Of course, there’s no problem whatsoever in preparing fancy meals or spending heftily on gourmet food if it’s well within your reach. Just keep in mind that your guests won’t think any less of you if you served tasty yet straightforward choices.
Just go for any food that is ideal for a large crowd. Think hot dogs on the grill, big chilli pots, spaghetti, tacos – budget foods that are sure to appeal to everyone on your guest list.
For dinner, there are thousands of easy-to-make recipes on the web. Common ones include steak and chips pie, lobster mac & cheese, and truffle chicken with potato gratin.
The best place to buy ingredients and necessities such as plates, cutlery or glasses in bulk would be at warehouse stores. If there’s one within your area, check to see if they offer a day pass if you don’t have a membership.
If there’s none, make the smart move and ask your colleagues at work or friends in the neighborhood if they have a membership. They might likely let you shop with them if they have a membership.
Before shopping, it’s good to be aware of your guests’ probable preferences or allergies ahead of time to accommodate them the best way you know how. If for one reason or another, they need a costly diet, they will probably bring along their own food.
Food and drinks shouldn’t stress you out if your guests are fully satisfied with your company. Just make them feel comfortable by entertaining and engaging them. Make them feel special and you’ll be surprised at how everything will fall into place.
3. Consider Using Promotional Passes and Coupons
Who said that guests are to be received only at home? Even though it’s the ideal place, you can break the monotony by choosing an alternative, budget-friendly venue. Here’s where promotional passes and coupons come in.
It is advisable to start looking for special offers and coupons for local attractions about a week before your guests’ arrival. One well-known source would be the annual Entertainment Book that is put up for sale as a fundraiser. Aside from this, there are tons of sites on the web that have stunning attractions for your guests’ reception.
There are a few companies that offer their employees free passes or discount tickets to entertainment venues and local attractions. It won’t hurt to check with your HR rep if your company provides similar or better deals for employees.
You can also consider the free attractions. A hike through the woods or a picnic at a nearby park will make your guests feel truly welcome. Fun doesn’t have to be costly. Using your available resources, coupons and special offers, you can give your guests the perfect reception that they very well deserve.
For your safety, avoid excessive scheduling; it is expensive as it is exhausting. Be sure to also include plenty of downtimes.
4. Host a Frugal Game/Movie Night
Humans are naturally sociable life forms that always need to interact. That is why at every social gathering there has to be a light source of entertainment. You don’t have to break the bank for your guests to have a memorable time at your party.
There are plenty of ways you can be frugal when choosing the activities you would want your guests to engage themselves in. Party games have always been the best way to bring people together. From no-frills, easy fun to entertaining electronics, the list is endless.
One of the ways to do this is by playing board games. Whether you’re more of a Scrabble or Monopoly fan, board games have been known to be an entertaining and frugal way to connect with friends and family since time immemorial.
If you don’t own a personal collection of board games, there’s no harm in asking your guests to bring along the fun. This will help your guests relax, connect and enjoy their worthwhile visit at no cost at all.
An alternative activity you can engage your guests in is hosting a memorable film night that will not be a ho-hum get-together but a must-attend event. If you know your guests on a personal level, then you probably know the kind of movies they’re into. Rent a reasonable number of movies that they are sure to love and let the fun begin!
You could also provide some treats or pop some corn to give them a viewing experience that they’ll be sure to look back on years from now.
5. Reach Out to Your Guests for Assistance
Sure, no man is an island. You’re most likely going to be short-handed throughout your preparation process. The best thing you can do at this point is to be upfront with some or all of your guests about how much you can you can afford to cater to them.
If you’re going to need financial assistance before their visit, go ahead and outline a couple of foods or items you would like them to take care of. Rather than put yourself under critical financial strain and end up resenting your guests, be honest and open about the situation.
Asking for assistance from your guests shouldn’t always have to be about funding the party. You might have no experience in changing your sofas’ upholstery and among your guests is a friend or relative who can do it themselves or refer you to someone they know. This kind of help in other places around the house can go a long way into making your party a success.
Though it may be difficult admitting that you don’t have the money to throw an elegant party, it pays to put your weak spots out in the open.
As long as you’re genuine and sincere about your tough-to-handle predicament, you’ll be surprised at the positive response you will get from your guests. Most won’t mind spending a few dollars, and some will be comfortable taking care of one or two other things in the preparation process.
6. Pay Close Attention to Your Home’s Amenities
You may spend so much time in the living room and completely forget about other places in your home. Here are some of the issues you should keep in mind when handling your home’s amenities:
The no. 1 room you should focus on after the living room is the restroom. Ensure that it’s squeaky clean, most especially in spots that are not visible right off the bat: beneath the toilet seat, underneath the sink and in the tub for example.
Do your best to keep it stocked with liquid hand wash and toilet papers; to make sure you’re fully prepared, you may want to purchase items such as these in bulk. Items bought in bulk cost way less compared to buying them sparingly.
Stain Removal Supplies
Whenever too many people are gathered in a single room, accidents spills can happen at any time. Be sure to have your favorite stain removal supplies in hand. You don’t have to go shopping for cleaning tools you won’t use anyway.
Just get the essential tools such as a double-duty stick, microfiber cloths, a steam mop, and a scrub brush. If you can afford every other cleaning tools, by all means, go for it.
Clear Out Your Closet
Rather than hiring a carpenter to design and build a new closet specifically for your guests, just transfer your coats and clothes to your suitcase – or anywhere else you dim fit. You may find that most of your guests are not in the habit of tossing their bags and coats on the bed. This is why you should make room in your closet just in case.
Make Sure Your Thermostat is Fully Functional
Bear in mind that the more the individuals in one room, the stuffier the air is bound to get. This applies especially in close quarters. When the weather is chilly, on the other hand, your guests will need to be warm. Check to ensure that your thermostat is working just fine before the main event. If it’s not, you have ample time to repair it, rather than buying a new one when your house is fully packed with guests.
7. Consider The Cost Of What You’ll Wear
‘Dress to impress’ is a timeless phrase that has been used in social or professional gatherings. Some of us, however, take this phrase to a whole new level.
Pop culture and ever-changing trends have gotten the best of us to the point that we can swipe our credit cards every day of the week for the latest fashion trends.
When you know you’re expecting guests, you’ll typically want to splurge on Berluti shoes and Lululemon clothes. Well, you really don’t have to especially if you’re living a frugal life.
If your guests are people you know, then they already know your style of dressing. Dressing to impress them will only hurt your wallet eventually.
To make it easy on your end, you could use everyday outfits from your closet to make stylish clothes. The internet is awash with tips and DIY tutorials to transforming your worn-out khaki jeans to designer pants or your faded, tattered t-shirt to a Forever 21 blouse.
Whatever you do, keep your outfit simple and simple is always elegant. If you feel you have to upgrade your look, a few new accessories will do the trick. Otherwise, stick to what you’re comfortable with, and you’ll be stunning in whatever outfit you’ll decide to wear when hosting your guests.
8. Thinking Alcohol? Think Again
The party costs can spiral with alcohol in the mix. What makes this such a slippery slope is the fact that different people have different preferences when it comes to the choices of drinks.
If you try to purchase alcohol to fit all your guests’ tastes, you risk spending way more than you planned to. You can, alternatively, get a little creative with booze. Rather than providing a full bar, offer a couple of mixers such as soda and juice and pick out a few staple liquors.
On the invitations (if you will have any), notify your guests the kind of alcohol you’ll be serving. If they have an alternative taste in mind, encourage them to carry their own beverage.
Alternatively, if you’ll be throwing a themed party and you’re looking for something to fit the bill, look no further than a signature drink. Mix up a themed cocktail and whip up something special for everyone.
This will not only save on costs but also allow you to step aside from the bartender role all night at your own party.
9. There’s No Need for a Professional DJ
To get the ideal music entertainment, you don’t need to set aside jaw-dropping amounts of money for a DJ who will only perform for half an hour. What should you do instead?
Spotify has a unique app known as Festify that gives your guests control over the music playlist using nothing more than their smartphones. To do this, you will create a new party in a browser of your choice.
To create a party, you need nothing more than a stable internet connection and your Spotify Premium account login details. Once you fill this in, you will get a code referred to as a ‘party code’.
Your guests will go on to enter the party code you received in their mobile browsers, (only works with Firefox and Chrome) and get a list of tracks. They will then have to vote to decide the tracks to be played.
The tracks with the most votes will make it to the overall playlist. You can control Festify via your Smartphone using your log in details. You will have privileges such as pausing, skipping and deleting tracks from the queue.
The good thing about Festify is that there is a wide range of tracks for parties of any kind (1,000,000+). Having a backyard barbeque? Some pop and country hits will do the trick.
10. Have a Predetermined Budget
To cap it all up, it’s vital that you have a clear, predetermined budget. Without this, you’ll end up spending too much on a single aspect of the party (e.g. drinks) and spare insufficient money on significant components such as decor.
Begin by determining the average amount you intend on spending on the party as a whole. Go ahead and divide the items into various categories like entertainment, invitations, decor, food etc.
You will need to set a somewhat realistic limit to each of the categories you make. Do this using either pen and paper or most preferably, Excel Spreadsheet. Tick out every item you purchase to keep close track of every expense.
In a Nutshell
More often than not, planning the best party comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on caterers, DJs or event planners. Hosting guests in style doesn’t have to be such a costly affair.
If you pay little attention to the dollar factor, your evening of wine and dine will be all worth it in the end – even with little preparation. With a mix of proper planning and creativity, you can leave a lasting impression of your frugal party in your guests’ minds with these cost-effective yet straightforward tips.