A frugal guide to entertaining at home
Written by Zehra Abbas

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Have you ever felt guilty about socializing? Have you ever wanted to enjoy the weekend with loved ones but couldn't because you didn't want to feel poor come Monday?

Or maybe it's your turn to host, and because of your bank balance, you feel awkward about having to put a budget on valuable and necessary time with family and friends?

We want to make sure we have time to spend with loved ones, regardless of how many bills have piled up, so here are some ideas on how to host delightful events on a tight budget.

Host a game night

Pick the right games and your guests may be weeping with laughter while creating lifelong memories. Ask everyone to bring their favourite board games, or use free apps, since there are plenty of options available on your phone or tablet.

For our last game night, we played a new game my friend had downloaded on his phone. Soon enough, we were jumping around in excitement and rolling around in laughing fits. Many affordable card games can also be highly entertaining. Even with a basic set of cards, you can still be entertained for hours. Or go for a classic game that only requires a pen and paper, like charades. Find the right games and you're all set!

Plan a group hike

A nature walk costs nothing and feels great. To save money on food, ask everyone to make sandwiches and snacks the group can share.

Open mic

Organize it at your home and make it clear that it's a safe space for sharing poetry, a song, a story, or a thought so everyone can be involved. And why not make food "interactive"? You can make your own pizzas or tacos, which only requires pita bread or taco shells, canned sauce presented in a nice bowl, grated cheese, and some basic veggie toppings.

Paint night

Dollar stores carry basic art supplies, including a huge variety of acrylic paint colours, brushes, and canvases. Ask friends to be green and bring what they have in their art boxes at home. Get creative with leftover ribbons, lace, or even leaves, branches and other items found in nature.

Host a contest

Stir up a bit of friendly competition like hosting pumpkin carving, making ornaments, drawing, or a chef/cooking contest. These get-togethers are sure to be fun and memorable.

Book or clothing swap

An item-swapping event is a great way to bring friends together, and everyone walks away with something they could use. It's great for the environment, too!

Host a themed food party

Set a theme based on a type of cuisine, or maybe something tied to pop culture. Ask your friends to bring their favourites and cook a few new recipes together.

Set a very simple menu for any gathering in your home

You can keep things simple by sticking to 2 appetizers, 1 salad, 1 main, and 1 dessert. One way of keeping it affordable is to create a menu using ingredients that you already have at home or that you can get for a reasonable price. The internet is full of free recipes that use budget menu items like homemade hummus served with carrots or toasted pita, pasta with a simple sauce and frozen veggies, or spinach salad with added seeds and dried cranberries.

Armed with these ideas, you can organize plenty of events that please your guests without busting your budget!

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