Monday, 26 January 2009

Entertaining on a Budget!


Notes From The Frugal Trenches

In my last post I discussed how I have slashed my grocery bill by 75% while continuing to eat a mostly organic diet high in fruits & veg! My backward menu planning has really helped. One question I get asked a lot is how do I afford to entertain while only spending a maximum of £15 approx $20 US a week on food. So I decided to follow on from my last post, I'd address this here. Here are my top 5 tips for entertaining frugally!

1. My weekly budget is £15, but most weeks I only spend around £13 or so. I put the extra money left into a jar marked entertaining. This means that I can afford to buy extra things when I have people coming to stay or am hosting a dinner. I'm amazed at how quickly it adds up!

2. When I find things on sale that would last or can be frozen, I will use whatever money I have left in the weekly budget to do this or dip into my entertaining fund. For example this week I found Feta Cheese 1/2 off, so I checked the dates and all were able to be eaten up to April. I purchased 3 and now will be making Greek Soup (uses spinach and feta cheese) for the next lot of company as well as make a greek salad to take to a lunch I am going to.

3. I try to always have a fresh homemade batch of soup in the freezer and homemade scones or rolls I've found on sale plus something homemade & sweet (like a cake or homemade truffles) and homemade pasta sauce frozen. This means when a friend pops in for a meal or tea and I don't have much in (often the case the day before shopping day) I'm not tempted to say we should order pizza or go out!

4. While I'm vegetarian (although had to go back to eating meat this week!) I will occasionally serve meat to friends, however I do not see meat as the main ingredient, it is just one of the types of food being served. For example, if I made chicken I would serve it with a veggie, salad and a carb. Large portions of meat are really not necessary.

5.If friends offer to bring something, I'm happy to say yes! I do the same when I am invited, often bringing a dessert or salad etc. Sharing the cost means entertaining becomes less stressful and more enjoyable!

Using these tactics, I've been able to have friends over for a meal at least once a week without going over budget. In fact I recently had a friend stay for a week and I still spent the same amount on food!

Do you have any good tips to share?