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Frugal Entertaining

I love to entertain. I enjoy having people into my home. I enjoy the cooking, the serving, the conversations, and even the clean up.

So often we use the excuses that we are too busy, our house is not clean enough, or we don’t have the money in the budget. I am as guilty as any of using these excuses, but if we wait for the right time, a clean house, or enough money for a gourmet meal, then we will end up never having people into our homes.

I can’t come clean your house or give you more time, but I can give you tips and ideas to entertain without spending a lot of money.

Keep It Simple

  • You do not have to plan a gourmet feast or a five course meal.
  • When entertaining I usually serve meals buffet style. This makes it much easier and gives it a more casual feel than a sit down meal. People don’t expect buffet style to be fancy.
  • It is okay to use a variety of  serving dishes and silverware. Use what you have, no one will care.

Serve Mexican Food

  • Mexican food is one of my favorite things to serve a large group of people.
  • Mexican food is easy to serve buffet style.
  • It is usually a frugal meal to serve.
  • Mexican Food usually involves beans and rice. Beans and rice are cheap to buy and make.
  • It is easy to set out a variety of Mexican foods that will satisfy anyone.
  • I recently set up a Mexican buffet of make our own burrito bowl/taco salad. I served my cilantro rice, seasoned beans, Mexican pork, salsa, chips, and a few other things. Everyone loved it because they could pick and choose what they wanted.
  • Mexican food can easily be adapted to whatever meat you have or whatever is on sale. If chicken is on sale, use chicken. If ground beef is on sale, make taco meat.

Serve Only Dessert

  • It is much cheaper to feed a lot of people dessert than it is a whole meal.
  • Make a few cakes, trifles, or cookies, and set up a dessert buffet. You can easily serve a large group of people without spending a lot of money.
  • Root beer floats are one of my favorite summertime desserts to serve when I have people over. Not only is it inexpensive to buy pop and ice cream, it is so easy. All I have to do is set everything out and everyone can make their own.

Make It Potluck Style

  • Just because you are having people into your home, does not mean that you have to do all the work. When we have large groups of people over from church, or are hosting a picnic, I almost always have people bring some of the food.
  • Entertaining potluck style makes it so that no one person is having to buy or prepare all the food.

Think Outside The Box

  • Don’t get stuck in thinking you have to entertain a certain way.
  • Invite people over for a Saturday lunch or brunch.
  • Serve breakfast for dinner. I know this one might sound strange, but breakfast is one of the most inexpensive meals to serve. Why not serve it to your friends and family? I have a friend who has served pancakes when they have invited people over spur of the moment. She did not have anything else to serve, so she served what she had. It has worked great and everyone enjoyed it.

What are your tips for frugal entertaining?

This post linked to Frugal Fridays.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Everything is potluck style at our house! Guests always ask “what can I bring?”so I started assigning things. Everyone loves to contribute and it makes hostessing much easier.

    We love the ‘build your own taco/burrito/bowl’ for entertaining. It’s a breeze to have gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free, and/or kids over when they get to pick and choose for themselves.

  2. Susan in KY says

    When I last had our ladies group from church over, I served breakfast for supper dishes. I had the overnight sausages casseroles, Paula Deens Hasbrown Quiche, fresh fruit and a lemon blueberry trifle. It was a BIG hit. They liked it so much I am doing it again for a purse swap we are having in May.

  3. I love your article, I teach these same concepts when I go to work… I sell Pampered Chef. I noticed your deep covered baker~ 🙂 love it!!!
    I never thought of blogging them~ Great job!!!

    PS- did you know there is a Facebook Fan page for the Deep Covered Baker with a TON of recipes?

  4. Great tips and advice! Oh my holy dessert does that look heavenly!! I am going to have to share this one with my readers and fans. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Those are great ideas! I especially like the breakfast food for dinner idea.
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..beat the budget! – week 12 and week 13 PLUS BUDGET QUESTION ANSWERED =-.

  6. A pizza party is quite popular and inexpensive.

  7. I love a potluck – I love to eat other’s contributions. Great tips, I have never thought of the breakfast for dinner (although we have it ourselves).
    .-= Christy´s last blog ..L is for Library =-.

  8. Great tips!

    I love to make roast in the crock pot with potatoes and carrots and seasoning for the family.When we have someone over, I fill two crockpots and then buy bakery bread (or make homemade). Fruit layered in a trifle bowl with pound cake cut into cubes and coolwhip makes a quick, easy (and inexpensive) dessert!

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