Throw A Smarter Summer Party

As a host, there can be a lot of pressure to throw a fun party, and that often pushes people to spend a lot just to keep up with the last fun party they attended. The reality is that you can throw an entertaining party with all of your friends without spending a lot -- if you're smart about it.

  1. Set a budget. Set a budget of how much you want to spend on a party. The simple act of setting a budget, and sticking to it, will force you to make trade-offs and avoid feeling like you should offer the finest food and drinks.
  2. Use invitation tools. An accurate guest count means fewer leftovers and less wasted food -- both of which are enemies of the budget-conscious host. Why buy food for 30 when you will only have 20 people attending?
  3. Take advantage of your guests' generosity. When you invite your friends over for a party, what's the first thing they ask? "What should I bring?" Take advantage of it!
  4. Keep the food simple. Try to avoid dishes with a lot of ingredients or require a lot of preparation time. Fewer ingredients means fewer items to buy, and simplicity means you can spend more time with your friends, rather than spending time making them food.
  5. Stockpile during sales. Hot dogs and hamburgers seem to always be on sale at the grocery store -- until the week of your party. Stock up on favorites whenever they go on sale, and remember to pull them out of the freezer a day before your cookout.
  6. Skip disposables as much as possible. Paper plates, plastic utensils and other disposables make cleaning up a lot faster, but they cost more than washing your own dishes. Use as many regular plates and utensils as you can, and supplement with disposable items.

(More at Yahoo!)

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