We've been a one income family for most of our marriage and I know what it is like to have to get by with what some people would consider an unreasonably small grocery budget. And I know what it is like to spend your last 12 bucks on eggs and rice just to get through to pay day. And I don't want to pretend for a minute that finances aren't a very real barrier to entertaining and hospitality. But I do want to encourage us all to rethink what hospitality looks like and to find ways to fit it into the budget when possible. Here are some practical ways we entertain on a budget:
1) Serve soup and bread. A homemade soup and some good bread (maybe homemade?) can feed a crowd on the cheap and is a cozy chance to gather around the table and build connections over good food!
2) Host a potluck. Split the cost of a get together with your guests by each contributing a dish. Not only is it thrifty, it's a casual and low stress crowd pleaser.
3) Extend an evening invite for snacks or dessert. Why not have friends over for popcorn and board games? Or tea and conversation? Most of the people we invite into our homes have food in their own refrigerator and are hungry instead for personal connection, words of warmth and love and encouragement.
4) Use what is on sale or in season. Check the grocery ads before making your menu so that you can reap the benefits of local sale prices.
5) Serve simple foods you would normally eat. Please don't feel like you always need to serve baked brie and roast beef and individual lava cakes. Having friends over for your regular spaghetti or taco night won't add much to your grocery bill and will likely be thoroughly enjoyed by your guests.
6) Use what you have. Decorate the table with flowers from the yard or a vase full of twigs and pine cones, or not at all. You don't need to create a magazine-worthy table in order to bless your guests and be blessed by their friendship.
7) Cheap out on pricey ingredients. Sometimes when I'm doubling a recipe to share, I don't fully double some of the most expensive ingredients. Add a little less chicken and a couple more potatoes to that casserole, or top things with a little less cheese than usual. Sometimes I even dilute the cream with some milk when making cream based sauces and soups. Nobody will even know and your grocery dollar will stretch just a little bit further.
This is day 18 (several days late!) in a series about simple hospitality. Click here to see more.
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