If you have a big family or love to entertain, you already know what a struggle it can be to fit food for all of those people into your budget. Food is expensive, so you need every tip you can find to help you save a few dollars. Armed with ideas like these, you can continue to entertain as much as you want without blowing your food budget.
Limit your menu on each occasion.
Don’t go crazy trying to provide a wide assortment of foods every time you entertain. Plan a simple meal based on the things you find on sale and prepare large quantities of your dishes.
Utilize generic products.
Serving generic foods instead of name brand foods can help you stretch your food dollars as far as they will go. If you don’t want your guests to see the plain packaging of the generic foods, you can always move everything into serving dishes before your guests arrive.
Prepare foods yourself rather than using pre-prepared foods.
If you’re willing to forego the convenience of pre-prepared foods and do the hard work yourself, you can save big bucks. Don’t forget to prepare as much as you can ahead of time to avoid any craziness on the day of your gathering.
Shop ahead of time for your meals.
If you start shopping for your gathering ahead of time, you can take advantage of sales at your local grocery store. Collect the items you need over time as they are featured in the store’s sale ads.
Choose simple recipes.
You don’t need to fuss with complicated recipes as you prepare for your gathering. They are harder to create and more expensive than their simpler counterparts. Instead, look to tried and true dishes that require fewer than ten (or so) ingredients.
Serve mix drinks.
Note that I said “mix drinks,” not mixed drinks. When we have big family get-togethers, we limit our drinks to tea, water, and Kool-Aid. That’s it! The cost of purchasing soft drinks or beer for large groups of people is just too high to do it every time we entertain.
Do you have any tips to save money when cooking for a crowd?