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Hospitality on a Budget: 5 Simple Ideas

You can still show hospitality, even when you're on a budget! These 5 simple ideas are great!!

Is it possible to show hospitality when you’re on a tight budget? Well, judging by the emails and comments I’ve received on this topic in recent months, this is something that many of you are struggling with.

You want to open your home and exercise more hospitality. You want to reach out to your neighbors and co-workers and friends. You want to develop closer relationships.

But for many of you, you feel like your home isn’t large enough, your house isn’t nice enough, and your budget isn’t big enough.

I believe that no matter your budget or size of house, you can be hospitable. You just need to get creative and think outside the box.

Many times, we think of hospitality as being when we’ll host another family or group of people for a meal. While that is definitely one form of hospitality, it is by no means the only form of hospitality.

So how can you exercise hospitality when your budget is slim and/or your home is tiny? Here are some ideas:

1. Host an after-dinner dessert and coffee night.

This could be as simple as brownies or cookies or ice cream. Or, skip the dessert and just serve coffee and tea.

You could also invite friends to come over after dinner for popcorn and games. You could ask them to bring a favorite board game and snack, too!

In each of these instances, it’s simple, it’s affordable, and you don’t need to have space for everyone to sit at a table. People can sit on the floor, if need be! (Or ask your guests if they have extra folding chairs they can bring!)

2. Make a simple and inexpensive meal.

What about having a baked potato bar, or prepping a simple crockpot meal, or homemade pizza, or making soup and homemade bread?

I always keep it simple when we open up our home… mostly because it makes me stressed if I try to cook a fancy meal. I’d rather be relaxed and be able to fully focus on loving on our guests and investing in them so keeping things really simple is what works best for me!

If you’re short on time and you have the money in your budget, you could even do something like picking up the $5 pizzas from Little Caeser’s. It’s not the healthiest option, of course, but most people care more about spending time with you than about how amazing your food is!

3. Serve breakfast for dinner.

Breakfast or brunch foods can be a fun change of pace for dinner. And they are usually inexpensive and easy to make, too!

Think pancakes and eggs and bacon. Or a waffle bar with fruit and whipped cream and chocolate chips. Or an egg casserole with cinnamon rolls and fruit.

4. Ask people to join you in free fun.

Maybe your home is really tiny, but don’t let that stop you from inviting people into your life! Look for opportunities for invite people to join you for free fun!

Many areas offer free concerts or festivals or events that would be great for the whole family. Why not ask some friends to join you?

Or, pack picnic lunches and go to the park! (Check out this list for lots of great free fun ideas.)

5. Go out for tea/coffee & dessert.

Hospitality doesn’t just have to mean opening your home. In fact, I believe it’s much more than that. It’s about opening up yourself and your heart to relationships with others.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by inviting someone to coffee. It’s more low key than coming to our house and it can feel less intimidating. Plus, it’s super simple, very inexpensive (especially if you literally just order a cup of tea or a cup of coffee!), and can be a fantastic way to begin connecting with someone on a deeper level.

Start looking for ways to show hospitality and reach out to others and I bet you’ll begin to find them all around you! (Need some extra encouragement and inspiration? I highly recommend checking out Jen Schmidt’s book, Just Open the Door.)

P.S. Here’s another idea for a simple way to celebrate someone even if you have a small house.

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  • These are all wonderful ideas and all of them have worked for me and my family. We also enjoy hosting a potluck party every summer and people actually enjoy bringing their favorite dishes to share and it keeps costs down. When there have been times that even paying for coffees were not in my budget, I always enjoyed meeting up with friends to go for a walk around a track or around town. When babies are little, this could be with a stroller or baby-wearing, or it could mean getting a chance to leave older kids at home with dad or another family member. And getting together for BYO picnic-style dinner at a free state park is affordable and fun for kids and adults.

  • Becky says:

    I have found that shopping ahead really helps! Our church has a Manna Meals program, providing meals to families experiencing hospitalization, illness, a new baby, or any time a meal would be appreciated. I signed up to provide meals, and then over the next few weeks, stocked up on non-perishable and frozen ingredients for a meal of beef vegetable soup, salad, bread and brownies. I hardly felt it in my grocery budget at the time. When it came time to bless a family, the only items I had to buy were fresh salad ingredients and a fresh loaf of bread (though I could have made a loaf in my bread machine with items on hand, but was short on time). It felt good to be able to serve another family and not panic about the hit my tight grocery budget would have taken! This could also work for hospitality in your home – stocking up a little at a time.

  • My husband and I love offering to watch young couples kids (for free) so they can have a date night. This has opened the doors to so many friendships and opportunities to serve those around us. We also love to double our batch of the cookies we are making or give one of our loaves of pumpkin bread to our neighbors and friends.

  • Emily F. says:

    These are great tips!

    At the New Year we decided to work harder at hospitality. We have to be strictly gluten free so we can’t usually have guests contribute to a meal. We have three children, 4,2, and a baby, and not much seating.

    We came up with soup night. One night each week DH or I can invite 1-3 ppl over for a very simple meal. Soup is easy enough to serve with gluten free cornbread. It’s allowed us to minister to singles, students, and couples on a regular basis and has been such a blessing to us, as well.

  • Lori says:

    My kids have been planning iron chef style cooking competitions where everyone makes a dish with the secret ingredient and then everyone at the party rates them. It has been much fun, we are all trying new recipes and is also easier to host as we aren’t doing the whole meal. One of the best parts is my kids are trying dishes I don’t think they ever would have before!

  • Carol says:

    I have a very small apartment that doesn’t lend itself well to a lot of people, so I thought hospitality wasn’t an option right now. However, these are great ideas that even I can implement. Thanks!

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