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How to Practice Hospitality on a Budget

Show hospitality -- even when you're on a tight budget! These are GREAT tips!

Guest post by Amanda of Simple Life Of A Frugal Wife:

If you live on a tight budget, practicing hospitality can be a strain on your finances. We might like to have friends over but worry about the cost that can be associated with inviting people into our homes.

If you’ve never lived on a tight budget, this may come as a surprise. But the truth of the matter is, if you’ve ever been in a tight financial situation, you know that every dime matters. You are more than likely aware of even the smallest expenses and the affect it can have on whether or not you can pay your bills each month.

It is something that can cause a lot of stress because you may want to open the doors of your home more often, but worry about how to pay for the extra expenses. However, sometimes we think we need more money than we actually do to make hospitality a priority.

There are ways to keep costs down when offering hospitality to friends and neighbors.

Here are some ways you can enjoy time with others in your home while making sure it doesn’t cause financial strain…

1. Make it a potluck.

If having friends over for a meal, ask them to bring something, such as a salad or dessert.

Whenever I am invited over somewhere for a meal I ask “what can I bring?” The same happens when I invite others into our home. It brings down the cost of dinner.

2. Make budget-friendly meals.

Some great ideas are hot dogs, tacos, pasta, chili, quiche, or homemade pizza.

3. Invite friends over for dessert and coffee.

Instead of having guests over for dinner, have them over for a mid-afternoon or evening dessert time.

Or host a bonfire where everyone can roast marshmallows and just hang out.

4. Skip the paper plates and cups.

Yes, I know paper products save time in the kitchen, but they are just another expense that you can avoid by washing dishes after the meal.

5. Serve flavored water.

Avoid high-sugar beverages and serve water with cucumber, lemon, or mint.

The flavor infusions will make you feel like you are at a spa, and everyone will feel refreshed, all while you save money on the cost of drinks.

When it comes to practicing hospitality, don’t try and keep up with the Joneses.

Don’t wait until your house is perfect and your bank account is overflowing to invite friends over. People want to visit you because of the conversations and laughter you will all have together, not because of the food you serve or the perfectly matched and expensive furniture you might own.

Years ago we lived in a small home and would regularly host potlucks. We didn’t want to leave anyone out, so we often had numbers upwards of 40 people in our small home. Kids were running everywhere. Chairs were set up in every room to allow space for sitting. People had to move out of the way to let others walk by in our narrow spaces. Everyone used mismatched plates I purchased at the thrift store.

Yet, as people would leave after an afternoon of chatting and laughing, they would often ask, “When is the next one? This was so much fun!”

People just like to be welcomed into your home and included. Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know others better because you feel you need to wait until there is more money in the bank to make everything perfect.

Why not invite someone over this weekend?

Amanda Ashley is a stay-at-home mom who spends her days homeschooling her 3 kids, caring for her chickens and ducks, and washing mountains of laundry. She blogs over at Simple Life Of A Frugal Wife, about thrifty living.

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  • Lana says:

    Our children are grown and we do not have a tight budget anymore but we still eat in a frugal way when we have friends over just because it is easier. Most of the time I make a slow cooker full of soup and load my bread machine and ask the guest to bring the salad. We have an espresso machine so we serve little cups of espresso and some chocolate for dessert because we find our friends rarely want a serving of something sweet. I typically serve water or iced tea with the meal which is also a frugal choice if you purchase the tea bags on sale. Since we are retired we often just ask friends to come by mid morning for coffee and that is all we have.

    When we still had 5 kids at home and our friends had a bunch of kids too we often just asked people over for the evening and asked them to bring finger food of any kind and we always had a great time. We also did pancake suppers which everyone loved.

  • Lana says:

    Amanda, Your blog looks very helpful. I have bookmarked it!

    • Aw, thank you! I hope I can help in some way by sharing these things. I know I have learned so much over the years from sites like Money Saving Mom, so it is exciting to share on my own space now! 🙂

  • Amy says:

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing! I love to entertain, but I am always worried about having everything perfectly cleaned and organized. But now that I am thinking about it, I seldom notice when we are invited someplace and the host’s house is not perfect. You are so right, the memories, conversations and fun definitely distract from the imperfections that may be present. I needed to read this today, so thank you!

  • Rebecca Krusee says:

    Thanks for sharing…

  • Kara says:

    Great article! I especially love dessert & coffee evenings.

    Another budget friendly meal suggestion…. Baked macaroni. Make your standard spaghetti sauce and mix it with cooked macaroni noodles. Top it with some shredded cheese and bake it in the oven. Serve with a green salad. I don’t really know why, but the macaroni noodles seem to go further than other pastas. If you’re conerned about there not being enough sauce add a can of crushed tomatoes. You won’t even need to add seasonings!

  • Leona says:

    My husband is the eldest in a large family. When we were first married, money was in short demand; but God always provided a way for us to help feed his family. A great protein to serve is chicken legs & thighs. If it’s grilling time, I’ll ask hubby to throw it on the grill; and I will make a large batch of potato salad plus seasonal fruit. If it’s a little cooler, I’ll make Crystal’s oven fried chicken with mashed potatoes and in season veggies, a simple salad, or even dressing up some canned vegetables. We could often feed a group of 12 or more for under $15. Nothing fancy and clean up is relatively simple.

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