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5 Tips for Sticking to a Budget When Hosting for the Holidays

5 Tips for Sticking to a Budget When Hosting for the Holidays

The holidays are a time to eat and celebrate with family and friends, and it’s usually up to the host or hostess to pull off a get-together worth remembering. That can often mean sinking a small fortune into a one- or two-day gathering, and smart holiday hosts know how to stick to a holiday budget.


Here are a few tips to still be the host with the most without breaking the bank.


Plan Ahead

Whether it’s your overall spending limit or a list of holiday essentials, it’s crucial you start your holiday preparation early. Plan ahead, take advantage of out-of-season discounts when you see them, and factor in surprise visits from uninvited relatives.

Consider a Potluck Buffet for Dinner

The secret to hosting a holiday dinner on a budget is to convince friends and family to help organize the cornucopia of food offerings. Consider a potluck dinner as a new Thanksgiving or Christmas tradition and take turns with someone reliable each year to cook the main dish (turkey, ham, etc.). This way everyone saves, and you can afford more variety.

Limit Alcohol Served or BYOB

Alcohol service can double or triple your holiday budget if you’re not careful, which is why it’s smart to either limit service or consider a BYOB (bring your own booze) alternative. You’ll be surprised how fast the bar grows and how little you have to spend when everyone brings a bottle.

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Save on entertainment costs by inviting guests to participate in a white elephant gift exchange. Rules for participating can vary, but white elephant exchanges usually involve silly and eccentric gifts and a back-and-forth style of gifting.

Co-Host with Friends or Family

Just like the potluck dinner idea, split holiday spending between friends and family by co-hosting the festivities. Again, plan ahead and delegate financial responsibilities to ensure that all holiday essentials are covered. 


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