I absolutely love entertaining outdoors during the warm weather months! It’s just such a nice change of pace that everyone seems to enjoy (not to mention it helps keep the kitchen cooler!) So whether you’re hosting a neighborhood BBQ, or just having an impromptu backyard gathering, make the most out summertime with these ideas for simple outdoor entertaining that are inexpensive and stress-free!
- Spice up the typical potluck by offering a prize to the person that brings the best dish! Just make sure to give everyone a general theme or type of dish they should bring. That way you don’t end up with 10 different kinds of macaroni salad.
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- If you don’t feel comfortable having a standard potluck where you give food assignments to your guests, wait for people to volunteer! Anytime someone asks if they can help with the party or bring something just give them an item off your menu.
- Cut down on food expenses by reorganizing your buffet table. Place less expensive items like chips, veggies, dips and salads at the beginning of the buffet. That way your guests fill up their plates before they get to the more expensive meat at the end of the table. You could also put out inexpensive snacks and appetizers before serving the main course.
- Instead of grilling expensive meat, go for non-traditional summer party foods. Try a taco bar with ground beef or pulled pork. A pasta bar is another inexpensive crowd pleaser!
- Look for Manager’s Markdowns when shopping for meat and buns. Be sure to shop the regularly weekly sales as well! Read up about my favorite way to get the best grocery deals in this post: 4 Simple Steps to Cutting Your Food Budget in Half.
- Sodas and fancy punch can be delicious but they are an unnecessary expense. Instead, invest in a large water dispenser that can be used over and over again. In the heat of the summer your guests will probably crave ice water over sugary drinks anyway.
- Instead of serving fancy desserts or store bought cake, go with s’mores! If you’re in need of gluten free graham crackers, get my recipe by clicking here. If you don’t have a fire pit, root beer floats are always a fun choice. Pre-scoop the ice cream and store the cups in the freezer until it’s time for dessert.
- Rather than sending out paper invitations, start a Facebook event or use an evite website like Paperless Post.
- Don’t invite too many people. A smaller party makes for a more intimate feel, better conversation and fewer mouths to feed!
- Keep your décor simple. I put together this fun Independence Day table in less than an hour with things I had on hand!
- DIY décor cuts down on expenses as well! I made flower vases from green bean cans by removing the label and putting washi tape around the outside of the can. I also made the table runner with some Ikea fabric for just a few dollars.
- Buy fresh flowers from your local grocery store or at Costco. Much cheaper than getting professional arrangements done. I paid $6 for the Baby’s Breath I used on my table.
- Don’t use disposable dishes and silverware! If this were on a post on how to cut down on stress while entertaining I would definitely say to use disposable dishes. But they are much more expensive than using what you already have on hand. I like to use heavy-duty plastic plates so that I don’t have to worry about kids breaking my good dishes.
- Yard games are an easy and inexpensive way to keep kids and adults entertained! Check thrift stores for second-hand games like croquet sets, bocce balls, corn hole etc.
What are your best tips for entertaining on a budget?