How To Make Your Home Feel Welcoming On A Budget, Part 2

Can I tell you a little secret? Entertaining doesn’t cost a lot. Procrastination does. Every time I’ve gone over budget for a party or spent more than what I felt like it was worth (because what’s the point of spending more than you have to, right?), I’ve always regretted it. It’s also always been because I had too much on my to-do list.

For the past several years, I’ve been a big fan of Money Saving Mom. Not only does she have great money-saving tips and coupons, but she also promotes time management. Why? Because not only can procrastination eat up our time, it eats up our wallet, as well. Seriously, y’all.

We all have the same amount of time in our day. Something I’ve struggled with over the years is busyness. There’s just no point in being busy just to be busy. I’d much rather streamline my time to be productive. Think of our day as a budget. We all have a choice in how we use our time. Are you making the most of it?

Here are a couple of my tricks for entertaining while not spending a lot of money or time.

  • Pare down the menu – Stick with a protein, veggie and a carb. Add a bread if you really want to. Added tip – Utilize your crock pot!
  • Don’t overbook your day – This is especially true for the day of an event. Don’t have it where you’re coming home just 15 minutes prior to having people over for dinner.
  • Plan in advance – If you aren’t waiting until the last minute, you won’t overspend at the store for food. You might find some great deals a week before your dinner party that you’re able to freeze. Or, instead of buying a pre-bought dessert, you can use low-cost ingredients to make one yourself.

Check back for Part 3! What are some tips you use to help yourself not procrastinate? Thank you for reading!!

How To Make Your Home Feel Welcoming On A Budget, Part 1

I’ve had several emails from people who want to entertain but are afraid it will cost an arm and a leg to do so. I hope this post helps you feel encouraged that that’s not the case! This first post will cover the basics of having a welcoming home. To me, that is the foundation of entertaining etiquette. There’s no need to rent a venue or take people out to a restaurant, especially if you can’t afford it. To be 100% honest, I wish we did MORE in-home socializing than we do today.

To begin, nothing is more important to having a welcoming home than it being clean. Nothing. In the kitchen, this means having the sink clear of dirty dishes, counters should be wiped down, etc. In the bathroom, there should be a clean guest towl hanging, the toilet and sink should be clean, at a minimum. In the living room, the coffee table should be clear from clutter and should be wiped down, as well. Now, let me be clear. If someone randomly stops by your home, don’t let dirty dishes stop you from asking them in if you would like to. If, on the other hand, you purposefully invite someone into your home, it should be clean for them.

                         Clean, welcoming home

Another inexpensive tip is to have glasses set out when guests arrive. It helps immediately helps them feel comfortable and welcome. It also adds a special touch letting your guests know you purposefully thought about them and their visit prior to their arrival. If you’re not having a meal, you can place the glasses on your coffee table or on a tray. Sometimes the little things add up.

Along the lines of having glasses out, I also encourage food set out if you’re eating. Appetizers such as olives or cheese and crackers don’t have to cost a lot and they’re usually items most people like. Don’t feel like you need to have more than one appetizer, especially if you’re on a budget, unless you’re having a cocktail party. Most of the time, I find that I have SO much leftover food after parties.

If you’re entertaining for an evening only (as in, no overnight houseguests), make sure you’re completely ready when your guests arrive. There’s nothing more awkward than a host running off to get ready for a party that’s already started.

These are my absolute MUSTS for entertaining. Don’t forget to check back later for low-cost ways to add to your low-cost entertaining!

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thank you for reading!!

Entertaining On The Cheap

In response to a reader’s question, today’s post is over entertaining inexpensively. This is an area I’m very passionate about. I never want someone to think they can’t “afford” etiquette. Etiquette isn’t for the elite – it’s for everyone. Entertaining doesn’t need to be a big show. We can get together with friends and family for birthdays, holidays or just because without it costing an arm and a leg. Let me show you some of my favorite inexpensive ways to be the perfect host.

1. Don’t Forget About Pinterest!

I nearly went the other way on this one simply because for a while, I got very caught up in Pinterest and how I wanted things to look. I would go ALL OUT for birthdays because it looked like that was the new norm. No more. Instead, I use pinterest for inexpensive homemade ways to have fun while stretching my dollar a little further.

2. Host a Game Night.

You could have a snack supper (my absolute favorite) or you could keep it small to reduce costs. Never feel obligated to host more people than you can afford. A big pot of chili or soup can help feed many for just a little, as well. My favorite games are simple ones, such as cribbage or 42.

3.  Have a Potluck!

I’ve actually had several people ask if having a potluck goes against etiquette. It doesn’t, unless you’re using it as a way to essentially get out of entertaining your guests. It really isn’t appropriate for a wedding, regardless of what the current trend is. However, for a casual evening, it is 100% appropriate. It also allows for people to try new foods and showcase their top recipe. 🙂

4.  Don’t Worry About the Joneses.

If you’re having a birthday party, don’t worry about having a thousand things to do to keep the kids entertained. They’ll have more fun playing with each other anyhow. You also don’t need to worry about having a 5-course meal. Truly, just cake is perfectly fine.

What are some ways you save on entertaining? Thank you for reading!

Silver and Gold

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Ok, more silver than gold, but the silver is so tarnished, it has a golden appearance. Today, my mom and I headed east to Jefferson, a place that is near and dear to my heart, as it’s where my husband proposed (swoon). Anyhow, aside from being known for their numerous (though, sadly, declining) bed and breakfasts, a common past time for said B&B goers is, apparently, antiquing. I’m pretty sure I saw an antique store on every corner.

My mom is always on the prowl for a good deal. While she dug through piles and boxes in a search for old cast iron skillets (because there is no such thing as too many cast iron skillets to a Southern cook), I hung around the china area. My spirits were quickly dampened when I saw the prices, and I held my purse a little more closely, just in case.

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Imagine my surprise when my mom stumbled across some wooden boxes. Guess what they held? Anyone? That’s right. Silverware!!!!! I have wanted my own set for ever. Even though most of my mom’s side didn’t have kids, not much has been passed down, yet, so I have been silver-less. We’ve made do with our flatware just fine, but it’s still been something I’ve wanted for years.

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Given the prices I had already seen, my hopes weren’t too high. I still wanted to check things out, though. A perfect set for 12. Wow. Beautiful. The end was perfect for monogramming. I cautiously flipped over the white price tag and thought I missed a zero. It was actually affordable!! Actually, after checking out eBay, it was a steal, even though it’s silver plate, not sterling silver. With 79 pieces in excellent condition, I am still beyond excited for this find. The pattern is 1881 Rogers “Flirtation.” And I cannot wait to use it tduring Christmas. 🙂

Look at how happy my china is knowing it will be joined by this silverware at Christmas.

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I’d love to know your silver pattern! As always, thank you for reading.