Home Giveaway Sam’s Club Challenge and Kitchen Aid Giveaway

Sam’s Club Challenge and Kitchen Aid Giveaway

by Laura

I was recently given a Sam’s Club challenge.   The challenge was to create a holiday meal with a randomly assigned budget, ranging from $25 to $75 and share my experience using that budget with you. I decided to use the budget for a New Year’s Eve party I was going to be having with friends. I was given the budget of $50.

sams club logo

With all the holiday cooking and baking recently, I was up for a party menu that I wasn’t going to have to do a whole lot for.  I wanted easy preparation so I could enjoy my post holiday time.  So I decided to go for more ready made items to make my party menu easy to prepare.  I had the idea that I basically wanted finger food/appetizer type items.  Also, I choose to serve chocolate fondue for dessert because I had some Godiva chocolate hanging around that needed to be used up.  I decided I would get something to dip in the fondue with my Sam’s Club trip and then have everyone coming to the party also bring an item to dip in the fondue.

Daily Chef™ Chicken & Bacon Bruschetta - 2.5 lbs.

So I could not have come any closer to budget than I did, my total was $49.60 with tax.  Here’s what I got.

for a total of $48.16
plus $1.44 tax
for a grand total of $49.60
My easy New Year’s Eve party is all set now.  I will be using drinks that I already have at home in my pantry.
Sam’s Club has also been nice enough to provide a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for a lucky RMK reader.  I have a kitchen aid and it is a must have for many kitchen in my book.  I use it for so many things including bread dough and fudge.  It would help out with any holiday meal you may be preparing.  To enter, tell me you favorite way to entertain on a budget.  You have until Friday December 30 at midnight  (MST) to enter.

KitchenAid Professional HD Stand Mixer

Here are some holiday recipes from Sam’s too if you need some inspiration for an upcoming party!

Holiday Appetizers & Beverages

Holiday Meal

Holiday Desserts

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207 comments

Super Bowl Partyin’ with Sam’s Club | Real Mom Kitchen February 2, 2012 - 6:16 am

[…] of Tyson Honey BBQ Wings and Daily Chef Chicken & Bacon Bruschetta  that I purchased for their holiday challenge.  The brushcetta was actually really yummy with the Bistro 28 Spinach Dip I also bought for the […]

Angie December 30, 2011 - 10:37 pm

I like having a fajita bar. So many options and so delicious!

jessie December 30, 2011 - 8:00 pm

I love doing a taco bar. You can prepare a lot of food for not a whole lot of money, and everyone gets to fix their food with the toppings they enjoy most!

Gwen December 30, 2011 - 7:30 pm

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is a themed potluck, where cooking frugally is turned into a ‘competition,’ – a game, really- and our decorations are upcycled. Everyone is given instructions to use up ingredients lingering in their pantry and larder, CSA vegetables, homegrown produce and herbs, and foraged ingredients. Whoever produces a dish spending the least amount of money ‘wins,’ with ‘extra points,’ for largest number of ingredients foraged or homegrown, and ‘points deducted,’ for using prepared products (staple pantry ingredients are fine, but pre-made seasoning packets, instant dessert mixes and the like are definitely not). The challenge ends up encouraging an enormous amount of creativity and playfulness, use of local ingredients, and much healthier dishes than often appear at potlucks. We all eat better, save money, everyone wins!

Paula in Oh December 30, 2011 - 6:55 pm

Appetizers! Everyone brings their favorite & we provide the desserts. Tons of fun.

Bev December 30, 2011 - 6:49 pm

Definitely an appetizer potluck — always budget friendly! Usually everyone brings such yummy food that no one misses a “main course.” Makes it easier to mingle, too!

Connie December 30, 2011 - 1:40 pm

for sure a potluck. i’ll provide the meat and the dessert (cuz that’s my favorite) and you bring the sides (which i hate doing).

Shari Camarata December 30, 2011 - 12:42 pm

I love to find what I already have and work around that. I search the internet for recipes that use my ingredients that I already have. I also try to keep it simple so we all don’t eat too much!

Jill Lombardo December 30, 2011 - 6:14 am

Pot luck is the best way to entertain on a budget. If that is not appropriate or possible, then stick to appetizers.

Rochelle December 29, 2011 - 9:15 pm

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to have some help from the guests. If each guest or family brings one dish, it cuts down on the cost but no one is out a lot of money. I do provide some extra finger foods as well as a main dish and dessert. I shop for these items with coupons and plan by looking up the stores ads too. Thanks!

Staci A December 29, 2011 - 7:38 pm

To entertain on a budget, we like to stick to appetizers. They’re always tasty, but don’t break the bank to make.

Aloha Reynolds December 29, 2011 - 6:58 pm

Serve everything on a stick! 🙂 Like sandwiches, tortellini/ravioli with dipping sauces and other appetizers and desserts all on sticks/skewers! Perfect for a party and less fuss! I’ve also had it potluck style and had people bring something that starts with the same letter as their first name.

cindy hamilton December 29, 2011 - 5:20 pm

we like to throw brunches, buffet style so everyone can munch and mingle!

Whitney December 29, 2011 - 3:23 pm

Pot luck!

Jacy December 29, 2011 - 3:22 pm

Hmmm… My favorite way to entertain on a budget is probably by having everyone bring a dish to share. That way you also get a variety, and everyone usually brings their best dish, so lots of yummy food. Plus, I often get the recipes of the things I loved that night. 🙂
p.s. I got to your site from Pinterest, and am thinking your entire site looks GREAT!

Amy Dineen December 29, 2011 - 12:53 pm

Have everyone bring their favorite side to share!

Heather December 29, 2011 - 12:34 pm

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to cook family style. Mexican food is always popular like a taco bar. Chili is always a good choice too with all the toppings.

Stephanie December 29, 2011 - 12:30 pm

I bake my own bread the day before.

Katie December 29, 2011 - 12:03 pm

The best way for me is to just go home to my Mom’s! She always has great things for New Year’s Eve!

Robyn December 29, 2011 - 12:01 pm

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is crockpot main dish- usually some kind of pulled pork which I can do a lot of fairly inexpensively; homemade rolls to put it on and then have everyone else bring something to add to it. I like to cook so it is easy to make things from scratch rather than already prepared.

Dana L December 29, 2011 - 11:03 am

I always cut coupons and buy sale items as much as possible. I buy our most frequently used meats in bulk (chicken breast), then repackage into smaller portions at home to freeze. We always cook from scratch and I’m big on making a large meal and freezing leftovers so that we aren’t stuck eating the same thing all week. For entertaining, I tend to make meals that aren’t expensive with ingredients that I have on-hand. I will ask guests to bring a bottle of wine and sometimes an item to share (if I know they cook) depending on the menu. I tend to make our favorite recipes to share our love of good food with good friends. I’m almost always asked for the recipe which is a huge compliment!

CalebsMomma December 29, 2011 - 10:26 am

Love potlucks Also, it is fun to have a progressive dinner if all your friends live in close proximity. You go to one or more houses for appetizers and drinks. One house for main dish. Another house or more for dessert.

Callie December 29, 2011 - 10:23 am

I keep an eye on grocery ads and buy ingredients to my favorite food for entertainment when it is on sale. Then I freeze the ingredients, if I can, or if the ingredients won’t freeze well on their own, I make the dish and freeze it.

Lesleigh December 29, 2011 - 9:50 am

I have the guests help out by each bringing a favorite dessert (or side dish depending on what kind of party). I make it part of the conversation to find out why it’s that person’s favorite. It really helps me to save money but also it’s great to find out about people.

Becki Wells December 29, 2011 - 9:48 am

Cold cut sandwiches and finger foods.

Beverly December 29, 2011 - 8:48 am

Honestly, my rule for preparing a fiscally responsible holiday feast is the same as planning my weeks– plan around that week’s circular and make everything from scratch:-)

Emily H December 29, 2011 - 7:41 am

I like to make the big stuff from scratch when I can this save money and of course use my crockpot. This helps save time and clean up

Deidri Nielson December 29, 2011 - 7:13 am

Taco Soup in the crock pot. That way dinner is hot and ready to serve for those who straggle in late. It’s an inexpensive meal that goes a long ways.

Z.Grimm December 29, 2011 - 12:12 am

Definitely some kind of potluck. At least that way you’re only responsible for a minimum amount of dishes, and there’s a greater variety for everyone to enjoy. Everyone’s involved in the process!

Debra C December 28, 2011 - 11:31 pm

Potluck and also finger foods and dessert.

Debra C December 28, 2011 - 11:30 pm

Pot lucks and sometimes Finger Foods and Dessert.

Kristan Heyman December 28, 2011 - 10:59 pm

We find yummy desserts that are easy and cheap to make!

Colleen M. December 28, 2011 - 10:49 pm

We encourage potlucks to cut down on the cost.

DARLENE E December 28, 2011 - 9:57 pm

FOR NEW YEARS WE WILL HAVE A HOT DOG ROAST ON A OPEN FIRE WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS AND CHIPS AND DIPS AND DRINKS. EVERYONE BRINGS SOMETHING SO ITS NOT HARD ON ANYONE.

Deni December 28, 2011 - 9:40 pm

Simple Foods and Potlucks!

Katie Steinke December 28, 2011 - 9:07 pm

I call all my friends, we each hit Papa Murphys, bring our pizza’s to our house. I also make a pan of bars. We cook, share, and enjoy everybodys selections. We also play board games and play Wii Rockband. Lots of fun and laughter for kids and adults! 🙂

Kelli C. December 28, 2011 - 9:01 pm

Potluck dinner and a redbox! It’s cheap, easy for everyone, and a fun time!

parrish December 28, 2011 - 8:59 pm

We assign something to every family member, someone brings drinks, someone brings dessert, someone brings and app and since my family gets together every Sunday we switch it up every week so everyone gets a chance to try new recipes.

Klaire Price December 28, 2011 - 8:43 pm

We select one or two items to bring to a specified persons home and then use all the ingredients to cook a main course, a side or two and a dessert. This makes it fun, easy and affordable for everyone!

Jennifer December 28, 2011 - 8:39 pm

We also have the host prepare the main dish and have everyone else bring sides! It has really helped! 🙂

Julie Jones December 28, 2011 - 8:32 pm

We do potucks or appetizer buffets.

Julie Jones December 28, 2011 - 8:31 pm

Potlucks are the way to go! That’s what we do.

Sarah December 28, 2011 - 8:30 pm

For entertaining on a budget I always like a good potluck. Everyone chips in and it always ends up delicious and fun!
Sarah

Megan Kambic December 28, 2011 - 8:29 pm

We do potluck style get togethers that way it’s not too expensive to have a great get together!

Stephanie D. December 28, 2011 - 8:25 pm

This year I did a buffet style meal. Everyone got their own plate and filled it up with whatever they wanted.

Howard December 28, 2011 - 8:16 pm

I am a fruit grower and lover, so you never go wrong with a platter of favorite seasonal fruits, another of favorite veggies and a few things to compliment them. Our family and friends always enjoy this because it is refreshing after all the heavy stuff of the holidays, pleases vegetarians and omnivores, and is not limited by season — only by your creativity and what to compliment them with.

Jodi December 28, 2011 - 7:52 pm

Be creative. Some of my favorite party involve breakfast foods. Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes. No need for dessert and everyone leaves happy.

Kim D. December 28, 2011 - 6:30 pm

My favorite way to entertain on a budge is to have a potluck…everyone can bring something for everyone to try.

Melissa December 28, 2011 - 6:07 pm

Potluck! It’s fun so share food with friends/family and keeps the budget down as well!

Taunzi December 28, 2011 - 5:12 pm

We entertain on a budget by shopping the warehouse stores and doing pot lucks.

Jen Johnson December 28, 2011 - 5:27 pm

We entertain on a budget by not buying premade items and shopping sales.

susan December 28, 2011 - 4:37 pm

I stay on budget by doing finger foods.

Jen December 28, 2011 - 4:34 pm

My absolute favorite way to entertain on a budget is to do an appetizer buffet! Specifically I love to do a lot of different flavored wontons and mini egg rolls using wonton wrappers 🙂 you can get so many flavors from so few ingredients! I make everything from traditional cream cheese, to egg tart, and even chocolate banana! The best part is, they are bite sized 🙂

Katie December 28, 2011 - 3:38 pm

I love to do a buffet type meal and let them pick the options they want. Just did a panini buffet that was really good.

Amy December 28, 2011 - 3:24 pm

I love potluck parties…cuts down on clean-up and cost for the host/hostess.

Michele December 28, 2011 - 3:16 pm

By sticking to a menu and making as much of it as I can – instead of buying prepared.

Amy December 28, 2011 - 2:32 pm

For the past several years we have had the host prepare the main course and dessert and others bring the side dishes, works out very well for us.

tess December 28, 2011 - 1:47 pm

favorite way to entertain on a budge- order cici’s pizza- make tea and cookies
tcogbill at live dot com

Nancy December 28, 2011 - 1:43 pm

Asking people to help out by bringing a dish to share/potluck style, using ingredients I always have on hand in recipes, etc.

Karin December 28, 2011 - 11:48 am

Potluck…. everyone in the family usually brings something so we have a wide variety of foods to choose from.

Barbara December 28, 2011 - 11:18 am

I shop ahead of the holidays and prepare and freeze what I can. No last minute stress on budget or time.

Merri December 28, 2011 - 11:15 am

I have a well-stocked pantry and coupon shop for minimal out of pocket expense. I plan ahead and can make great meals and appetizers for little just by pulling together recipes from my pantry.

jo-lyn's cup cakes n' candies December 28, 2011 - 10:50 am

I like to plan a meal where I will make a main dish and a couple of ‘sides’ and have others bring things to go with what i have made, that way i am not providing everything. that way i know i will have something everyone likes, too…because they bring something they know they will eat!! 🙂

Crystal December 28, 2011 - 9:51 am

I like to do parties in the evening after dinner (& when the kids are in bed:)) that way I don’t have to do a main dish & just have snacks/appetizers & desserts.

Cody December 28, 2011 - 9:15 am

I don’t like going all out (but my wife does). If we are going to have a dinner then I will ask others to bring certain dishes to go with it (a salad, dessert, etc.). If we aren’t having a full dinner sometimes it’s fun to provide by ourselves but we can just have appetizers like veggie and dip, chips and salsa, etc.

Krista December 28, 2011 - 9:13 am

I like to be creative and not necessarily provide a full dinner. I like doing dessert bars, banana splits, ice cream sundays, have everybody bring an appetizer, etc. PLEASE let me win this!! I’ve always wanted a Kitchenaid but can’t afford it!

Ann K December 28, 2011 - 8:04 am

We love appetizers and many of the same ingredients can be used in different recipes.

Amy December 28, 2011 - 7:21 am

Dividing up the menu is how I entertain on a budget. For example when we have family get togethers at my house I provide the main dish and everyone else brings the salads, sides or desserts. Potluck is a great go to as well

Denae December 28, 2011 - 5:39 am

Planning ahead and shopping sales is the easiest way for me to entertain on a budget.

Denise B December 28, 2011 - 5:34 am

I plan the menu by what’s on sale and have everyone bring something!

Diane December 28, 2011 - 3:24 am

Potluck is my favorite way to entertain on a budget. I use home canned and frozen goods as much as possible too.

kathy steadman December 28, 2011 - 1:07 am

I try to start early making things homemade and freezing them. So the day of the party I’ve saved money (by making it myself) and doing lots of the work ahead of time. This also helps me because I start early so i can be watching for sales, etc while it’s on my mind. It helps me avoid having to run last minute and getting things for whatever the going price is.

susan December 28, 2011 - 12:47 am

My fave ways to entertain on a budget are to keep the menu simple with not a lot of expensive ingredients, shop the sales, and make items ahead of time and freeze.
Thanks for the food links. I will have a fun time checking them out!

Dezi A December 27, 2011 - 11:08 pm

My favorite way is to have everyone bring something. Then I’m not in the kitchen all day and didn’t have to spend a ton.

Jessica December 27, 2011 - 10:52 pm

Rather than entertaining with a full meal, dessert parties or even hot chocolate parties are fun! (And a stand mixer would make dessert parties that much easier!…)

Kellie December 27, 2011 - 10:49 pm

I’m lucky to live on the ocean, so entertaining on the cheap usually means grilled shrimp and roasted sweet potatoes. And water to drink, for sure. ; )

SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen December 27, 2011 - 10:20 pm

Make your own crackers — they are very cheap & delicious… plus, you’ll impress your guests 🙂 And, it leaves you a little more change to spend on cheese.

Katie December 27, 2011 - 10:09 pm

I have everyone bring a dish to contribute. P.S. I have wanted a Kitchen Aid for a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long time!!

Katie December 27, 2011 - 10:07 pm

I entertain on a budget by having everyone coming bring a side dish or dessert.

RachelL December 27, 2011 - 10:06 pm

Plan ahead! It seems like the more prepared I am the less I spend!

LightheartedinTexas December 27, 2011 - 10:04 pm

I like to make a big pot of something…soup, chili, spaghetti, lasagne, enchiladas. Prepared food is too expensive for a large crowd. Coupons, sales and never turning down an offer to bring something to the party really help the dollar to stretch 🙂

Valerie C. December 27, 2011 - 9:58 pm

Pot Luck baby!

Amber December 27, 2011 - 9:10 pm

My way to entertain on a budget is to look at what is in my cupboards first!

Lori B. December 27, 2011 - 8:42 pm

I love to have progressive parties- start at one house with the appetizer and then go to salad, main and dessert. That way no one is spending lots of $$ to entertain the whole group.

EBPitcher December 27, 2011 - 8:24 pm

I plan ahead and look for things on sale that I’ll need for the party.

Colleen December 27, 2011 - 8:21 pm

Depending on the occassion, asking my kids or my grandkids what they want or have in mind and askig plenty of time in advance so that I can buy what I can ahead of time on sale.
Using fresh ingredients from my garden in the summer or using what I have put in the freezer or my pantry.
Also asking people to bring a dish usually a side or appetizer.

shaunna December 27, 2011 - 8:16 pm

potluck 🙂

Ainomaija December 27, 2011 - 7:54 pm

Cooking from scratch and pot-luck.

domestic diva December 27, 2011 - 7:52 pm

Host a potluck! Or use ingredients we have on hand that can easily stretch.

Kim December 27, 2011 - 7:33 pm

I try to make some dishes without meat like a pasta casserole. It is really good and feeds a lot of people.

Serena December 27, 2011 - 7:19 pm

I choose my menu by what is on sale. Ads and coupons start my mind on the possibilities. I also visit our local canned food warehouse where I can get foods at a real discount. This is how my wedding reception food table was decided. Turned out fabulous with little sting from the pocket book.

Stephanie C December 27, 2011 - 7:17 pm

To entertain on a budget I always buy local, seasonal ingredients as well as making everything from scratch.

Rachel December 27, 2011 - 7:16 pm

I keep my options open and check out all the weekly sale ads before deciding what to serve. Factor in coupons and what I already have and I make the most cost-effective decisions.

Kate December 27, 2011 - 7:14 pm

I always have potlucks. Wide variety, and really convenient. And I usually come up with dessert or appetizers.

Carol Bryant December 27, 2011 - 7:07 pm

I live the budget challenge as a way of life and help others understand how to create healthy, tasty meals for just $2-3 per entree serving :-).
I design my menus around sales at my local grocery and specialty stores. Instead of deciding I want a specific protein, I buy the protein that’s the best value, typically in advance and freeze it until needed.
Smart shopping, planning to work with the best values and knowing what things cost make a huge difference
My sides and desserts are based on seasonal items from my local Farmer’s market.
Starting with small bite appetizers, a glorious tossed salad and a loaf of homemade artisanal bread help to satisfy everyones hunger.
A tasty entree, fresh local produce and a dessert that incorporates fresh seasonal fruit round out a great meal!

Andrea December 27, 2011 - 6:58 pm

Cooking as much as I can instead of buying pre-prepared saves me a lot, plus I can choose to make things that can be made ahead of time. Potlucks also go a long way in stretching a budget.

Katie December 27, 2011 - 6:43 pm

Appetizers are a great way to save money. Just use simple ingredients.

Peggy December 27, 2011 - 6:24 pm

I love to have everyone bring their favorite soup while I provide drinks, wine, breads, and a huge salad

Matt December 27, 2011 - 6:12 pm

I’ve always got to go with potluck. Always helps with the budget.

Megan December 27, 2011 - 6:01 pm

Potluck is my go-to method for entertaining on a budget. It’s fun to see what everyone brings, and there’s always more than enough food.

Julia Barnosky December 27, 2011 - 5:52 pm

My favorite way to entertain on a budget would be to obviously use what I already have but then to go straight to the newspaper and online and coupon clip. Then hit the local grocery store with sneakers on ready to search for even better deals on my planned menu. There’s nothing better than getting a good deal!!!

Jan December 27, 2011 - 5:30 pm

I entertain on a budget by having a pot luck meal. Everyone brings a finger food and I provide the dessert and drinks.

Laurie December 27, 2011 - 5:28 pm

Definatelt making things from scratch is the first way I entertain on a budget and trying to use things I already have in my pantry.

Shannon Milliman December 27, 2011 - 5:20 pm

I love to entertain on a budget by making sure some of the food is homeade bread or rolls or breadsticks….It is filling, impressive and tasty. And oh boy a kitchen aid would be beautiful in my kitchen.

Maralea December 27, 2011 - 5:12 pm

I entertain on a budget by having everyone bring a side dish! It is always fun to try everyone’s dishes and swap recipes!

Heather Spooner December 27, 2011 - 5:02 pm

I entertain on a budget by asking my guests to bring their favorite side dish or dessert. I also reuse birthday or holiday decorations. Even though it takes more time to make food from scratch and homemade, it is alot cheaper than buying most ready made convenience party foods.

Trish December 27, 2011 - 4:58 pm

I love to use food ingredients that I already have in the house. A lot of times this is what influences my ideas on what to make or take to holiday parties. I love to bake, cook, entertain and enjoy some good food.

Rhonda Darbro December 27, 2011 - 4:30 pm

First, I try to plan well in advance to shop sales. Then I prep & freeze if alt all possible. I try to plan a meal that will stretch for little money….sloppy joes, spaghetti, soup, stew, etc. Many times I may plan a main entree and ask others to bring a covered dish.
[email protected]

Mrs. Smitty December 27, 2011 - 4:15 pm

I look for good sales on meat and go the do-it-yourself route for decorations and entertainment. I send my husband into the kitchen with the meat and let him whip something delicious out of it and stuff in the pantry. He’s great with making great food out of limited options

Tia December 27, 2011 - 4:05 pm

I love to make two types of soup and homemade bread definite comfort food. Then I invite my guests to bring sides and desserts. It makes for a great evening.

Dana December 27, 2011 - 3:44 pm

I look for sales as soon as I even think about party planning. Then I buy all items on sale and with coupons if possible. I love to bake so I always have ingredients onhand so I can throw a nice cake together with little to no money. Potlucks are a lot of fun too!

Lisa Johnson December 27, 2011 - 3:28 pm

I feel guilty asking guests to bring something to a party I am hosting..so about a month in advance I start watching sales and combining my coupons so I have a stock of goodies when the holidays are here! New Years we always have buckets of Chex Mix around which is a huge hit and it is cheap! Spinach dip and little smokies and then we usually do pizzas…a favorite for everyone and people can pick their toppings!

Vanessa December 27, 2011 - 3:26 pm

have small finger foods or a cookie exchange

craftyashley December 27, 2011 - 3:20 pm

I usually make a hearty soup, like chili. And it’s fun to dress it up in different ways at a topping bar.

anna pry December 27, 2011 - 3:14 pm

use a cheap cut of meat, slow cooked with a flavorful sauce and serve over brown rice with a side of veggies and bread, cheap and healthy
[email protected]

Tony December 27, 2011 - 3:13 pm

Our family provides the main course, and everyone can bring a side or dessert to share!

Desi December 27, 2011 - 3:02 pm

Potluck is always a budget way… have others bring some of the sides, desserts, or drinks. Thanks for the chance to win!

Gina M Maddox December 27, 2011 - 3:01 pm

I love to do potlucks so everyone brings something, which saves the host a lot of money!
gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Liza December 27, 2011 - 2:56 pm

I must agree, a form of potluck is the way to go. Usually hostess providing main course and assigning various parts of the rest to people based upon the last name. BYOB if you want some alcohol beside wine and beer which are usually bought by the case or box

Mary Perkins December 27, 2011 - 2:47 pm

Everything potlucj! I also do smaller versions of bigger items, for example, instead of a cheesecake, which takes a while to make, or costs a lot to buy, I make a cheesecake do it yourself bar. I place a vanilla wafer bowl out, mix up cream cheese with some powdered sugar , and place bowls of various toppings… cherry pie filling, apple, blueberry or strawberry fillings or even jellies and jams. We play games and quite often miss the dropping of the ball as we are busy eating, playing or talking! And I dont have to spend hours prreparing for it

Ty Gray December 27, 2011 - 2:44 pm

Potluck…that is the only way to go.

Kimberly December 27, 2011 - 2:30 pm

I must agree with everyone, potluck is the way to go on a budget. It’s great not only for the budget, but for ease in preparing, clean-up, and the wonderful option to try someone elses recipes. What could be better.
If not doing potluck, then I’d have to go with checking out my pantry, freezer and fridge and planning around those. Seems like that is what you did with your New Year’s party and it is a wonderful idea. I’m new to trying to plan that way, but love it when it works out well.

[email protected] December 27, 2011 - 2:22 pm

I love potlucks. It relieves so much stress if everyone just brings their favorite thing! I also like roll sandwiches – rolls with different deli meats and cheeses.

Michelle Ross December 27, 2011 - 2:19 pm

I have to agree with the majority here…the more people to chip in on the meal the better!

Deb Lenning December 27, 2011 - 2:15 pm

I love to do soups or cassaroles. They seem to stretch well. Also a must is having some type of bread or roll. Have to love warm homemade bread :D.

Jeanne December 27, 2011 - 2:14 pm

I make the main dish and everyone brings a side dish, appetizer, or dessert. We end up exchanging recipes and there is always plenty of food.

Jeanne December 27, 2011 - 2:11 pm

I make the main dish and everyone brings a side or a dessert. No one is left out, and everyone ends up exchanging recipes.

Shelley C December 27, 2011 - 2:09 pm

Brunches are always fun! Fresh fruit, muffins and either build your own egg sandwiches or an egg casserole…these feel a bunch of people.

L larson December 27, 2011 - 2:05 pm

I make soup when friends come over for fall/winter. Ask others to bring the sides.

L larson December 27, 2011 - 2:04 pm

I have had soup the last few times we have had friends over. Asked others to bring the sides.

Ashley December 27, 2011 - 1:54 pm

Instead of having a dinner party, have a brunch party! Brunch is so much faster, easier, and cheaper than a whole dinner party!

Deann December 27, 2011 - 1:03 pm

plan far in advance and watch for the best prices. Keep the menu simple, and if it’s appropriate for the type of event, go potluck 🙂

Heidi F. December 27, 2011 - 1:02 pm

We do pot luck entertaining where everyone brings a dish. We try to have a theme of sorts and get to try lots of fun, new dishes!

Shell We December 27, 2011 - 12:59 pm

I stay on budget entertaining by serving finger foods that are inexpensive & that I can dress up to look like I spent tons myself. I also try to use themes that incorporate decor I already have on hand or can easily DIY. Thanks

Catherine December 27, 2011 - 12:51 pm

My favorite way to stay on budget when entertaining is to keep things simple. Everyone loves cheese and crackers and veggies and dip so we like to keep appetizers simple like that.

Rikki December 27, 2011 - 12:45 pm

I like to make my chicken enchiladas. They are cheap to make and it makes a huge casserole dish! Throw in a box of spanish rice as a side dish and you have a full meal for under $20! 🙂

Mariah O. December 27, 2011 - 12:44 pm

I stay on budget by making as many things as possible from scratch. It really is so much cheaper to make your own treats than to buy them from a store. And they taste better! A favorite of my friends is chocolate chip cookies. I refuse to make them from frozen dough.

Patricia Z. December 27, 2011 - 12:31 pm

I either make carnitas tacos, chicken mole or albondigas soup, because I can make a lot of food for a small amount of money. Then I have my guest bring a dessert or anything else they want to bring.

Christine M December 27, 2011 - 12:27 pm

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to rotate dinners at friends houses. That way you are only adding 1 extra meal into your budget or doubling/tripling the meal you had planned to make that night. We are military so any chance we can get together with friends we are all for it.

Ted December 27, 2011 - 12:24 pm

Spread the joy and others bring items!

Jessica December 27, 2011 - 12:22 pm

I buy simple decorations and always buy paper plates, etc….at the Dollar store. I keep the menu simple and always make things from scratch, that saves a ton right there!

jen December 27, 2011 - 12:21 pm

We love making tons of homemade pizza. The kids and adults love it. We also do dessert pizza and add a salad or some veggies. We end up spending a lot of time in the kitchen but its fun! There is so many different kinds of pizza to come up with.

Rebecca Hunt December 27, 2011 - 12:17 pm

I’ll just pick a theme (Mexican, Italian, Asian etc…) and make the main dish, then have everyone else bring the sides for that theme. Works like a charm!

Jenny December 27, 2011 - 12:04 pm

Having a pot luck is the best way to go! Less stress and money on me!

Lauren December 27, 2011 - 12:00 pm

I just keep things simple, not fancy. I think soup is an affordable option this time of year, and it so much easier than making a main dish with separate sides.

Donna December 27, 2011 - 12:00 pm

We tend to make one signature dish, that everyone loves/requests… plus a few favorite sides.
A relish plate is also a “good ole Southern tradition” that can’t be beat.
My famous sugar cookies are the most requested dessert.
Everyone is invited to bring whatever else they want/need.
Believe it or not, it always works out. 🙂

Andrea December 27, 2011 - 11:55 am

I have a theme. The theme can be a color, a word or a movie. All guests are to bring something connected to the theme. This strategy has made parties fun and interesting. Everyone loves to tell the story of how they decided what to bring.

Annie December 27, 2011 - 11:54 am

Through the years, I’ve discovered the best way to entertain is to simplify! When you try to beat yourselft every year, it becomes very stressful and expensive! My favorite way of entertaining on a budget is to provide the classic favorites in our families… and only provide one option!

Sarah December 27, 2011 - 11:52 am

I only entertain on a budget! Most of them time I just do a few appetizers and base it on what I have on hand and the fewest ingredients. If it is a larger group, we’ll normally all bring something.

Ryan December 27, 2011 - 11:50 am

Have guests bring a side dish and we provide a few main dishes. It makes it easy and everyone contributes something.

Mica Humes December 27, 2011 - 11:49 am

I love having foods that I pre-prepared in crock pots so everyone can have something hot in quantities that they want. A little or a lot. We love doing cheesy dips or Indian Food or soup.

Cyndy December 27, 2011 - 11:48 am

I have found that most people really like bringing something to the party. After all, who doesn’t like being asked for the recipe for that something special you made and brought to the party? It also makes everyone feel like they’ve contributed to a fabulous time.

Corey December 27, 2011 - 11:47 am

Pick up pizza from Little Caesars 🙂 You can’t beat $5 a pizza and not having to cook it!

Monica F. December 27, 2011 - 11:45 am

Planning! Know your guests (food allergies or restrictions), shop for the deals, develop your menu and MAKE all foods delicious : ) A little music and A LOT of laughter. The spirit of the holidays is free.

Barbara Youngren December 27, 2011 - 11:39 am

This is a tough one for me because I tend to do everything myself… not a very good delegator… can we say “Control Freak”? I try to ask for help with side dishes, and tend to make things from scratch rather than pay the “big bucks” for the convenience items. I try to be creative with what I have rather than buy everything for each party… so assess what’s in the pantry/freezer/cupboards, and plan your menu around that!

Susie Mahoney December 27, 2011 - 11:38 am

I always used to think that I had to do EVERYTHING for a get together. Now, I’ve learned to let everyone being something and take the heat off of myself. So much easier!

Shelly December 27, 2011 - 11:37 am

We always provide the main dish and ask everyone to bring side dishes or desserts!

Donna K. December 27, 2011 - 11:35 am

To entertain on a budget we provide the main dish and ask everyone to bring sides or a dessert. More fun that way, too!

Lisa December 27, 2011 - 11:27 am

I’m with the provide the entree and let others bring the sides/dessert crowd. Another way to be economical…serve water & tea (including sweet tea if your friends are so inclined), so much more economical than soft drinks (and healthier) – we don’t do alcohol (which is also a money-saver, I guess) 🙂

Lisa Smith December 27, 2011 - 11:25 am

At our family parties, we all each bring something to contribute like dips, desserts, appetizers, etc.

TrishInFL December 27, 2011 - 11:23 am

I do appetizers, and plan them around what I already have on hand, or what is on sale that week!

Julie L December 27, 2011 - 11:22 am

keep it simple..also have a potluck which can be quite interesting lol thanks

Elizabeth December 27, 2011 - 11:20 am

When we have a party whether Halloween, Birthday, or New Year’s each guest usually brings a dish. It is definitely the most economical as then we provide drinks, paper goods and just a few of our favorite dishes.

Hannah December 27, 2011 - 11:17 am

I think a potluck is a great way to keep costs down but at the same time have lots of different, unique and most importantly, yummy food! Also, asking party guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages can really cut costs!

Brenda December 27, 2011 - 11:13 am

Potlucks are very economical with everyone bringing a main dish and then a salad or dessert. Plenty of food for everyone and a lot of variety.

Laura December 27, 2011 - 11:10 am

I always plan on making the main course and having everyone bring sides. I usually try and do something easy like soup. I want to spend more time visiting than in preparation and cleaning up!

amanda @ fake ginger December 27, 2011 - 11:00 am

When guests ask what they can bring, I always tell them sodas, bottled water, or whatever other drinks they want. That significantly cuts down on my costs.

Treva Fendrick December 27, 2011 - 10:52 am

I love parties and my favorite kind of party is also the most economical. A potluck! Our friends are great cooks so we just have everyone bring their favorite dish and we all dig in and enjoy.

Jennifer E December 27, 2011 - 10:51 am

I’ll plan my menu around what’s on sale or what I have in the freezer (as for meat). Luckily, most of our entertaining is for kids recently so lots of macaroni and cheese!

Heather of Kitchen Concoctions December 27, 2011 - 10:51 am

My biggest tip is to not entertain during primetime meal hours, that way you can get away with serving a few snacks/appetizers or just desserts. Also if serving a main dish serve something that is inexpensive to make (soup and chili is perfect for this time of year). When I host a party and serve chili or soup, I like to set up a ‘chili bar’. It is a fun way to serve up chili to your guests. Set up an accessible table with all of your favorite chili toppings such as cheese, chips, cornbread, chives, sour cream, and crackers; and allow your guests to serve themselves. I usually like to have two different chili options, a hearty meat variety and a vegetarian bean chili. Other good budget friendly side options to pair with chili is side salad, baked potatoes, or vegetable platters.

shirley elizabeth December 27, 2011 - 10:48 am

My husband and I are HUGE entertainers, with a very tiny budget, so this is totally our thing. For last New Years we had five other couples over for a beautiful sit-down dinner with fireworks after. How i keep the costs down is to streamline the food. Simple but delicious foods. After spending little money on the food, I then spend a lot of time on it to make it the best it can be.

Julie December 27, 2011 - 10:40 am

I like it when everyone brings a sweet and savory finger food to the party….you get such a variety of foods and everyone gets to contribute to the fun. Plus, you aren’t the one providing ALL the food and can splurge a little on making two nice items.

Patti S December 27, 2011 - 10:39 am

Making the main course and having everyone bring a dish to pass (assigning a side or an appetizer) works best for me. I also have found that making things from scratch instead of premade is sometimes more budget friendly.

Cristi December 27, 2011 - 10:30 am

I find less is more so I usually make the main course and have our guests bring the sides. I love to see what I can make with tougher cuts of beef because they tend to be less expensive and throw them into the crock pot.

Kristine December 27, 2011 - 10:30 am

I shop with coupons all year so when I have extra expenses it’s not a big deal, also have a soup party. Soup is so cheap to make, along with homemade bread, it’s great!

Kathryn December 27, 2011 - 10:29 am

A Potluck of course!

Emily December 27, 2011 - 10:25 am

Definitely a potluck!

Lanita Canup December 27, 2011 - 10:21 am

I like to do little things , small appetizers and kind of do around the world thing where you something for everyone.

Jemm December 27, 2011 - 10:20 am

This is too funny, we just got our Sam’s membership! I am loving that place. Anyway, my favorite, not very original, way to entertain on a budget is to provide a couple of “main” dishes or more involved recipes and then ask guests to bring a favorite side or snack to go along. That way the work and dollars are spread around and everyone has at least one thing they like. I sure I hope I win! I am still using the mixer I got when I was married 16 years ago (unfortunately it’s not a Kitchen Aid) and it will smell hot if I do anything remotely thick or heavy. My fingers are crossed!!!!

Carolyn December 27, 2011 - 10:10 am

I have a friend whose husband is a butcher and I get chicken wings and beef or pork ribs from him at cost. I make my own pizza and wedges or chili beans and salads. Everyone else pitches in and brings the rest. That way nothing that needs to stay hot has to be transported.

Laura December 27, 2011 - 10:03 am

I like to do simple dishes folks can make on their own, e.g. make your own pizzas where I put out dishes of several different pizza toppings. If you know your guests well, you can usually figure exactly what types of toppings to buy/prepare so nothing goes to waste. Serve with a nice salad and have a homemade dessert like brownies.

Sandee December 27, 2011 - 10:02 am

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to co-host the party with my best friend so that we can split up the cost and the preparation of the food.

Mary December 27, 2011 - 10:01 am

When I have a dinner party I like to go with themes of various restaurants, since trying to imitate my favorite restaurant food is a hobby of mine. For parties that might be bigger, like New Years, I agree with what everyone else is saying about potlucks. Potlucks are awesome!

Lauren S. December 27, 2011 - 9:45 am

a potluck! 🙂

Frieda December 27, 2011 - 9:44 am

I’m a snacker/grazer….I’d put out appetizers and minis- of everything so people can have a variety.

Tammy S December 27, 2011 - 9:43 am

Have everyone bring a dish to share and have mostly appetizers and simple desserts.

Faith Plvan December 27, 2011 - 9:39 am

A potluck! Easily the most economical way to entertain.
F. Plvan
[email protected]

aubrey December 27, 2011 - 9:37 am

I like to have summer parties when the garden is full of lots of produce. Not only does it taste fantastic fresh from the garden, but there is usually more than we can eat so it’s great to share. I also like to grill and eat outside so that clean up is a breeze and leaves more time to socialize with friends and family. I also keep it budget friendly by stocking up on paper goods when they are on sale and freezing meat for grilling when I find it on sale. Usually people ask what they can bring and I allow them to pitch in to keep costs down as well.

Rory W December 27, 2011 - 9:37 am

Have everyone bring something of course! Thanks for the chance to win!

peggy miller December 27, 2011 - 9:36 am

Have others bring their favorite appetizers and shop the ads

Stormy December 27, 2011 - 9:34 am

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to pick one or two things to make myself and then have a potluck

Wendy W. December 27, 2011 - 9:28 am

Potlucks are so easy – they minimize the work and cost for all guests, plus it’s a great chance to collect new recipes!

Natalie berry December 27, 2011 - 9:27 am

To entertain on a budget what my family does is this. The host provides the main course and everyone else brings something to share. My family has great cooks and at the same time we get great new recipes.

Jessica December 27, 2011 - 9:27 am

With my husband in college entertaining on a budget is a must! I try to use ingredients that are in season whenever possible. I also try to incorporate the food into an activity such as build your own pizzas or ice cream sundaes and I ask each couple to bring their favorite topping.

JuliAnn December 27, 2011 - 9:25 am

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to buy certain supplies in bulk on sale when possible so I have plenty for events as they come up. I did not have to purchase any plates, cups, napkins or utensils for anything this Christmas since I had plenty stocked up. This makes it easier to put a little extra toward the food.

Miranda Couse December 27, 2011 - 9:22 am

We do potlucks so it’s not so costly on me. If everyone brings a dish it saves on money and a lot of hard work. I also like to can things like salsa from garden vegetables, pickles, and apple sauce, which make awesome little sides.

Courtney Mac December 27, 2011 - 9:22 am

I think that it’s great to ask people to bring their favorite appetizer or dessert to cut down on costs. I can provide all of the paper products, etc, and drinks and we can all enjoy each other’s goodies!
Thanks!!

Aubrie December 27, 2011 - 9:21 am

I agree with the other comments–to entertain on a budget I ask everyone to pitch in and bring an item to share (which means I save I both money AND time) and I shop sales, especially focusing on seasonal fruits and veggies.

Barbara @ Barbara Bakes December 27, 2011 - 9:18 am

I love finger foods at a party too. Or having a dessert bar instead of main dishes is another great way to have a fun party on a budget.

Lindsay December 27, 2011 - 9:10 am

I have every one bring some thing that way I’m not having to make every thing! It’s fun to see what every one brings too! =)

Sarah December 27, 2011 - 9:05 am

Freezer cooking! I’ve been freezer cooking in one form or another for several years now, and it’s also wonderful for entertaining. I can buy the ingredients when they’re on sale at the grocery store, prepare and/or cook (depending on the recipe), then freeze them until I need them for a party.

Rachel J December 27, 2011 - 9:05 am

Not the first to mention it- but we typically do an appetizer/sweet layout and have guests bring their favorites to share. Have made it themed before- like a dip party where you bring both elements- something to dip and the item to dip it in.

Deb Harris December 27, 2011 - 9:05 am

My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to have a potluck. We have a group of very old friends & we all do it like that. I might plan a main course & others will volunteer something else. Usually people will ask what you might need . If we go to one I’ll usually make dessert or bread but will ask what’s needed first. It’s a good way to get together with friends that we don’t always get to see all together.

Marji Anderson December 27, 2011 - 9:02 am

I usually ask my guests to bring their fave appetizer or dessert to share. I buy 2 liters of soda instead of individual cans and have a cute water jug with ice. I buy my paper goods from Sam’s and they do last a long time.

Kim December 27, 2011 - 9:00 am

Let guests bring some of the food. Most are willing to contribute and it saves the hostess time and money.

Apryl December 27, 2011 - 8:57 am

To keep my budget low, especially if I have a lot of guests, I ask each guest to bring a dish to share. I also make low-cost drinks such as tea, filtered water, and lemonade.

fittingbackin December 27, 2011 - 8:57 am

What a great challenge! How fun – and an awesome giveaway!
My favorite way to entertain on a budget is to plan meals around ingredients on sale, and to use similar fresh ingredients across recipes. For instance, base a menu around tomatoes, basil and mozzarella – this way you can buy in bulk and use these items in apps, salads & the main course! For fun decor items, I like to make my own cupcake flags with toothpicks, scrapbook supplies like paper and shape makers and a hot glue gun. I also like to roll my own plastic/clear silverware in colored napkins and make paper “rings” with the hot glue gun. Lastly I never cater – I just use sternos, pans, etc. and cook all of my own food!

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