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How to throw a dinner party on a budget

Here we provide advice and money saving tips for hosting a dinner party
By Ben Lobel on Oct 25th, 2016   @freelotteriesuk

Getting together with your nearest and dearest over great food and drink is one of life’s finest pleasures, but eating out all the time can quickly get expensive. However, if you’re looking to cut down on you spending, it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your social life — with a few simple tricks, you can host a perfect dinner party on even the smallest of budgets. Read on to find our top tips for throwing a dinner party without breaking the bank.

Set a budget (and stick to it)

The easiest way to make sure your dinner party doesn’t end up costing you too much is to set a budget and then sticking to it. While this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, it can be surprisingly hard to follow — as anyone who’s done their weekly food shop on an empty stomach can attest!

To make sure the meal comes in on budget, you need to decide approximately how much you want the entire meal to cost you and work backwards from there. This may affect how many people you want to invite, as the fewer mouths there are to feed, the more you can spend per head.

Choose your meals wisely

Once you’ve decided on a budget and chosen how many guests you’re going to invite to your dinner party, the next step is to plan the menu. If you’re hoping to keep costs down, it goes without saying that you should skip the foie gras and champagne. However, the cost of seemingly innocuous ingredients can quickly add up when your hosting more than you’re used to as well. To make your money go further without sacrificing on flavour, take a look at Jamie Oliver’s Save With Jamie recipes, all of which are as delicious as they are cost-effective.

Once you’ve decided on your menu, make a shopping list on stick to it exactly while you’re in the supermarket. This is where most dinner parties spiral off budget, but you’ll be thankful in the long run if you exercise a bit of self-discipline in the shops.

Take care with your presentation

It’s amazing how much more enjoyable a meal can be if it is presented in an elegant and thoughtful manner. A bit of care and attention when serving up your food is all it takes to make even the humblest of dishes look worthy of a Michelin star.

A restaurant-quality finish can be achieved for pennies — take a look on Pinterest for inspiration, and remember that it doesn’t need to be complex to look amazing. For example, swirling olive oil and cracking black pepper over soup can make it look unbelievably appetising, while simply snipping some fresh herbs over a main course can instantly take it to the next level.

One aspect of food presentation that often gets overlooked is the table setting. This will be your guests’ first impression of the meal, and a bit of thought towards its arrangement can go a long way. You won’t be able to go wrong with a centrepiece of flowers or a candle on top of a freshly washed and ironed tablecloth.

However, all the sophistication of your place settings can be ruined by mismatched crockery, so it’s well worth investing in some matching plates and bowls if you’re planning on making a habit out of hosting dinner parties. You can pick up plain white porcelain crockery for next to nothing from wholesale catering appliance suppliers such as Alliance — this simple addition will give all of your future meals a professional touch.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be able to treat your friends and family to a fantastic dinner party, no matter what the size of your budget. This will allow you to cut down on your expenses without having to give up on your social life.