Ideas for Entertaining on a Budget

We all have them.

You know, those months when you fail to plan ahead, spend more than you meant to at Costco, the car tabs come due, and you realize that you didn’t pay for cable last month, so you have to pay double this time. Then the kids run out of lunch money, and you need to refill the gas tank.

Bam!  Paycheck dissapear-i-o!

You’re outta cash, but hey, the bills are paid and you have groceries, so no big deal right? You can just hang out close to home and pinch pennies ’till payday rolls around again.

Then you remember you need to bring a dish to the Easter potluck.  Fortunately you’re a resourceful gal, with a fairly well stocked pantry, so you can come up with something, and it probably won’t even seem like “poor food”.

Then, you remember you’re hosting a Lia Sophia party next weekend.  EESH.

Yep, that’s been my month.  I knew when I left my “serious” job to work at the kids’ school that there would be less margin, but until now we’ve been able to pretty nearly maintain our former lifestyle by making just a few minor tweaks.  This month it all added up and just caught up with me.  I’ll admit it.  I’m pretty much broke.  Like I said before, however, the pantry is looking ok, so I think I can pull off some modest festivities.

Here’s my plan.

Easter dinner is a potluck with the extended family.  There is usually more food than any of us should attempt to eat, but as a grown woman bringing four mouths to the party, I just wouldn’t feel right showing up empty handed.

After a cursory look through the pantry I figured I’d bring deviled eggs, but then remembered that someone else usually brings them, so I decided on my Mexican Restaurant style rice, dressed up with some chopped carrots and onions.  I may also bring a loaf of sourdough bread.  Doesn’t seem very scrimpy at all, now does it?

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As for the Lia Sophia party I’ve been to a few of these events, and never have seen anyone just make a bowl of popcorn and pass around glasses of ice water, but it’s not really an occasion for sit down food, like beans and rice either.  What to do?

If the chickens keep laying as well as they do, I’ll do a round of deviled eggs.  I can also make a fresh loaf of artisan sourdough bread (that’s what you call it if you want it to sound fancy, if only folks knew it’s just flour, salt, and water. . . ) and if I do some scrounging in car ashtrays and couch cushions I’d bet I can come up with enough for some plain cream cheese that can be “herbed” and “berried” out of my spice cabinet, and freezer.  To drink I’ll offer some wine that has been hanging around in the pantry for awhile, 89 cent store brand soda, and Ice water with a little Lemon Essential Oil.

Again, I knew going into this reduction of income that things might get tricky at some point, but by being a little creative, planning based on what’s already here, and not worrying too much about what I wish we had, I’ll be able to pull it off almost painlessly!

Now that I’ve figured out what I’ll serve, I need to turn my attention to the front porch which is looking rather Clampet-y.  That way I won’t have to pretend I’m not home when the guests arrive!

To be completely honest, my husband did get another paycheck and our tax return arrived, between my starting and publishing this, but I did stick to my plan and not spend any extra on this month’s festivities.  It feels so good to know one doesn’t always need to run to the store to keep things moving!

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