Hosting a party doesn’t have to be expensive. Since I regularly host and style parties, I have been known to look out for clearance decor and budget-friendly food. There’s no shame in shopping with coupons or stocking up on dollar items if you know you will use them. Whether it’s a New Year’s Eve party or an upcoming birthday fiesta, think about hitting your local dollar store FIRST to help cross off some items on your list. You can then use coupons or shop around to find everything else you need. Here’s a list of a few food items that can help create a frugal feast that will please your guests and your wallet. Happy party planning!
1. Spices. If you buy ground or dried spices at your local grocer, you will spend $3 and up a bottle. Instead, find all of the dried spices you need for your baking and cooking for just $1. Use this list of dollar cooking spices to help stock your pantry.
Dried cinnamon sticks are an especially good deal at dollar stores at just $1 a bag and perfect for using in ciders and drinks. Read up on what herbs and spices are good in cocktails and set up a fun DIY cocktail bar! Find my suggestions for herbs in cocktails in this blog post.
2. Pasta. Grab large bags and boxes of pasta for just $1 a box as opposed to $2 and up a box. This is perfect for making your own baked mac and cheese, pasta salads, and other pasta side dishes. A little pasta goes a long way as well, really feeding a crowd for less.
You can set up a DIY Mac and Cheese Bar using dollar macaroni and toppings you may already have on hand. Consider frozen broccoli (some dollar stores have these in their freezer section!), bacon bits, and cheese.
3. Chocolates. Buy chocolate thin mints, chocolate-covered cherries, and other party treats for just $1 a box. These look great on dessert trays or are perfect for serving with coffee. They look so dainty and fancy too, so no one will know you only spend $1 on them. I also like to host movie nights with dollar movie theater-style candy-like Raisinettes, Buncha Crunch, and Cookie Dough Bites.
4. Bread mixes. You can find a variety of bread mixes at your dollar store that is a nice addition to a dinner party. Look for various bread, muffins, scone mixes, and more. These are great for brunches or to add to your main meal. Another bonus? Most only require water so there is no need for oil and eggs.
5. Olive oil. Olive oil at just $1 a bottle is a steal. While the size of these dollar olive oils might be smaller than you’re used to, it’s still a decent value if you are on a budget. Snag a bottle or two to use on your turkey (it will give it a lovely golden brown color) or to add to salads. You can also marinate veggies and meat with it.
You could also create an olive oil dipping station with fresh bread and spices like parsley, garlic salt, and oregano.
6. Pie Crusts. Save the hassle and some money when you buy a dollar store pie crust. For just $1 you have the perfect pie shell, and you can even grab some pie filling while you are there. Add some whipped cream topping, and you have a pie for around $3.
7. Cookies. Buy all of your food coloring, sprinkles, and frosting at your local dollar store. Food coloring especially is a steal at $1 a box. For just a few bucks, you can set up an easy cookie decoration station for Christmas or birthdays.
What is your favorite appetizer or dessert to serve at a party? How can you cut costs at your events?