Most of us have been there. At some point in our life, we  may find ourselves needing to tighten the budget a bit. Maybe we're in school, we lost a job, or we've incurred unexpected expenses. Whatever the reason, in many cases, you can still host and entertain friends during the holiday season! Here's a money-saving few ideas I've found helpful in the past when it comes to entertaining on a budget:

Make parties BYOB. If you want to have a few cocktails during your shindig, there's ZERO shame in asking friends to bring their beverage of choice. You're not the designated "bartender of the world." Plus, everyone can bring what they like. Or, if you host a shindig and people ask you what they can bring, suggest a bottle of wine. Just be sure to let your guests know who brought it at the party out of courtesy.

Add your own decorative touches. There's no rule that says the entire house must be bedecked and gilded beyond recognition. Sure, it's fun to go to parties where they've gone all out. However, with the recent trend toward elegant simplicity and minimalism, your streamlined decorations will most likely be perceived in a very positive way. Get creative by adding little bits of flare here and there. Add some fresh fruit like grapes or cherries to a dinner plate. Decorate the table with votive candles and some pine cones or evergreen branches, of which we have an abundance in East Texas.

Serve simple foods that everyone will still love. Personally, I've moved away from eating a bunch of meat anyway and have found that it has saved me money, too. Steer away from expensive meat, fish, or even alcohol altogether. Pasta, soup, homemade breads and even hosting a dessert party can be a fun, yet cost-effective way to celebrate with your loved ones.

What others might you add to this list? After all, the season is about spending time with people you love. If there's someone in your life who would turn their nose up at such a lovely gathering, perhaps they don't need to be invited anyway.

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