Great Savings Tip #79 – Potluck


Get a little help from your friends.
This post is part of our continuing Great Savings Tips series, designed to help find ways to spend less and save more.


Fun With Friends


Tip #79: Entertain with a potluck. I know this idea won’t appeal to everyone, but since I do a lot of the cooking and cleaning in my household, I’m not embarrassed to say that having friends over for dinner or a party is a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, I get to spend precious face-to-face time with the people I love.  On the other, I can easily spend half the day cleaning, shopping and cooking.


Consider a potluck the next time you entertain.

Save by dining in. Save more by making it a potluck.

Our Next Dinner Party


As I write this, I’m in the process of putting together a “special dinner for 5 people” for this evening.  For this particular occasion we decided to dine in rather than out to save some money.  I expect we’ll cut the cost of our meal by at least half by dining in. This morning, I went to the store and bought some pre-marinated flank steak I plan to throw on the grill, some veggies I intend to roast in the oven, and some salad fixings—and in case you were wondering, I don’t get to eat this well all the time.


We already had several of the items I might have purchased for an event like this, such as cheese for appetizers and the things we need to make our dessert (I’m still hoping my wife’s up to making her Chocolate Lava Cake).  Even so, the grocery bill was about $90 for the dinner items I bought, though that did include a couple bottles of $14 wine.  Had I been thinking ahead, I might have asked our guests to make the salad, bring a dessert or take care of the wine.  That might have saved me $10 to $28 dollars on top of the $90 or so I’m saving by skipping the restaurant.  Chances are, my guests would have been glad to help, especially since my wife and I are doing the rest of the work.


A Lifesaver


Over the years, we ‘ve held potlucks for a number of parties, dinners with friends and any number of family events.  Potlucks have been a lifesaver for us.  Not only have we saved big time by sharing the cost of our meals, but with everyone bringing their own food item to share we end up with fewer dishes.


Giving Up Some Control


Got a good recipe?

Why not start planning for your next potluck today?

True, this particular style of dining means you may lose some control over planning a well rounded meal, but it doesn’t have to mean giving up on everything.  For example, suppose you invite 4 or 5 couples over.  By assigning each couple a specific category of food, at least you know you’ll end up with a good variety.  We’ve done this successfully for big and small parties alike so I know it works.  Of course, if the group is big enough, sometimes it works better to let everyone bring what they want as that takes less organizing.


More Tips On The Way

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