Manitoba summers are notoriously short, so it’s understandable that we celebrate our respite from frigid temperatures with zeal. Unfortunately, for those of us on a tight budget, seasonal celebrations can prove to be a strain on the budget, especially because we tend to throw caution to the winds once the sunny weather comes. Here are some strategies to limit the pressure your budget:
Resist the Temptation to Pay for it All
Chances are your friends will understand your need for budgetary restraint. Most of them probably feel the same way. There’s no need for you to take on a huge expense in the name of entertainment for your friends. If they don’t understand you need for restraint, then perhaps they aren’t really your friends. Ask them to share the cost by bringing their own alcoholic beverages if they choose to drink, and consider asking them to bring a dish to accompany your barbecue as a potluck. It’s a good idea to co-ordinate the things guests bring so you won’t have too many macaroni salads!
Spend Your Money in the Right Places
If you’re going to splurge, do it in a way that people will notice. Shrimp skewers for appetizers, or a really nice cheese plate become a focal point of your party. Don’t spread your money too far.
As for barbecue, there’s really no need to grill expensive cuts of meat. Hotdogs and hamburgers are traditional summer fare, and they’re reasonably economical. Consider making your own burgers rather than buying pre-made patties. It’s cheaper, and nearly always better.
Make Do With What You Have
Resist the urge to make big purchases in the name of entertainment. Summers here are short – don’t spend a lot of money on expensive outdoor furniture you can’t use most of the year. There’s no shame in asking your guests to bring their own lawn chairs to your party, and your buffet table doesn’t need to be a new shiny glass-top from the big box store – your old one, or even a door on a couple of sawhorses will look just as good with a table cloth on it.
Make sure you have enough propane or charcoal for the barbecue, and that there’s no need to purchase condiments or anything else from the convenience store at exorbitant prices.
Above all, remember that summer entertaining is about the people, not the party. There’s no need to expose yourself to financial risk in the name of entertainment. Go ahead and have fun, but exercise restraint.
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