5 Ways to Entertain On A Dime

Someone recently told me that she would like to entertain like I do, but she “can’t afford it.” This annoyed me. It seems to me that a lot of people neglect making friends or getting to know their neighbors because of excuses like “it costs money.” But of course it costs very little to entertain, since conversation is free.
Unless you know materialistic jerks–in which case I recommend finding some new friends–most people want to spend time with you, not be wowed by how much money you spend on them. So while it does cost a fair amount to throw a big party, entertaining, i.e. inviting people over to your house to hang out, doesn’t cost much at all.
When you entertain, it’s good to have a. some kind of snack like a bag of chips and salsa or cookies you made yourself or a nice cheese etc. and b. some kind of beverage, alcoholic or not, depending on how you roll. You don’t have to have the snack, but the beverage is pretty important and I don’t recommend skipping it. Usually your guests will bring the wine or beer or a snack too, so really between making your own food, take-out pizza that everyone chips in on, $2 bottles of wine, making your own beer, and what-have-you, it is completely possible to have a fun-filled evening for under $10. You just have to be creative and again, avoid materialistic jerks.
Here are 5 Ways to Entertain On A Dime:
1. Dinner parties–If you know how to cook, and how to save money on your food bill, it does not cost that much to have a dinner party. Here’s a dish that cost me $2.32 to make, here’s one that cost $2.65, here’s one for $.92. Of course, it will cost a bit more because you have to have more food for more people, but you get the idea. Have the friends bring the wine or dessert (if they offer, of course, but they always do).
2. Potluck–Even better, don’t provide the food. Have everyone bring a dish and you all eat it together. This will cost you the price of one dish and beverages.
3. Movie night–Pick a theme, horror movies or classic film noir, for example, and invite people over to watch some movies. Put out chips and some soda/beer, rent the movies, and you’re talking $20 max. I’ve been doing this one since 7th grade.
4. Fondue–Get a fondue pot from the thrift store. I guarantee one will be there and it will cost you around $5. Then get some cheese to melt in it and cut up an assortment of snacks like apples, bread, pretzels, etc. Invite your friends over for some 1970s retro fun.
5. Board game night–Have people over to play games like Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Scattergories. Since everyone has some of these games in a closet somewhere, this will cost you almost nothing. I used to do this all the time when I was really broke. It was always a hit.
So there are a few ideas off the top of my head. How do you entertain on the cheap?

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6 thoughts on “5 Ways to Entertain On A Dime”

  1. I love potluck dinners. We used to do thematic ones, and everyone would draw a dish out of a hat. My favorite was a pizza theme, and people had to draw whether they bought main course, salad, dessert, appetizer, drinks, etc, but everything had to be a pizza theme. Makes for interesting meals, as people interpret the theme differently, and it certainly doesn’t cost much money at all!

  2. Often I will tell everyone I’ll make the main dish,the iced tea (this is the South), coffee and general condiment-type stuff, and have them bring side dishes, bread and dessert. I still get to more or less choose the menu since I will ask one to bring a yellow vegetable of her choice, another to bring a salad and yet another to bring dessert. It works out great and isn’t too much a burden on anyone that way. And you can get some nice surprises with what a cook chooses to bring.
    Most people around here want meat (sigh) so a big pan of lasagna will feed a small crowd. The whole pan is not especially cheap but… try taking friends out for lasagna and making it yourself becomes positively frugal!

  3. Movie Night calls for popcorn! If you have a popper great! If not, take a medium bowl, place it in the microwave, with a plate on top, for 3 minutes. Do it yourself popcorn is so cheap!

  4. Movie Night calls for popcorn! If you have a popper great! If not, take a medium bowl,pour in 1/4 cup of popping corn, about 2 tablespoons oil; (canola is best do not use olive) place it in the microwave, with a plate on top, for 3 minutes. Do it yourself popcorn is so cheap!

  5. I totally agree, fondue can really be inexpensive. You just have to invest a little in a really neat looking fondue pot and you’re all set to a weekly night of a classy, yummy and easy fondue dinners! You can alternate cheese, chocolate and meat fondue every other week.

  6. Great ideas! I love having food theme nights too. I’m glad to hear you all agree that fun comes cheap too.


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