Smart sav­ings

Pick Me Up! Special - - Real Life -

Au­thor and busi­ness­man Dave Ram­sey (www.dav­er­am­, gives us his top tips for host­ing a bud­get-friendly Christ­mas party.

THE BA­SICS De­cide on a bud­get

Think through how much money you’ll need to throw a Christ­mas party. If you need a lit­tle ex­tra cash, tem­po­rar­ily cut out other things, like go­ing out to restau­rants. Set money aside and mark it as ‘Christ­mas party’, so you know ex­actly how much you can spend.

Set your pri­or­i­ties

Be­fore you start spend­ing, make a list of ev­ery­thing you want to buy. Start with the most im­por­tant things – main dishes, drinks, dec­o­ra­tions. That way, if your money runs out, you can cut out things that don’t mat­ter as much.

Keep it man­age­able

You don’t have to throw an over-the-top party for 100 peo­ple. In­stead, in­vite just a few friends and fam­ily over for a more ca­sual (and more af­ford­able) din­ner.

THE DÉ­COR Ac­cent key places

Don’t worry about deck­ing out the whole house – rather fo­cus on high-traf­fic ar­eas like the ta­ble, man­tel and front door.

Get out the can­dles

If you crank up the fire­place and get some can­dles burn­ing, you’ll get away with hardly dec­o­rat­ing at all. Pick up some sim­ple glass jar can­dles and wrap rib­bon around them to give them some fes­tive flair.

Beg and bor­row

All those cake stands and punch bowls can add up fast if you buy them new. In­stead, ask your friends what they can lend you. You’ll be sur­prised at how much money you can save.

THE FOOD Look for sim­ple stand­outs

Peo­ple love dips, fon­dues and any­thing cov­ered in cheese. Keep it easy with crowd-pleas­ing recipes that don’t take a lot of time or money. Make sure the recipes you choose are easy to make ahead of time so you can store them in the fridge.

Shop generic and dis­count

Crisps are crisps and choco­late is choco­late. Save your money for higher-qual­ity cheese or a nicer cut of meat and spend less on things that are just meant for snack­ing.

Shar­ing is car­ing

Most peo­ple have a sig­na­ture dish or fam­ily pud­ding tra­di­tion they’re proud of. Cut down on your stress and your bud­get by ask­ing your guests to bring their best dish to share.

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