When it comes to throwing a New Year bash, nothing quite sets the mood like great food, drink and company. Though it can be grand to be the host for such an event, it does not mean you have to make your wallet cry to pull off a magnificent send off for the old year and welcoming for the new. The first step in going cheap for the food and drinks is to set a reasonable budget and stick with it. The next step is getting resourceful and creative.
Store brand items is one of the basic ways to help reduce costs.
Using a theme party setting, beyond it being for New years can be a fun way to really engage guests. Making up new labels to go over drink bottles and decorating plates can make it more than a little fun. It can be a great way to also keep your guests clueless to the fact you used store brand items. If you have picky guests you can keep a bottle or two of the name brand drinks and even make a joke of prefixing the names on the labels with things such as gold or platinum and keeping them in a separate place.
Dressing up aside, store brand items are not only more cost effective, many are just as good and in some cases, better tasting than their name brand counterparts. Another way you can still get the traditional party foods rolling without spending as much, it my making up your own platters. A good portion of the cost is from the prep and convenience. Rolling up and arranging deli meats and cheese is not rocket science. If you buy your own you can end up saving a fair bit, getting better quality, and a wider selection.
Get creative and draw some inspiration.
If you are really strapped but still want to make it great, all you need is some optional paper bags, a bunch of pop corn kernels, some oil and a bunch of seasonings. From salty to sweet and everywhere in between, making up custom seasoned helpings of popcorn can be a great way to entertain and feed your guests. From simple crowd pleasing tricks such as using a ranch dressing packet, to a bit more involved home made caramel glaze, making seasoned popcorn is a lot easier and cheaper than you may think.
Though popcorn is just one popular snack that is cheap and flexible. When it comes to cake and dessert confections, buying and baking your own will always be cheaper than buying it already made from the bakery. You can get really creative by decorating and serving it up in smaller, mini style plating. Using candies and tube icing, you can create amazing and tasty displays that will wow your guests and keep them happy all evening. You can even buy fondant fairly cheap from many grocery stores now, but be warned, while it can create some amazingly professional appearances, it does not taste that great. Most people compare true fondant to play dough in regards to its consistency and taste. If you absolutely want to to have that smoothed look to any frosting, there are tips and walk-through online for how to smooth out butter cream frosting, but it takes a bit more work.
Don’t forget about the incredible edible egg.
When trying to feed a lot of people on a little budget, don’t forget about one of the cheapest and most versatile foods at any super market; the egg. Deviled eggs can be prepared in any number of different ways, with all sorts of flares. From the traditional mixture of yolks with mayo, mustard, and seasoning to loaded with bacon crumbles and dashes of paprika, the egg is bountiful, cheap and extremely flexible. You can even go off from ordinary and make up tuna salad to fill the egg whites with instead of the traditional mix. Get even more creative, especially if you are near a body of water, and serve the fishy mix-up using chips to form the fins and tails that transform them into a fun and fishy decoration. The possibilities abound with how you can use boiled eggs.
The other option that is really easy and popular is the crust-less quiche or baked up appetizers. A little bit of sausage crumble or bacon bits and cheese, a cupcake pan, and viola, bite sized goodies that be great during and after the party, especially if it runs into the wee hours of the new year morning. The recipes for these style of quick and easy egg baked goods are quite plentiful and can be a fun hit at any party. While mostly savoury, the protein rich nature can also make them a great choice, not just because they are cost effective, but because they can help guests feel more full while snacking, leading to less snacking and more savings.
Another big key to saving money is being prepared for a bit more work.
While it is not an overly burdening amount, it does require a bit more finesse than simply opening containers and setting out bowls. Preparing a budget friendly feast for the New years requires a willingness to bake your own goods and put effort into plating and presentation. If your guests will want more than a collection of light snacks and as a way to sort of encourage less food per person, consider finger sandwiches. They are something that takes a bit of prep work but again can be quite cost effective and the plating for them can be quite fun. You can build a sculpture or even a castle with sandwiches and colourful toothpicks. Sites such as Pinterest, as one example, have a lot of wonderful ideas for how to plate and serve up budget friendly dishes, as well as serving up some great recipes as well.
From sliced up mini cakes, finger sandwiches, platters, and regular drinks, to mini skewers and dips galore, the little bit of extra work you put in selecting, preparing and presenting can make the food of the party the talk of the evening.