How to Save Money on Easter Entertaining
How to save money on your Easter celebration…
2021 just seems to be flying by! Christmas and New Year felt like just a week or two ago, but Easter is already fast approaching.
In some ways it’s the same every year. But of course this year has been very different. Most of the UK has been in lockdown for most of 2021 so far. So in that sense, we lose track of time. Every day is very much like every other day, and weeks slip into each other without us really noticing.
But now there is light at the end of the tunnel. We now have a roadmap out of lockdown which means that soon we will be able to see friends and family again, and start going out to the places we love.
But the Easter weekend comes before most restrictions are lifted. It’s the weekend of Friday 2nd April to Monday 5th April. We can meet outdoors in a group of either six people or two households as from Monday 29th March. But hospitality venues will not be open and there should be no indoor socialising.
So let’s hope that the weather is kind to us and we can see small groups of friends or family outdoors. If you have a garden or outdoor space this means that you are likely to end up hosting at least one get-together. But can you remember how to do it?! It seems so long since we have entertained anyone other than our immediate household that the prospect can be quite daunting.
Then of course there’s the expense. However Covid has affected your finances, entertaining is one thing that you won’t have been spending money on, and it can get very expensive.
So to help you plan your Easter Entertaining, here are Ten Tips that we hope will be useful and also ensure that you save money in the process:
Keep food simple
Most of us buy far too much food when we are entertaining. And this seems to be even more the case when we are entertaining outside. So make a list before you go shopping. Think not just of what to buy but how much a typical guest will realistically eat. Remember that most people won’t eat some of everything so you don’t need to make full quantities of every dish. Save money by buying what you need rather than everything you think you ought to have.
You can also apply the “family hold back” principle. Let guests help themselves first and if a particular dish does run out, then there will be plenty of something else for you and yours to eat. And you can always make them that other dish another day.
Ask people to bring a dish
Another way to ensure a full table and save money is to ask people to bring something. And this time in particular, they really won’t mind doing that. People haven’t socialised for so long that they will probably enjoy making and bringing something to the party. So when they ask if they can bring anything, do remember to say yes!
You could also try Bring One Take One Away. All you need to do is to make double of one of your dishes and give some to your guest to take home, in return for the one they bring. It usually doesn’t cost much more to make extra quantities of a dish, and it’s a lovely way to say thank you to them for helping out.
Prepare the BBQ in advance
If you are planning to get the BBQ out then do check it in advance. It is likely to need a good clean after the winter, and you don’t want to have to waste time doing that when you could be with your friends. Also make sure that you have all the bits and pieces you need, such as charcoal, firelighters or matches, and of course a decent set of BBQ tools – which always seem to disappear over winter.
Set up an outdoor serving station
There may not be room for everything on the table you are going to eat from, so it’s a good idea to set up a separate serving station with everything your guests will need. Start with plates, napkins, cutlery, condiments and side dishes (salads etc), then leave room for the food as well. Whether you are bringing food from the kitchen or the BBQ, putting it on a separate table gives people space to help themselves without having to reach over others.
Create your own bar
On a similar theme, setting up an outdoor bar is a great idea. Either use a small table or drinks trolley, with glasses or plastic cups, and a variety of drinks. Don’t try to stock every single drink in your bar. It will cost far too much. Save money by stocking up on the basics – beer, wine, and soft drinks – and ask people to bring anything else that they want.
Don’t forget accessories such as bottle openers, corkscrews and straws for the kids. You can use ice buckets to keep drinks cool.
Even though you will need to keep an eye on it and top things up from the kitchen from time to time, having an outdoor bar saves people wandering in and out of the house, and keeps them safely outside.
Provide covering, umbrellas and blankets just in case
Thinking about our Easter plans, we’re all really hoping that the weather is as good as it was last Easter. But we can’t rely on it, so if you can provide any kind of covering it’s a good idea to have that at the ready. Whether it’s a gazebo or awning, or just carefully placed umbrellas, you may need something to keep guests dry. Blankets are also a good idea if it’s a bit breezy or if you are extending into the evening.
Extend outdoor seating with rugs and pillows
If the weather does turn out to be good that’s great news, because it means you can make full use of your outdoor space. You can put extra chairs around your garden, or use rugs and pillows. This gives people the opportunity to spread out and relax, whilst safely social distancing.
A party needs music!
You haven’t seen your family and friends in a while, so there will be lots to catch up on! But you can still add to the ambience by some carefully chosen background music. Whether you put on your favourite radio station, Spotify playlist, or CDs, some low key background music can help to relax people and put them in the party mood.
Set up entertainment for the kids
Of course if there are children in the party then you need to organise something to keep them entertained. This will hopefully give you and the rest of the group the chance for some adult time. Depending on the age of the children you could set up either outdoor games, board games, or laptops/tablets to play games or watch movies. But plan something in advance, so you get a bit of peace and quiet on the day.
Relax and enjoy yourself
If you plan and prepare well, then you should be able to relax and enjoy yourself on the day. And, let’s face it, this is what it’s all about. Your guests want to see you after such a long time apart. They probably wouldn’t care if you just did beans on toast or ordered takeaway pizza. It’s you they are coming for, not a gourmet dinner party.
So just do your best, and don’t spend money that you don’t have on too much food that might then be wasted.
Then sit back, relax, and reflect on the words of the Queen in her lockdown broadcast shortly before last Easter:
“Better days will return:
we will be with our friends again;
we will be with our families again;
we will meet again.”
Happy Easter from all of us at Loans 2 Go!