Celebrate and save with 8 affordable entertainment tips

Posted: November 18, 2016 | Word Count: 522
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Celebrating with family and friends is the perfect way to elevate any holiday or festive occasion. If you're tasked with hosting the event, you have a lot to get done. As you create your to-do list, it can be overwhelming looking at just how much you have to purchase. But hosting a great party doesn't require you to spend a small fortune.

Hosting a fun affair on a budget is possible with a few simple tips and tricks. Consider these eight ideas to ensure guests have a memorable time and you keep more of your hard-earned money.

Theme
Select a theme for your party and let guests go wild. A theme costs nothing but the entertainment value is priceless. For example, set a "Christmas Vacation" theme where everyone dresses up as a character from the classic Chevy Chase movie. Cue the laughter!

Appetizers
Save time and money by skipping complicated homemade appetizers and serving high-quality frozen alternatives. Wellsley Farms offers stuffed puffed pastries, bacon-wrapped scallops, toasted ravioli and more, that will leave guests licking their lips. They taste homemade but all you have to do is pop them in the oven. Find them exclusively at your local BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Potluck
Rather than being in charge of every course, make the party potluck style. Invite guests to bring over a favorite dish to share and everyone gets to try new foods and flavors. Keep a running list of who's bringing what so you can ensure you have a good variety of offerings.

Drinks
There are two ways to save on beverages when hosting a party. First, buy in bulk at a membership club like BJ’s so you don't pay full retail prices. Second, make big batches of drinks such as punch or lemonade and place in a beverage dispenser so guests can serve themselves. Either way, you'll spend less and guests have plenty to wet their whistle.

Presentation
It doesn't matter what you serve, it's how you serve it. Any food looks more elegant on proper serving dishes. Visit BJ's to stock up on classic tableware and serving supplies by Berkley Jensen for an upscale look at your party without the upscale price tag.

DIY decorations
A few decorations can really create the right ambiance, but it doesn't have to cost a lot when you go the DIY route. For example, in the winter, pine cones in vases add rustic charm. Add a few bows of evergreen plucked from the tree in the backyard, and you have an eye-pleasing centerpiece that also smells fresh and looks fantastic.

Buffet
Serve party food buffet style and everyone can eat and socialize as they please. By selecting affordable party platters from your local BJ's, you'll have delicious foods for guests to nosh on without the excess expense. Two time-tested winners: deli and sandwich platters, and cookie and brownie platters.

Board games
Keep conversations lively and guests mingling by spreading board games throughout gathering spaces. This allows guests to grab a box and start a game at any time. Fun competition is a great way to bring people closer. Plus, when you use games you already have stored at your house, it costs you nothing.

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