If there’s one thing we all seem to have trouble with, it’s portion control. Super-sized cups, giant plates, and deep spoons can all contribute to our shrinking wallets and expanding waistlines.
I’ve mentioned before that measuring your portion sizes is a great way to save money and calories. It can also help you stretch your food and drink budget when hosting a gathering.
For example, the cheapest way to serve soda (or pop, as we Minnesotans call it!), is by the 2-liter bottle. So we buy a few bottles of the soda, a big pack of Solo cups and call it good. Twenty minutes into the party, you’re out of soda. Why? Because the cups were too big!
Save money on beverages by making sure you have smaller cups. Now, I’m not talking teeny-weeny paper cups. That would be way too cheapskate-y. I’m suggesting you use 9 oz cups instead of 16 oz cups. People can always come back for refills. But give them the larger cups, and chances are you’ll run out of beverages quickly and you’ll find cups laying around with 3 oz of flat soda in the bottoms of them.
Keep a Sharpie pen by the cups and encourage people to write their names on their cups. It’s good for mingling and for making sure people reuse their cups. Less waste and less trash means more money saved.
Smaller plates and serving utensils also help you stretch your food budget at gatherings. Give people huge plates and big slotted spoons and they’ll empty the buffet in no time. Smaller serving options build instant portion control. And just like the drinks, people can always come back for seconds if they’re truly still hungry.
Ditch the disposable products and you’ll have more work, but you’ll save more money and be a little more environmentally friendly, too.
You can also apply the idea of smaller sizes when it comes to food. If you’re serving something like sloppy joes or shredded meat, offer smaller buns rather than the ginormous ones. Your guests won’t pile on 3 or 4 times what a normal serving would be and your main meat dish will stretch farther.
Slice the cheese and bread thinner. Chop the onions instead of slicing them for burgers and sandwiches. Don’t put all the potato chips out at once. You will see that people use more restraint and your food and money will go farther.
These are just a few of the ways you can stretch your food budget when hosting family and friends.