There’s a myth going around that hospitality ends when homeschooling begins. Surely, living on a single income means the party is over, right?
Listen — there are enough myths circulating about homeschooling and unschooling already. No sense releasing another into the universe.
The truth is, aside from scheduling guests so they never interfere with school (unless you like it that way), there is nothing stopping homeschool families from extending hospitality to family and friends whenever they like. Budget has nothing to do with it.
Think of this. Hospitality is made of many things that cost nothing at all — your time, sharing friendship and togetherness, a welcoming home, and a friendly greeting with a smile. A a pot of tea and some cookies add only pennies to a gathering already so valuable on its own. If you can do more, great. If not, that’s okay, too.
Some families serve tea and coffee as a budget-friendly way to entertain in the mid-afternoon. Some put out bite-sized appetizers and a pitcher of dressed-up fruit punch at brunch. Still others offer hearty soup, homemade breads and crackers for a sit-down style meal.
Do what you can afford. But, never deprive your family the joys of entertaining just because dollars are tight. Benefits of entertaining extend beyond your own family, anyhow. The support and friendship you offer during these times are priceless to others, as well.
This year, I again challenged myself to do Thanksgiving on a budget. Serving 10, I wanted to spend even less than last year, but also be able to offer guests a plentiful feast with all of the trimmings. It wasn’t hard to do, and the result was an event to be proud of.
Read my tips from last year to get motivated for Thanksgiving under $100. Then, read these additional tips to save even more — cutting the budget further for a holiday feast under $75.
I began with decorations since
this is my favorite thing to do these can be prepared well in advance. This year, I clipped grape vines from the yard and twisted them into decorative wreaths. I used brown twigs for the wreaths and wound them together with green bits until they stayed put. After washing and drying in the sun for several days, I decorated and placed them throughout my home.
I used vines along the table, as well (see below). They were perfect for my long table, and wound nicely around flower arrangements and candles, too.
I began collecting what I had around the house and also shopping the clearance sections of stores I visited throughout the month of November. I found packages of coasters marked “Be Thankful” at Michael’s for a dollar. I also found napkin rings made of twine that work for all seasons, so I snapped them up knowing I could decorate them for Christmas as well.
I lucked out on these sweet candles from Kirkland’s for only $.97 a box of six:
Table settings were kept simple and elegant this year, and cost nothing. A collector of antique plates, I always have endless combinations of settings to choose from. The children helped me this year, and we arrived at a color combination we loved using pieces from 3 different sets, including my dear grandmother’s old wine glasses.
The children made flower arrangements in homeschool co-op this season. Several of these graced our long table for 10, and lasted several days later as they were made primarily from dried leaves and flowers of the season. We paired these colors with lovely paper napkins that were a gift from my mom this year, and the table came together beautifully…don’t you agree?
I have written about food savings before, so I won’t repeat it here. However, some highlights of the grocery shopping this year included these deals, secured in plenty of time for the holiday, thanks to bargain-hunting combined with coupons and the use of a large freezer to store goodies until Thanksgiving day:
- a frozen turkey purchased on sale well in advance (though still kicking myself for just barely not qualifying for the free bird offed by my local grocer)
- frozen Bird’s Eye brand vegetables offered at 50% plus coupons, making them almost free
- frozen Sara Lee treats and pies also marked down to 50% off several weeks prior
- frozen ready-to-bake baguettes and rolls, purchased months in advance on clearance
- homemade apple sauce and pumpkin pies using store-brand ingredients (canned pumpkin and evaporated milk) for even greater savings
- color-themed candies purchased after Halloween (Hershey’s Kisses and the like, see under wine glasses) for 90% off
- boxed stuffing mixes (I usually make my own, but these were virtually free this year at BOGO plus coupon savings)
- sweet potato casserole using fresh veggies from our organics delivery, making them ultra-delicious and extremely low cost by purchasing in bulk
- a generous windfall of a large variety of citrus from a friendly neighbor
As you can see, our family ate well and didn’t break the bank doing so. Other low-cost activities throughout the day included homemade hot chocolate during the Macy’s Day Parade and a walk around the neighborhood after the meal.
Also like last year, I ended with a freezer full of stock and a refrigerator full of left-overs, too. The meal itself came in under budget, even when including the bottle of wine we didn’t drink, plus two 2-liter bottles of sodas served to the children.
I hope I have encouraged you to entertain whenever possible on your own. Remembering my tips about keeping your home clean enough and scheduling events around the family calendar, I know you can make it happen!