What Will It Cost to Host for the Holidays? Prepare to Be Shocked

Friends and family serve each other food during a holiday dinner.

Image source: Getty Images

The number may be higher than you would expect.


Important points

  • Hosting a holiday gathering could mean spending more than you want.
  • When money is tight, there are steps you can take to keep your costs down.
  • They may ask guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages and try to bulk pick up snacks for parties.

Although it’s only October, now is actually a great time to start saving and budgeting for the holidays. And that’s especially important this year, as inflation is driving up the cost of almost everything.

If you’re planning to throw a holiday dinner or party, you might be ready to rack up some serious credit card billing over the course of that celebration. But one thing you don’t want to do is go overboard, to the point where you’re forced to carry a balance forward.

In a recent vacation planning survey, Ally found that an average gathering will cost at least $630. It’s worth noting that respondents who host a holiday event expect an average of 11 invitees. Still, $630 (or more) is a lot of money for an audience this size.

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When money’s tight over the holidays and you’ve been tapped as a host, you might have to settle for racking up a bunch of debt to host a fun get-together. However, the good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce your hosting costs. Here’s how.

1. Make it BYOB

The cost of serving alcohol to a room full of people can really add up. If you’re on a budget, ask your guests to bring their favorite bottle of wine, six-pack of beer, or any beverage of their choice to your event. Not only could this make for a nice change of pace, but it could also save you a few hundred dollars in beverage costs.

2. Go the homemade route

Maybe you’re used to hosting your holiday meals or parties because you’re constantly pressed for time or you’re a self-proclaimed disaster in the kitchen. But the more food you’re willing to prepare yourself, the less you’re likely to spend in the course of hosting. If you need to outsource a few main courses, at least be prepared to make your own salads and cheeseboards. It’s one thing to be a lousy cook, but dicing cheese and putting it on a plate with some crackers should be more than doable.

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3. Buy your snacks in bulk

It is customary to serve snacks at a Christmas party or meal. And if you’re feeding a crowd and don’t want to spend a fortune, it pays to buy your chips, pretzels, and salsa in bulk. If you have a Costco membership, stop by your local Warehouse Club store before the holidays and stock up on the items you need. You might even find plenty of frozen appetizers to pop in the oven to keep your guests entertained until you’re ready to present your main course.

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Hosting for the holidays can be expensive, whether you have a handful of guests or 20. But if you’re expecting a bill somewhere in the region of $630, you should know are Steps you can take to spend less and avoid starting the new year with a pile of debt in your name.

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