Life

Planning a Dinner Party on a really tight budget

Published on September 10, 2015 12:08 pm, by

We just finished our Planning a Dinner Party on a budget post, and thought we’d set a real challenge for ourselves. What if you have $50 to spend and you want to cook for 8? 

We’re aiming for 3 courses, but suggest you could do 2. Who’s not happy with some chips and a glass of wine before heading to the main course? Me, I’m just happy if somebody else cooks!

To keep ourselves honest we’ll throw in some prices. We’re also going to remind you that Google is your recipe friend and tell you that mince and beans are your wallet’s friends.

The best tip we can give is to work on 2 courses and use what’s left for the 3rd. So if you love your mains and desserts, do those 2 courses and any change out of your $50 put towards the entrée. Alternatively if you’re not a big sweet lover, do the entrée and main first.

Entrée (Approx $10) –

Some quick and easy options:

Carrot and celery sticks + hummus – up to $10

Cocktail sausages with sauce – up to $10

Mini quiches – $10
Use filo pastry, eggs, a dash of milk & ham or bacon. If you have any money left you can throw in spring onions and mushrooms

Mains (Approx $30) –

Our top 3 meals on a budget are –

Chilli Con Carne with Rice – $27.60

Ingredients
1kg mince – you should be able to get this for less than $10
2 cans of tomatoes – ALDI $1.20
2 cans of kidney beans – ALDI $1.40
2 onions – $1
Garlic – $2
Spices – hopefully in your cupboard
Rice – ALDI $2
Green salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomato with homemade dressing – $7
Fresh or Garlic bread – $4

Spaghetti Bolognaise -$28.10

Ingredients
1kg mince – you should be able to get this for less than $10
2 cans of tomatoes – ALDI $1.20
2 cans of kidney beans – ALDI $1.40
2 onions – $1
Garlic – $2
Spices – hopefully in your cupboard
Pasta – ALDI $1.50
Green salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomato with homemade dressing – $7
Fresh or Garlic bread – $4

Chicken Pasta Bake with fresh bread and salad – $34.20

Ingredients
1.5kg chicken = Coles $13.50
1kg pasta = ALDI $1.50
Fresh seasonal vegetables = $4
Onion & garlic = $3
Milk = Coles $1
Flour = Coles $1
Butter = ALDI $1.20
Cheese = ALDI $5
Fresh Bread = $4

Of course there are lots of recipes for all of these dishes that will let you be a little creative and use what you may have in your kitchen.

Don’t feel bad about borrowing a spice from a friend – if you haven’t used it before chances are that you won’t again in any hurry.

Dessert – (Approx $10)

Cake and ice cream – up to $10

Even a packet mix cake tastes good straight out of the oven with a dollop of ice cream. Go for what’s on sale!
Alternatively if you have the ingredients in your cupboard, making from scratch is a cheaper option. More money left to spend on ice cream.

Home made apple crumble with custard – $10

Ingredients
6 apples – $4
Flour – COLES $1
Sugar – ALDI $1
Cinnamon – COLES $1
Oats – ALDI $1
Custard $2

Chocolate sundaes with strawberries –$10

With strawberries in season right now, it’s the perfect time to use them in your dinner party menu.

Ingredients
Strawberries – $3 (2 punnets)
Ice cream – $5
Chocolate sauce – $2

Drinks

As for drinks, I’d suggest asking everyone to bring a bottle. Most people will anyway. Otherwise there is always water, to which you can add fruit or have straight from the tap.

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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