Having Guests Without Breaking the Bank

by Emily · 7 comments

in Living Frugally

This past week, it feels like there’s a revolving door where our front door used to be.  Over the Memorial Day weekend  we were very blessed to have my friend Christine, her four beautiful daughters, and her 100-lb lab stay with us for a few days until her rental home was move-in ready.  Then a few days spent in a whirlwind of cleaning, dusting, and grocery shopping, and my parents are visiting now for a few days.

I completely love having guests.  Our only challenge was that we’re living in a much smaller home then we had this time last year.   And a much smaller budget.  Here’s how we’ve made the most of it:

Getting creative about sleeping arrangements: Stuffing an extra 5 people in our home made me long for the day when we had two extra guest bedrooms.  My husband, God love him, created an extra room for us.  We had an old 5-person tent in the garage.  He pitched it in the yard, and he and the 3 older girls had a camp-out.  Complete with flashlights, marshmallows, and scary stories.

Dinnertime Times Three: Cooking for a crowd was definitely a challenge for me, especially when their style of eating doesn’t include the more adventurous diet we regularly eat.  Our saving grace?  The grill.  Who isn’t down with hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, and a simple mac & cheese?  Followed by a healthy dose of juicy watermelon, this signature-summer fare really can feed a crowd for not-too-much bread!

Cheap Entertainment: We don’t really do anything special when we have company.  More like explore our town a little.  Right now it’s Strawberry Festival time, so that’s on the agenda with my parents today.  But, other than that special occasion, I usually let the guests dictate how they want to be entertained.  Christine and her kids opted for the free parks to get some of the wigglies out of the kids.  My parents usually are very happy to just sit and visit with us rather than be toured around.  Giving your guests the option takes the pressure off of you to be the good little hostess, and lets your friends do what they really want to do.

How do you keep costs down when you have house guests?


1 FabulousSavings.com June 7, 2010

My family used to set up a tent in the backyard when I was a kid and we had guests, too. It was a lot of fun! Pack some extra blankets, though. It can get surprisingly cool outside, even in summer.

Also, look for sales on toilet paper and paper towel before your guests come. The last pair of guests I had went through an entire roll of paper towel (something I personally use sparingly) in a matter of days. If you have to stock up, add up the coupons, too!

– Shayna from FabulousSavings.com

2 finallygettingtoeven June 8, 2010

We too try to keep the costs down by eating 'simple' easy to prepare foods that go a long way…spaghetti, chili, tacos, burgers, add a couple of side dishes and you are good to go.

I am lucky in the fact that i live in a very small town so you don't come here to play tourist. Most of the time we just sit around and visit also.

3 SimplyMe June 8, 2010

Great post and tips! When we relocated from Pennsylvania to Las Vegas nine years ago, we were much more of a B&B than we are now (the novelty wears off!). I try to always keep the house guest ready (or close to it) so it's not so much work when we do have visitors. I used to cook and bake and stock up in advance, but that was simply a waste of time and money. Now one of our first stops with guests is the grocery store. I have them accompany me or I request food items in advance, so I don't waste a bunch of money playing the guessing game. We also encourage guests to rent a car so they can explore the Strip on their own if they'd like to, knowing we've "been there done that." It takes the pressure off both parties. We don't feel like a shuttle service and they get some freedom. Many times I even hand over the car keys! Guests love to see where "us locals" eat, so we typically Skip the fancy restaurants and enjoy our neighborhood favorites, which saves some serious cash.
.-= SimplyMe´s last blog ..Simple Pleasures Sunday: 80s TV Memories =-.

4 Monroe on a Budget June 8, 2010

Be sure to stop by the tourist office in your community if you will be hosting guests. You'll find sight-seeing brochures, yes, but some of them may have restaurant coupons or discounts deals you can take advantage of. You'll also be able to read or get a copy of the community events calendar such as concerts in the park.

And stop by your libraries too because in southeast Michigan, many of the libraries have free museum passes or park passes that are sponsored through a corporate grant.
.-= Monroe on a Budget´s last blog ..Scrapbooking the tornado news =-.

5 Neil June 8, 2010

Making food to take with you if you go out is a top tip (especially in the summer). Not only will it be cheaper, but you will often get to be in a much better place than a crowded snack bar.
.-= Neil´s last blog ..My 4 Priorities For a Happy Life =-.

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