Day 12. Money-Honey: I Don’t Have the Stuff and RE BOOK Giveaway!

I’ve heard from many readers who write to me and say they just can’t afford to entertain. I certainly don’t want to go through life, and then wonder if it could have been richer and fuller, knowing I could have reached out more.

My ideas here are very simple.

- Everyone has the ability to borrow
- Find a friend who won’t mind sharing
- Don’t forget Good Will & yard sales
- Delegate the menu–there’s no reason why you have to do it all
- Serve water and have the guests bring other drinks

Get it out of your mind that you have to spend a ton of money to entertain.

Saying “I don’t have the money” is just an excuse, most of the time.

This dinner party was of Easter this year. The plates I found at a yard sale, the glasses and vases were from the Dollar Store, and the fresh flowers were from my front yard.

Again, if you haven’t read the “Joy Busters” chapter in my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer, I think you might be challenged. And you may sense some freedom coming your way …

Leave a comment today to be eligible to WIN my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer. You’ll be able to read about my Joy Busters and get a lot more savvy entertaining ideas.

Tweet, Facebook, or post about this giveaway and you’ll get a 2nd chance to win. Make sure and come back tell me.

Are you okay with asking your guests to contribute to the meal, to make it more affordable for you?

***PLEASE NOTE: The giveaway has ended and winner announced, HERE. Thank you everyone for entering.

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196 Responses to “Day 12. Money-Honey: I Don’t Have the Stuff and RE BOOK Giveaway!”

  1. #
    sam — October 12, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

    Of course – - somebody always has a best dish that my mom, my grandma, by great aunt used to make and its great to hear the stories behind the dishes too. The best is when they bring along the recipe : ) Would absolutely love to win a copy of this book – because that is exactly what I am – a reluctant entertainer.

  2. #
    Florence — October 12, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

    Definitely it is OK to ask guests to bring something. It includes them in the party and takes the stress off of you.

    Would love a copy of this book! You have some great ideas!

  3. #
    andrea — October 12, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

    I’m loving your series, and I’ve had your book on my Christmas list for weeks! I am a bit of a control freak, so don’t often ask others to contribute anymore. However, when I was younger it was a necessity. Since I LOVE to have people in my home, and many of my friends did not, they were only too happy to contribute if I was willing to host.

  4. #
    Abbie — October 12, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    I always let guests bring something for the meal if they offer, but I don’t usually ask unless it’s family. I also try to always offer if I am invited. (Unfortunately that doesn’t happen much.)

    I too think “can’t afford it” is an excuse. I make a cheap, filling, yummy meal like lasagna, chili, pasta, or mexican lasagna and the same for dessert – cookies or in-season fruit crisp, pie or cobbler. Nobody cares if it’s not fancy, they just want to be invited because it is so rare (I’ve lived in several cities and states in the midwest) these days.

  5. #
    janita — October 12, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    I would so love to have a copy of your book, I’ve got it on my wish list .
    Thank you so much for your inspiration. I am glad to help with something when we are invited over and I find that others are glad to bring something as well. And the food is always wonderful. Because everyone brings something that they love to eat I don’t have to worry about everyone’s tastes buds there is always something on the menu that they like! I like to have people over but trying to do it all is too much.

  6. #
    BethS — October 12, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    Any entertaining I do is usually family so asking for someone to bring something is no big deal. Sometimes I do it all, others times we all pitch in. Besides my mom still makes the best pies out of all of us, so she is the go to for that one.

  7. #
    Tracie B — October 12, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

    Yes! I know that I personally enjoy helping out when I’m invited to someone’s home for a meal. I always offer, but sometimes I’m asked to and sometime I’m not.

  8. #
    baltimoremom — October 12, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

    I just checked out your book from the library. It’s so wonderful I wish I could own a copy so I can refer to it whenever I need to or want to instead of having to wait in line for it. Thanks for writing your awesome book!

  9. #
    Jess — October 12, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

    I reserved a copy of your book at the Library. I can’t wait to read it. It is also on my Christmas list. Yay. Winning the book would be an early Christmas present :)

    I absolutely think it is good to ask guest to contribute…I don’t know if it is a southern thing…but when we moved down here it seemed people ALWAYS asked what they can bring…and I quickly got the clue to ALWAYS ask when we are invited somewhere.

  10. #
    Hannah — October 12, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

    I’m OK with asking … if they offer to bring something. Does that count?

  11. #
    Myrna — October 12, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

    We have people over often, but I don’t think of it as “entertaining” often—–(just for those special occasions). What I do think is that I am having people in to SHARE OUR FAMILY’S MEAL That takes off a whole lotta pressure, and I use my mom’s (depression era) tricks to make it stretch. Big, big salad and extra bread, noodles or potatoes. Casseroles are usually inexpensive, a cake mix still is a bargain—for so many, dessert is a rarity at home. A lot of folks can enjoy a hearty meal for not a lot of money or trouble. “It’s not what’s on the table that matters, but whose on the chairs”
    My “plan B” is to ask people to bring their own meat for the grill, and we provide the rest.

  12. #
    Susan — October 12, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    Whenever we have guests, they usually ask what they can bring, and I let them bring whatever they can! That way I don’t have to work as hard or spend as much money, we enjoy a variety of dishes, and they enjoy bringing it. I do the same when I go to their homes. Occasionally I’ll say to bring nothing, but not often!

  13. #
    Carrie — October 12, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

    I have always been one to tell people not to bring something for gatherings, “Oh, it’s okay. I’ve got everything covered.” I didn’t want to burden anyone. And since I did the inviting, shouldn’t I, as the hostess, be providing all the eating/drinking merriment?

    But family and friends love to contribute and feel more involved when they can. I know I never come to a party empty handed, I’d feel weird not bringing something. So why should I deny family and friends doing the same?

    Would love your book – it sounds AMAZING! – Carrie

  14. #
    Mary — October 12, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

    Would LOVE to win your book. I absolutely love the Easter table you shared featuring yard sale plates and other pieces from Dollar Tree…the napkins match the floral arrangments exactly – what a feast for the eyes!

  15. #
    Kristen — October 12, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

    My friends always ask what they can bring, but I tend to dismiss their help and then stress out unnecessarily. But when someone else is hosting, I’m always happy to bring something, and all of our friends pitch in with food and drinks. Why do I insist on trying to do it all myself when I’m hosting? Have to get out of that mode! Love your blog and advice and I can’t wait to read your book, whether I win or not!

  16. #
    Kristen — October 12, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    Just re-tweeted. Have a good night!

  17. #
    StrawberryCAKE — October 12, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

    Twittering it facebooking it, cause I luv ya!

  18. #
    Melissa — October 12, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    I’d love to win your book! I’m fine w/ the stuff needed for entertaining and probably need to do better to let people bring food or dessert.

  19. #
    Stephanie — October 12, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

    I guess I’m in the minority but if I’m having a party, I want to treat my guests and have them enjoy a night off. I usually tell them that if they offer to bring something. No need for them to plan anything, shop for ingredients, prepare it, transport it, etc. And honestly, I would like a night off when I’m invited to a party. If time and cost are an issue, plan something easy and cheap.

    Of course when it’s a block party, pot-luck or Thanksgiving a dish is welcome.

  20. #
    Amber — October 12, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

    I prefer to provide everything when we entertain, but if the option was to ask guests to bring something or not entertain, I would be willing to ask! I like to give my guests the gift of not having to bring anything but themselves, so they can have a true night off to just relax and enjoy! And honestly, I enjoy the freedom as a guest of going to someone’s home and not feeling the pressure of bringing a dish or a gift.

  21. #
    Emily — October 12, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

    I would love to win, that would be just amazing! Yes, I am all for asking guests to help…more so now than I ever have before. I learned that my guests are happy to contribute and it really makes the party more fun for me! Less stress! : )

  22. #
    Paula — October 12, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

    I’d love to win!

  23. #
    Julie — October 12, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

    I don’t mind asking someone to pitch in, but I try to make it something really easy or inexpensive, like “could you bring ice cream for dessert?”

  24. #
    Athina — October 12, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

    Only if they are close friends…otherwise it would look quite strange where I live, it’s just not in the culture of this place.. but I think it’s a great idea that would help people to entertain more!

  25. #
    Amy — October 12, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

    I have been a longtime fan Sandy! I have used many of your ideas to overcome the fears associated with entertaining… I am certain with your book I could spread more love and full tummies!!! Amy

  26. #
    Jessica Brammer — October 12, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

    I think it would be harder to ask people to chip in, but less stressful. I would just imagine that if someone were inviting me to their house I would want to bring something anyways so them specifying what it is would make it easier.

  27. #
    Lynne in NC — October 13, 2010 @ 3:48 am

    Sometimes we just want our friends to enjoy a night “off” from worrying about what to fix, bring or eat for dinner. It does depend on each situation or invitation.
    If we have a young family coming over, we give them a treat of not having to worry about dinner. We can cook double and send a dish home with them for later, too.
    Another time we might divy up the dishes and make it a potluck.
    We just like having folks into our home.

  28. #
    Deborah — October 13, 2010 @ 5:01 am

    I’d love to win a copy of your book….I’m reluctant to entertain….just because it’s an excuse!!!!

  29. #
    Linda — October 13, 2010 @ 5:51 am

    Kudos to you for ministering to those young women. I often ask singles to bring bread, ice cream, chips and dip, drinks. Sometimes they want to bake or bring more. I have found they do not want to be “takers” only. What a wonderful opportunity to input into their lives! Mentoring and friendship within the community of faith is so important.

  30. #
    Debra Schramm — October 13, 2010 @ 5:53 am

    I don’t entertain much (your blog is helping me overcome my reluctancy) but when I do it depends on if they offer to bring something. I only serve water at my house and in the South a lot of people drink sweet tea; so I may suggest they bring tea if they normally drink it.

  31. #
    Debra Schramm — October 13, 2010 @ 5:54 am

    I joined your facebook page. I’d love to win a copy of your book. It’s on my wishlist.

  32. #
    Kathy — October 13, 2010 @ 6:27 am

    I keep trying to win a copy of your book. I may have to put it on my Christmas list. It sounds so wonderful!

  33. #
    Angie @ Just Like The Number — October 13, 2010 @ 6:28 am

    I usually don’t ask, just because I feel like I have plenty of affordable meals to choose from that I can prepare for guests. If they ask, I usually tell them to bring whatever they enjoy drinking. It’s easy for them to pick something up and if anything’s going to eat up our budget it would be the drinks. Love the series!

  34. #
    alice — October 13, 2010 @ 6:55 am

    I would love to win this book! God has really been working in my heart about the subject of today’s hospitality.

  35. #
    alice — October 13, 2010 @ 6:59 am

    I shared this giveaway on fb too!

  36. #
    Wilma P — October 13, 2010 @ 7:09 am

    You have given me new inspiration to start entertaining again. Would love to win your book to get even more ideas.

  37. #
    Anita — October 13, 2010 @ 7:45 am

    I love the idea about finding dishes at a yard sale.
    I’ve only looked for children’s toys at those sales.

  38. #
    LINDA PAYNE — October 13, 2010 @ 7:55 am

    I’m kinda of a control freak (really bad) so I seldom ask people to contribute

  39. #
    Debbie Smith — October 13, 2010 @ 7:56 am

    Even when we were first married and very poor we would have Homemade pizza night and invite guest to bring a specific ingredient and then we would all come together and build our pizzas. It was a great time of laughter and fellowship

  40. #
    jamie — October 13, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    we seem to have a very teeny tiny list of friends. we haven’t really had any of them over. i would love to read your book so i can feel more confident in entertaining friends, not just realitives!

  41. #
    Spring — October 13, 2010 @ 11:26 am

    People around here always ask what they can bring, and if I say “nothing” they keep asking, until I say at least something like “how about bring something you all like to drink?” With close family and friends, it’s assumed we will all share the load, that makes it easier! (Glad I’m not the only one with table decor from the Dollar Tree!) :)

  42. #
    Spring — October 13, 2010 @ 11:27 am

    Posted on my FB wall, too! ;)

  43. #
    the misfit — August 3, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

    This is an interesting one for me. I now live in the DC area and I socialize with singles and young marrieds. This demographic is an absolute NIGHTMARE on RSVPs – they are way, way too busy, and for many of these finding a spouse is a priority and they have almost no time to meet new people around working. But this group is very easy on menu planning! I generally end up hosting drinks-and-snacks parties (my husband’s preference) rather than dinner parties (my preference), but I’ve gradually accumulated a few standards that make things go pretty smoothly. (1) I always bring something. If the hostess is about my age (rather than my mother’s age, in which case I don’t do this), I call ahead to ask what I may bring. If she says I don’t need to bring something, I tell her I will bring something even if she asks me not to, and it will be a bottle of red wine; if she prefers white, or something other than wine, she has to say so. If I can’t plan in advance, I bring either wine or a bouquet of flowers (especially for birthdays!). If I know the hostess is in a time crunch, I don’t ask and just bring an appetizer (cheese and bread, or hummus and veggies, or chips and salsa – something simple). (2) People actually want to contribute – not so much as pot-luck, but as a hostess gift. When someone asks what to bring, I say, “You don’t need to bring anything [with sincerity]. If you REALLY WANT to bring something, I won’t stop you.” If the menu is snacks and desserts, I don’t need to know in advance what it is. If there’s more of a dinner going on, they’ll press on and ask for suggestions; I give two broad options (i.e., “dessert OR salad, but not both”). (3) I never leave a gaping hole in what I’m preparing myself; if it’s dinner I’ll have meat, starch, and veggies, and maybe buy a box of ice cream, so if someone fails to bring a promised salad or dessert, it’s not obvious (but those things would still fit well if they bring them). (4) I’m lucky; all of this works because 20% of my friends will ask what to bring (and usually will actually bring it), and 80% will bring a bottle of wine if they don’t ask me or I don’t answer. (Maybe 5% will come empty-handed, but I always end up with more than I need, so I don’t even notice.) This way the non-cooks can contribute as well, and while one bottle of wine looks gracious but is not that expensive, wine for all the guests adds up if I buy it myself!


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