It's not often that the celebration of two very special topics fall into the same month. But, here we are in April with not only the promise of a beautiful Spring ahead of us, but the opportunity to celebrate financial literacy AND food! Who could ask for more? April with all of its rain showers…also lends us the excuse to celebrate the importance of understanding our finances while indulging in quite possibly the best meal combination of some of our favorite menu staples…brunch! What better way to celebrate this truly decadent combo but with a few tips on how to brunch on a budget? Read on for some tips and tricks on setting up a brunch for family and friends while making smart financial choices for your wallet!
First…What is "Financial Literacy"?
This would not be a blog about being budget friendly without touching on the very important topic of financial literacy. In a nutshell, financial literacy is the foundation of your relationship with money. It deals with a person’s understanding of personal finance management, budgeting and even investing. The belief is that the earlier you start to understand the concepts behind financial literacy, the more successful you will become with money. And although it would be nice, we are not talking about becoming a millionaire, we are simply talking about feeling that you are never putting yourself in a position of struggling financially. While most of us have no choice but to live within our means, it is better to understand what that defines, than always striving to keep up with the Joneses (or Kardashians) and putting ourselves at risk of debt.
Budget-Friendly Brunch Tips
So now that we briefly covered what it means to be money smart, let’s talk about making some wallet healthy decisions when it comes to planning a brunch for your VIP’s. Going out for brunch often means long lines, slow service, overpriced pancakes and expensive cocktails, so in the interest of saving money and actually getting to “enjoy” yourself in a more laid-back setting, I am going to give you some tips on how to brunch from home…all within budget.
1. Fill Your Table
While I love a beautiful tablescape with fresh flowers, twinkling votives and the perfect scent to accompany a theme, I’ll take a table filled with an overabundance of food any day! A full table can be just as eye-catching as a floral centerpiece. Not to mention, a full table will never give way to a budgeted brunch. Fill your tables with food, drinks and pretty tableware. A full table will always look like you have created a very generous offering even if you are privately pinching your pennies! MONEY SAVING TIP: Although you might not be serving a ton of food, splitting up what you are serving into multiple dishes will give the illusion of endless choices. This will occupy the most table space while offering the look of a full table.
2. Skip the Fancy Items
While smoked salmon, seared shrimp and smashed avocado are certainly delicious and give off an heir of class, no one is going to turn down pancakes and French toast. As long as you fill your table with lots of tasty foods; eggs, pancakes, French toast, and muffins, your guests will never notice the absent caviar. Eggs are simply one of the easiest and cheapest brunch staples, they can be prepared in so many different ways. Scrambled eggs, egg frittatas and omelets are just a few ideas for your brunch menu…all of which will keep you on budget. As for your pancakes, if you want to dress them up, serve them with some berry compote…using frozen berries of course.
3. Infused Water
Smoothies and exotic juice combinations may be mouth watering and good for you, but they will take a toll on your wallet for sure. Instead, try offering infused water. Not only is the option beautiful and appealing to the eye, but it is healthy and refreshing…especially if you plan on serving alcohol as well. I especially love a combination of mint, lemon and lime, but berries are a real crowd pleaser too. Let whatever fruits and herbs you have guide you. Premade infused waters in mason jars with fun straws will also help fill your table and give it a colorful pop!
4. Let’s Talk Alcohol
So, in my opinion, if you want to serve alcohol at your brunch, you have two options that will help you stay on budget. If you are catering to very close friends and family, you can ask them to bring along some of their favorite libations to share with the crowd. If you are paying for all of the food, asking your guests to contribute should go without saying. However, I know that some of you will feel awkward asking your guests to pony up…totally understandable. The best way to save on alcohol when you are footing the bill is to have drinks pre-made. Although it is less work and hassle to set up a self-serve bar, it is an invitation for your guests to use as much alcohol as they want. Mixing up pitchers of mimosas and Bloody Marys beforehand will give you a bit more control of the alcohol flow - and your budget! Again the use of beautiful pitchers and yummy garnish will help add to your gorgeous tablescape.
As someone who appreciates all things breakfast, brunch is like hitting the motherlode. I love the idea of breakfast for all meals, but the term “brunch” just gives it an heir of sophistication! When you want every party you throw to be elegant while offering a variety of food and beverage options for your guests, having some money saving tips can really help! So, for the month of April (and any other time of year) celebrate all things “brunch” and do it while keeping your finances in check! Happy brunching…and saving!
By Melanie Akerberg
People Happiness Manager
Bliss Virtual Services