How To Host a Housewarming For Sixty Bucks

A few weekends ago D and I had a few friends over for a small housewarming party. Some of them had seen our new place once or twice before, but it was the first “party” we’d had (aka more than two other people at a time). After picking up some folding chairs from IKEA, I figured we were ready to host a group of 10-15 people.

I’ve hosted a few parties before and always end up spending more money than I plan to. On one occasion I spent sixty dollars on cheese alone, and on another one my roommates and I broke the bank at Party City for decorations. Thankfully our circles of friends all follow the same philosophy: if you’re hosting us and are providing food, it’s BYOB (except for a signature cocktail). The party where I spent all that money on cheese? I only purchased two bottles of wine for a guest list of more than twenty-five; when all was said and done, guests brought another 18 bottles anddd we may have polished them all off.

On this occasion, though, we were having a party and then going to Prospect Park afterwards. Because people were going to have to purchase their own drinks and snacks for the park, we didn’t want them to feel obligated to bring anything to our place beforehand.

So. How to host a breakfast housewarming (with alcohol!) for 15 people for less than sixty bucks*:

  1. Make it breakfast-y. Our “theme” was bagels + bubbly.
  2. Cut your bagels in half. This gives people more variety, and it’s easier to arrange them nicely on a platter (don’t forget to put the everything/garlic/other pungent bagels on their own plate! Not everyone wants bits of onion on their cinnamon raisin bagel).

    Display o’bagels. Hello there, cinnamon raisin.

  3. Don’t splurge on champagne. When it’s being put in a mimosa anyway, the bubbles are of primary importance. I had purchased $14 dollar bottles, but we enjoyed mimosas with $7 champagne just as much. The wine “snob” in me dislikes this, but my friends agreed.
  4. Make your own fruit salad. Pre-packaged fruit salads at my grocery store were $7 for barely a pound of fruit, and they were mostly melon and cantaloupe. I prefer berries, so I picked up blueberries, strawberries and a 1/4 of a watermelon. I balled the watermelon that morning, and used the rind as a vessel for the fruit salad. We had at least three times as much fruit as the pre-packaged containers, and it was only $9 total.

    Inspired by my aunt’s amazing watermelon-as-fruit-salad-baskets, the rind was our vessel.

  5. If you’re going to have other baked goods, make them yourself! Store bought coffee cake wasn’t on sale, and it would have been $6.59 (that’s right, hello New York City prices). We bought Krusteaz cinnamon crumb cake mix on sale for $2, and the only other ingredients needed were water and an egg.
  • 15 bagels: $14
  • OJ (two 1/2 gallon containers), fruit (1/4 watermelon, pint blueberries and quart strawberries) and a few spreads: $22
  • 3 bottles of champagne: $22
  • Box of coffee cake mix: $2
  • Total: $60

*It ended up being 12 people, but based on our leftovers we certainly had enough of everything had it been 15 total.

Note: During this hiatus I’ve been reading a lot, and to not flood Cindspectus with book-related activities, I’ve created Mark It Read to house my book reviews and other literary ramblings.


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