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1 December 2015

Top tips for entertaining at home this Christmas

Dining out with friends can be expensive – but eating and entertaining at home could help you get around that

Australians are cooking up a storm at home in an effort to combine socialising with saving. The latest ING DIRECT Financial Wellbeing Index (Q3, 2015) shows that one in three Aussie households open up their homes every one to three months, inviting friends over for dinner rather than going out to a restaurant.

While the average household entertains approximately eight times a year, high income households do the hosting almost 15 times a year – nearly double the average.

But it seems that even hosting a dinner party is getting too expensive for many of us: the ING DIRECT Financial Wellbeing Index also found that one in five of us (21%) are entertaining less than a year ago, with budgetary constraints one of the underlying factors.

If home entertaining is your thing, but you’re concerned about the rising costs, then never fear. Here are a few tips to help you stretch your dollar further:

1. Go large

Money concerns aside, almost half (46%) of you enjoy the entertaining and cooking aspect of hosting a party at home. So why not prepare large portions of serve-yourself, hearty food? Tacos, pasta dishes, stir fry’s and curries are easy, low effort dishes which stretch to feed multiple guests. Never mind the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ you’ll get when you walk in with a big pot of food to a table full of hungry guests, cooking tasty yet inexpensive food will help you keep expenses to a minimum.

So you’re not bearing all the costs or effort yourself, consider asking guests to bring a plate or side dish to accompany your main meal. This could also help accommodate the needs of your gluten free and vegan guests.

2. Save time

While 44% of Aussies say they enjoy the relaxing environment of a dinner party versus dressing up and going out, 19% still think it’s too time consuming.

Save time by chucking some meat and veggies in a slow cooker for a one-pot, set-and-forget meal with minimal effort and minimal cleaning, leaving you with stress free time to mingle and show off your house. After all, that’s what 15% of you enjoy most about hosting.

3. Champion cost-efficiency

Around 45% of Aussie households find the cost of providing food and drink for everyone is too expensive. Consider making alcohol stretch further by adding soft drinks and mixing up some punch. If you insist on wine, pouring it into a decanter could help hide the fact that it may have cost you $6 instead of $60 – and the decanter gives you bonus fancy points!

Finally, take a tip from the baby boomers who have the most cost-effective approach to entertaining, spending on average $23 less than Gen Y when it comes to hosting at home. You may have caught the Masterchef bug and be intent on serving up croquembouches and filet mignon, but remember that less is sometimes more.

The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.

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