Finger foods are typically informal appetizers that you can eat without utensils. This type of food is ideal for parties and events where guests will be standing, or where there will be kids. If you are trying to plan a menu for your upcoming event, such as a birthday party or wedding, consider serving finger foods. You can save money by using creativity and cost-efficient ingredients.
You'll probably have several health-conscious guests at your event, so save money by offering healthy fruit and vegetable options. Rather than spending money on prepackaged party platters, make them yourself. Your fruit and veggies will probably be fresher and taste better than the premade versions. Save money by choosing produce that's in season and therefore less expensive. Buy broccoli, pineapples and mango for an April event. Serve watermelon, blueberries and cantaloupe at summer soirees. Visit your local farmer's market to cut costs even more. Provide a variety of dips - hummus, creamy spinach and ranch - to encourage kids to indulge in the healthy produce.
Visit your local wholesale club to buy premade appetizers in bulk. You will typically spend less money buying them in a large-volume bag rather than the standard grocery store size. Use this type of resource to purchase more complex finger foods, such as mini quiches, pot stickers or tarts -- basically, delicious crowd-pleasers that would take hours to produce yourself.
If you want your finger food menu to feature a meat item, such as beef, chicken or shrimp, consider making kabobs. These types of appetizers on a stick are usually filling and allow you to serve more expensive cuts of meat in a low-cost, efficient way. You can dice up a chicken breast into bite-sized pieces to feature on multiple kabob sticks. Simply fill up the majority of the kabob skewer with less expensive foods like onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Serve the kabobs with a variety of dipping sauces - ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce and ranch.
Chips and Dips
You can never go wrong with chips and dip, but serve out-of-the-ordinary dips that will impress your guests without breaking the bank. Use a green salsa instead of the standard red version. Make a black-eyed pea dip instead of serving canned bean dip. Prepare a delicious ranch-flavored black bean and corn dip, or make a creamy spinach dip.
Just because you were frugal when buying your finger food materials doesn't mean you have to look cheap. Use your prettiest, fanciest serving items to display your cost-savvy appetizers. Buy party napkins and paper plates from your local dollar store, but choose a simple pattern or solid color that looks elegant. A classy-looking serving table will enhance the presentation of your food.
- Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images