Who doesn't appreciate the combination of a great meal, a fine wine, and old friends every now and then? Entertaining people at your home or going out with friends are fun ways to spend quality time with folks you care about, but they're also very easy ways to underestimate the amount of money you end up spending. And if you don't plan an entertaining budget in advance, a single night of local entertainment can become much more expensive than a weekend trip to Paris.

However, with a little bit of planning and budgeting strategies, you can host a lovely get together for friends at your home and stay well within your allotted budget. So, the next time you plan on hosting a get-together, consider the following seven tips to keep costs in line.

Hosting Skills for People on a Budget

1. Make Dinner Parties Potluck

If you have a dinner party on the docket, don't make the mistake of preparing everything from A to Z on your own. Instead, enlist the help of your invitees. If you provide the main entrée, for example, your guests can supply appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and drinks. Just make sure you keep track of who's bringing what so you don't end up with three spinach artichoke dips.

2. Watch Movies on the Cheap

Instead of renting movies from your cable provider, rent them from Redbox kiosks where the cost of a movie is just a little over $1 per day. You could also investigate your cable provider's on-demand service to see if it offers any titles for free. If you already have a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription, try selecting a "free" movie there. Instead of paying full price to go see a movie at the theater, use your resources and find a movie through one of the subscription or Redbox options mentioned above.

3. Play Games

Who doesn't love classic games like Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Pictionary? You could also introduce Sorry or Clue into the mix if kids are going to be in attendance. An old-school approach like this can provide hours of fun for your group. If you need to purchase games, check eBay or Amazon to cut your costs even more.

4. Build a Fire

Want a great, low-cost way to entertain family and friends at home? If you've got a fireplace, build a fire. There are plenty of nights when my friends come over for some drinks and appetizers and having a fire to sit around is an excellent point of interest for everyone. Purchase a half-cord of wood from your local hardware store or neighborhood firewood salesperson to save even more.

5. Use the Right Credit Card

Make sure you're using the right credit card for your entertainment purchases. Use a cash back credit card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Discover It card to earn points and cash rewards on items you're going to buy anyway. For example, use your card on food purchases or entertainment purchases and get rewarded for every dollar you spend.

6. Use Grocery Coupons

When purchasing food for your party, be sure to use coupons to reduce costs. You can clip them from the Sunday paper or download apps to your smartphone. Try Snipsnap or Checkout 51 — you might be surprised by the savings.

7. Get Decorations at the Dollar Store

There's no need to shell out a ton of cash on decorations. That's where the dollar store can come to the rescue. Anything you use for a night of entertaining, like paper plates, decorations, and even candles, are likely to be discarded after the party. So, the goal is to spend as little as possible on single-use items.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ways to save on alcohol if it's going to play a role in your party. Go to a liquor store instead of your grocer, where prices are generally a bit higher. When you visit your local liquor or wine shop, ask if they offer a rewards program. Stocking up and buying in bulk is another solid way to save, such as when you buy wine by the case. You could even create a themed drink for your party allowing you to purchase well-brand alcohol instead of the expensive stuff. Saving money on entertainment is important, and alcohol expenses can be one of the most significant parts of the equation. As you look for ways to save on entertainment, make sure you're spending money on the things that matter most to you and your guests. For example, if you value quality food and wine more than card games or movies, spend your money in those areas. Budgeting your entertainment expenses should be specific to your interests.

What other ways can you think of to save on entertainment?