I love to entertain but I’m pretty short on funds these days and buying all the supplies I need to cook what I (and my friends) love to eat is taking a toll on my limited bank account. I usually just ask people to bring beer or wine, but is it ever okay to ask people to bring a contribution in cash when I host a big dinner or party?
Hard Up Hostess
Dear Hard Up Hostess,
It sounds like you’re a pretty rockin’ cook and your friends love coming over, so if it’s a matter of asking everyone to kick in a few bucks or you won’t be able to host them anymore, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to contribute. If you feel awkward, the trick is to make it casual. Send around an email and tell them exactly what you just told me: that you really want to host a big, delicious dinner but you need to focus on paying your rent this month rather than buying gourmet ingredients for 12. In fact, once you bring it up, they’ll probably feel silly they didn’t offer to pitch in all along. Try using an app like Venmo that allows everyone to pay digitally and seamlessly so you won’t need to stand at the door collecting $10 bills like a ticket taker, it’ll all be taken care of ahead of time (which, conveniently, is when you need to buy those delicious things you plan to cook). Good luck and happy hosting!