Have a party that positively purrs

Hosting a dinner party for friends and family can be fun. By following some of these tips you'll see how easy it is to stretch your rand to create a special evening everyone will remember.

There is nothing better than spending an evening having good conversation with good friends. If you love to entertain, but lack the funds for a traditional dinner party, you are in luck. If you shop smart, it doesn't take a lot of money to organise an event that will make you the envy of your social circle. When all else fails, consider a potluck. Have each one of your guests bring their favourite dish or appetiser. It can be a lot of fun trying new recipes and variations to old favourites.

First off set the mood. A good dinner party is all about ambiance. Consider going to your local supermarket or discount store to buy some inexpensive tapers and candles. They are an easy way to brighten up a room, and to encourage conversation. Don't be afraid to try something fun, either. Try a themed party like a Hawaiian theme, or an 80s theme. The possibilities are endless and it will help break the ice among your guests. Encourage your guests to dress up, for instant glamour.

Once you have the mood set, it's time to think about the food. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to serve a seven-course meal. Stick with cheap appetisers and finger foods. Fondue parties are a blast and cost very little. Encourage your guests to bring their favourite dippers, to save you even more. A wine-tasting party is also a fun event, and can cost almost nothing to organise. Ask each guest to bring a bottle of their favourite wine. All you have to do is supply the wine glasses. If you choose to go a more traditional route, try buying your food in advance and from a reputable shop specialising in food.

There are many outlets that sell the freshest, yet more affordable, food stocks like the vegetable and fruit markets. Also, buying meat from a butchery is always cheaper than buying from a general groceries dealer. You can save even more by going food-hunting well in advance.

If you go the internet way, you may find sites where you can purchase lobster, wine, chocolate, steak, appetiser and just about anything else you can think of. It only takes a few minutes to shop, and many vendors offer free shipping. It couldn't be easier.

Pay special attention to the invitations. A good invitation will help convey the theme of the party, and instruct the guests on any food or items that they need to bring along.

You can create cheap, one-of-a-kind invitations, by using supplies available at your local craft supply store. You will have beautiful invitations - and they will cost very little. Don't forget to address the envelope in your own handwriting. It gives it a personal touch. - MSN.com