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How to Entertain on a Budget with Goodwill

Think elegant diningware is out of your budget? Think again!

No matter how much money my family did or did not have, my mom always took the time to prepare home-cooked meals, and serve them on some type of china. While our dishes weren’t fancy (there was a holiday set that received regular daily use for almost a decade), I appreciated the touch of formality they added to each meal. When I am mindful of how I am eating, I enjoy my food, and usually end up eating less.


Goodwill has an incredible selection of inexpensive glass and crystal-ware.


For my everyday dishes, I use a Japanese-made set. A set of 8 small plates, 8 large dinner plates, and 8 teacup plates, and 8 small plates cost something like $5! I really enjoy seeing the delight on people’s faces when they come over and see my dishes, and it reminds me to appreciate them. I have never shared my secret until now!

I think that at $0.20 champagne glass beats a red solo cup any day.

Goodwill is also a great source for your next dinner party. I always see cute, interestingly-shaped glassware that would be a hit for a birthday party or get-together. Depending on the color of the sticker, they can be as cheap as $0.20! I think that at $0.20 champagne glass beats a red solo cup any day.


I once went to a barbecue, and when I asked the host if I could borrow a glass for water, they said that they didn’t want to lend me a glass for fear that the other guests would take and potentially break all of their glasses. I thought to myself…if this person knew of Goodwill, they would never look at loaning glassware the same way again! So get thee to a Goodwill, ASAP!

As a student, I’ve also come to appreciate the virtue of move-out specials. You would be amazed how many great free dishes (not to mention furniture and TVs!) that undergraduate / graduate students are willing to give away for free , just to get it off their hands.


I inherited a lovely set of CB2 serving dishes from the previous tenants in my apartment. So if you live in an area with a large student population, I recommend browsing Craigslist, or keeping an eye out for any furniture on the sidewalks 😉

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