By Megan Tullos |

We’ve all seen the Instagram photos of gorgeous spreads of different cheese, meats, fruits and crackers laid out in intricate patterns. It seems a good cheese board, or charcuterie board if you please, is all the rage on social media today. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first. Sure, I love a good cheese plate as much as the next girl, but this trend of over the top, expansive and intricately designed appetizer spreads just seemed like a bit much. 

One fateful Monday, my friends and I had a girls night and I decided to give this cheese board thing a try. I figured that, if nothing else, it would be something fun to share with my friends. I headed to the store to gather my elements, pulled some inspiration from Pinterest and got started. And y’all – I’m totally hooked on the cheese board trend.

There’s something special about having fun with the design and creative freedom a cheese board can give you. Also, trust me, there’s no better way to impress your friends than with a nice spread. On top of it all, it’s delicious and photogenic. The only drawback is that these pretty hors d’oeuvres can get expensive, so I set out to create a cheese board that fits in the budget of a college student. Here’s my guide to the perfect budget-friendly cheese board! 

It doesn’t have to be that cheesy. 

Cheese is obviously a key component to your spread, but large quantities of good cheese are expensive. I usually pick one or two cheeses:  one soft, like brie and a harder one, like parmesan or gouda to serve as the focus of my spread. Then fill the rest of the space with other things like fruit and crackers. This saves me money and still leaves my guests totally satisfied. 

Only buy what you’ll eat.

Figure out how many people you’re going to be feeding and buy only what is a reasonable amount for them. Your cheese board will still be just as impressive if it’s not the size of an entire kitchen island, and it’ll save you from wasting food and money! I only had about ten friends over, so I budgeted for a smaller spread! 

Don’t shy away from bread.

Crackers are great, but there’s nothing like some good french bread with fresh cheese. I usually buy a small loaf od french bread and slice it into fairly thin pieces. French bread isn’t expensive, but it’s filling and, going back to my first point, takes up a good amount of space in your spread. It’s a win-win!

Make a plan and stick to it.

Grocery stores have started to catch onto the cheese board trend, and are stocking their shelves with all kinds of yummy foods to fulfil our charcuterie dreams. While this is exciting and fun, it also makes it tempting to buy all kinds of different things we might not need. 

On my cheese boards, I usually have brie and parmesan, grapes, fruit preserves (one jar will last you through a few boards), crackers and toasted french bread. Sometimes, I’ll add a meat like salami or prosciutto. That’s it. As much as I want to buy extras when I see them beautifully lining the shelves of the store, having a set list usually helps me resist the temptation and only leave with what I came for (and with my wallet intact).  

Hopefully, this gives you ideas for a cheese board of your own. Sorry if it made you hungry. I’m definitely craving some nice brie right about now! Remember, we can all be cheese board connoisseurs, even when we’re on a budget. If you make any cheese boards tag us on social media @thebundlemag – we’d love to see how you get creative!