A guide to high society cost-cutting from the 'thrifty Baroness'

The peer advises buying guests Panama hats instead of hiring a marquee. Photo: /Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

A Conservative peer known as "the thrifty Baroness" has produced a handy guide for high-society hosts on a limited budget.

Despite living on a 40-acre Norfolk estate with 13 bedrooms, Baroness Rawlings is no stranger to frugality.

Speaking to society magazine Tatler, the former MEP has some simple advice for those who might find themselves in straitened times, but still want to put on a good party.

For starters, do not serve guests plated food, as they will only end up leaving vast amounts uneaten. Instead, she advises making them serve themselves to reduce waste, which the Baroness calls "an unmentioned disgrace".

Baroness Rawlings served as an MEP between 1989 and 1994. Credit: IAN NICHOLSON/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Big savings can also be made on summer parties - instead of hiring a marquee, buying a few hundred Panama hats is an affordable way to help guests cool off.

Her advice extends beyond parties, though. To save money on day-to-day food shopping, for instance, she suggests planting a small orchard to grow apples, pears and quinces.

Growing your own apples, pears and quinces can help save money, Baroness Rawlings says. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Keeping the crusts from Melba toast to make into soldiers is also recommended as a way to stretch the manorial budget.

Nor should one ignore the opportunities of the digital age - Baroness Rawlings reveals to the magazine that she is helping make ends meet by offloading some Christian Louboutin shoes on EBay.