Try these ten money-saving party tips to throw a fabulous celebration while still staying under budget.
Ten Money-Saving Party Tips
1. Don't buy when you can rent.
You may think of rental services when you need a large item, such as a bounce house. However, party rental stores also stock more mundane items like table linens, punch fountains and silverware. If you know you won't use the supplies for another party, compare the price of renting compared to buying. As a bonus, you won't have to worry about finding storage space for 100 champagne flutes or a popcorn popper.
2. Don't be afraid to beg.
Well, it's more "borrowing" than begging; but don't be shy about asking friends and family members if you can borrow something you need for your party. Just be sure to return the favor when they need an extra roasting pan or a few more chairs.
3. Share the load.
You don't have to do this alone. Planning a potluck will help cut food costs, and guests are usually happy to share their favorite recipes. For a large party, consider asking someone to plan alongside you and split the costs.
4. Print, print, print.
Put your computer to work for you. You can print your own invitations, create decorations, and even enjoy free party games to print. However, be aware of how much supplies cost. It's not a frugal decoration if you use up your entire color ink cartridge printing out a Frankenstein for your Halloween party.
5. Don't start your party at mealtime.
Time your party so that you aren't expected to serve a meal. Appetizers and snacks or a dessert buffet will typically be cheaper than a full dinner.
6. Plan as far as a year ahead.
Planning ahead will let you take full advantage of sales and take the time to price out your options for everything from venues to napkins. For seasonal parties, such as a New Year's Eve celebration, planning a year ahead allows you to purchase party supplies from the clearance rack immediately after the holiday.
7. Stay organized.
Have you ever bought several packages of birthday plates and napkins, only to open the closet and find that you already had some left over from the previous year? Staying organized means that you won't buy any unnecessary supplies. Choose a method of organization that works best for you. You may want to create a list of your current party supplies or just devote a shelf or storage bin to leftover tablecloths, serving dishes and cardboard cutouts.
8. Choose one thing to splurge on.
Whether it's top-shelf liquor or a designer cake, give yourself permission to spend extra money on one detail that you think is vital to the success of the event. Finding one thing on which to spare no expense can keep you from going overboard on the entire party. You just might fool your guests into thinking you spared no expense on everything else, too.
9. Focus on friends and family.
Guests will remember the time they spent with friends and family long after they have forgotten what kind of chicken you served. Icebreakers, games and other activities are fun ways for guests to connect and they are often budget-friendly beyond the initial investment in a few supplies. In addition, if guests are busy playing a game, they won't be milling around the snack table.
10. Be realistic.
Have realistic expectations about what you can offer your guests. Sure, it would be nice for guests to enter your parents' 50th anniversary party to the strains of a string quartet while doves fly overhead. However, a simple bulletin board display in the entryway and a memory book for friends and family to write in will do more to honor their years together.
Hopefully, you've found something in these ten money-saving party tips that you can use at your next celebration. Do you have a favorite frugal idea? Share your thoughts in the comments below.