This time of year, it seems there are one thousand and one reasons to throw a party. Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, or just to kick-off the summer - parties are happening everywhere you turn!
But all those parties don’t mean you can’t remain in control of your finances and stay on-budget. And entertaining on a budget doesn’t have to be boring, either. Here are 6 tips to help you plan a great summer party, no matter how tight your balance sheet is. We’ll get you through everything from sending the invites to saving money on groceries. And don’t forget toImpulseSave the fun along the way!
1. Save money on the venue
- Ask the neighbors if they want to help you throw one big bash together. You can help each other out by splitting costs and tasks. Also, one of you may have a better location for the party - a family cottage or a great backyard.
- Use a church or community house. Oftentimes, these places will let you host for free. If not, the usual fee for all day use is typically $50.
- Check out a local public park for a totally free location!
2. Save money on invites
- Use sites like Evite to send your guests a free online invitation.
- Create a Facebook Event or send a request to attend an event on Google Calendar. The advantage of using these services is that they usually automatically remind guests to RSVP or that the event is coming up.
- You should still send paper invites to those who are not web-savvy. The ladies at the Frugalista Show suggest using photos sites like VistaPrint.com or Kodak Gallery to get personalized invites for cheap. Plus, they usually have tons of coupons and deals!
3. Save money on utensils
- Skip the expensive disposables and throw a green party by using real flatware you already have.
- Don’t be worried if you don’t have one complete set to serve everyone - mix and match! Hardly anyone will notice, and even if they do, it will add charm to the festivities!
- You can also try a local thrift shop for very cheap flatware you can use again and again.
4. Save money on food
- By planning ahead, you can take advantage of sales as they come up and avoid the seasonal price increases.
- Buy in bulk and freeze what you can.
- Skip the pre-cut veggies and chop them yourself.
- Stretch every dollar by extending the life of your side dishes. For example, you can buy a big jar of regular salsa and mix in a can of yellow corn and a can of black beans for a very generous serving of frugal black bean salsa!
5. Save money on beverages
- Consider asking your guests to bring their own beverages.
- Make your own punch by mixing generic brand seltzer water and a couple of juices.
- Make your own sun tea for a delicious, frugal summer treat. Just make sure you follow all the instructions for sanitizing the jars you use.
6. Save money on decorations
- An outdoor party in the summertime doesn’t need much - nature is such a great decorator, anyway.
- Pick up some tips from DIY sites and even wedding sites.
- Simply hang some twinkle lights (or these ones covered in paper cups) can add a great ambience and gets you a little more use out of those Christmas decorations!
- Pick some wild flowers or have the kids make a paper garland for a cute, subtle touch.
What about you? What are you favorite ways throw a party on a budget?