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Budget Friendly Parties

It’s tough to stick to a budget, particularly when special occasions arise and you’re tempted to go all out and host a party for the event, whether a birthday, anniversary, graduation, or retirement. Parties are always fun, but they can be expensive too, especially if you don’t stick to a pre-determined budget.
Parties, however, don’t have to break the bank if you do some careful planning before you send the invitations and if you consider a variety of options when it comes to feeding your guests.


Party Time

If you’ve decided that a party is a must for your next special occasion but you’re in a bit of a budget crunch, you might consider changing your party M.O. If, for example, you’re accustomed to providing a large buffet or sit-down meal, plan the party for a time of day when it isn’t necessary to feed your guests an entire meal. If, for example, you schedule a mid-afternoon party – perhaps 1 to 4 pm – or an evening party – around 8 to 11 pm, you can get away with offering just snacks in the afternoon or perhaps small appetizers in the evening. You may want to simply opt for cake and ice cream. If so, you can indicate this on the invitations by saying, “Please join us for…” and then indicate what you will be offering. This way, there’s no misunderstanding on the part of the guests who might be expecting a meal.

Shop Smart

It’s always essential to make a list before you head out to do your party shopping. Lists keep us from buying extras while insuring that we do indeed pick up all the things we need. Making a list also allows you to organize coupons and browse circulars so that you visit the stores where you’ll find the best deals.
If the party is going to be large or if you have room to store extra food you won’t be using, consider buying items in bulk at a discount store like Costco or Sam’s Club. While you may spend a little more up front, you’ll have plenty left for regular meals or for the next party.

Go Alcohol-Free

The purchase of alcohol can eat up a lot of your party budget, so consider cutting alcohol from your next menu or paring it down so that the cost can be lowered. This means instead of a variety of mixed drinks that require lots of different kinds of liquor, you might opt for serving just wine. Plenty of good wines are available at reasonable prices and you can offer a variety of types if you wish. Beer is also an option, depending on how it pairs with what you’re serving.
If alcohol isn’t a big deal, stick to coffee, tea, and soft drinks and have plenty of pitchers of water on hand. These days, health-conscious folks often opt simply to enjoy a refreshing glass of H2O with their meal.

Potluck Parties

Some folks don’t like to be asked to bring food to a party, but if you have friends or family members that are accustomed to this tradition, don’t hesitate to ask for some help with the menu offerings.
You may want to consider making the main course yourself and asking others to bring side dishes like potatoes or vegetables, soft drinks, or desserts. Be sure you know what your guests are planning to bring so that you don’t wind up to 3 bowls of mashed potatoes and 4 apple pies!