Thursday, July 30, 2009

Party planning on a budget

When you're having a party or other event, it is EASY to spend hundreds of dollars without thinking twice. That is, unless you're on a budget!! For thsoe of us who don't have money like that to drop on a one-time event, how do you make your party memorable, tasteful AND inexpensive? There are many suggestions as to how to achieve all three!

1.) Be prepared to work. Most of the time, you can choose whether you want to do the work or have someone else do it for you. Invitations can be purchased, or you can make them and save the difference. You can purchase a ready-made veggie tray, or you can wash and prepare your own. You can pay someone to decorate your cake, or you can attempt to do it yourself (this is of course a very difficult task, so I suggest paying someone!!)

2.) Prepare your menu based on what the stores have on sale the week of the party. One store might have shrimp on sale that week, so you can serve shrimp & still be saving some money. Or a store might have a sale on some frozen appetizers and there may be coupons out there for you to save extra money. If you're unwilling to change your menu plans to what is on sale, then be prepared to pay extra.

3.) Look and see what you have your own cupboards! You might have a cookie or brownie mix in your cupboard, and that will save you because you can make it yourself instead of having to purchase them already made or even purchase an extra mix! Plus you might even find some paper goods left over that you might be able to put to good use!!

4.) Ask friends and family for help. If you know that your cousin makes some amazing sausage balls, why not ask her to make them for you? You can purchase the ingredients for her and then she'd be able to make them. This takes one less thing off your plate to do. Does someone in your church make cakes? Perhaps you could ask them to create your cake, as opposed to a large bakery. Your money will go to a friend (instead of a big business) and you might even save some money!

5.) Check out the Dollar Tree and other dollar stores for some great decoration and party basics. Sometimes they have great stuff already done for you, and other times, you can take what you get there and embellish it! It might take a little creativity and time, but you'd be surprised what you can come up with (and you're guests will never know where it came from!) Most dollar stores now have mylar balloons as well, and that is a HUGE savings! Most of those balloons @ a party store can be 6-7 bucks for one, when you can 6 of them @ the Dollar Tree for the same price!

6.) Stop by your clearance section at your big stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and K-mart. Often at the end of the season you can purchase items 75-90% off and put it away for the next event. Target had magarita, mojito and cosmo mixes in their summer section that is now 90% off!! Instead of paying $5, you can get a whole bottle of mix for 49 cents!

7.) Beg, borrow & steal...Okay, well maybe just borrow. But if you want a chocolate fountain, and don't want to shell out $30 bucks to have one, maybe you can borrow it from someone. Same goes for a punch bowl/fountain, serving dishes, tabels/chairs etc. The more you can borrow, the less you'll have to pay for to rent or purchase!

Hope these ideas help you in your party planning!!