Plan, Plan, Plan. This is important for throwing a party whether you are limited on funds or not; it’s even more important if you are on a budget. Knowing how many people are coming, what you want the theme of your party to be, what, if any, food will be served, and treat bags will help you not only financially but also when it comes to stress-levels. If you know what to expect, for the most part, you won’t be as stressed as party time gets closer or if something unexpected does come up.
Set a budget
Just like with meal planning and running the expenses every month, budgeting is key when throwing a party, especially if money is limited. It’s really easy to get carried away once you get to the store and see all the cute decor or when you are etting ideas for food and goodie bags.
Once you have a budget set stick to it. When I go shopping, I make out a list and an approximate cost of what each item will cost. I make sure that number is below my budget before I go. When I am shopping, I write down what each item actually costs and if I under estimate and reach my budget before I get everything on my list then I have to change things up a bit. In the past, it has been putting back store bought toys for goody bags and making my own treats or opting to do just a fruit tray instead of both a fruit and veggie tray. Yes, this requires some thinking on your feet, but hey we’re moms, we’re used to changing things on the fly right?!
Send digital invites
With technology today it is so much easier to send out invites to parties without ever having to leave the house. Not only that, if you need to change something, like the time or location, it’s much easier to update everyone through email or Facebook. You can create an event on Facebook, use services like Paperless Post or Evite, or even create an invitation using Picmonkey, save it as a PDF and email it to your guests. All these options are free and you can do from the comfort of your couch!
Remember you aren’t feeding an army. Parties are for gathering with friends and family and enjoying their company. So planning a three course meal is not necessary (unless you’re royalty and in that case money probably isn’t too big of a concern). When planning what you’re going to serve, think of not only the ease of eating for the guest but also for you and your family. Plan on foods that you can eat as leftovers, or snacks through the days after the party. You can include these into your grocery budget and have more money for treats or decorating (or saving for some pampering for yourself after the party).
Homemade tastes better, and is a lot easier on your wallet, than store bought. But keep it easy on yourself. Think of quick and easy dishes that you can make ahead or that take little time to prepare. Think crockpot, cookies, cutting up your own fruit and veggies etc.
Use what you got
Whether it’s planning the foods to serve, decorations or treat bags, using what you already have at home is perfect for any family on a budget; because it costs nothing.
Shop your pantry when you’re planning what to cook. Using what you have not only costs less, but also frees up space in your fridge and pantry. No need to spend gobs of money on fancy decorations that you’ll use for one day. Have extra tissue laying around? Make this Tissue Paper Garland. Treat bags are another area you can shop from home for. Did you stock pile on soaps and lotions at the last Bath & Body Works sale? Add them to gift bags for the ladies. Do you make your own beef jerky? Throw a few pieces in sandwich bags for the guys. And who doesn’t have empty toilet paper rolls laying around? Make homemade poppers.