How to have Great Parties on a Shoe String Budget!

By Shannon Summers

You hear the price for the gourmet spread, the fully stocked bar, and the dining room decor. You think "I cannot afford to host a successful party." Well, a party does not have to be glamorous to be successful. Try the following party budget ideas:

First decide how much you can spend before you start party planning. Then be firmly determined to stick to the budget. Next, choose a theme that is budget-friendly. Consider simple theme party ideas, such as a backyard garden tea party, BBQ beach party, or a Mexican Fiesta.

Then, choose a low cost, if not free, venue for the party. Forget about the expensive hotel banquet room or club space. Why not arrange for the party to be at someone's home or yard, at a local park that has covered space, or at the beach? These locations are often free! There are also other free or low-cost places that are nice, like a community center, a fire hall or something similar. Check around and you may be surprised to find something very low-cost that is also very nice.

Another suggestion is to trim your guest list. If you are plan a shower party, for example, consider if others will also be throwing a shower for the person. If so, it will help you lower your expenses if you concentrate on only one segment of the guest of honor's circle of friends and family. Why not invite to your shower only friends from school, only the friends from work or only the family instead of having a grand mix of guests. While you might love to invite everyone you know, having so many guests you cannot afford to accommodate will give you the worst after-party budget hangover you can imagine.

Additionally, plan the party with friends or family who agree to be co-hosts. This adds fun to the planning, but the great benefit is that you will not have to bear the entire cost in that you can divide the costs among the co-hosts. Also, with several working together, perhaps your combined efforts will result in some creative ideas to save money. Just be careful. While involving many excited hosts, the budgetary constraints can be easily ignored. Also, if one of your co-hosts is not known for frugality, you may decide to keep purchasing and budget decisions out of their realm of authority. Before inviting co-hosts to help, determine first the budget and present it to them, and make sure they agree that maintaining the budget is top priority.

In order to be able to stick to your budget one must wisely allocate the money. Many people choose a budget for the party, but fail to break down the amount for each category (food, decorations, invitations, location, etc.). Instead, it is important to create a list of categories to which you plan to allocate funds, then determine the budget for each category, and be determined to stick to each category budget! Allocate to categories in proportion to their needs. For example, food likely will be more costly than invitations, so the food budget should be larger.

Instead of purchasing decorations, invitations or favors, why not make them yourself? Consider the creative talents of your co-hosts. Homemade party items add a special personality and often are more appreciated than those expensive items you buy.

Since food usually gets a big chunk of your total budget, you may decide to lower expenses by scheduling your party during a time of day that is not considered "meal" time. If you schedule it between meals or after hours, your guests will most likely expect light snacks or desserts. With this strategy you can save a significant amount on food without sacrificing the fun.

There are still many ways to have a great but wallet-friendly party. Remember that when it comes to parties much of the fun comes from the togetherness and bonding that results from relaxing and sharing good times with loved ones. So again, a successful party doesn't have to be costly. What matters most is that everyone has fun.

About the author:

Shannon Summers is a teacher and a party planning enthusiast who delights in helping others create magical parties. Shannon's website is just full of many exciting party planning tips. Also, click the following link for more party budget ideas.

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