Planning a Party on a Budget

October 28, 2011 at 3:50 AM 4 comments

Ever since our little one arrived I’ve been thinking about planning a party to celebrate his entrance into our lives. This wouldn’t be a baby shower, but rather a celebration of life party. In essence, it’s an excuse to get our friends and family together to share in our joy and excitement.

If we decide to throw a party I’d like to adhere to a very small budget. We’ve had a ton of expenses lately, (I’ll blog more about those in a future post), and adding more purchases to an already high credit card bill is not high on my list of things to do.

The biggest expenses for a party are typically food, venue and decorations. The cheapest solution is to skip the fancy restaurant and hold the event right in our own home. Since the invite list will be limited to close friends and family hosting in our house will provide a much more relaxed atmosphere. Not to mention we’ll probably need to put the baby down for a nap for a good portion of the time.

I really need to think about how to decorate for an occasion like this one. Since it’s a unique event, not a birthday celebration or a baby shower, I’ll probably look for party related items online. When I take the disposable route I typically purchase plates, napkins, forks, spoons and knives in solid colors. That way I can reuse them for any other special occasion that might arise. A quick Google search for discounted party supplies will return a whole host of companies selling these types of items. I usually pick a few and then compare prices. If you’re looking for a site with comparable prices check out discounted party supplies.

With the venue selected and the supplies out of the way we’ll have to decide on what to serve. The best way to save money is to host the event at a time when people won’t be expecting large portions of food. I’ve found mid-afternoon events to be the best. We typically purchase bulk appetizers from warehouse stores like Costco or BJ’s.

If you have the time it’s almost always cheaper to prepare fruit, veggies and cheese plates yourself. Large bricks of cheese and whole heads of broccoli will cost a whole lot less than tiny squares of cheddar and washed and chopped vegetables. It’s also a great idea to find food that can be prepared well in advance of the event. There is nothing worse than bringing all your friends together and then realizing you spent half the night in the kitchen. I’ve made this mistake a couple of times in my life and I always regret it.

Of course, another alternative is to host a potluck event. I’m not usually a big fan of bring-your-own-food parties, because I typically end up with eight pans of brownies and no ‘real’ food, but with a new baby in the house and little time to prepare for an event like this one a potluck doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

Of course the goal of an event like this one is simply to celebrate the new, little miracle in our lives. It won’t matter what we serve or whether or not our decorations and party supplies match. As long as everyone gets to see and hold the little one it’ll be a smashing success.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michelle P  |  October 28, 2011 at 5:20 AM

    All of that sounds like a good idea! Congrats on the little one!

  • 2. Susan  |  October 28, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Great idea's. I use the 3 Gal. containers that you can get at Sam's. They have the spout and are self serve.I make tea and lemonade. Much cheaper then soft drinks. I also make a fruit salad using 4 different fruits. That has worked out really well. I also use my crock pot for whatever I need to keep warm. I have found putting hotdogs in it works very well.

  • 3. The Rathbun Family  |  October 28, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    I've found you can avoid that potluck dilemma by saying it's potluck and you will provide the desserts. Then you can make brownies or cupcakes and have a variety of food.

  • 4. One Frugal Girl  |  October 28, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    @Michelle P – Thanks!

    @Susan – Tea and lemonade are great suggestions! They are much cheaper and I've found a lot of people prefer them to soft drinks. Fruit salad is another dollar stretcher.

    @The Rathbun Family – That's a great suggestion for potlucks. I've never tried that before, but it makes perfect sense to provide desserts and ask everyone else to bring anything other than sweet treats! Thanks for the idea!


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