From birthday parties to holiday parties to just because parties, people love parties and we throw a lot of them! But we can get a little carried away with the spending, especially when trying to copy a Pinterest party and impress our friends. That’s why we are sharing with you our 20 ways to save money on parties.
Ways to Save Money on Parties: Budget
1. The very first step to save money on parties is to set a budget for it. If you don’t have time to save up for it, what can you actually afford right now? If you have some time to save, how much can you save until the event and how much would you like to spend? It won’t do to think about how much you need for your party first. Figure out how much you can spend and then make that work, and it will work if you follow the next tips!
Ways to Save Money on Parties: Theme/Decor
2. When choosing your theme and decor, remember who the party is for and what the purpose is — to celebrate a special someone, to socialize with friends and family — the point is not to throw an extravagant party to impress the guests is it? Fun is more important than flash.
3. Use what you have. Using the decor from your home, party supplies left over from a past party, and even borrowing items from friends is both friendly on the wallet and the environment.
4. Buy neutral serveware that can be re-used in different parties. Stock up on white serveware and white disposable plates/cutlery in bulk. This way you can reuse the same serveware for every party, and use the lowest priced paper plates and plastic cutlery, while adding color and party themed decor elsewhere such as balloons and ribbons, etc.
5. Avoid party supply stores, instead hit up dollar stores. Dollar stores have balloons, plastic tablecloths, streamers, candles, banners, candy and favor items all for often much cheaper than party supply stores, and they come in solid colors as well as an array of character/themes.
6. A bulk discount store like Costco is great for bulk supplies for large parties, or items you can use for multiple parties, such as plates, forks, spoons, cups, napkins, as well as bulk sized food and drink items. If you don’t have a membership, ask a friend who does to escort you, or do some research weighing the cost of annual membership against the savings to see if it’s worth it for you.
7. Thrift stores are perfect for serveware such as platters, trays, bowls, teacups/saucers, decanters, jugs, glasses as well as re-usable party decor like picture frames, candle holders, vases, table cloths and more. Thrift stores are so much more affordable than buying these items new, plus these pieces can be re-used again and again (or donated back to the store for someone else to use), so very “green” for party decorating.
8. Don’t buy themed decorations. Party supplies saying “50th anniversary” or “happy 5th birthday” or that have popular children’s characters on them are much more expensive than solid colored supplies, and it will be hard to re-use the extras for future parties. Instead choose a color scheme that matches the party theme and then tie in the theme with specific pieces elsewhere. You want to have specific party items in limited and high impact uses, while the remainder is generic decor in coordinating colors. Have a homemade banner stating “Happy 50th Anniversary”, or hang balloons on the wall in the shape of the birthday number. For specific characters, you can purchase a large gift bag featuring the character to use as a table centerpiece, or small figurines to be cake toppers and then a gift afterwards.
9. Get if for free. Instead of committing to a party theme and then paying the price for supplies and decor, first search for party printables you can find online for free! There are so many free party printables available, in a huge variety of themes and colors. You can get designs for invitations, cupcake picks and holders, water bottle labels, paper bunting and more. All you have to pay for is paper and ink, which is cheaper than buying these items from stores and you don’t have to pay for custom party printables from Etsy or other sources.
Ways to Save Money on Parties: Food/Drink
10. Avoid meals. Unless you are having a dinner party, you can probably schedule your party outside mealtimes and just serve light refreshments for a big savings.
11. When the budget is tight, you can save big time with DIY food and drinks for your party. Don’t hire a caterer, serve up simple bites you prepare yourself. Don’t buy party platters of veggies and dip, fruit trays, and meat and cheese. Assemble these trays yourself, a bit of prep work will save you a lot of money on food.
12. When serving drinks for parties, a party punch is much cheaper than individual servings of pop, juice, water bottles, or alcohol.
13. Make your own cake. A custom cake from a bakery is very expensive, and even a sheet cake from the grocery store is double the price of a couple boxes of cake mix. Bake it from scratch for the biggest savings, or grab a box of cake mix and container of frosting if you’re not much of a baker, you can still do it! Rather than trying to make fancy frosted flowers or other icing decoration, incorporate the party theme using small toys, silk flowers or other items as cake toppers.
14. Alternately, cupcakes can be easier than a cake to make yourself and are way more affordable than purchasing from the bakery at $1 to $2 each. Grab an icing bag with tip and swirl some frosting on the top of the cupcake, it’s more forgiving than trying to get a smooth application on a cake and looks great. Add easy cupcake picks from the dollar store or free online printable for extra flair and you have a professional looking party for pennies on the dollar.
Ways to Save Money on Parties: General
15. Keep it simple, keep it small. Don’t invite the whole neighbourhood or the whole class, it’s not necessary and will blow the budget. Limit the guest list to lower the cost and increase the fun. Don’t try to have a Pinterest party, with decorations and fancy food that party planners drool over, just try to have a party that’s simple and fun.
16. If you can avoid paper invitations and mailing them, do it. Use evites.com for your email contacts or Facebook events to post the party details, invite people and track RSVPs.
17. For parties with kids or non-email invitees, make your own invitations or get free printable invitation designs from online to save money over store bought invites. Same goes for thank you cards.
18. Host the party at your home, if possible, or other free venue. Booking a hall or children’s party location can be very costly. If you have a large enough space in your home or yard, don’t be afraid to use it for your party. Or ask a close friend or family member to use their space if it would be great for the party. Also think about free locations for your party, such as parks, the beach, etc. and if it’s outdoors just be prepared with a backup plan for bad weather.
19. Entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t hire clowns, musicians, character actors or pay for rides etc. Play inexpensive games for high fun at low cost. Ask talented friends to entertain for you, or ask friends to assist with games, activities and crafts. And on that note, ask your generous friends to help you set up and take down decorations or bring some food to the party.
20. Edible favors are cheap and well received, there’s no need to give out expensive gifts for party favors. Hand out some candy, or a wrapped cookie or dessert bar for an affordable treat your guests will really appreciate. Another idea is to make a craft at the party which is also the favor, activity and favor in one!
And there you have it, our 20 ways to save money on parties. Do you use these tricks to keep your party on budget? What other ways do you save money on parties? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear!