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Party Planning on a Budget

by Natasha Combs

The key to party planning on a budget is to choose decorations, food, etc. that will get you the most bang for your buck. 

1. Choose a theme/color scheme
When I’m choosing a theme I like to pick a broad one so that I have lots of decoration options. Avoid characters if you can because that tends to narrow your options and gets expensive. If you absolutely must use a character theme, spend a little money on character items and then supplement with matching colors. For example, if your character is Mickey Mouse, splurge on a few Mickey items and then supplement with black, red, yellow, and white party supplies. If you’re going with just a color scheme, try to pick several colors so you have a wide range of colors to work with and you don’t end up with monochromatic party decor. This is my favorite way to party!

2. Email invitations
Using evite, paperless post, or a similar online invitation saves so much time and money! Invitations is one area I think is a no brained when it comes to saving money. People just throw away paper invites and there are so many cute online options! Plus I always lose paper invitations or forget them at home when I leave for the party and then I have to call someone to get the address. Not a problem when you use an online invitation!

3. Food
When picking food for your party, choose food you can make and/or buy in bulk. Also make sure it’s filling. The worst thing is to leave your guests hungry! Our favorite ways to feed a crowd include pasta dishes, grilling hamburgers and hotdogs, ordering pizza, pulled pork or chicken sliders, and cupcakes or cookies for dessert. Other than the pasta, these dishes don’t require silverware to be eaten so that’s another cost saver! My favorite food trick for when multiple people are helping host the party? Serve all the food using white platters/plates/bowls/containers. Usually everyone has at least a couple white serving dishes! 

4. DIY decorations
Make decorations when you can. Paper is cheap and you’d be surprised at the super cute decorations you can make with just paper! Tissues paper poms poms, banners, bunting, paper flowers, and wall decals are just a few of the things you can make with paper products. 

5. Cheap decorations 
You can find SUCH cute decorations in the dollar bins at Target and at the Dollar Store. You could very likely decorate an entire party just using things you find at these two places. 

6. Start planning early
The earlier you start planning, the more time you’ll have to take advantage of coupons, sales, daily deals, and coupon codes. 

7. Use what you have
Using what you have is obviously the best way to save money because it means you spend zero dollars! If you host parties frequently enough, it might be worth it to invest in some party items that you can reuse like mason jars to be used for cups, drink dispensers, banners, etc. Use any cute things you have for centerpieces or table decor. Think about anything that will go with your theme - vases, baskets, books, trinkets, pictures, plants, even kids toys for a kid party. Also, don’t be afraid to add a little spray paint or something to a vase or jar to make it the color you need it to be. A little spray paint goes a long way!

Using these party planning secrets, you can throw a successful, Pinterest-worthy party on the cheap! 

Natasha is a work-at-home lawyer and mama to 4 kids acquired through adoption and IVF - Laurel (7), Bennett (6), Christopher (3), and Everly (1).  She blogs at Let's Be Brave.

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