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Mendo Lake Family Life

7 Secret Money Savers for Party Planning

Oct 24, 2008 12:00AM

The prospect of throwing a party is exciting but once you start thinking about the things you’ll have to buy to pull off this party, the excitement comes to an abrupt halt. Invitations, party favors, decorations, food, drinks—the list becomes endless and all the fun planning is replaced with anxiety and stress. Not that doesn’t sound like fun at all! Here are a few ways to cut corners that will ease your mind and pocket book:

1. Your Budget is Your Best Friend

Set a budget and stick to it! This should be your first priority before any planning can take place. How much money do you have to devote to this party? Name your price and stay true to it as best you can. Your budget can help you decide on how elaborate of a party you’re going to have and prevent you from going overextending yourself.

2. No More Snail Mail Invitations

You can save yourself some big bucks by sending email invitations or even a phone call instead. By saving on the expense of purchasing invitations and the postage—and think of all the time you’ll save by not having to address the envelopes, it makes good sense to turn to electronic invitations for all but the most formal events. The added benefit of using online invitation sites is that they will help you to manage your responses.

3. Dispose the Disposables

Even the least expensive paper plates, cups, and plastic cutlery will quickly add up. You can save on that expense by using your regular dinnerware, flatware, and glassware. Don’t be afraid to mix and match for an eclectic look if you don’t have enough pieces in one set to serve all of your guests. Not only will this save on expenses, it’s also good for the environment.

4. Choose a Little Less Convenience for the Produce

It’s tempting to pick up those little packages of pre-washed, pre-cut fruits and veggies, but they come at a price. Buy your produce in bulk and prep it yourself to save on your party grocery bill. It usually lasts longer, and stays fresher if you wash and cut your produce closer to the party date. And while we’re on the subject of produce, always choose produce that is in-season for your area. That’s where you’ll find the best deals.

5. Pasta, Rice and Potatoes—The Sneaky Three Dollar Stretchers

Traditionally these three starches have been the keys to stretching a dollar. Salads, side dishes, and casseroles made with these ingredients will be budget-friendly. And who doesn’t love a tray of baked ziti or scoop of potato salad?

6. Make It a Community Party

No one minds being asked to contribute a dish to your casual party. It’s not as though you’ve asked them to be the host! With that basic concept in mind, you can organize a:

  • Potluck Party
  • Block Party
  • Progressive Dinner


Drinks can get pricey rather quickly. To make your dollar go further, you can make a seasonal punch, lemonade, iced tea or purchase off brand soda. It’s also very common and considered socially acceptable for hosts to tell their guests to bring their own beverage for casual gatherings.

When your party is over it, you will be satisfied that everyone had a great time and nobody noticed how much money you saved!