Celebrate, but don’t break the bank
Make an exhaustive list of things you need, from cutlery to entertainment. (Shutterstock)
Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries are all fun occasions to celebrate. But along with the fun comes a lot of expenses that can put a strain on any budget. Even with many of the sale events that are typically held ahead of some of these events, the cost of throwing parties, buying foods, beverages and presents can be significant.
There are many ways, however, to enjoy all of these events without breaking the bank. The secret is to put more time and preparation ahead of the event, and to be a little bit more willing to step out of your comfort zone to create decorations, bake and cook, or make items that can be gifted as presents.
Here are a few ideas that can help you enjoy any occasion on a budget.
Know what you need
A large cost of any event often comes with the items that you run in the last minute to the store to get. You often don’t have time to compare prices, and you probably don’t have much choice in where to go to get them.
To avoid this situation, make an extensive list of everything you need whether you’re planning a birthday party, a baby shower, or a dinner gathering. Your list should include everything from foods and beverages to items such as napkins, paper plates, etc.
Once you’ve the list ready, mark the items that must be purchased and those that can be made at home. For example, a cake may cost a fraction of its price in the store if you just take the time to use some ingredients that you already have and purchase a few others. Just make sure you include those needed items on your list as well, look up a recipe that is within your skill level and do it.
Think of alternatives
Expand your options by searching online, asking friends or simply thinking outside the box. For example, if you’re looking for a venue to hold a birthday party a family reunion, or a baby shower, you may have a list of three or four places that you know about either because they advertise or because you have been to them for past event. These venues may all fall within a certain budget. If you think of alternatives, you may find options that come at a fraction of the cost. For example, a library or a public park may have space at a much reduced cost.
With today’s access to information, always try to ask questions online and see what options are out there. You may be surprised at the variety of options that meet your budget while offering your guests a new experience. The same approach should apply to catering, finding help, etc. Don’t just take the easiest route by following the steps of friends and family in arranging such events. If you’re working within a different budget, you need to have a different plan.
Stay within your budget
When you’re adding items to your shopping list make sure that they are all necessary. For example, if it is a birthday party or a baby shower, do you really need to buy or make several banners? Do you have to have a themed party? If the answer is yes, think of ways to cut the cost of buying branded items (napkins, cups, etc) Can you and your child colour some banners for decoration, instead? The point is a run to the store to collect miscellaneous items can cost you as much as all the foods and the beverages. And you, like many people, probably overlooked this cost initially.
Another step that can help you easily stay within your budget in some events is to turn the party into a potluck event. And there is nothing wrong at all if you do so as a host. Have a theme — say, an international potluck — and ask your guest to bring dishes from their countries. There are several website that offer free accounts to organise potluck parties — simply to make sure that not everyone will show up with soft drinks and chips.
By doing so, you will still get to host the party, but you will get a lot of help financially as the cost of foods and beverages is shared with your guests.
By Rania Oteify
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