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When planning a party, it’s easy to get caught up in the desire to impress with glitz and glitter and overspend. However, it is possible to throw a great party while staying within your budget. Here’s some advice on throwing a fun, yet frugal, party your friends will remember.

Step 1: Pick your price. Ask yourself: “How much can I reasonably afford to spend on this party while still meeting my other financial obligations?” Set your limit and stick to it. Even if you only have $50 to spend on your party, you can still throw a party that your guests will love.

Step 2: Consider the details. The “who, what, where, when, and why” of your party can have a major impact on your party budget. Make some cost-conscious choices, like inviting fewer guests, hosting the party at a free location such as your home, and holding the party at a time when serving appetizers instead of a full meal is appropriate.

Step 3: Budget for the big three. Food and drink, decorations, and entertainment are the three big-budget categories for any get together. Decide how you want to allocate your party budget and look for creative ways to save in the other categories. Following are some ideas:

Food and drink

  • Potlucks are a frugal way to feed your guests and get them involved. Particularly in the case of big celebrations, your family and friends will likely be happy to help contribute to the meal.
  • Alcohol is a big budget breaker, ask guests to bring their own if they wish.
  • Combine simple, inexpensive ingredients to create delicious dishes. Cheap Eats, MMI's free eBook, has plenty of frugal recipe ideas for your party.

Decorations

  • Consider simple decorations that evoke more than one sense. Scented candles, for example, can help set the party ambiance.
  • Get crafty by creating your own table settings. Thrifty Thanksgiving, a free eBook from MMI, offers instructions for decorating the adults’ and kids’ tables.

Entertainment

  • Center your party around an event to provide all the entertainment you need without costing you much. Think sporting events, popular TV shows or movies, or a National Regifting Day regifting party.

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