It's time to party! But it's no time to break the bank.
Americans spent more than $2,900 on entertainment in 2020. Saving just $100 can make the difference when you're looking to pay for rent.
Yet reducing your entertainment expenses doesn't mean you have to cut back on your parties. You just need to figure out how to plan a party on a budget.
How should you start planning a party? What kinds of parties should you throw? How should you serve food and drinks?
Answer these questions and you can become a party master in no time. Here is your comprehensive guide.
A fabulous party usually has a point to it. You may want to celebrate an occasion or reconnect with old friends.
Think about what the point of your party is and structure the event around that point. You may want to give speeches celebrating someone's accomplishments if you're celebrating a graduation or engagement. For reconnecting with people, you want to give plenty of time for conversations.
You often don't need services like caterers or bands. As long as there is enough food and drinks to go around, you don't need a cheese plate and hors d'oeuvres.
It's okay to go the extra mile and hire these services. But an intimate and down-to-earth occasion can be just as meaningful as a blowout, if not more so.
Think about some of the best parties you've been to. Odds are, these parties all had themes to them. Picking a theme for your party will give it an identity and help you avoid spending too much on decorations.
Popular themes include throwback parties. You can celebrate a particular decade like the 1980s, asking your attendees to dress up in the attire of the time period. You can play music from that decade and have cardboard cutouts of celebrities from then.
If you're looking for something basic, you can throw a pizza party. You can order pizzas from different restaurants in your area. You can even have a pizza eating contest or try out pizzas with unusual toppings.
You can also try a color party. Everyone can come dressed in your color, and you can sample foods in that color.
A watch party lets you catch up on a new show or celebrate an old movie. You do need a good screen and seats for your guests to sit, but you can plan a watch party in a short period of time.
Yet you can get as elaborate with your theme as you want. You can have a murder mystery party or re-enact your favorite game show. The more creative you are with your party, the more memorable it can be.
Party planning should take place a few weeks in advance, even for a small affair. This gives you enough time to save money and coordinate the event with your guests.
Plan out what you need for the party. You may need money to buy some decorations or pay for a dish you want to cook. Get a dollar figure on what you need and try to save up a little more money than what you need so you can cover emergency expenses.
Little things like putting your loose change in a jar can help you save money. If you need to save a few hundred dollars, take a look at your regular expenses and try to cut down on things you don't need. You can spend less money on entertainment and put that money toward your party.
You can also sell objects in your house that you don't need. Sort through your items and find things you can sell at a garage sale or to a thrift store.
This will also help you clear out space for your party and find objects you can use as decorations. Cheap decorating ideas include laying out candles and putting out glassware of different colors.
As you're planning a fun party, you may get a request from someone to help out. You should always take the request.
Get clear details about what your guest will do for you. They may be able to come by before the party begins and help set up. They may be able to bring a side dish or a bottle of wine.
At the same time, you shouldn't abuse someone's generosity. If you ask someone to bring food, you should not expect them to bring an entree.
An easy way to reduce your party budget is to turn the meal into a potluck. You can prepare one dish while each guest brings something of their own.
However, throwing a potluck requires some coordination. You need to assign your guests categories of food so you have all parts of the meal represented.
If you have guests with food allergies, you need to make that known to everybody. You also need to accommodate guests who have special diets.
But feel free to get creative. You can throw a barbecue party and have one group of guests cook beef dishes while another group cooks pork. You can also ask guests to bring in dishes from different world cuisines.
Most people at potlucks take small portions so they can sample everything. In general, six ounces of meat, two ounces of grains, and four ounces of vegetables are good serving sizes. All dishes should be labeled so guests know what they are eating.
Your guests can bring beverages as well. Make sure there are alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and feel free to serve water.
If you're cooking the meal, you should prepare dishes that are cheap yet can feed plenty of people. A box of pasta can cost a few dollars, but you can prepare enough food for several people. Serve some spaghetti with tomato, meat, or pesto sauce.
Pizza also tends to be cheap. Many pizzerias run deals where you can buy a few pizzas at lower prices than normal. You can make your own pizza, making your dough from scratch or buying pre-made dough at the store.
Eggs are a cheap source of protein. You can host a breakfast party, serving egg dishes like frittatas and omelets.
Vegetables are even cheaper than eggs and meat. Salads, vegetable stews, and roasted vegetables can feed everyone at your party and provide a nutritious meal.
For dessert, you can serve a fruit salad or pre-made cookies. If you want to make something more elaborate, you can make mug cobblers or crisps.
You can save money on drinks by serving a signature drink at your party. Try to match the drink to your theme.
For a Mardi Gras or New Orleans party, you can serve the Hurricane cocktail. It combines rum with lemon juice and passion fruit syrup, and it contains ice. For a pizza party, you can serve Italian cocktails like spritzes and negronis.
You can serve the drink yourself, or you can hire a bartender or barista to serve your guests. If you're not familiar with mixing alcoholic drinks, you should read a few guides online. You may need to buy supplies like cocktail shakers and bar spoons.
Your guests may have small kids. You don't have to hire a clown or someone to entertain them, but you should figure out what they are going to do.
You can have them go outside and play games with each other. Feel free to give them balls and other toys that they can play with.
They can swim in your swimming pool or go for walks through the woods behind your house. Make sure someone keeps an eye on them so they stay safe.
If the weather is bad, you can give the kids a room in your house to play in. Put out some games, toys, and books. You can also have them watch a movie, which can distract them for a couple of hours.
You can create a great party on a budget. Think about what the purpose of your party is and plan events around that purpose. Pick a theme that would be fun and unique.
To save money and time, you should ask for help. To cut back on your food and drink expenses, you should run a potluck and serve one signature drink. Keep the kids away from the adults with toys, movies, and space outside.
Planning a party doesn't have to be difficult. Pitch In Club offers great event planning tools. Create an account today.