Since you probably aren't going to spend six figures on your party and have Wolfgang Puck cater like Tom and Katie did for Suri's second birthday (SECOND. BIRTHDAY.), you'll need some normal-person money-saving tips.
Easy Ways to Save Money on a Party
- The most expensive thing is alcohol by a mile. Are your friends drinkers? You could skip it altogether. Or rather than having a little bar set up, have an alcoholic punch. There are so many variations, so there's bound to be something out there that fits your theme and your wallet.
- The Nester has taught us for years to shop the house. (Here's a perfect example where she does it to furnish an entire bedroom.) You'll save more than you can imagine by using what you already have.
I bought two of these metal hot air balloons at a thrift store a couple of years ago, hoping to paint and hang them in the playroom I have yet to create. Since they're in the garage collecting spider webs, why not use them for my Wizard of Oz party! Hot air balloons are an icon of the movie anyway, so I have a mostly free statement decoration that only needs a $0.69 bottle of acrylic paint and twenty minutes.
- The best money-saving question in party land - can I make that? Sometimes the answer is no - to the costume, the cake, the Jack Shepherd wax figure - but more times than you think, the answer is yes. We live in the land of Google, y'all. Just Google it. How do I make a garland? Google it. How can I decorate for a Downton Abbey party? Google it. What's the best spinach dip recipe? I've already Googled and made it. And it is indeed the best. Ask before you buy. Every time.
- Remember that you pay for convenience. A bag of lettuce costs $3.99. A head of lettuce costs $1.79. There's nothing wrong with paying for the work to be done, but it might not always be worth it. Think first because you buy anything that's "ready to go."
- Email invitations. Evites are totally fine, but I like doing things a little more personally. The problem? Printed invitations and stamps can cost $40 in a heartbeat. While that's not crazy or wrong, when I'm working with a limited budget, every dollar matters. My solution? I design an invitation using Illustrator and then email the PDF to my friends. That way it's personal, doesn't require clicking anything, but costs just my time. Don't know how to use Illustrator? Support someone who does and order a downloadable custom-made invitation from one of the hundreds of creatives on Etsy. They cost $10-15 and get a more personalized result at a lower cost.
- Don't go overboard. Tom and Katie can (well, DO), but your friends don't need an expensive party to have fun. There's a good chance they'll feel more comfortable at a homemade party than a fancy one. Don't get me wrong; there's a time and a place for fancy. But if that place isn't your party, don't feel badly. No one measures you the way you do. So let's all stop and just have fun.
Are there any money saving party tips you like to use?