How to Host a Party on a Budget

One of life’s many joys is to open up your home to others, gather your closest friends and family about you and celebrate with a party. Unfortunately, these days it seems like if you’re going to host a party, the pressure is on to make it a spectacular affair to remember. Canadians are spending more than ever on parties and events of all types from children’s birthday parties to engagement parties to weddings.

But spending money you don’t have on parties is not a good financial strategy. That’s why I’ve put together a list of sure-fire ways to save money on all types of parties, from birthdays to weddings to small weekend get-togethers.

Avoid Venues

Renting a venue is a great way to shoot your party spending through the roof. Especially if you are getting married, venues tend to charge a lot of money for what amounts to just a space to have a party. Instead of renting a restaurant, hall or event space, consider having your party at home. If there isn’t enough space in your apartment or house, perhaps a relative has a spacious backyard you can commandeer for an afternoon. Hosting a party at home can be a good strategy for all types of parties from birthdays, engagement parties, or even weddings.

If you’re having a smaller gathering, avoid the temptation to meet at a restaurant and instead host in your home. It can be easy to overspend at a restaurant in the name of celebration, but you eliminate that temptation if you entertain at home.

Keep the Guest List Small

When hosting a party, you can keep costs down by keeping the guest list small. Larger groups of people mean more food, beverages, and space. By keeping your guest list small you’ll save money on these items and also benefit from a more intimate atmosphere. We’ve all had to make small talk with family or friends we don’t know after getting overzealous with the guest list, by keeping the list small you’ll have more time to catch up with the people you care about – and save money doing it!

Make it Themed

When it comes to decorating for a party, it can be easy to go overboard. Making it themed will give you some boundaries to your decorating, so you don’t inadvertently wind up with a bouncy castle in your backyard. Beyond theming the party, you should encourage your guests to dress up. Encouraging guests to dress up passes some of your decorating costs on to them. Once they arrive, they’ll become part of the décor. For example, if you throw a birthday party that is western themed, and all of your guests dress up, it won’t be obvious if you skimp on decorations.

Second, you should try to hand-make the decorations as much as possible. Avoid purchasing expensive décor that you’ll use only once and instead lean on inexpensive handmade decorations that you can recycle afterward.

Hand-make the Snacks

Finally, dedicate time to make the snacks you plan to serve at your party. Buying premade vegetable trays, dips and appetizers at the grocery store might seem like a time saver, but it’s also a money waster. Instead, take the time to research recipes that use ingredients you already have on hand. Depending on the size of your party, this could save you up to hundreds of dollars.

If you’re hosting a low-key gathering, you could even ask friends and family to bring a dish, pot-luck style. Encouraging group food contributions will further pass on the cost of hosting to your guests, but make sure to pay their kindness back when called upon and bring a delicious dish to their party.

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