Whether it’s a wedding, an engagement, a major birthday, graduation, or some other milestone, planning a great party for your family and friends can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful, especially if you are trying to keep costs down. The idea is to keep the emphasis on the former and not the latter. Follow the tips below, and keep in mind that everyone you are inviting is showing up because they are happy for you. The party doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be fun.
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How early do you think you need to start? Add a few months to that. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ve built in more time than you need, which is never a bad thing. Starting early means you won’t run into problems that can be hard to solve at the last minute, like suddenly realizing you are over budget or that your guest list needs trimming.
Review Your Finances
Be realistic about what you can spend, but see if there are creative ways you can free up more cash as well. For example, if you have several different student loans you are paying off at varying rates, you might be able to consolidate them under a single rate and payment, saving you a little each month that you can put toward the big event. A little research can go a long way to give an idea of what your student loan consolidation rates options may be. You could also pick up a part-time job or have money deducted from your regular paycheck and placed in your savings account automatically.
Resolve to stick to your budget, but also make you sure you build in about 10% for unexpected expenses. You’ll need to reach some kind of balance between how many guests you can have and where the planning a party will be held as well as what kind of food, favors and entertainment you can afford. However, if it seems as though you can’t really put on the kind of event you want, don’t despair. If you are crafty or have friends who are, do-it-yourself could save you a lot of money.
Consider DIY and Bartering
Don’t assume that DIY means settling for something less. Amateur craftspeople may be able to do as well as some professionals. If you don’t have any crafty or cooking skills yourself, talk to people you know. Some friends will be happy to donate their time. You might be able to work out some kind of exchange with others. You may have no decorating skills but are great at organization, photography or cooking, so find out what they need and if you can work out a deal.
Focus on Fun
Don’t reject the idea of a potluck and BYOB party if you can’t afford much. What’s most important is that you have the people you love around you to celebrate a special occasion. You might also consider a cost-saving measure like this in order to splurge on something else special, such as an expensive location or entertainment.