The holidays are made for celebrating with family and friends. But if you’re already having to limit spending on Christmas presents, you may be concerned about the added expense of hosting a holiday party. With creative and frugal thinking, you can have a festive time with friends or family and stick to your budget, too.
Your food and decorations may not be magazine-perfect, but when you follow the suggestions below, you can create warm memories with family and friends – without unpleasant reminders from credit card statements.
1. The Invitation – Instead of buying ready-made invitations, create and print your own using a free online program like Canva. For more savings, design a postcard – no envelopes needed and cheaper postage. And to save even more, avoid postage altogether. Facebook has an event feature that lets you create an event, invite your friends and keep track of RSVPs. Or you can try Evite, which lets you easily create a fun digital invitation and send it to your friends via email. Although there’s a charge for some designs on Evite, many are free.
2. Ask for RSVPs in your invitations. Knowing how many guests to expect can prevent overspending and wasting food. And if an invitee offers to bring a dish or drink, graciously accept!
3. The Food – The type of party you plan and the time you schedule it can make a big difference in affordability. Consider these ideas for controlling your party expenses:
- Potluck – Provide the main course and drinks. Ask guests to bring side dishes, salads and desserts. This works best if your party guests are close friends or relatives.
- Progressive party – You start with appetizers at the first house, move on to soup and salad at the next place, then on to the main course, and complete the party with dessert at the last house. This way, you spread out the expense among several hosts.
- Limited menu – By scheduling your party during a non-meal time like mid-afternoon or evening, you can minimize the importance of food in your party and reduce the strain on your wallet. Think finger foods and beverages, a dessert-only party, just soups and breads or a weekend brunch.
- Get creative – Plan the party around an activity such as Christmas caroling. After singing around the neighborhood, return home for hot chocolate, cookies and other refreshments.
- Holiday movie night – Rent a classic or two (check your library for free movies), make popcorn, get some candy and invite your guests to bring a favorite snack to share.
4. Save on Decorating – Think simple when it comes to decorating for your holiday party.
- Check for decorations you already have
- Use votive candles or white or colored mini lights add visual impact to your party space
- Go outside to find natural elements, such as evergreen boughs and pine cones
- Search on Pinterest for inexpensive do-it-yourself decorations
- Shop dollar stores for inexpensive party supplies, candies and decorations
What are your ideas to save on holiday parties? Tell us on our Facebook page.