Through trial and error, I’ve discovered tips and tricks to help you save money on home entertaining. Here are some solutions for event budgeting.
I love throwing parties. I love coming up with party themes and party details and bringing the theme to life. I love gathering friends, being present with them, and seeing them enjoy an event. But, as I’ve learned, entertaining comes with a price tag, especially if you let your ideas run wild and try to do everything yourself. When you’re throwing an event on your own bank account, you’ve got to reel it in to not be surprised later at the amount you spent. Here are some event budgeting tips to help you save money on home entertaining!
1. Set and stick to a budget.
This is always key to spending and saving! Average out the costs for the event (food, décor, etc.) and set a dollar amount to stick to. This will help you decide what kind of food you want to prepare, how many people to invite, and what kind of décor to make/buy, etc. Decide the most important parts of your party and invest your budget in those. Don’t forget to STICK to the budget!
2. Make it a potluck event.
Ask everyone to bring drinks or a dish. Guests will ask your recommendations for what to bring, so think about the menu you’d like ahead of time. Maybe you can make the main course and everyone can bring a side dish. Or maybe everyone can bring a bottle of wine. For the baby shower I helped with, the organizer had a few people volunteer to bring dishes, which helped a lot and resulted in a big spread.
3. Ask guests to chip in with money.
Depending on the occasion and event, it’s ok to ask guests to chip in. For my past seafood and crawfish boils, we knew the seafood would add up to be a hefty cost, so we asked all our guests to chip in a reasonable amount. For some DIY parties, guests chipped in their portion of the supplies, while I provided snacks.
4. Use reusable items.
Clean-up might be easier with disposable plates and cups, but those costs can add up too! Besides, real plates and silverware make an event much classier. You can also use cloth tablecloths and napkins.
5. Pick inexpensive dishes or use inexpensive ingredients.
When selecting your party menu, pick a bunch of appetizers instead of multiple courses. Try “off-brand” ingredients. When prepared well, “inexpensive” dishes can taste like a million bucks! Also, try planning the amount of food so that you don’t have too many leftovers.
6. Consider the time of day for your party.
It’s nice to have snacks at any party but if your party is around a mealtime, your guests may be hungrier and may expect more than a few snacks. Schedule your event to avoid needing to prepare a full meal. Don’t forget to communicate if there will be a full meal or a few snacks so guests can plan their eating.
7. Be flexible and reasonable about your décor.
There have been plenty of times that I’ve wanted to make a grand décor display or provide certain surprises for my guests but realized it will take more money than what I have in my budget. Use that money on things that would matter more, like the food. Think about what you actually need to make the event a success.
8. Buy décor and supplies on sale or at a discount store.
Go to a dollar store or thrift store to look for more affordable décor and supplies. Supplies will be the most expensive at a party or craft store. Thrift stores are great for kitchenware that you can use over and over again.
9. DIY your décor and food.
Get crafty! That’s what Pinterest is for! (Follow me on Pinterest here!) The Internet is full of tutorials and recipes to help you. If you’re stressed about time, recruit some friends to help lend their skills for the food and décor. Pull out old décor and DIY new life into them. For example, a wreath made appearances at several of my events. See it transform from the popsicle party to Friendsgiving to the confetti party. Make dishes instead of buying pre-made. Chances are homemade will taste a lot better anyway. (With this tip, you’ll be investing more of your time instead of your money, so make sure you plan accordingly and give yourself enough time.)
10. Borrow items from friends.
Ask your friends to borrow dishes, speakers, folding tables, coolers, tablecloths, etc. instead of buying them, especially if it’s a once or once in a while use. Maybe they even have already-made décor that they used at a previous party you could use.
How do you save money on home entertaining? What tips would you add?