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How to Throw a Party on a Budget

When you budget for your party, do so before you start shopping. Figure out how much you can spend on your party, overall. List the items you need and estimate what you can afford to spend on each item.

Keep a running total of the expenses so you know when you need to cut corners on one item because you went over on another.

Here are some budget-saving ideas.

  • Always shop from a detailed list. Impulse buys are common in party planning. Don’t give in!

  • Use reuseable tableware. Using real dishes, utensils, and glassware can save big money.

  • Prepare the food yourself. Bake your own cake or serve sliced homemade snack cakes instead of ordering a personalized cake from the grocery store.

  • Make and deliver your own invitations. Save on postage by hand-delivering invitations to people you see regularly. E-mail invitations are acceptable for casual parties.

  • Aim for a simple, balanced menu. For a dinner party, a simple snack or appetizer, salad or soup, vegetables, and a main course followed by a simple dessert make a nice, well-rounded meal.

The key to entertaining on a budget without sacrificing flair is to think presentation. You can make anything look special: a tray of cold cuts on a bed of curly lettuce, utensils standing in a cup tied in ribbon, napkins folded into birds.

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