Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesdays Tip: Creating a Party on the Cheap

As much as I love to host parties and decorate my home the pay check of a substitute teacher is not very conducive to such things. There are no halls being rented or new drapes for every season. (By the way, why are curtains so expensive?!) Plus I'm kind of a cheap person. I refuse to pay more than I think something is worth especially if it is something I can do or make myself. 

Because of those factors I have gotten pretty creative and figured out how to host inexpensive events. Granted they are not as nice as the ones I lust after in pictures, but I still have fun putting everything together and hope everyone has a good time. 

The following are some of my tips on how to put together a party with little funds. 

1. Embrace the dollar store. I'm not going to lie. The Dollar Tree is one of my favorite places. There are so many hidden treasures there. They have a lot to offer in the way of party supplies. For our pumpkin party I bought two glass candle sticks and two other glass holders that were also in the candle aisle and glued them together. Two instant additions to my serving dish collection for $4. 

My  "crystal" cup is pictured here.
Works great for nuts and small snacks. Plus, it still works as a candle holder.
2. Do mix and match party supplies. Sometimes, particularly for kids parties you may want a special character or theme to be represented. I know my daughter will ask for the matching plates and cups and banners, etc. $12 for just paper plates alone is not happening in this house. So when we must have those special supplies we pick a couple things with that special design and mix it with the generic stuff. A one or two packs of Fancy Nancy plates mixed with a few packs of plain plates is a lot lighter on the wallet. I personally like it better stylistically anyway. Sometimes it can get to be too much character overload. You can do the same thing with napkins and then maybe splurge for that matching pinata. 

For Morgan's 6th birthday we mixed Fancy Nancy plates with light pink ones and used a  reusable vinyl table cloth of the same color scheme. The table cloth cost less than the plastic Fancy Nancy ones and we could use it again.

3. Make it yourself. Don't be intimidated. You can do it! I like to have at least one homemade decoration. It's more personalized and softens that manufactured party kit feeling. It's also less expensive than paying the jacked up convenience charge of having it pre-made. With Pinterest and so many blog tutorials out there you are sure to find great easy ideas. Here are a couple from the past few years:

Am I going to pay $10 for 3 tissue paper pom poms I can buy online or $3 for 10 that I can have fun making with my daughter? These are still hanging in her room after almost 2 years.

A fall pumpkin candle holder. I had all the supplies in my house so this one was a freebie. (Hint: I wash out and save sauce and jelly jars for occasions like this.)  

Another freebie. Why not make a banner out of supplies you have around the house?

Did you know they sell paper chain kits in the craft store? I was so tempted but then spent some time in the scrapbook paper section doing my research and found out I could buy a whole book of pretty paper for less and make a much longer chain.
4. Reuse, share, and borrow! I have a colorful girly Happy Birthday banner I found at Old Navy of all places. I goes with pretty much every girls birthday theme. Best $5. I have used it for years and my sister-in-law borrows it too. It gets around. My mom and I have nice folding chairs we share and she also is gracious enough to share a lot of dishes and serving items. If you share with family and friends its like having twice or three times the supplies.

5. Buy on clearance. Every now and then I will see supplies for dirt cheap at Target. One day I happened to catch the dollar bin 70% off. 30 cents?! It is definitely OK in my book at that price to but a few things to put aside. 

6. The time of day can lower your food bill. Dinner and lunch parties can get pricey. You need a main course, some snacks or appetizers and dessert. Having a party that is strictly munchies or dessert items can cost less and be easier to get everything together. Breakfast is also a good option that costs less than a full course meal.

7. Use what you have. I guarantee you have a lot of things around your house you can use before even stepping foot in the store. Get creative and try to stay clear of too many things you will only use once. 

At this point I want to turn the list over to you. Do you have any tip for saving money when it comes to parties?

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