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How to Throw an Awesome Party for Less Than $100

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Want to throw an awesome party, but think it's too expensive? Here are 4 ways to throw a great party for under $100 that doesn't cut out fun.

It’s finally getting warmer here in Michigan after a very long winter, and it seems everyone is coming out of hibernation. This means lots of my neighbors and friends want to throw an awesome party, and let’s not forget wedding season is ramping up too.

June and July weddings usually come with bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and more, all of which present opportunities to throw a memorable wedding rehearsal, bachelor party and more. However, for those of us who are in the middle of our debt repayment journeys, all of these parties can seem intimidating.

After all, I love having people over, but since my husband and I have paid off over $15,000 worth of debt this year, I really try to keep spending on entertainment to a minimum. Still, I’d like to enjoy the brief summer months while I can, so I’ve found out how to throw an awesome party for less than $100.

Here are some frugal party ideas below if you’d like to do the same.

1. Make Your Awesome party a Potluck

 

The biggest expense when you throw a party is food. After all, you want to be a great hostess, and running out of food for your guests isn’t exactly the best way to do that.

That’s why I love potlucks. The host and hostess can be in charge of a few main dishes, and then you can ask your guests to bring their favorite beer, side or dessert.

Don’t be afraid to delegate specific parts of your meals too (although having 12 desserts wouldn’t be a bad thing.). Online tools like Perfect Potluck, Meal Train, Thing to Bring and others abound to make the planning portion of the food a breeze.

This will ensure there is enough food to go around and that you don’t have to spend a lot in the process.

2. Stick with Simple Entertainment

 

Parties are so overblown these days. I’ve heard of one-year-olds having ponies at their birthday parties and parents spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on their kids. (A CNN story from a few years ago talked about an actual four-year-old’s birthday party where the guests were picked up in limos.)

Then, there are people who throw bridal showers and have to have everything custom monogrammed (I’m looking at you, fellow southerners.) What happened to the simple joys like letting your kids run through a sprinkler, having a water balloon party or buying tons of bubbles to use at the dollar store or hand making decorations?

If you’re planning a party for adults, instead of renting out expensive entertainment (more on that below), why not have a karaoke party in your basement? Or a makeshift dance or faux singing contest. If you have an Amazon Echo, you can even use her to be your DJ.

By keeping it simple you can ensure your focus is on your guests and the people you love most and that you don’t get caught up trying to impress everyone.

3. Skip the Rentals

 

It might be tempting to rent out a room at your favorite restaurant for a shower or rent space at the trampoline park for your kid’s birthday, but really the best way to save tons of money is to have your party at home or in a public park.

Skip hiring Disney Princesses to show up at your party. Skip the catering. Skip the pricey down payments on space. You might think your house is too small or your furniture is too old or that something else isn’t right with your space.

However, I fit 20+ people in my 1,000 sq. ft. house for a Christmas party last year, and not one person commented on my Craigslist couch. In fact, they all kept commenting on how nice and cozy the house was and how it felt like a home with our holiday decorations (which I also got off of Craigslist, including my Christmas tree.)

So, don’t think that in order to host something at your house that you have to have the latest and greatest of everything. Having a party is about connecting with other people, enjoying your friends and making memories.

It isn’t about showing off your Pottery Barn pillows or ensuring your party supplies are Instagram worthy. Just let go and enjoy, and the memories will follow.

Want to throw an awesome party, but think it's too expensive? Here are 4 ways to throw a great party for under $100 that doesn't cut out fun.

4. Use E-Invites

 

It’s becoming less and less taboo to use online invitations. This is a great way to ensure your invitations don’t get lost in the mail, and you can track RSVPs right from your computer. If it’s a simple weekend party at your home for your friends and neighbors, a Facebook invite could be great. If it’s for a more structured party like a shindig leading up to a wedding or your child’s birthday, an E-invite can work well.

There are companies like Evite that have been around for a while, but there are also newer companies to the game with really cute, customizable invites like the ones at Punchbowl.

Just be sure the invitation you get is actually free to send, because paying for an e-invite would defeat the purpose of saving money on this part of party planning.

Ultimately, you can absolutely learn how to throw an awesome party for less than $100 this summer with a little bit of planning and also by letting go of some of the expectations that our social media obsessed world inflicts on us.

I hope this helps when it comes to saving money on your celebrations. I for one am looking forward to summer and all the fun that comes with it – free from money guilt.

 

What are some of the things you do to throw an awesome, and frugal party? What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen money spent on for a party? How much did you spend on the last birthday party you hosted?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families. Check out her award winning blog, CatherineAlford.com.

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