It’s the holidays and we all love to get together and have fun. Which always leaves me wondering how to throw an awesome holiday party on a budget ? For our family, it starts with Halloween and we party like it’s 1999 through New Year’s Day. Then we rest. The thing is while everyone likes to be at the party, not everyone can afford to host the party of their dreams. Lots of times people will just forgo the whole thing but that doesn’t have to be the case. With a few simple tips, this is how to throw a party on a small budget.
No shame in being budget conscious or simply not having the extra cash and budget to throw a party. It’s a lot of work and they can get expensive. However, don’t ever let being financially strapped keep you from living your best life. I’m serious. A party is not just about what you have and how it looks, it’s more about the people and the atmosphere.
Remember in college? We threw parties all the time. We didn’t care what it looked like. All we needed was alcohol, good friends and good music. Really, that is all that you need for a great party. The rest is fluff. Believe me when I leave a party, I don’t remember what the decorations looked like or even what the menu was, I remember how I felt. I remember the fun.
You can be broke as a joke and still know how to throw an awesome holiday party on a budget. Just have to be creative. Some people grew up with money and they have exquisite taste when it comes to hosting a party because they’ve been to plenty and probably hosted as many. I, on the other hand, grew up without a lot of money so I had to be creative. My parties had to be known for being interesting and having personality. Bottom line is that to have an awesome party on a small budget, you just need to make sure that people have fun.
Tips on how to throw an awesome holiday party on a budget
Throw your party on a budget when people aren’t expecting a full meal. Primetime is 2-5 pm, but anything after 7 usually works too. Time it wisely. Happy-hour drinks and apps are cheaper than hosting a meal. Plan on three appetizers per person.
Don’t do cocktails.
Stocking a full bar is expensive. You can save money by having one signature drink. Cheapest option: Only serve beer and wine. The standard one to two drinks per person per hour. Set out pop, juice, and water for guests. If they want something special, BYOB is the perfect hostess gift. The last option is having a dry party but then you run the risk of no one showing up.
Plan early and buy your supplies spread out over time so you are not hit with a big bill all at once. If you are smart and you host an annual party, no time like the day after this year’s party to start buying for next year, especially if its seasonal and you can get next year’s supplies for 75% off.
Don’t be too proud. Let your guests help. When your friends ask what they can bring, never say, “Just bring yourself!” The correct answer is always alcohol or a favorite appetizer/dessert. And be specific, as in “Please bring a bottle of red wine you love” or “Can you bring those meatballs you had at your last party? It was delicious.”
Make the ordinary, extraordinary. Good music and cocktails are 90 percent of a good party. Pinterest got you wanting to aim higher? Use items you have at home (a string of lights, candles) or outside (branches, pinecones). Go ahead and splurge on fresh, in season, flowers to set a celebratory mood. Also, don’t be afraid to upcycle your decorations. Now that’s how to throw a party on a budget
Decorations, food, drinks. You can do it all. It will be so much more budget-friendly than having it catered or buying it already made.
Know your budget. Decide how much you can spend. Add up the cost of drinks, food, and decorations. If you’re over budget, shorten the guest list or recruit a friend to co-host with you to split the cost.
Shop in your budget.
Go to Dollar Tree or Thrift Stores. Avoid party stores and their markups. Dollar tree has so many party supplies that you can easily dress up and they are only $1. And I know it sounds crazy to get party supplies at a thrift store but I’m talking decorations like a punch bowl, serving tray, charcuterie board, vases for flowers or holiday decorations. I mean, if it’s good enough for your Halloween costume why not for other parties. Buy items at a discounted price, clean them up and upcycle.
Have a great playlist
There is nothing more important at a party than the music playlist, aside from the nibbles and drinks. The playlist will set the mood and can electrify the atmosphere. If everybody is feeling good and dancing, you have achieved party success. Start planning this early. Or if you have a friend who is a D.J. ask them to make you a party mix.
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As the host, always introduce your guests to one another.
This sounds like a no-brainer but if you’d be surprised how many people forget to do this. Believe me, it is important. If people don’t know one another and no one introduces people, you may have a room full of people that feels more like a middle school dance than a kick-ass party. So if you really want to know how to throw a party on a budget, simple human interaction is free.
What’s your number one tip for throwing an awesome holiday party on a budget?