Throwing a party can be stressful--not to mention, incredibly taxing on the wallet. Here are some tips for throwing a fabulous bash without breaking the bank:
Visit the Dollar Store.
Your local discount store typically has scads of party goodies that cost far less than what you would buy anywhere else--from table cloths to glassware to fake flowers to cake batter.
Two words: Pot. Luck.
No, this is not a drug reference. Rather, the good ol' fashioned potluck is a totally appropriate choice for virtually any party. But it's positively perfect for a barbecue or other outdoorsy celebration.
In addition to saving you some dough, it also gives everyone a chance to show off their special recipe. (Whenever I bring this orzo salad I make to a party, I monitor--with a healthy dose of competitive pride--how fast my dish is eaten compared to the other side dishes.)
Presentation Is Critical--And Can Be Done Well, For Cheap!
Even non-fancy foods can look incredibly appetizing when displayed nicely. Finger foods are an inexpensive, casual way to look fantastic without shelling out a ton of cash on costly prepared foods. For example, an artful arrangement of cheese, crackers, and fruit can look divine (and scrumptious!). Check out some recipe ideas in our Recipedia.
Buy Drinks In Bulk.
My personal advice? Pick up a case of Charles Shaw wine, also known as "Two Buck Chuck," at your nearest Trader Joe's. A bottle costs $1.99. It may not be Veuve Clicquot, but it's tasty and there really is no better deal.
Forgo Paper Invitations.
Sending an email or an Evite to your guests is probably more de rigeur these days, anyway.
If your party expenses really do seem to be getting out of line, ask a couple of friends if they want to help you throw the party. Not only will this allow you to split the costs, but they might have fun ideas or even invite different guests that will allow you to meet more people. And isn't it the guests who really make the party?
Have a question for CallCaroline? Email her at email@example.com.
CallCaroline can balance a budget, but she's not a professional financier. Please use your best judgment on whether or not to follow her specific advice.