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How to Do Holiday Parties on a Budget

The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. Aren’t the parties awesome? Unfortunately, whether you’re throwing or going –those get-togethers can also get expensive. Don’t make the mistake of busting your budget for a single holiday bash. Instead, follow our strategy on how to do holiday parties on a budget.

T h r o w I n g

Just because you want to host a knock-out party, doesn’t mean it has to cost you a fortune. If you just remember that the most important ingredients to a good party are the people who attend, it’s sure to be a hit. Here are some ways to save on the other important components:

Decorations: You can spend a small fortune on decorations or you can opt for a do-it-yourself approach. Check out Pinterest for some inspiration or try some old-school methods. Use actual fruit for your Thanksgiving cornucopia; it’s both festive and edible. And a styrofoam cone filled with fresh greens can make an easy tree you can add ornaments to that infuses the whole house with the smell of pine.

Food: Great food doesn’t have to cost a great amount. Why not opt for a pot luck gathering where everyone brings their signature dish? If you’re doing it all on your own, do appetizers instead of a whole dinner or opt for a more affordable brunch. Also, remember that presentation can turn something simple into something fancy. Veggies and dip on a tray is practical, but veggies individually presented in a small votive candleholder with personalized dressing is classy and portable so your guests can mingle while they munch.

Entertainment: Create a music mix that fits the holiday theme and have it play throughout your party as background music. Or choose tunes that encourage your guests to sing along. Yankee swaps and Secret Santas are affordable gift-giving ideas that also act as entertainment, but you can also add to the festivities with charades, holiday-themed Pictionary, cookie decorating and more. What ideas do you have? Just remember, most of your guests should have no trouble entertaining themselves.

G o i n g

The first decision about all those party invitations is which of them you really want to attend. It’s okay to say no! Before you commit, find out whether or not you’ll be expected to help out with food, drinks or gifts. Choose based on what’s important to you and what you can afford.

What to wear: You don’t need a new holiday outfit to be festive and in-fashion. Use accessories to accent the everyday. An ugly sweater and jeans is a popular casual option. But you can also opt for a little black outfit with a holiday-themed necklace, earrings or scarf. For a few dollars you can turn something simple into something special.

What to bring: If you’ve been asked to help out with food, choose a signature dish that’s affordable to make. And remember, presentation matters almost as much as the item you’re presenting. As to hostess gifts and grab bags, consider the recipient and your own ability. Homemade gifts are often treasured much longer than anything you can purchase. Even if you’re not crafty, you have options. A play mix saved to a thumb drive, a gift certificate for personalized services you could provide, or even a few hours of babysitting might be much more appreciated than a same-ol-same-ol gift you could find anywhere.

At Charter College, we love this time of year, but we also know money concerns can make it stressful. Don’t stress out! Use our tips to save and share your own. What holiday saving tips do you count on every year?