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Budget Bash: Throw Your Holiday Parties for Less

A holiday party is a fun way to bring people you care about together, whether it’s your friends and family or employees at your business. The problem is that by the time you pay for the space, the food, the drinks and any entertainment, you could be in for an expensive end-of-the-year bill. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep your holiday parties within a budget, no matter how many people you’re inviting and how much you can spend. Here are some tips to throw a holiday party on the cheap.

Trim Down Your Menu

The biggest party expense is almost always the food, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead of going with a multi-course menu, try focusing on something more specific. For example, you could serve appetizers and drinks, or you could try a party with just desserts or just “finger food” aka. hors d’oeuvres. There are actually two distinct types of hors d’oeuvres menus i.e. “light
hors d’oeuvres” and “heavy hors d’oeuvres”. A light menu often includes items such as crackers, vegetable platters with dip, fruit, cheese, etc. A heavy hors d’oeuvres menu often includes these as well as items such as meat and cheese trays, chicken fingers, egg rolls, etc. In order to save money on this type of food, check your local grocery store deli for prices on “meat and cheese” trays as well as “vegetable” and “cracker and cheese” platters. Their prices are often very reasonable. Another option is to buy the ingredients and do the cutting and arranging yourself.

Another option is to go to a store like  Costco, Sam’s or BJ’s and check out their frozen food section. They have everything you need for light party fare from Steak & Cheese Chimichangas, to Pork and Vegetable Egg Rolls, Mini Ham & Cheese Biscuits, Crab Rangoon, Breaded Mozzarella Sticks or Pizza Rolls. Of course you will need lots of oven space to heat all this…

If you want something a little more substantial you can get massive amounts of fried chicken or wing-dings at the Walmart Deli. You have to order them in advance but you will get a lot of food for very little cost. While there you can pick up a couple of vegetable trays and voila you have your food table taken care of.

Try a Party on an Off-Date

You may want to have your party on a Friday or a Saturday in December, but guess what—so does everyone else. That means you’re going to pay a premium just to have the party on one of those dates. Event spaces cost more, caterers cost more and any live entertainment you want will cost more. Consider another day, or you could even try throwing a holiday party in January. It’s a bit unorthodox, but since there’s much less going on in January, everything will be less expensive, and your guests are less likely to already have party plans.

Don’t Buy Party Supplies

It’s usually a waste of money to buy tables and chairs for a holiday party, if you can’t borrow them from your friends, club or church you can rent them from a company like Party People Rentals & Sales much cheaper, and then you aren’t stuck with a bunch of items you don’t need when the party’s over. You can also rent glassware, table cloths, dance floors, etc. If you’re considering event spaces for your party, check if any of them include tables and chairs so that you can save yourself some money.

Event Hosting

Renting a party location can be expensive. If you are a member of a club or church you may be able to rent their hall much cheaper. Often these organizations give discounts to members. If the weather is nice, another option is to rent the pavilion at a local county park. This might cost as little as $15-$20 for a half day. Then you have the perfect excuse to simply grill hamburgers and hotdogs for a very inexpensive meal as well.

There are plenty of ways that you can cut costs on your holiday party. It’s all about finding the options that work for you and still let you throw the party you want. Start with one or more of the methods above and see if that keeps you within your budget.

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