Want to host a party and your bank account disagrees? Fret not, you ALWAYS deserve to celebrate.

The first step, and some people disagree, is to create a budget. Yes I know, I know, but it will keep you on the path to a great party! Trust me.  The easiest way to create a budget, if you never have, is to take the number of guests divided by your budget.  For example a $300 budget and 30 guests is a rough estimate of you spending about $10 per person or guest. This includes food, decorations, favors invitations etc.  Another way is to assign an amount per category for the party as those just listed. This allows you to manipulate money before you spend it and to see what is the most important feature or function of your party. Now who’s coming?

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I think who you invite is important because you want everyone, including yourself to have a good time as they celebrate with you. To save on mailing or designing and mailing invitations, I say, only in this situation to use electronic invitations. I am usually against electronic invitations because I love a fabulous invite in the mail and so do you. However, our goal is to throw a party on a budget. With that said, I have a few go to companies that help you design invitations and most offer a great selection of FREE options.  Paperless Post, Punch Bowl, and Red stamp are 3 great options.  So what are you going to feed them?

Usually the biggest part of the budget is spent on food and beverage.  A few ways to save on your menu is to have a specialty food bar and focus only on one or two items instead of a large assortment. A bar could consist of desserts, waffles, tacos, pizza etc. This allows your guests customization, fun and being filled. This allows you to only purchase items needed for the bar and beverages. Another great way to save is to do a potluck or cook or heat frozen casseroles. Some fun casseroles are lasagna or spaghetti which can be made inexpensively and in large portions, not to mention can be tied into an Italian themed party. Big box stores are great for large casseroles as well as ordering platters inexpensively. Use the same concept for drinks. Have a specialty drink, a non-alcoholic drink and some water. Keep it simple and it will keep cost down. Ready to make it pretty?

A creative way to decorate is to order decorations online, this allows you the opportunity for personalized and theme related decorations and usually at a lower cost than the average party store. Again a theme related party may also help you stay focused with the decorations so you aren’t buying everything you see that catches your eye.  Now party like a Rockstar.

Need music at your party but can’t afford a DJ? Create a playlist or use someone else’s, plug it in and shake your moneymaker or play music perfect for your type of party. Call in the professionals if needed, a face painter, a singer or live band, and of course don’t forget the all-time favorite of a table full of board games.  You can find professionals on Craigslist, Punchbowl and a few other party services companies. Search until your hearts content.

I hope you found these tips helpful or inspiring enough that you try them out. Lisa Elliott is a social event planner. Visit www.alittlebash.com  for more tips, party theme ideas and trick or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/alittlebash

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