Although the upcoming long holiday weekend has many dreaming of a beach vacation, small budgets may be keeping people from going away. Staying home during the 4th of July means that you can host a barbecue with beer, hot dogs and fireworks–a true American celebration. So whether you’re planning a celebration with extended family or a few college buds, remember that there are a few tricks to help reduce party costs.
Get your mind off your finances and onto the festivities with these 11 budget-friendly party planning tips:
1. Re-consider Renting
Why spend tons of money renting chairs, tables or canopies, when you may be able to borrow these items for free from family, friends and/or neighbors? If borrowing isn’t an option however or you can’t find a friend who owns 20 folding chairs, compare rental prices around town before committing to any company’s fee. You may find that some items are cheaper to buy at big-box stores than to renting, so do your homework first. Should you find yourself table and chair-less, set up blankets in a picnic style fitting for any outdoor barbecue get together.
2. Homemade Food
Supermarket relish and snack trays are mighty tempting, but you’ll save roughly 50 to 60 percent by making these foods at home. The same goes for store made macaroni and potato salads–it’s much cheaper and probably tastier when you make these at home. Rather than trying to doit all yourself, get the family involved in the party prep or consider hosting a potluck barbecue by divvying up the menu. Guests who bring their own alcohol can really help cut your party costs.
3. Coupon It Up
Don’t forget to break out the coupons for all your party needs, from food and drinks to paper goods and decorations. Print coupons from CouponSherpa.com before heading to the store or use online coupons for instant savings when ordering party goods conveniently from the Internet.
4. Skip the Babysitter
A holiday party isn’t relaxing for parents who have to watch their children all day. However, there’s no need to order a babysitter for the occasion. Set-up a kid’s play area away from the adults and have parents or grandparents take turns watching the tots or ask an older child or teen to play with the kids in exchange for a few bucks or a gift card to their favorite store.
5. DIY Games
Keep the kids outdoors and away from the video games without spending extra by creating old-fashioned entertainment. Arrange a scavenger hunt; set-up a game of kick-ball; or use the “That Ain’t It” app for a trivia game both adults and children can play.
6. Cheap Decorations
Tap into your child’s creativity for home-made decorations. Although these may not look professional, they’ll sure be adorable and cheap. Alternately, head to the dollar store for inexpensive seasonal decorations, like festive table clothes, balloons, streamers and beads at prices up to 70-percent off a standard party store.
7. Fireworks Shows
Instead of driving neighbors and dogs crazy this year with an at-home fireworks, attend a public display which will also save you some cash. If you absolutely must make a big noise, however, check to make sure fireworks are legal in your region, especially if you reside in a dry region, to avoid a hefty fine.
8. Send Invites for Free
Paper invites are a thing of the past, particularly since free and instant evites make RSVPing a snap. You can also coordinate carpooling from the evite website a bonus for family. Check out their selection of 4th of July invitation designs and you’ll be sold.
9. Reduce the Guest List
It’s easy to let the guest list get out of hand when everyone seems to be looking for a party. Entertaining family? Aunt Kate likely wants to bring a plus-one (or two). Contain the guest list and you’ll contain the costs…and the amount of clean-up required afterwards.
10. Buy In Bulk
If you weren’t able to contain the guest list and need to lay in extra supplies, shop wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. If you don’t have a membership, ask to borrow a friend’s card. Consider order the bulk goods online to avoid carrying the oversized and heavy items from the car.
11. Buy a Keg
Most barbecues call for beer, but the cheap and easiest alcohol route is to buy a keg or boxed wine rather than splurging on six-packs and pricier liquors. You also might pass the hat around to cover the price of the keg.
About The Author:
Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch, is an established consumer-savings expert passionate about helping individuals discover financial freedom. She understands everyday costs quickly add up and life can get expensive. Her goal is to teach consumers how to live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance and savings advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers.