Saving Money as the Host/Hostess!
Party Ware. This is an area where your costs can add up quickly. There is really not any reason to have the fancy plates or cups. After all, no one really notices them. They gobble up the cake, swallow the punch and immediately throw it into the trash. Why not just stick with plain white? Even better yet – use your own dishes and toss them into the sink when you are finished – that makes for FREE party ware (or just the cost of a little dishsoap at the very most).
Balloons/Streamers/Signs. While they are lots of fun to look at, they really don’t serve any purpose other than to decorate the house. Most kids won’t even notice that they are missing from the overall theme – and you’ll save yourself $10, $15 or even more!
Party Favors/Hats. I guess I don’t understand why people think kids who attend a party need a goodie bag. Isn’t the party for the child and not the guests? However, if you must do the goodie bag – keep it simple. Stop by your dollar store and get some stickers, lollipops, sunglasses or things that are inexpensive. But try avoid the “2 second toys”….the ones that mom will pick up for 2 seconds before she throws them in the trash.
Invitations. The main point of the invitation is to let your guests know the Five “Ws”: Who, What, Where, When & Why. You can get a simple, more plain invitations for about a third to one-half of the cost of fancy ones. You’ll save even more if you by-pass the customized, printed invitations. However, if you really want something personalized, check out Vistaprint where you can get 10 free notecards (pay only shipping costs) through October 2, 2011.
Games. No one says that you must have a bounce house or fancy pinata to have a great party. Stick to the classics like duck duck goose, pin the tail on the donkey or even tag. At our parties, we planned games, but the kids honestly had a lot more fun running around our backyard chasing one another.
Cake. While professionally decorated cakes are fun, why not try your hand at doing your own? Use some fun icings, candles and candy decorations and your child will probably not even know that he or she is missing out. There are lots of great photos and ideas out there to help you decorate your own. I have actually made a construction cake, dinosaur, bumble bee and even John Deere farm cake for my kids before. Here are some snapshots (which I am NOT artistic nor a a chef, so bear with my crude designs):
Dinner/Lunch. There is not any need to feed your guests anything other thancake and/or ice cream. If you are not sure how to avoid this, just plan your party for 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. These are times of the day when people won’t expect anything other than cake.
R.S.V.P. This may seem like an odd way to save money – but it isn’t saving money for you but really helping out your host/hostess.
It seems that so many people have forgotten what this means. It is a French phrase: Répondez s’il vous plaît. Not sure of the translation? It simply means – Respond if you please.
What most people expect is for everyone to have the courtesy to call and let the host/hostess know whether you will be attending or not. This is something that really shouldn’t be option for you to do. Think of it like this – if someone invites 20 people and purchases food, etc and plans on that many and only 4 show up – look at the wasted money. On the flip side, if you plan on 20 and 25 show up, you don’t have enough to feed your guests.
In addition, many parties are held in locations where the family pays per child. If you do not show up or, if you even show up without letting them know, can cost the family more than expected (Oh – and whatever you do – don’t bring siblings to parties when they are not invited – unless YOU are paying for them to participate).
By taking the time to call the host or hostess, you can essentially save them money so that they can do proper planning/spending. I know as a mom I GREATLY appreciate this more than my guests know.
Gifts. You don’t have to spend a lot to give a child a great gift. Books, coloring books, crayons, puzzles, games – these are all gifts that seem to have gone to the wayside, but can be found at a really great price. Try to buy gifts when they are on clearance off season and stock a gift closet. That way, when it is time for a gift, you have one handy.
Gift Wrap/Cards/Bows. Why not stop by the dollar store and pick up a roll of paper and card ? They always are just ripped apart in minutes and no child really cares how the package looks – they just love opening packages. After all, it is the gift that matters and not the packaging. You can even find plain colored paper and bows after Christmas and stock up to cover your party needs throughout the year.
So, whether you are hosting or are a guest, there are ways to help yourself (and others) save money when it comes to having a party. The most important thing is to celebrate how much that person means to you.