images-1by: Alyson Komyanek

We’re in the height of summer season. Schools out, days are longer and the weather is fabulous. You’d LOVE to host a party and invite your friends and family, but that’s too expensive and you’re better off meeting them at the bar for the night, right? Wrong! With these tips even the less fortunate can throw a bash that won’t soon be forgotten. Here’s how:

  • Have it at your house—Sure the set up and clean up sucks, but hosting the party at your home is much less expensive than hosting it at a hall, restaurant or park pavilion. Just remember…small house, small party, big house, big party! But since you’re on a budget…I’m guessing you’re more the small party type, so limit that guest list.
  • E-vites, not invites—while sending invitations in the mail is certainly more personal and thoughtful, us budgeters don’t always have that luxury. So, consider an e-vite. It’s more personal than a Facebook event alert or mass text/e-mail. Evites do go to your guest’s inboxes, but you can pick from several different layouts, color schemes and fonts (much like invitations you’d buy at the store). They also allow guests to see whose coming, whose been invited and whose bringing what (we’ll get to that in a minute). There are some companies that charge for this, but you can find a bunch for free.
  • Pot Luck— Remember when I said guests could see what others are bringing? Well, here we are. It’s totally fine (in-fact, I encourage it) to ask party attendees to bring a dish of their own to your party. Not only does it save the host/hosts a ton, but it can also be really fun. Someone might bring something that you’ve never tried before and it could knock your socks off with deliciousness. To make your party even more unique, consider having each guest include a card with the recipe for the dish on it. That way, guests can swap their favorites!
  • Pitchers vs. Bottles – Make a pitcher of your favorite drink or cocktail instead of leaving the bottles and mixers out for guests to do it themselves. Party attendees tend to be wasteful. If you take this advice, you’ll end up with more drink leftover and will have spent less. Another money saving tip is to ask guests to BYOB, but since you’ve already asked them to bring a food item too, this might be a little much. Another tip is to limit your party drink list to just beer. You won’t be spending the extra cash on different types of liquor, but it may not be the most classy option.
  • Entertainment— Unless your last name is Kardashian or Gates, having a live band perform in your backyard is over the top. Your neighbors will probably call the cops and it’ll really be a buzz kill. So, leave the live entertainment for the clubs and instead provide music from your iTunes collection. You can buy speakers pretty cheap if your computer’s aren’t loud enough. Depending on your crowd, games, like Lick it And Stick It (that’s one my friends and I made up) can also be a lot of fun. Of course beer bong and flip cup are acceptable options, too!

How to play Lick it and Stick it:

Each player writes the name of a famous person on a piece of small paper and passes it to their left. The person that receives the paper, without looking, licks the back of it and sticks it to their forehead. Each player than asks yes or no questions until they correctly guess the name of the person stuck to their forehead.

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