1. PLAN AHEAD! I can't stress this enough! If you walk into a store with a budget, a list of items and some willpower to buy only what is on your list, you will certainly leave the store a lot closer to your target budget than if you went in there willy-nilly without a plan! AND, I bet that you have a lot less of a chance of forgetting something than if you were crossing off items on your list as you go! :)
2. Buy for meals at the same time - Take into consideration
what you will be eating for the week AFTER the party as well. Are you planning on making tacos that week? Buy your ground beef in bulk and serve chili at the game using the left-over beef for your tacos! Gotta have chicken wing dip for your party? Plan on buying bulk chicken thighs (cheaper than chicken breasts) and making some Salsa Chicken with the leftovers and my Salsa Chicken recipe!
3. Use coupons - If you don't know that coupons are one of the top priorities in my life, then you haven't been reading this blog very much! :) Coupons save SO much! The key is to use the coupons for what you will need at a time when the item is already on sale! You will see the savings add up quickly! New to coupons? Check out my couponing videos!
4. Cook from scratch - Now, I am NOT a good cook! BUT, I can follow a recipe for 5-ingredient chili or layered bean dip! Next time you are at the grocery store, stop and look at the prepared food prices...They charge $4.99 per pound just for macaroni salad! Whaaaattt? Although it is convenient to buy prepared items, I think you will find that it just doesn't make sense. At all. Time is money for me. And I would rather save $4 a pound by making it myself in 30 minutes than spending upwards of $15 to have it done for me. Maybe you think differently, but whhheeeww...that would kill my budget!
5. Potluck or BYOB? I don't know about you, but when I go to a party, I always bring something. Even if I am not asked to. You can save a lot of money by having a potluck party and asking guests just to bring sides or appetizers while you supply the main entrée. Yes, there is the flip-side of "I'm not sure I want to eat the dip from the house with 10 cats", so I guess you have to take that into consideration. But you can save a great deal. BYOB also saves a TON of money, especially if you have some big drinkers. This could potentially save you even more money than a potluck, depending on your guest list! You may be happier to supply all the food!
6. Rethink decorations - Maybe you already have a stash of your team logo cups, plates and napkins? I guess that is only if you were already a huge fan of the two final teams. Well, if not, you can ask yourself this question..."Do I really NEED decorations?" If your answer is no, just skip them! When most people are asked if they went to your party, I don't think they will reply, "Yes, I did. And the decorations were fabulous!" I just don't! :) But, if you NEED them, then just head to your local discount store and pick up some solid tablecloths, cups and plates in the colors of your team. Maybe throw a couple of streamers in there or make some tissue-paper balls to hang around. Heck, take your kid's stash of brown construction paper (who colors on that anyway?) and have them cut little football-shapes out to place on the tables. Get creative. Don't blow the budget on decorations!
7. Opt for one or two beverages - Some parties I have been to have supplied everything from coffee and tea to 5 kinds of soda, lemonade, punch, water, milk, you name it! No one needs all of those choices! Opt for a special punch that will have some soda in it so that you have the best of both worlds! If you want, serve one regular and one "spiked". Of course you can offer water (free), maybe soda. But with soda, opt for the two-liters, not the cans! That will save you tons right there!
8. Man-proof your home! - I giggle with this! But some of the parties I have been to have been a little rowdy with a side of rough-housing! Move your breakables out of the way and open up the furniture space to accommodate all of your guests. Maybe take away the area rug if you are worried about stains? Damage occurs more frequently than we think! Just sayin'!
9. Games - Why not keep the fun going during the commercials? I mean, that's why most of us watch, right? Play rate-the-commercial for each break...the people who picked the one with the highest rating overall when scores are revealed get waited on by the others for refills/seconds for the next part of the game! FREE corny fun!
10. ENJOY YOURSELF! - If you are hosting, the last thing you want to do is be cleaning up after people the whole time they are there. My tip: pull up a seat and enjoy some conversation, laughter and fun during the party! You have worked hard and you deserve it!
What are you planning for your frugal party? Comment below, I'd love to hear it!