The holiday season is a great time to meet up with friends and family in a festive environment full of food, drink, and entertainment. It can also be loaded with extended credit, broken budgets, and seasonal regret as your money dwindles. It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing the soirée or attending one, holiday parties can put a chink in your budget’s armor. Of course, being the web site that this is, we at Simple Budget have some tips to make these parties more joyous and less sorrowful. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve giving a dollar store gift or serving your guests crackers and spray cheese — although spray cheese does taste good. Here are a few tips to get your party budgeting skills ship-shape.
Bow Out Gracefully. There will be events that you can’t attend, whether they be during another party or priced a bit too high for your budget. Let’s say one of your friends is hosting an event where tuxedos and evening gowns are mandatory. If the host provided advanced notice, you may have the budget to purchase these items. On the other hand, you may not be able to attend a last-minute gathering should these items be required. In those cases, graciously decline and send them a gift for their efforts.
Plan Ahead. Just because your cousin decides to hold a New Year’s Eve party in Las Vegas three days before the end of the year doesn’t mean you should be so lax with your holiday event. It’s best to start planning your winter party around the time the last kids drop by for trick-or-treat candy. That way you can find out who will be available, switch dates if necessary, and begin to budget out what supplies you’ll need.
Party and Spruce Up at the Same Time. Getting your residence ready for a holiday party is also a good time to do some minor interior and exterior repairs, thereby eliminating many projects on your to-do list. For example, the dreaded task of cleaning the gutters or raking the yard — as long as snow isn’t covering it. Inside, you can work on shampooing the rugs, polishing the floors, and touching up or repainting rooms. By the time of the party you’ll have a fresh-looking area.
Crock Pot It. Being on a fairly rigid budget, there’s a good chance your friends aren’t looking for caviar, foie gras, and endless bottles of Cristal wine for their dining and drinking pleasure. They probably aren’t looking for a catered meal either. To save money, one of the things to do at a holiday gathering is throw a crock pot party. Have everyone bring a slow cooker of their favorite meal for everyone to share while you supply items like breads, desserts, and appetizers. For beverages, head to the liquor store for some local and good wines as well as specialty beers.