Counting the Cost – How to budget for a party?

After you’ve decided on a reason to throw a party, you have to decide on *dun, dun, dun- a budget.  The dreaded ‘B’ word.  While budgets are the ban of some peoples existence, they can be your greatest tool and asset and they are ESSENTIAL to having a great party.  Why are they ESSENTIAL?  Because the last thing you want to do is spend $500 on a birthday party when you can only afford $100 and you’re paying off your daughters 10th birthday party at her 11th.  That’s just dumb.

Debt is not your friend.   Look, as much fun as parties are and can be, you DO NOT want to have stress on you throughout the rest of the year paying off something you couldn’t afford in the first place.  Birthdays come once a year.  They are something you CAN plan for.  Same with holidays.  They don’t change (Christmas is always the 25th of December, Easter is always in March or April, etc.) Yes, there are “life events” that can come up unexpectedly (baby showers, bridal showers), but you usually have time to plan for those (babies take -shocker!- 9 months to come along and unless it’s a shotgun wedding, you usually have a few months to plan and save).

So how do you prepare your budget?  Well, it’s going to be different for everyone. A few things you HAVE to plan for are guests (how many), food (are you going to have any, how much, will it be potluck, etc.), and everything else (decor, plates, utensils, venue, etc.).   Sometimes your budget will determine the size and scale of your party, and sometimes (for the lucky few) the budget will be determined by the size and scale of your party.

The best thing that you can do is plan at the beginning of the year what parties you want to throw, how much you want to spend, and make a plan for it.  I realize that’s not always possible, so my ideas can be used by the planners and by the more spontaneous people.

That being said, decide your budget and stick to it.  Realize that sometimes you will have to sacrifice something you want to get something you want more.  Sometimes your time won’t allow for everything you would like to do.  Sometimes your budget won’t allow for everything you would like to do.  Pick the best ideas and run with them.  If you do only a few things, make them great.

A budget that is reasonable and something you can stick to is going to be your greatest asset.

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