How to Save on a Holiday Party

Published on November 25, 2015 By Lauren

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  • How to Save on a Holiday Party

    This is Day 25 of the 30 Days to a Debt Free Christmas Challenge

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    Today’s money saving advice – How to Save on a Holiday Party

    How to Save on a Holiday Party

    Besides gifts, what is one of the biggest expenses we face this holiday season? If you thought travel and entertaining, you are completely right. Holiday entertaining can totally be a budget buster if you’re not careful.

    Whenever I’m in charge of holiday entertaining, I try to remember the goal of the event. We want to have fun, enjoy spending time with others, and celebrate the holiday season. Nowhere in that definition does it say we need to spend beyond our means in order to have a good time!

    When planning a holiday party there are usually four main areas to focus on: Food, Favors, Decorations, and Entertainment. Let’s break it down and see how you can have the holiday party of your dreams without breaking the bank.


    Food can be extremely expensive, particularly depending on the number of people you are serving. Keep these factors in mind when planning your food for the party:

    1. TimeIf your party is not scheduled during a typical meal time, don’t be afraid to NOT prepare a full multi-course meal. Instead, plan on affordable, easy to prepare finger foods, snacks, and appetizers.
    2. Avoid Pre-Made Items – Although it may be tempting to go to your local grocery story and pick up a few ready to serve deli trays, veggie trays, and fruit salads, it’s NOT your best bet. Pre-Made dishes are always overpriced! Buy the ingredients and prepare them yourself. It may be time consuming, but you wallet will thank you!
    3. Drinks – Depending on number of guests, try to stick with beverages that can easily serve larger amounts for a better price. Consider having pots of coffee (regular and decaf), pots of tea, a punch bowl, and pitchers of water. Be sure to include lemon and lime slices for the water and have cream and sugar for the hot drinks. If you feel as though you must serve soda, consider generic name brands or 2 liter bottles rather than smaller cans.
    4. Accept HelpDon’t be afraid to accept offers of assistance. Many people who offer genuinely do want to help and it can be a huge stress relief for you.
    5. To save money on Wine – check Groupon who often runs wine deals this time of year.  Buy the Groupon and stock up before the party.   To cut back on liquor costs, create a signature cocktail for the party.  That way you don’t have to waste money on liquor that no ones drinks.


    Favors are customary at parties, right? Well yes and no.  Typically it might depend on the type of party or event (such as wedding). Sometimes if you are the one providing the food they aren’t really expected. But, let’s face it… favors can be fun! However, some people actually don’t ‘like’ favors! They find peanuts or assorted chocolates boring and you might even find yourself THROWING THEM OUT! Oh no!

    You can always forgo favors, or try to think of something outside the box. Consider using inexpensive but useful items as cute favors.  Some examples might include:

    1. Gum
    2. Pens
    3. Mini-flashlights
    4. Scratch-off tickets
    5. Handmade crafts/goods

    Okay, so maybe these aren’t holiday themed, but you can see where I’m going right? It is possible to have affordable, useful, and appreciated favors without hurting your wallet.

    How to Save on a Holiday Party


    Who doesn’t want a festive and fun atmosphere? Fortunately this is another area that really doesn’t need to break the bank.

    1. Use what you have – You most likely already have some holiday decorations you use in your home. Why not relegate them to the party areas to make it more festive? You can always return them to their typical places later.  Gathering the decor to one area will make more of an impact than having things here and there throughout the space.
    2. Think outside the box – Your decorations do not need to be specifically holiday themed. Check out the dollar store for red or green napkins that you can intersperse to give a Christmasy theme. Or even go with an all-white theme and cover the place with a monochromatic simplicity.  Consider purchasing artificial flowers instead of real ones.
    3. Reuse/Recycle – Don’t be afraid to keep your decorations, either for the next year or even for gifts. For example, purchase some poinsettias, use them for your center pieces and then give them as gifts or donate them to nursing homes.  We often use big stuffed dollar tree gift bags as decorations and then pack them with presents under the tree after the party!
    4. Decorate with Food Items – Use the napkins, plates, and even the food to add color and design to your table.  A beautifully arranged and colorful variety of food makes any party more festive!
    5. Use the outside elements. Bring in sticks and pinecones, spray paint then white and arrange around the house. Hang ornaments from the white sticks. Be creative.


    What’s a party without entertainment? This can actually be some of the most fun to plan for with a party.

    1. Holiday music – Check out YouTube or Pandora for free Christmas music playlists. As long as you have a laptop or other device you could play the music for your party.
    2. Games – This may depend on your crowd. Some guests LOVE games, and others don’t. Let guests know that they can feel free to bring along some of their favorite games! Keep in mind, not everyone needs to be playing the same game. You could set up game stations to let people mingle amongst different groups.
    3. Movies – You could also have a movie/tv special watching station. This of course depends on the length of your party and what your guests are most interested in doing!  There are so many fun and beloved movies for the holidays.
    4. Don’t forget the kids – Are children also invited to your party? Make sure there are some simple crafts, coloring books, or other activities to keep them occupied. You can find lots of fun and free printables available online for hours of kid-friendly fun.

    These are just some simple tips to consider when planning this year’s holiday party. What are some of your tips to ensure a fun but affordable time?

    How to Save on a Holiday Party


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