How to Throw a Baby Shower On a Budget

With some creativity and help from friends, it’s easy to plan a baby shower on a budget that’s right for you.

If you’re at a stage in life when many of your friends are having children, or if you’re about to become a grandparent several times over, you could find yourself thrust into planning more than one baby shower. These soirees can get pricey if you don’t keep budget in mind from the moment you accept the role as host.

Fortunately, most baby showers are not expected to look like the over-the-top celebrity events that dominate news headlines. But you’ll still need to handle food, decorations and party favors, as well as finding a location to hold the event.

It is possible to plan a baby shower on a budget while still creating a beautiful and memorable event for the parents-to-be and their loved ones.

Here are four tips for budget baby showers that will be sure to impress your guests:

1. Set clear expectations

Latoya Scott shares money-saving tips on her personal finance blog Life and a Budget. She’s thrown four baby showers, two she volunteered for and two she was asked to plan. She’s never spent more than $200 on a baby shower.

If you're wondering how to throw a baby shower on a budget, start by talking with the mom-to-be.

Her number one tip before you begin to plan a baby shower on a budget is to set clear expectations with everyone involved.

“Most of the time, I’ve volunteered to host the shower because I love doing them,” she says. “In those cases, I ask a lot of questions about things they like and let them know upfront that I consider it to be fun trying to incorporate as many of their wishes and likes on a budget.”

When it came to the showers she was asked to plan, she wasn’t shy about telling the mothers-to-be that she needed to check her budget first to make sure she could afford to throw the parties. She returned to both with her $200 price point and asked if that was okay.

“Out of those two showers, one person agreed and the other person actually found someone who was willing to help me, and I didn’t mind at all,” she says.

2. Ask for help

Scott’s second piece of advice for those strategizing on how to throw a baby shower on a budget: Enlist your friends. That could mean setting up a co-hosting arrangement or assigning your friends different tasks.

“While I may handle the food, another friend may be completely responsible for games,” Scott says. “Another friend may handle gifts, and sometimes another will handle decor.”

Enlist the help of friends when you're trying to plan a baby shower on a budget.

Scott also suggests giving everyone involved a spending cap to ensure that you plan a baby shower on a budget. How she handles the spending cap depends on the group of friends involved, she says. Some friends use their money to cover their contribution, while others hand Scott cash to cover their share of logistics and let her plan away.

The exception is often food, since it’s usually more expensive than other ingredients to hosting a baby shower. In that case, Scott either has everyone pitch in for the cost of food or assigns the food to two different people instead of just one.

As for a location, Scott gets creative to plan a baby shower on a budget.

“I’ve been able to host showers at places for free because someone I knew lived in an apartment complex and I asked if they could use the apartment clubhouse,” she says.

She suggests local parks and recreation centers could also help plan a baby shower on a budget. Meeting rooms can often be rented for a flat fee or a three- to four-hour window, Scott says. If a few friends pitch in to cover that cost, that brings your personal expenses down.

3. Get creative with decor

Rather than buying disposable shower decorations, think long term for a tip for budget baby showers. That’s what Colleen Coughlin recommends. She is a clothing designer and founder of The Full Edit, a professional styling and organization company.

Coughlin recently planned a baby shower on a budget for a close friend and spent a whopping $0 on decorations. She made some of the decorations herself with materials she gathered from her clients. For example, she cut the letters for “BABY” out of a discarded silver sun protector for a car. Coughlin has also reused items from baby showers she has attended when she was determining how to throw a baby shower on a budget.

“I went to a baby shower shortly before organizing one where they were going to throw away all the decorations,” she says. “Since I knew I would be throwing a shower myself, I asked if I could take the decorations.”

One of Coughlin’s top tips for budget baby showers is to consider decorations that are gender neutral and can be reused, like those featuring orange, yellow and white. Coughlin suggests making a bunting banner out of bed sheets or old pillow cases you no longer use, then pinning or taping the bunting to the wall to decorate your hosting space.

4. Look around your house for party favors

When it comes to how to throw a baby shower on a budget, Coughlin could easily take home a gold medal. In addition to spending nothing on decorations for the baby shower she hosted, Coughlin also spent $0 on party favors for guests.

“You’d be surprised how many shower gifts are in your house already,” she says. “I gave away beauty products, plants and a Coach purse from a ‘The Full Edit’ client that I already had laying around. They loved it!”

For a party favor tip for budget baby showers, Coughlin points out that if you order makeup from certain companies, you may already have a collection of beauty samples you can use as party favors. If you happen to attend industry events for work, you may be able to use samples from swag bags as party favors. Coughlin is also not opposed to re-gifting items you don’t want to help plan a baby shower on a budget (exhibit A: that candle your distant cousin gave you for Christmas).

Plan a baby shower on a budget

As you can see from these tips for budget baby showers, with some creative thinking and a little help from friends, you and your loved ones can celebrate the miracle of life without going broke.

Source: discover.com

How to Not Overspend On Your Super Bowl Day Fun

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, it’s time to start planning an epic party. This year will probably be more important to have a great party than other years. Courtesy of the pandemic, the chances of anyone being there live is slim to none. This also means you will need to have a smaller party than usual and continue to social distance. This ultimately means you’ll probably spend less money on food, drinks and supplies also. I can’t argue with having a great party and not spending as much money to put it on!

Since we can’t be there, then everything you choose to have at the party should be meant to make you, and your guests feel as much like they are at the Super Bowl as possible. This list will obviously be a bit different for everyone, but there are some general rules we can start with.

Super Bowl Party Food

First and foremost, we need to start with the Super Bowl food. There are a few things seem to be regular fare at any super bowl party. Some of the food items I regularly run across include:

  • Chicken wings
  • Chili
  • Chips and dip (many different dips, to be precise)
  • Cocktail weenies
  • Football shaped cookies
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Meatballs
  • Nachos
  • Potato skins
  • Sliders

Of course, everyone has their signature dish, so don’t forget to include that. And do your best to utilize ingredients in multiple dishes. This not only makes cooking easier but can also help reduce your overall party costs.

On top of the food, having the right serving platters is key to any Super Bowl party. Some of my favorite platters to have on hand are: 

No matter which serving platters you choose, make sure you have enough to effectively serve all of the Super Bowl food. And, whenever possible, try to get serving platters that you can use year round. This will help offset the overall cost.

RELATED: Save Money with These Super Bowl Party Tricks

Super Bowl Beverages

No Super Bowl party is complete without some good beverage options. I usually think of beer when I think about a Super Bowl party, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. There just happen to be some fabulous Super Bowl themed craft cocktails also. And some of them are extremely easy to make, but look and taste awesome! Some great craft cocktail options are:

  • Dilly Dilly  – Vodka, Limeade, Bud Light, Lime
  • Super Bowl Slammer – Apple flavored Whiskey, Dr. Pepper, Grenadine
  • Super Sunday Punch – Bourbon, Apple Brandy, Sweet Tea, Red Grapefruit Juice, Honey, Cinnamon Sticks, Cloves, Allspice
  • Touchdown Punch – Prosecco, Blue Curacao, Lemon, Sprite
  • Yellow Hammer Slammer – Vodka, Rum, Amaretto, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Maraschino Cherries

It might be a good idea to only have one of these options in addition to beer to help cut the overall costs. But, if some of your guests want to participate in the party planning, you could entreat some of them to choose a drink they might like and bring the ingredients.

Other than having football themed craft cocktails, beer options are simply a must. This doesn’t mean you have to provide all of the beer (we certainly don’t). Since it can get so expensive, I would suggest having a few different choices to please as many guests as possible. Or you could potentially get a pony keg of your favorite option and ask guests to bring some beer they like to share. That way all the guests can get a chance to try a few different beer offerings. 

Once you have decided which beverage offerings to serve, then you have to figure out the cups. Here are a few different options that are also pretty cost effective:

No matter which option you choose, make sure you have enough for people to have multiple drinks, because they will. Or, better yet, use a marker to put their names on the cups so that they can reuse them the whole time. That will save more plastic from being thrown away and keep more money in your pocket so you won’t have to buy as many cups. Which ultimately helps your bottom line, since everything for this Super Bowl party should be coming out of your entertainment budget.

Grill

Having the right grill is an essential part of any super bowl party. In fact, having at least one good grill for regular all year use is a good idea anyway. If you don’t already have a decent grill for regular use, then that is the best place to start.

How much grilling you plan to do throughout the year should determine the size of your grill. But, you also have to decide if you prefer charcoal or propane grills. I grew up as a charcoal grill lover, so that is still where I reside. I just prefer the charcoal flavor on the food over the propane gas flavor any day. But, not everybody feels that way. And charcoal grills tend to make more of a mess and usually take more work to get started. So, propane grills certainly have their place. There are also some hybrid options now that are charcoal grills with propane starters. So, if you want the best of both worlds, that might be the right choice for you.

Either way, here are my three favorite options for each type of grill mentioned:

Once you get the larger grill figured out, it’s time to consider a smaller tabletop grill. These are usually much cheaper, and easier to store when not in use. Plus they heat up pretty quickly so they work exceptionally well for parties when you need a bit more grilling space.

RELATED: Save Money With These BBQ Tips

Grilling Tools

Once you have your grill situation nailed down, grilling tools are next. These can range between pretty darn cheap to fairly darn expensive. So, ultimately, a lot of the cost here will come down to your personal preference and how often you think you will actually use them.

For us, we keep two sets of grilling tools on hand. A much smaller set for kitchen use and a much larger, more elaborate set for our outdoor grilling needs. And the outdoor set has a nice case that everything can be stored in, so that way we can leave the set under our grill. It makes things much easier to find when the time comes for grilling, as well as when the time comes for a party, such as the Super Bowl. 

Therefore, here are a few suggestions for grilling tools that won’t cost you an arm and a leg but will still get the job done:

No matter which grilling set(s) you choose, just make sure that the set has everything you need, for regular use and for party time.

These are some awesome tips to host a great Super Bowl party and not overspend! Click To Tweet

Super Bowl Party Summary

When it comes time for Super Bowl, you can be ready to host one killer party all while not killing your budget. The steps to do so are fairly simple. Just make sure to have great party food, a few beverage choices, a great grill or two, good grilling tools and awesome serving platters and cups. Once you have all that, you’ll be ready for the big game!

What are some ways you plan to enjoy a Super Bowl party and not overspend?

Source: everythingfinanceblog.com

How to Throw a Bridal Shower on a Budget: A Guide for the Frugal Host

Between impressive floral arches and customized sugar cookies, throwing a picture-perfect bridal shower aimed at being a social media showstopper can be pricey.

CostHelper.com, a website that compares the cost of services, reports that a typical bridal shower can run from $15 to $40 per person for a luncheon or party in a private room at a mid-range restaurant. If you’re going all out with an elaborate bridal shower, you could be talking $40 to $150 or more (gasp!) per person. Even a small, elaborate bridal shower (think 15 guests) could cost between $600 and $2,250—and that’s before invitations, decorations and cake.

The good news is you can actually honor the bride and your budget at the same time. A bridal shower with simple refreshments at the host’s home, for example, can cost $10 to $15 or less per person, according to CostHelper.com. You just need to employ some creative tips for budget bridal showers to make the event more affordable.

What is the best way to plan a bridal shower on a budget? Follow these six tips as you prepare to shower the bride, and there’s a good chance you’ll have more fun and less financial stress:

1. Zero in on important goals

Before you even begin to plan a bridal shower on a budget, you need to know the goals upfront so you can understand where you should be investing your time and money. Sit down with the bride (or, if it’s a surprise, consult a friend or family member of the betrothed) and establish expectations and a budget to match.

Personal finance coach Emma Leigh Geiser shares her starting tip for budget bridal showers: “Plan an event that honors who the bride truly is and what you can provide, without sacrificing your financial well-being.”

Geiser, who helps women in their 20s and 30s with personal financial challenges, recommends learning what the bride envisions for her celebration and which traditions are most important to her. Be upfront about how much you can realistically afford to spend on the bridal shower, Geiser says. And don’t be shy about saying the bridal shower is your gift to the bride.

If the bride’s priority is to have her bridal shower at a high-priced restaurant, find creative ways to lower other costs to still plan a bridal shower on a budget. Bring your own cake to the venue, for example, exclude alcohol from the menu or keep the guest list small. If the bride is a foodie and wants guests to dine on gourmet dishes, you could spend most of the budget on a favorite caterer, but then consider hosting the event at someone’s home and doing minimal decor so budget isn’t needed elsewhere.

Finding out what's truly important to the bride can help you plan a bridal shower on a budget.

2. Delegate tasks

If you’re wondering how to throw a bridal shower on a budget, know that you don’t have to foot the entire cost of the party yourself. Consider co-hosting with the rest of the bridal party or one of the bride’s family members, or delegating specific tasks to willing volunteers.

When personal finance blogger Becky Beach had her bridal shower, catering was delegated to her sister-in-law. “She knows how to throw a bridal shower on a budget,” Beach says. Deputized to handle the food, her sister-in-law served inexpensive bites purchased from a wholesale club, including sausage-roll appetizers, crab cakes, apple crisp tartlets and cream puffs. (With this lineup, who needs a main meal?!)

Assigning smaller purchases to other bridesmaids and close family members is a good tip for budget bridal showers because it can make the overall cost of the event much more manageable for the host. For example, if you delegate tasks or items that cost $30 each to six people, you’ll save $180. Some popular responsibilities to dole out include:

  • Appetizers
  • Dessert
  • Drinks
  • Invitations
  • Favors
  • Games
  • Prizes for games

3. Let the theme choose you

You don’t have to necessarily come up with a theme first. Among the tips for budget bridal showers is to take inventory of what props or decorations are available to you for free. Do you know someone who threw a bridal shower and has leftover decor or favors? Perhaps a friend’s home decor items will fit the bill—like globes and vintage-inspired items, which can be transformed into an exotic travel theme.

If you're wondering how to throw a bridal shower on a budget, keep an eye out for decor items that can create a theme−not the other way around.

Even store clearance items can be repurposed to help dictate your theme’s direction. For example, a home decor or craft store might have steeply discounted artwork. The trick is to look past the art and focus on the frame, Beach says. Can you replace the artwork with a picture of the happy couple? Maybe you can remove the glass altogether, glue twine to the back and use it for hanging wedding wishes from the guests.

Learning how to throw a bridal shower on a budget becomes easier if you’re able to snag off-season items from a party or outdoor store—such as tiki lamps or beach house decorations—which could make for a wonderful fall island or Hawaiian theme.

When planning a bridal shower on a budget, don’t forget to ask friends and family members if you can borrow other party items, such as cake stands, vases and tablecloths. They might even have unopened gifts or stationery sets that you can use as prizes for games.

4. Do the invitations, games and decorations for less

Sending out mid-range traditional invitations by mail can cost $3 to $4 per guest, according to data from CostHelper.com. Invitation costs can add up quickly when you are trying to plan a bridal shower on a budget.

If you’re open to skipping snail mail, you can leverage online invitation services that allow you to create your own designs and send to however many guests you’d like for free, Geiser says. You can easily save around $100 on invitations for a guest list of 30 by going the route of a free online invite. Some services may provide you templates to choose from, or they may include advertisements, but they do the trick nicely.

If you’re wondering how to throw a bridal shower on a budget and still keep guests entertained, search online for bridal shower games that can be printed for free or a nominal cost. You could also go the DIY route if you’re so inclined. For example, have guests try to guess what is in the bride’s purse—it’s even more fun if the bride doesn’t know this game will be played.

As far as decorating goes, focus your efforts on one area that will make the biggest impression. If the bridal shower is hosted in someone’s home, go all out decorating only one room. If the bridal shower is at a venue, like a restaurant, work on fancying up only one wall. Whether at a home or a venue, this area can serve as the focal point of the event and give the bride and guests the perfect spot for photos.

5. Make low-cost venues work

When you’re planning a bridal shower on a budget, opt for a low-cost venue that has built-in unique characteristics. “Choose a space that is its own fantastic backdrop,” Geiser says. She recommends a house with natural light and great landscaping in order to cut down on decorating costs.

Hosting the party at a bride’s friend’s or family member’s home is ideal, since it would be free. “We all know at least one person who has a killer house; ask them if they wouldn’t mind hosting,” Geiser says. (Be sure to preview the site in advance of the bridal shower.) Another good choice: Apartment buildings and condos often have clubhouses or event rooms that can be used for free or rented for a nominal fee. See if any of your bride’s family or friends have access to these areas.

Other local resources can serve as low-cost venues when you’re working on how to throw a bridal shower on a budget. A park, for example, might have a nice garden or even an indoor space that could be used. Research your town’s online municipal pages for tips on how to secure local venues. Some sites might require a nominal fee, early bookings or have other restrictions, so work on booking a space as soon as you have a bridal shower date in mind.

6. Cut food costs by keeping things simple

Whether you are hosting the bridal shower at a restaurant or at someone’s home, schedule a morning brunch or appetizers and salads in the late afternoon when guests are in-between meals. Breakfast dishes, such as an egg casserole or French toast bake, can often cost less to make than a meat-centered entree, Beach adds.

Keeping food simple is a great tip when you're trying to plan a bridal shower on a budget.

If you are in charge of preparing food, stick with quick and easy options as a tip for budget bridal showers. “You don’t have to cook and create everything yourself,” Beach says. “There are so many beautifully crafted hors d’oeuvres you can get prepackaged.”

If you are hosting the bridal shower at a restaurant, ask if they offer a buffet option instead of sit-down catering: Choosing a buffet meal is typically about 30 to 50 percent cheaper than a sit-down meal, according to Eventective, which helps you find venues and event services.

If you’ve got your heart set on sit-down dining, narrow down the menu options in advance. You or the restaurant can make a simple printout of a few entree choices and not share full menus with guests. (Adding the bride’s name to the top of a personalized menu is also a nice touch.) In addition to being a tip for budget bridal showers, this strategy can also streamline the ordering and serving process so you have more time for games and opening gifts. Win-win!

Keep track of the expenses when planning a bridal shower on a budget

You can master how to throw a bridal shower on a budget if you determine the guest-of-honor’s goals from the start. Another tip to remember when you plan a bridal shower on a budget is to track your expenses throughout the planning and hosting process to make sure you’re staying on budget.

If you are splitting costs with friends and family, remember to get reimbursed—preferably before the event, so you don’t have to worry about tracking people down to talk about business while celebrating.

As Geiser says, “What actually makes the event are the attendees, the conversation and the fun you create as a group celebrating the bride.”

Source: discover.com