Borrow Versus Buy: Holiday Party Tips for Hosts on a Budget

Posted in Saving Money , Savings Account • December 15, 2011

holiday party tips

The National Retail Federation estimates that this holiday season, consumers will spend about $704.18 on gifts and seasonal merchandise. That’s no joke!

If you don’t see room in your budget for that kind of spending, don’t cancel your Christmas party just yet. With the following holiday party tips, you can save money by borrowing most of what you need and spending only on the few key items you really should go out and buy.

Below are the most common expenses associated with hosting a holiday party. If you’re entertaining this year, find out what you should buy and what you can get away with borrowing instead for a cheap party that’s still chic.

Christmas Music: Borrow

It’s one thing to own the albums (or iTunes downloads) of your favorite bands, but do you regularly crank up the caroling classics during any other time of year?

Don’t bother spending money on Christmas music when friends and family probably have plenty of old CDs they’d be more than happy to let you take off their hands. If not, you can also head to your local library and check out holiday music for your party.

Holiday Decorations: Buy

December is the best month to buy Christmas decorations–that is, after Christmas. You’ll find dirt-cheap decorations right after the holidays, so at the very least, you can start stocking up for next year.

If you’re in need of holiday home decor right now, however, you can hit up dollar stores and thrift shops. No one is going to be able to tell the difference between a wreath from Pier 1 or Goodwill, anyway.

Table Setting & Dinnerware: Borrow

New dishes and place settings are generally quite expensive, but it’s doubtful you own enough of any one set to cover all your guests. Rather that dropping a couple hundred dollars on plates, glasses and/or utensils, simply borrow what you need. They may not all go together perfectly, but you can just pretend the mixing and matching is on purpose.

Invitations: Neither

There’s no longer any need to spend money on cards and postage. These days, all you need to invite your party guests is Facebook or an e-card.

However, if you feel like social media or admittedly cheesy web invitations are too informal, you can create a free website specifically for your party. Sites like LifeWeShare.com allow you to set-up a page for your event and guests can even use it to RSVP, too.

Drinks: “Borrow”

Hosting a cheap party doesn’t mean you have to resort to a potluck dinner to save on satiating your guests. There are plenty of tips out there to save on food, but the real budget-killer is supplying drinks, especially booze. Request that attendees bring their favorite bottle of wine for a group tasting session or some apple cider for non-drinkers.

Venue: Buy

It may not seem like it at first, but one of the best (and most stress-free) ways to save on hosting a holiday party is to let someone else do the actual hosting. You can forgo all the above holiday party tips and take your celebration off-site instead.

Keep an eye out for daily deals on restaurants–you’ll likely find a few “half off” promotions. Plus, with no need to cook, decorate or clean up, you’ll be saving on several areas of your holiday budget while preserving some sanity, too.

It’s tough to be a natural entertainer on a budget, but some creativity and know-how can take your holiday party from financial nightmare to frugal festivity.

Have you ever hosted a party with borrowed supplies? What else would you buy/borrow for a cheap party?

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