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It’s summer time which can only mean one thing—it’s party season! While hosting parties can be a ton of fun, it can get expensive really fast.

Enter our finance pro, Melissa Leong!

If you want to throw a blowout everyone will remember—without breaking the bank, Melissa has a few tips on how to throw a party on a dime that looks like a million bucks. (Yes, please!)

SET A BUDGET

Before you do anything, creating a budget needs to be your first priority. How much do you want to spend? Once you’ve sorted that out, break down what you want to spend on food and decor. Tip: If you only have enough money for one thing, always spend more on food.

PICK A THEME

  • To keep within your budget, a theme is key. Themes will anchor your decor and food. You can even use your food as decor.
  • Buy party decor and favours second hand. You can find a lot online or your local message board. On the flip side, you can sell your decor afterwards to recoup some of your budget.
  • Helium balloons can cost a lot of coin. Instead, fill your balloons with your own hot air and hang them from the ceiling or wall, or create a garland.
  • If you have the time, don’t be afraid to take on some DIY projects. A lot can be done with your printer and a pair of scissors!

TIME YOUR PARTY BETWEEN MEALS

If you want to cut down on food costs, time your part between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., so you’re basically just on the hook for snacks. If you’re going to be serving a meal, look for local caterers. You can often save money by hiring out instead of buying everything yourself.

BRING YOUR OWN BOOZE

If you provide the mixers, your guests can bring the booze they want to drink. Also, in lieu of stocking up on booze, have a signature drink (i.e. sangria or spiked punch) to save money. If you serve wine, there are great inexpensive wines—but if you’re self-conscious about the label, pour it into a decanter or cover the label with your own.

ENTERTAIN WITH FREE GAMES

Kids (and adults, we don’t judge) love musical chairs or freeze dance, but you can also ask your guests to bring their favourite board games.

BUY STUFF IN ADVANCE

If you know you’re planning a party in the near future, stock up on things like party favours (which can add up quickly) in advance. Baked goods also make great inexpensive party favours.