Sunday, June 11, 2017

How I Host a Summer Party On a Small Budget

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Some years back, I won an ice cream party from Edy's.  I won another the next year, and from then on everyone assumed it was an annual event.  One thing about ice cream is it's not that expensive.

I invite everyone I know, and I can usually figure the number that RSVP will be the number that show up -- usually it's right on the nose even though some people come who didn't RSVP, but there are always those who don't show.  So by the week of, I have a pretty good idea how many to plan for.

It's a really casual event, so when purchasing party supplies, I keep an eye open all year long.  This year I found lots of Christmas tablecloths, Emoji paper plates in different sizes, and even napkins at the Dollar General 25 cent after Christmas clearance. With some of the tablecloths just being red, no one has to know it was intended for Christmas.

Because our backyard is small for a crowd of about 50, I started renting the pavilion in the park.  It has electric, so that makes it fantastic. There is also nice play equipment for the kids. The downside of this is the logistics of having ice cream in the park in summer aren't exactly easy.  So, I often make my own ice cream cake as this holds up well in the heat.

I have begun serving hot dogs.  I watch for them to go on sale, usually around Memorial Day or the 4th of July.  We recently purchased twenty packages for $1 each of Ball Park franks, so they are a good brand.  What I have done the past few years is just stick them in a crock pot for a few hours and they are cooked, yummy, and ready to go by party time.  (And the crock pot travels easily too.)  Sometimes I make hot dog chili for them, but not always.  I've had other foods as well.  One year I had a nacho bar.

I use my CVS Extra Care Bucks to purchase soda and chips.  Dollar General also usually has a weekly $5 off $25 coupon which is very handy.

I usually have a piñata for the kids, and one thing that both children and adults like is my ugly piñata.  When I say it's ugly, I mean it.  The reason this is popular is because of the different lunch sized paper bags filled with goodies taped together..  It prevents one child from being able to scoop up all the treats.  One bag is burst, kids descend on the candy, and then once it's picked up, another bag gets burst.   What do one realizes is I like it because it's pretty much free.  I use a coat hanger, paper bags, and duck tape.

Another game I always play that is everyone's favorite is the Dirty Santa game.  I take stuff I have gotten for free with coupons and things I have won that I can't use such as t-shirts that aren't in my size, and I wrap each item.  Because not everyone will know each other, when you arrive at the party, you need to get a name tag, and it is then your name is written down to be drawn for the game.  The first name drawn gets to pick from all the wrapped gifts, the second name drawn gets to pick what person one opened or their pick of the gifts.  One year there were a pair of boxer shorts and a pie plate that kept getting stolen.

For invitations, I use Facebook events.  I have found, though, that I need some printed invites are needed.  I use Picmonkey to create a design with all the information I need on it.  Then I have that printed into 4 x 6 prints.  This year I used Amazon Prime Photo.  Getting prints made is much cheaper than "real" invites.  Plus the 4x6 size allows you to drop them in the mail with a postcard stamp, no envelope needed!

My friends don't care about how I throw together a party on a dime.  They (and their children) look forward to it every year.

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