It’s December, and holiday cheer can be found in abundance. Discretionary cash, however, cannot — especially if you have just bought gifts for everyone on your list. But you shouldn’t let your tight budget stop you from enjoying this time of year. If you have time off from work and family and friends to catch up with, you can still invite them over and make sure they have a great time. Here are five tips for how to go festive without going broke.
1. Make it a potluck. The idea of asking guests to bring food to a party used to be a social faux pas, but it’s not anymore. You should definitely take charge of the main dish and some of the menu items that aren’t as easy to transport, like soups and stews. But guests usually are more than happy to contribute to the spread. To make it easier, pick a category, such as spirits or desserts, and ask everyone to bring enough to share.
2. Use e-invitations. The holidays are the one time of year when it’s tempting to harken back to the days of snail mail to send beautifully decorated invitations that guests can save as keepsakes. However, this is an “extra” that you can strike off of your list of expenses. Using e-vites or a social networking site to reach everyone that you want to invite is a less expensive, more convenient way to ask them to save the date.
3. Digitise your music collection beforehand. Who can have a proper holiday party without a Christmas playlist? You should get organised in time for the event by ripping all of your favourite music and movies so that you can store and access them in digital format. And since you won’t need those discs anymore, you can actually make money selling dvds online that you can reinvest in your holiday soiree.
4. Put your artistic side to work. Mistletoe and garland are nice, but you can save money by making your own decorations this year. Recycle old strings of light usually used outside by hanging them on the inside of your home. And then, mine the wealth of cheap and easy decorating ideas that you can find on sites like Pinterest or your favourite do-it-yourself blog.
5. Don’t wait until the last minute. The key to making sure your party is a cinch without having to spend a lot of money is to plan ahead. Most of the best holiday party ideas cost little to nothing, but they will require an investment of your effort and time. Plus, if you avoid waiting until the last minute to start planning your get-together, the preparation can be just as much fun as the event itself.