We’re all broke. Whether you’re paying off student loans, juggling a crowd of kids, or a new homeowner (*raises hand*), there are plenty of reasons for twenty- and thirty-somethings to be cash-strapped. Now that the holidays are here we’d love to host a get-together or two, but who has the money for food, decor and entertainment when we’re swamped with tuition, bills, and unexpected expenses?
Luckily, you can still host an affordable holiday party even though you’re not overflowing with funds. Here are four tips to help you plan a fun evening without spending a ton of cash.
Crowdsource what you can. Planning a more casual party together with friends, as opposed to planning and hosting solo, means you can all chip in to make it happen. I’ve been at loud, happy gatherings where everyone brought something different—folding chairs, paper plates, candles, a portable speaker to keep the music going all night. Nothing was lacking and no one felt the stress of finding (or paying for) the missing pieces.
Skip the complicated menu. Host a potluck-style dinner; better yet, make it a spread of appetizers so there’s minimal effort and expense involved. If you prefer to craft the menu, have guests bring the drinks. If you and your friends really enjoy cooking and you’re hosting a small gathering, you could even center the evening around trying out new recipes together in the kitchen. (Food + entertainment all in one package!)
Get back to basics. Host a themed board game night or seasonal movie marathon. Short on titles? Ask your friends to bring their faves. (See tip #1 above!)
Get creative with your decor. You don’t have to go wild; try a centerpiece on a table or other focal point for maximum oomph. For Halloween this year, I’m using a little butcher’s paper and marker to make new “potions” labels for old wine bottles. Paired with a stack of horror novels and a few candles in seasonal colors, this will give me some Halloween table “decor” without spending any extra money. And white twinkle lights hung up around the ceiling are a super affordable holiday party element, no matter the occasion.