The idea of celebrating life events, good news, and promotions spans ages and cultures. Spending time with family and friends, indulging in foods and drinks, and enjoying the feeling of contentment all sound like a positive way to live.
However, what starts as a simple whim ,”You had such a good year in school — let’s go out and celebrate!” or , “The Doctor gave him a good report so we are all going to celebrate tonight!” turns into a bad drama when you get your credit card bill a few weeks later. You probably won’t be celebrating that bill. Some strategic frugal party planning can help keep you on track and under budget.
The Party Gets Out of Hand
The biggest type of celebration to get out of hand financially is the party or reception. From First Birthday to Sweet Sixteen, Wedding Reception to Golden Anniversary, these social events mark our life’s milestones. Somehow, no matter how much people try to make a plan and have a budget, most far exceed the amount they planned.
This is because they:
1. Try to please everyone.
2. Follow what society says they ‘must do’ as far as customs.
3. Don’t stick with what is personally meaningful to them.
4. Attach unrelated meaning to the event.
The best way to handle a larger event is to focus on the core person(s). What is meaningful to them? Forget about all the “But everyone always has,” or “But you have to include,” and let it be as unique and special as they are. There are so many options today for places to have events, and ways to do things that cost very little. Be creative!
An Emotional high
Even when we celebrate on a smaller scale, we go overboard by getting carried away by the emotion surrounding the event. We decide to get extra appetizers, drinks, and desserts for everyone at the table. We associate generosity and abundance with expressing joy and gratitude. But what is the outcome for our wallets (or waistlines, for that matter)?
There is nothing wrong with gathering together and sharing a meal to commemorate or celebrate. But if you are struggling financially, try expressing the emotions you are feeling in less expensive ways.
Here are a few frugal party planning ideas:
• Write something.
• Make a collage or scrapbook page.
• Celebrate on a smaller, but more intimate scale.
• Celebrate at home.
• Celebrate by doing an activity together.
• Gather for a picnic at the park.
• Host a potluck.
• Dedicate something to the person, such as planting a special tree.
What kinds of creative ways have you found to celebrate on a budget?
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