The holiday season is among us, and with that come lots of great opportunities to gather with friends and family to celebrate the wrap-up to another year. Of course, if you’re not careful, the holiday season can be very expensive — but don’t worry! We have a few tricks up our sleeve to save you cash. From holiday parties to birthdays, to end-of-the-year jamborees, these simple tips will help you minimize your spend and maximize fun times.

1. Keep the guest list small

When you’re on a tight budget, the fewer people you have to shop for, the better. Smaller parties, not only help you keep costs to a minimum, but a tight-knit group of people who are most important to you will make for a fun, intimate atmosphere. 

2. Host at home or at a public park

The venue is usually the most expensive part of any party. Minimize your costs by hosting at home or, if the weather allows for it where you live, at a public park. If your home or apartment is not ideal, chat with friends and see who else is willing to volunteer their home.

3. Use what you have

Keep the atmosphere casual, and stick to the essentials, using what you already have, for example, decorations from previous years. Next, ensure there’s a place for everyone to sit, and if not, chat with friends to see who has some collapsible chairs and tables they’re willing to lend you. It’s all about being resourceful and stretching your budget to the max!

4. Choose one signature drink

It’s difficult to cater to everyone’s drinks taste, especially if you’re on a budget. We recommend providing one signature drink and encouraging guests to bring anything else they’d enjoy. You can say something like, “I’ll have punch, but feel free to bring whatever else you’d like!”

A cup of mulled wine on a wooden cutting board surrounded by aesthetically arranged dried fruit and spices.

5. Address the food situation head-on

When it comes to food, avoid an awkward situation by letting your guests know what to expect, and getting on the same page. Here are three options for different types of parties. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to stock up on enough disposable cups and serveware to minimize cleanup at the end of the day!

Option 1 – Light Snacks 

If you’re not providing a meal, we recommend scheduling the party during hours that aren’t usually tied to a meal, such as after lunch or after dinner. You can provide some light snacks or finger foods and also encourage guests to bring any snacks of their choice. 

Option 2 – Potluck 

If you are planning a meal, potlucks are a great option because each person can bring one dish to share. We recommend creating a doc/spreadsheet and sharing it with your guests to decide who will be bringing what. Focus on volume, low-cost foods like pasta, casseroles, or anything that can be baked in one big batch, like these Barbecue Chicken Biscuits. You can count on Flipp to help you find local deals for ingredients that will maximize your budget.

Option 3 – Order In

The final option is to purchase a low-cost group-sized meal, such as pizza or burgers. Have everyone contribute a certain amount of cash, and order a tried and true favorite. You can’t go wrong.

6. Set the vibe with music and games

Music can make or break the party atmosphere, so create a playlist of your faves ahead of time. You can also ask guests to contribute to the playlist with suggestions. If one of your friends has a streaming account such as Spotify Premium, ask them to hook it up to the speakers to avoid those mood-ruining ad breaks.

Parties are also a great time to dust off those classic board games that have been tucked away on a shelf for years. Chat with friends ahead of time and encourage them to bring any other games they might have. If you don’t have any on hand, this is the optimal time to get games at a discount, as many retailers will be advertising them around the holidays. Check out toy stores and big-box retailers on Flipp to find amazing sales.

We hope that these tips and ideas are helpful when planning your next get-together. Whether you spend $20 or $2000, in the end, it all comes down to having a good time with friends and family. The company of those you love is what truly makes a party, a great party.

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