I love throwing parties. I love hosting. And I don’t throw parties as often as I would like to (the last one was the spa party).
But what I love most are good deals and throwing a party that looks amazing, but costs very little. If you’re on a budget, but still need to do some last-minute, but affordable and DIY decorations for your party this weekend, you’ve come to the right place!
When you’re planning a party, there are several essentials that you can’t forget besides the food and people! I’ll go step by step and explain how to do each on a budget. I’ll also explain approximately how much I spent in each category, and give the final total at the end! *Some costs may reflect the items used, not what was paid up front.
- Party favors
- Other decorations
I’m all for a fancy invitation in the mail with embossed decorations and everything. But if you’re on a budget, then an online invitation is the way to go! There are numerous places that have well-designed, free invitation templates. Canva, Paperless Post, and Evite to name just a few. I used Evite for this party because the food was potluck, and Evite can help you track what people are bringing. Skip the paper waste, and save yourself from spending in this category!
My cost: $0!
We had three tables and one highboy, but each table looked similar to the photo above. My tablescape included: plastic tablecloth, burlap, Hershey kisses, tea lights in small jars, cinnamon-scented pine cones, and DIY christmas trees. I purchased the plastic tablecloth, burlap, and small jars from Hobby Lobby at 50% off. The tea lights were $12.99 but there were 100, and I used only six at the party. So there are plenty left for future parties! The scented pine cones were from Wal-Mart, and I was able to get about a dozen for $3.00. The Hershey kisses came in a large bag from Sam’s Club, so each individual Hershey kiss is of minimal cost. Lastly, the DIY Christmas trees were made with Christmas-themed scrapbook paper from Michael’s which was 60% off. If you want to make the DIY Christmas trees, follow this tutorial.
Ways I could have saved:
- I could have opted for plain tablecloth which would have saved me $0.50 each
- I could have picked up pine cones before the snowfall and scented them myself and saved $3.00
- I could have gotten regular Hershey Kisses, although I’m unsure of the exact price difference
- The DIY Christmas trees could have been made with plain green paper, but I liked the patterned paper. 🙂
My approximate cost: $25.00
We had a few activities throughout the evening including a card-making competition, an ice breaker game (The Blanket Game), a simple photobooth, and a white elephant gift exchange.
The Blanket Game didn’t have a cost, because the only material needed was a blanket. The white elephant gift exchange is self-explanatory and doesn’t require any cost besides the money you paid to buy the gift(s).
For the card-making competition, there was some cost in terms of what materials and supplies were used up, but I was fortunate enough to already have had a lot of decorative stickers and materials, that I actually didn’t buy anything specifically for this party. But here are some things you could have purchased:
- Christmas themed stickers (sometimes you can get them at a discount at craft stores after Christmas; stock up for next year!)
- Washi tape
- Cardstock paper
- Colored pencils or markers
Unless you have 20+ people making cards, the actual amount of materials used won’t really hurt your craft supplies bank. I don’t consider myself to have an abundance of craft supplies (I don’t even have enough to have a craft studio!), but I saw this as a good way to try and use up the bits and pieces of some craft supplies. Like the sticker page that has only two stickers left. Or the 6 inches of washi tape left over. Or the origami paper that you acquired when you were in middle school, and never used. Even though it was a competition, and only one person won the prize, all of the Christmas cards that were created are now hanging on our mantle, so the cards were not made in vain!
My cost for card-making: $0.00
The photobooth had some initial cost, but I made sure to purchase things that would serve multiple purposes, or last for many Christmases to come. Things that I already owned included the chalkboard sign, polaroid camera (and film), wooden dowels.
Purchases included: large poms, “Merry” and “Christmas wooden signs, various Christmas hats, mini wooden clothespins, tall basket, and backdrop supplies (gold and silver tinsel garland, burlap banner, and stick-on letters). Most if not all of these supplies were from the Dollar Store or from Michael’s at 70% off!
This was the most costly aspect of the party, but many of the purchases would serve another or future Christmas purpose. For example, the photobooth props can be re-used next year, the tinsel garlands can be used on the tree next year, or decorate doors/windows, the burlap banner can be used for a different party, and the clothespins can be used to hang up photos or other decorations. See, everything has another purpose! So, although I purchased a lot for this first Christmas party, I did my best to buy things that I would not have to buy next year.
My approximate cost: $30.00
4. PARTY FAVORS
Party favors are one of my favorite things to put together. I’m not sure why. I think it’s a great feeling to know that your presence was appreciated. This favor has two chocolate chip cookies in a recyclable bag, and a handwritten thank you tag. The supplies for this included the cookies, bags, and tags. It helped that someone else bought the cookies, so the cost below reflects everything minus the cookies.
My approximate cost: $8.00
5. OTHER DECORATIONS
Other decorations included Christmas lights around the windows, nametags, and chalkboard signs. The Christmas lights were about $2.25 per 100 lights (25 feet), and the nametags were made with cardstock paper and washi tape, and the chalkboard signs were purchased for the spa party. Everything else that you might see in photos were already purchased before or borrowed.
My approximate cost: $9.00
My personal decorations budget for this party was $50.00 and I was definitely over-budget. But I know that there were ways that I could have saved, and many of the decorations I will not have to buy next year. Instead of accumulating more decorations, it’s good to be smart about how to re-purpose and re-use them! Perhaps instead of scented pine cones, I’ll use ornaments as centerpieces. Maybe I’ll use the tinsel garlands around the windows. I could make a garland out of the DIY Christmas trees. So many possibilities!
Alright, before we end this post, the GRAND TOTAL for this party was… $72.00! Next year, I will be smarter about reusing what I already have, and re-purposing it. If you catch me buying more useless decorations, I totally give you permission to point me to this blog post to keep me accountable!
I hope this post gave you some quick ideas for easy decorations, and how you can still throw an awesome party on a budget!