Parties can be expensive. Whether it’s Christmas, a 21st, an anniversary or a children’s birthday party it’s possible to have a party to remember that fits your budget. All you need is a few money savvy and creative tricks up your sleeve to make your bash go with a bang. Commoncents is here to help:

1. Have a plan.

If you want to host a great party without doing liposuction on your wallet, set a figure that you want to spend and stick to. Whether that figure is $100, $500 or $5,000, create a budget where you list everything you need to buy or pay for and fill in a figure beside each item. Try using one of these templates.

Tip: At Commoncents we suggest that you Google: “21st birthday budget”, “anniversary party budget” or “Christmas budget” to make sure you think of everything. It will also give you a better idea of those expenses you can splurge on and the ones to save.

Tip: If the big bad B-word (budget) gives you palpitations, call it a “spending plan”. It’s not a big deal. Even good old fashioned pen and paper can be used.

2. Be creative.

Think of activities that don’t cost much, but are a whole lot of fun. You might want to go 10-pin bowling or play laser tag for that party. But it’s a whole lot more economical to hold a party at home, the beach or the park. Why not organise a scavenger hunt in your suburb or a dress-up party at home for a birthday party? Or nab a public BBQ for your Christmas dinner.

Tip: Splurge on giving your party a theme at home with some of the money you save on venue hire.

Tip: Make your own decorations. Thanks to Pinterest and countless craft websites there are thousands of easy party decoration ideas on the Internet. has some great easy craft projects.

3. Get BYO savvy.

Kiwis like to bring something with them to a party. Rather than providing really expensive My Kitchen Rules-style nibbles, ask your guests to bring a plate.

Tip: Never say “no” when someone offers to bring something. At the very least accept a bottle of wine or nibbles.

Tip: You can even specify the type of plate without offending. That might be nibbles, or a salad, meat and so on. Or for a bit of fun, ask the guests to bring “something unusual to eat”. That way you can taste test weird and wonderful foods.

Tip: You could even have BYO decorations and send guests to Pinterest for ideas.

4. Communicate.

Set the scene for family and guests. If you’re throwing a party on a budget tell them. Then there won’t be any surprises.

Tip: It’s cool in some circles to brag about how much money you saved by doing things yourself.

Tip: If that’s embarrassing, simply say that you really like simple celebrations and don’t want to clutter the day/evening unnecessarily.

5. Limit the giving.

If you’re expected to give (or receive) presents, have a plan. If you give some thought to your recipient it will be possible to find something that he or she would really appreciate for not too much money. Even British royal family members are said to only give each other small, useful, or amusing gifts instead of expensive ones.

Tip: Have a secret Santa or make your own gifts. It’s lots of fun watching everyone open their gifts.

Tip: Set monetary limits. If you can only afford to spend $5 on each person’s present, let that be known in advance to save any embarrassment.

Tip: Give to the children only. You can pass this off as being for sustainable/ecological reasons. More unnecessary stuff isn’t good for the environment.

Tip: Re-gift. Take a leaf out of the American tradition of wrapping up last year’s unwanted gifts and passing them on to someone who might actually like them.

6. Stick two fingers up to convention.

Who says you have to give party favours, provide your own food and alcohol, or even use a venue? Don’t be bound by what everyone else does. You could have your wedding breakfast in a rotunda or on the beach if you want. There’s no reason why you have to have a Christmas, wedding, anniversary, or 21st birthday cake, or to buy disposable table cloths.

Tip: Be unique. Tell friends and families you want your event to be different. That way they won’t think you’re being cheap.