7 Ways to Throw a Graduation Party on a Budget

Don't go overboard with your graduation party. Get a little creative and follow these tips to throw a graduation party that sticks to your budget.As the school year starts to come to a close, graduations, high school and college alike, are underway. Graduation is a momentous occasion in every student’s life, and is one that deserves celebration. As the date approaches, however, now, if you haven’t already begun, is the time to begin planning your son or daughter’s party.

While it’s understandable that every student hopes to have a unique and fun celebration, it’s all too easy to get carried away with your grad’s party. Not to mention the fact, that our culture tells us to pull out all the stops for a grad party. Unfortunately, if that’s the direction you go, you’ll likely spend much more than you ever hoped to or could afford. Instead of going overboard, get a little creative and follow these seven tips to throw a graduation party that sticks to your budget.

1. Create a Budget

You’re first step to saving money in anything you do is creating a budget. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on the entire gathering. Figure out approximately how many guests you think you’ll event and go from there. Once you’ve figured out the grand total, go about dividing it into categories like food, decorations, and entertainment. Decide which categories are most important to you and which ones you can afford to spend a little less on. Try using a budget sheet to keep track of your numbers and to refer back to them regularly.

2. Consider a Joint Party

Even if you throw a smaller party, anytime you have to buy food, decorations, and entertainment if you so choose, you’re bound to spend a fair amount. One surefire way to save on your graduation party is by opting for a joint party instead.

Have your student pick out a friend or two, with whom they are graduating, to share their party with. Since everything will be split in half, thirds, or even more, you’ll save on everything from venue to rentals to decorations. You’ll even likely save on food since the graduates are bound to have similar friends.

Moreover, since it can be difficult when you’re graduating to make it to all of your friends’ parties, your graduate will probably think this is even better since they’ll get to see and hang out with their friends.

3. Use Your Home as the Venue

While it can be fun and exciting to host a party at your favorite restaurant, country club, or banquet hall, renting out a venue can add a hefty amount to your budget. Furthermore, many venues can be picky about what type of food you serve, which can also rack up the costs.

Instead of going this route, you might want to consider hosting the party in your home or backyard. That way you can tailor the party to your liking and budget any way you choose. Of course, if using your home isn’t an option, some inexpensive spots might be a local church or park.

4. DIY

Between decorations and invitations, the price of a graduation party can rack up quickly. Instead of spending the majority of your budget by purchasing all of these items, why not do the do-it-yourself route?

Recruit some of your family to help with decorations; you’re bound to know a few people who are really great at crafts, and thanks to Pinterest there is no end to how-tos on homemade décor. Moreover, your invites don’t have to equate to wedding invitations. Use sites like Shutterfly or evite to make your own online invites out to guests. Cards are great, but you can still use a personal touch on evites without the cost.

It is possible to throw a graduation party on a budget. Here are some tips to help. Click To Tweet

5. Consider the Date

Another great way to save money is to host your party on a day that’s a little less obvious and busy. Most people tend to have their graduation party the day of, which is usually a Saturday. Unfortunately, since that day tends to be packed, you’ll likely find any rentals or services at a higher price. If you can, consider having your party on a different day, say Sunday or even Thursday or Friday. You might not see quite the turnout of guests that you would on the weekend, but you might receive a discount.

6. Get Creative with Food

Catering is great, but there’s nothing quite like the taste or price of home cooking. While having a catered meal or appetizers might seem like the best way to go, it’s bound to eat up a big portion of your budget. Opt to cook the food yourself instead. Look for simple dishes with inexpensive ingredients. It doesn’t matter how fancy you get, sometimes simpler is better when it comes to food, and as long as you present it in a fun way, no one will be the wiser.

If you’re pressed for time or really stressed, get friends and family to help you out. Assign them each a dish to bring. Another great way to save money is to think outside the box on dessert. Instead of ordering a large, fancy cake from a bakery, go with simple cupcakes and cookies instead.

7. Keep It Simple

Sometimes having a bunch of expensive decorations, food, and entertainment isn’t always better, and is way more expensive. Talk to your graduate about the things they really want at their party and give them choices instead of free reign. You don’t have to go overboard to throw a nice and beautiful party, so keep things simple. Simple is the key to saving money.

Whether it’s high school or college, graduation is an important step in life that every graduate should be proud of. At the end of the day, however, you or your graduate is going to remember the day and all the wonderful people that came to congratulate them, not whether or not they had a five-course meal or expensive band for entertainment. You can still have a wonderful time and celebration and keep things on budget.

What are some fun, inexpensive ways you made a graduation party fun or special? What are some great, but inexpensive food options?