Hosting a party is a great excuse to get all your friends and family together — especially the Super Bowl — but it can get expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. So email or text out those invites and check out these simple money-saving tips for the big weekend party.
COVID-19 NOTE: This year doesn’t seem like a smart time to throw a full rager, but you can still host a fun time for people in your social bubble. Likewise, if you can host outside with some social distancing, you can still have a great day.
Buy in Bulk
Food and drinks are usually the unintentional center of every party and running out of either means disaster. To save money, buy your food and beverages in bulk.
For alcohol, purchase cases of wine instead of individual bottles. You can also get a keg of beer, which will save you a ton of money compared to packs. Trust that even your picky wine aficionado and craft beer friends will dive in and have fun.
Also, instead of just leaving out liquor, create a few fun cocktails to pass around. This way, instead of making sure you have vodka, tequila, rum, and whiskey, you can just buy vodka in bulk for your cocktails. The same idea applies to food. You might not enjoy Costco, but when it’s party time, this wholesale retailer is the best place to get chips, dip, and other yummy — and easy to prepare and serve — snacks.
Cook Instead of Cater
Speaking of snacks, it may be easier and less stressful to order pizza and wings, but if you want to save some money and still offer your guests delicious nibbles, then try making your own food.
Stick to dishes that are easy to prepare and aren’t easy to mess up. For example, you can buy puff pastry and hot dogs to make your own pigs in a blanket. Unless you forget to take the dogs out of the oven, it’s almost impossible to mess this up.
Another great idea is to make a lot of popcorn, season it, and place in separate bowls. Voila! That gives you three or four different snacks. Sandwiches, subs, charcuterie boards, and vegetable platters are also easy to set up and hard to mess up as well. All you need to do is make sure that there’s something for everyone at the party!
Grab a Free Location
It’s tempting to hang out at a bar or restaurant, but when it’s time to pinch pennies, a home party is the best. At a bar you’ll keep drinking, and eating, and spending money. Your home is free, most people will already know how to get there, and you’ll have gotten the food and drinks for a lot less (see the tips above).
Open up your backyard, garage or front yard (or all three) to entertain more people. If you and a neighbor work together, you might be able to throw an even bigger party by combining forces.
Don’t have a home (or landlord) that allows for good parties? Local parks are a great option — especially if you like to barbecue. Get to the site early, throw some blankets on the public tables and nearby grass space, and you’re good to go.
Less Is More When it Comes to Decor
It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars on decorations at a party store, but this is only for three or four hours of entertainment. Afterward, you throw most of it away while attempting to save certain “special” things that just end up left for years in a box in the basement. (And by next year’s Super Bowl, will any of it be usable?)
With decor, less is more. Go through what you have first to see if you can’t reuse certain items. For example, if you have white Christmas lights, you can easily put them up and turn them into fun lighting. Got old candles? Use them as centerpieces. And if you buy booze in bulk, be assured that no one will notice the decor after a few drinks.
Games, Music, Chatting
Live bands, hiring a clown, bringing in a petting zoo — these are all great ideas, but they are expensive. (And in the case of a Super Bowl party, not the point.) Hook up a portable speaker to your Pandora playlist and have music on in the background, or curate your own party playlist so people can dance.
If kids are invited, have fun games lined up — classics like Twister or a water gun fight outside, and they’ll easily entertain young people just as much as a petting zoo.
For older folks, remember that a little booze is always an elixir. Go for a college theme — not to dress up, but where you play games like beer pong to get people going. (Heck, “Beer Twister” sounds pretty fun right about now.) With a little booze and some silly games, you’ll have a winning party in no time.