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Budgeting for your Party
People find parties such a delight because each one is unique. But as no two events are alike, it's impossible to provide a hard-and-fast guideline that tells you exactly how much you can expect to spend on your big bash.
Regardless how you break down your budget, here are some tips for controlling costs:
- Set a budget at the start - and then stick to it.
- Get organised! Buy yourself a big notebook or ring bound folder and keep all your party information together in the one place.
- Be very clear about your vision before you select your vendors. This will save you time and money, as you are able to show suppliers your vision - in pictures - of what you want your party to look like.
- If it's a really big event, consider opening a special account at your bank - that way you'll know exactly how much money goes in and how much comes out.
- If family or others are contributing to your party, ask for their financial assistance up front.
- Examine contracts carefully. Read the fine print and make sure you consider all additional charges such as GST and staff overtime charges.
- Don't be afraid to negotiate. Most vendors will consider a discount if you ask nicely.
- Remember, once you pay a deposit you are probably legally bound to pay the full amount - so you can't change your mind!
- Shop around. Don't blow all your money in the first shop you visit. Take the time to visit the sales, shop online and browse through catalogues. The potential savings will surprise you.
- Get crafty! Use the resources in your family for invitations, decorations and favors. Friends and family are usually honoured to be a part of your preparations.
- Consider your guest list carefully. Inviting fewer people can make a big difference to the bottom line of your party budget.
- Be financially smart. Don't put your head in the sand and pretend you've got an unlimited budget. Check your budget balance regularly to ensure you stay on track.
- Finally, and probably surprisingly, consider a party planner. A good party planner and event manager will be able to save you their fee and much more in negotiations with your vendors. They have the benefit of not being emotionally involved in the negotiations (so are more likely to save you money) and the power to negotiate based on not only your party but also other events they are organising. If you do decide to employ a party planner, make sure you get a firm quote and don't pay a percentage of your budget (unless it is fixed) or your party planner will have no incentive to save you money.
Remember: while parties are fantastic fun, debt is not. The most important thing about your party is not whether you spend $5,000 or $50,000. The success of the event depends on how you commemorate your special milestone with your beloved family and friends.
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