Big grad party, small price tag

Graduation is a momentous time in our lives and it deserves to be rewarded. But, when a grad party starts to cost thousands of dollars, it makes you wonder if it’s the best financial decision. Blowing your savings on a party will make for one great night but will lead to years of financial hardship.

Graduation comes in many different forms and sizes. It may your kids’ graduation from high school or university, a nephew or niece leaving kindergarten or an overachieving sibling getting their P.H.D. But, regardless of the reason, a great party doesn’t need a titanic bill attached to it. And, if that party is purchased on credit, the added interest costs are going to leave you paying it off for a long time to come.

We did the math using a credit card debt calculator to see what the real damage would be. If you are paying a 13% interest rate on a standard payment schedule, that $3,000 of debt would cost you an additional $2,995 in interest! And, even more, if you were paying the minimum payments the whole time, it would take 18 years to pay off! With that time and money, you could watch another child be born, grow up and graduate from high school – and you’ll be on the hook for another party!

grad party

A Little More Info on Each Cost-Reducing Tip…

We can give you all the tips in the world, but without a few more details you won’t be able to cut costs to the extent that you should. Keep reading for more specifics on how you can have a rocking party on a frugal budget.

ü Send invitations online. Sending invitations in the mail is so 2004! In 2014, why waste the $50-$150 dollars on cards and postage when you can just invite people through e-mail? You’ll be saving money and it’s also easier to track when people are RSVP’ing online so you don’t overestimate how much food you need.

ü Find a free location, like a park or local hall. Renting out a hall for a party is going to cost a bunch of money – and it’s completely unnecessary. If you’ve got a big backyard, it can double as party central. It’s free, and everyone will enjoy being outside. Other free locations could be the beach, a park or a local community centre. Look around and you’ll be able to cut the location cost from your budget entirely.

ü Make a photo collage & use school colors for décor. Send out a request for photos from your invited guests. Get them ahead of time and make a photo collage. Everybody will love the images that bring back memories from the preceding years. Use the school’s colours as a theme for the night. Pick up a bunch of cheap ribbons in the appropriate colours and drape them around the party location. Also utilize any memorabilia from the school like t-shirts, yearbooks or posters. You’ll save money and remind people of the reason they are having this party in the first place.

ü Have your party the week after graduation. Timing is everything when it comes to getting good deals. If all the schools in your area are holding graduation parties at the same time, hold yours a week or two later. Prices will have come down as the graduation rush has passed. This is especially true in a small town where event planners and banquet halls struggle to fill their schedules after peak periods. In a larger city, you can probably still get a deal if you hold the party on an off-night (like Monday or Tuesday) instead of on the weekend.

ü Co-host a bash with another grad. The more the merrier, right? Holding a party with a friend will cut costs in half and also decrease the workload. Plus, co-hosting will ensure all your classmates can gather in one place instead of being divided at different locations.

ü Shop sales and don’t go overboard on food. Make sure you know how many people will attend before ordering or making any food. You don’t want to be stuck with buckets of leftovers that you paid for. Also, let your guests know that just appetizers or finger food will be served so they don’t come expecting a full meal. This way, you’ll save money and your guests won’t be hungry and cranky!

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