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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Host a Labor Day Party Without Breaking the Bank

Aug 21, 2012 12:00AM

Cost-cutting measures are have become necessary for many in nearly every aspect of life. Thanks to the still-struggling economy, people are routinely looking for and finding ways to save money. And hosting a Labor Day BBQ party for friends and family is no exception. There are some simple cost-cutting measures hosts and guests alike can take to ensure everyone has a fun and affordable time.

1. Take the party home.

For hosts who want to invite friends and family out to dinner at a nearby restaurant, consider having guests over to your home instead. A favorite restaurant likely offers takeout, which will save hosts the cost of gratuities and can save substantial amounts of money on things like cocktails and desserts. Hosts who want to go the takeout route should inquire about which foods their guests prefer and plan the menu accordingly.

2. Forgo traditional invitations.

Thanks to e-mail and popular social networking websites, you can invite guests over in a matter of seconds without spending a dime. Printed invitations can be expensive and likely aren't necessary for most get-togethers.

3. Steer clear of costly decorations.

While it might help create a festive atmosphere, such accessories can be sacrificed for the sake of saving money without ruining the mood. Guests likely aren't coming to the party to be dazzled by the decor, so hosts can avoid the cost of decorations and instead make the home as clean and welcoming as possible. Or look to your landscape for colorful foliage—vases of festive greens will add to the atmosphere just as well as anything else. If it's an informal gathering, plates, cups and napkins commemorating a particular holiday provide some decor and are typically inexpensive.

4. Keep it simple.

When hosting a more laid back gathering, such as a backyard barbecue or when friends are coming over for the big game, keep the menu as simple as possible. Hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches will likely suffice, and none of them are bound to break the bank. If it's a formal affair that calls for a more elaborate menu, ask guests to share some of the cost by bringing a bottle of wine and possibly a dish to serve for dessert.

5. Offer kids their own menu.

For formal gatherings with more sophisticated menus, hosts should keep in mind that kids attending the party would likely prefer simpler fare like macaroni and cheese or pizza. Save money by feeding kids the foods they love and reserve the more expensive fare for the adults.