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How to Save Money on Life’s Major Events

83fcf060b8c54381a2dffc52d2514396People love to mark special events by gathering together for a celebration. And with any family, large or small, they can be frequent, which after a while, can drain the bank account bigtime. Worry, no more, because whether it is a major milestone birthday, a baby, a graduation, or even a wedding, there are many ways to save on invitations, decorations, food, beverages and more.

Start with the invitations.

Printed invitations can be quite costly, so create your own using a free online invitation template, which is a fun, fast and easy, to create your own personalized invites. Today’s designs, such as the printable wedding invitation templates available online are not the bland, generic ones of yesteryear. They come in a myriad of beautiful designs that you can embellish and add your own prose to, as well.

Enlist a celebration co-host.

Team up with a friend or family member or two to share the planning and party expenses. Even if you plan to have the celebration in your own home, the cost of decorations, beverages and food can add up big time. In addition, an extra set of hands can help you save time and effort on set up and clean up.

Make it a potluck.

If you plan to provide the party venue, the main course and/or the alcohol, ask close friends or family members if they can pitch in with a side dish or dessert to ease the expense. Resist the temptation to say no when guests ask you if they can bring something. Have them bring a traditional family dish to make the affair extra special.

If the celebration is too formal for a potluck, like a wedding or anniversary, opt for a buffet meal instead of a sit down dinner, which is expensive. Prepare your own casseroles ahead of time to add to the table, if possible.

Opt out of the open bar.

Alcohol can bust your budget, so offer guests wine and beer, or place a bottle of wine or champagne on each table. Provide a large seasonal punch bowl or one signature cocktail for each guest. Be sure to offer inexpensive alternatives, such as coffee, tea and soda. With the increased awareness of driving under the influence, as well as the health problems associated with alcohol, most people are happy to cooperate.

Repurpose, reuse and recycle.

Yes, this applies to celebrations, too. Repurpose seasonal decorations or make your own from natural elements you can find outdoors, like flowers, wreaths and sprays. Discount or dollar stores are a great source for decorations and disposable plates, glassware and flatware. Look for gently-used platters and party pieces at thrift stores and yard sales. Use the dessert as the centerpiece a beautiful cake or shimmering dessert can be a piece of art.

Watch out for buyer’s brain.

Salespeople will do anything to get you to buy, buy, buy, convincing you that the celebration won’t be the same without this special decoration, or that exact type of food. Stick to your budget, and keep it simple. No one will miss that elaborate tablecloth or the special embossed napkin rings. When all is said and done, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you didn’t empty your bank account or max out your credit card.

Jerry Leung is the founder and chief designer of He has an interest in graphic and invitation design, and also the cultural and architectural aspects of weddings.

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