by Andrea Woroch
Thanks to Facebook's weekly reminder of your friends' birthdays, more attention is being paid to natal anniversaries than ever. Adults particularly tend to celebrate landmark birthdays that end in a round figure. The cost for such parties, however, can easily get out of hand. In the spirit of creating a back-to-basics bash, I offer the following nine tips.
1. Discount Decorations
Dollar stores are your go-to place for party decorations. You'll save up to 70-percent off party store prices and the selection is equally nice. Dollar stores also are a great place to finding inexpensive wrapping paper and reusable gift bags.
Facebook is one of the best ways to create a simple invitation using the "Event" function, but not everyone uses the social network. Several websites, including evite.com and SmileBox.com, offer free electronic invitations that do the trick while providing RSVP feedback.
3. Serve Finger Food
A four-course meal takes a lot of time, skill and money. Instead, keep guests happy with simple hors' doeuvres created in your kitchen. You'll want to avoid the pre-packaged appetizers from your grocery or specialty store as they'll cost you 40 percent to 60 percent more than homemade.
4. Borrow Your Finery
Stepping out in a new outfit or dress shirt will surely impress your guests, but it'll do little for your budget. Borrow something to wear from a friend for that special birthday-outfit feeling. If that's not possible, check out second-hand stores for a bit of frugal frippery.
5. Booze as Gifts
Instead of bringing gifts to the event, ask guests to contribute booze for the celebration. Alcohol is the most expensive element of any adult party, especially if you've invited a rowdy crowd.
6. Skip the Cake
Store-bought cakes are often expensive and don't always taste the best. Instead, serve simple cupcakes, baked goods, ice cream or -- horrors -- make your own cake from a box mix.
7. Select a Strategic Time Slot
Plan the event for directly after lunch or dinner, when guests will already have eaten and won't expect much in the way of food.
8. Register with CardAvenue.com
Take the burden off friends by having the birthday gal or guy register for gift cards at CardAvenue.com. They can buy discount gift cards for the recipients favorite stores or restaurants and they'll never know the cards were purchased at less than face value.
9. Don't Stress Out
You're less likely to buy extras at the last minute if you don't sweat the small stuff. Your role is to be a good hostess and you can't do that with frayed nerves.