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Backyard Parties on a Budget: How to Save Money and Energy this Summer

By Mary Ripley on  May 10, 2018

Summer is in full swing and that means spending more time outdoors with friends and family. It’s the perfect time to come up with an excuse to have a party. And when you have a party in the summer, there’s no better place to have it than outside! Whether you’re celebrating a graduation, birthday, holiday or even an outdoor wedding, here are some simple tips to make sure your outdoor parties are a hit…without busting your wallet.

Keep It Simple

It doesn’t matter how many people you have, if it’s 5 or 50. To keep costs down when planning an outdoor party, keep it simple. And this is true for everything, from decorations to food. There really is no need to spend lots of money on an elaborate soiree when you have ingenuity on your side.

For decorations and easy themes, use Pinterest for inspiration. You can find everything there from elegant yet cheap seating options to cost-effective lighting solutions.

When planning your menu, check out All Recipes. It’ll help you out with quick and easy recipes that’ll serve any size party you have. If you want to make your menu planning more budget-friendly, scour the local grocery stores ads for great specials. Then use the All Recipes ingredient search to find recipes that use the items you saved so much money on.

Buy in Bulk

Utilizing the same bulk-buying technique that NOPEC uses to purchase energy at better rates, purchasing party supplies in bulk can save you lots of money when planning for a party. If you are the type of person who entertains a lot and knows you will be hosting other outdoor events this summer, remember that one of the best ways to save is to buy in bulk. If you have a membership to wholesale clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s, party prep is the time to use it!

You can save a huge amount of money on paper goods alone using your wholesale club membership. If you’re having a small gathering this weekend but know that within a couple weeks you’ll have more friends over, don’t hesitate to buy the 150 pack of plates. They’ll go quickly, because party-goers often use more than one plate, and you’ll want to make sure you always have some on hand. On average, buying all your party paper products at wholesale clubs will save you over $50 if you buy them in bulk as opposed to buying them in smaller quantities at your local grocery store. You can recoup your membership fee in just paper goods savings!

Save that Electricity

You want to make sure your guests have a great time at your backyard party, and that means you want to give them the same comforts of being indoors. But you don’t have to break the bank paying for electricity and hauling out those electrical cords for things like food warmers and lighting.

For any dishes that need to be kept hot, use chafing dishes and sterno fuel. You can get these at any of the wholesale clubs you may belong to, any GFS and even some places like Party City or Amazon. While the initial cost of the setup may seem more expensive than electricity, just remember that you won’t have hazardous extension cords snaked all over your backyard, waiting to trip your guests. And since they are reusable, depending on your party size, you can potentially get many uses out of your chafing dishes and fuel before you need to buy more.

When the sun goes down and your party turns up, finding the right outdoor lighting to keep the party going can be a challenge. Once again, head to Pinterest for some inspiration. There, you’ll find tutorials for fairy light lanterns, citronella candle decorations and even DIY tiki torches. If you find you absolutely need more lighting, you can always use string lights, but make sure they’re LED to cut down on your electricity costs.

Planning outdoor parties is fun, so get creative! But remember these tips if you want to keep down your costs.


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