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Event Planning: How to Plan a Party on a Budget

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The first time I planned and hosted my own party it was kind of a disaster. Well, maybe not a complete disaster but when people started arriving I was still scrambling to put out food. I failed to give myself enough time to finish getting "put together" and some of the food ran out too quickly.

Okay.  It was a disaster.

People still had fun though and that's the most important thing. That and the dessert.

Since then I've learned a few things about party planning.

5 Tips to Throw a Successful Party

Here are 5 tips that are sure to save you money, time, and stress:

  1. Give yourself enough time to plan the party. I usually start planning about six weeks prior to the date of the party. That gives me enough time to make a guest list, pick a theme, and shop for items needed for the party. Time is definitely your friend when you are planning a party on a budget. It allows you to watch for sales on items needed for the party and to spread your purchases out.
  2. Don't sweat the small stuff. I have a tendency to freak out when things aren't "perfect." Rarely do things turn out exactly like I planned so I try to just go with the flow. That way, once the guests arrive, I'm not frazzled and can enjoy the party.  Perfect or not.
  3. Use shortcuts such as the nugget sliders shown above. It's a simple, stress free way to feed a lot of people without spending a ton of money. Serve it alongside some spiced mayo or bbq sauce and you've got a fabulous spread that took minutes.
  4. Prep food the day before the party. Cut up veggies, mix dips, and bake treats one or two days ahead of time. I also like to lay out my platters, plates, and silverware the night before so I'm not scrambling at the last minute to find a dish.
  5. Create a budget. I think the best way to throw a party on a budget is to use what you got. I always have a few brownie mixes on hand. Toss in a handful of nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, or candy and you've just taken your box of brownies to a whole new level. You can also always find celery, carrots, and bell peppers in our crisper drawer along with a can of beans in our pantry. Whip up a quick veggie platter with some hummus.

While these tips work for any party, I was thinking specifically of the Superbowl when I came up with the recipes. Here are a few recipes that are sure to be winners at your next tailgate!

8 Super Bowl Recipes

Buffalo Blue Cheese Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 - 15 oz can white beans
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce or marinade (I used KC Masterpiece)
  • 1/4 blue cheese crumbles

Directions:

In a food processor combine the first four ingredients and blend until creamy.  Add the blue cheese crumbles and pulse a few times.  Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nugget Sliders

I would make at least two of these for each person you are expecting. Leftovers are always a good thing. Buy fully cooked, prepackaged chicken nuggets and as many dinner rolls as needed. Cook the nuggets per package instructions. Open the rolls and place one nugget inside each roll. Serve alongside condiments, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, etc.

The following are a few other recipes you might like:

What are your favorite party planning tips and tricks?

Krista is a wife and a stay-at-home mom to four boys. When she's not making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cleaning up the mess from them she writes for her blog, Budget Gourmet Mom. She believes that eating on a budget doesn't mean it can't be gourmet food.  That shows in the family friendly recipes she shares and the easy to find ingredients she uses. Not only can you follow her on her blog but on Facebook and Twitter as well.

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Born and raised in Southern California, Krista Dearden started blogging in 2009 to stay in touch with her family. Shortly after giving birth to her fourth son she created her blog, Budget Gourmet Mom. In it she shares stories of motherhood, budget friendly recipes, and the occasional tip. Earlier this year she joined the team at The Hive which is a community for local Utah Food Bloggers. She currently resides in Spanish Fork, Utah with her husband and four boys.

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