When  planning holiday events overspending can happen easily if you have not set a budget. Therefore, this should be the first step in your party planning process! Regardless of your budget any event can be a success, however failure to set and work within a budget can result in a disaster. Where do you start? How many people do you invite? What kind of food do you want to serve? Do you offer alcoholic beverages? All these questions can be answered once you’ve set realistic Budget.

So let’s clarify what a realistic Budget means;  First and foremast the money you spend on entertaining should be discretionary income, it should not be charged on credit cards you cannot pay back immediately, It should be money you can live without! A party no matter how important should not be a burden on you or your finances.

So here are some guidelines to keep you on track. A good rule of thumb to use is to use 65%-75% of your budget for food and beverages. Keep in mind that if you are serving alcohol there will less money left over for food. The remaining 35%-25% of your budget should be used for décor, paper goods and rentals. The idea is to start with your Budget and work backwards, here’s an example.

  Step 1- Decide how much you can comfortably spend.

Example: $300 Budget using both 75% (A.) & 65% (B.)

A) $300 x 75% = $225 for food (you’ll have less décor)

B) $300 x 65% = $195 for food (you’ll have more décor)


Step 2- Next finalize your guest list and divide the number of guest into your food Budget to deter mine if you are serving a full dinner, a cocktail reception  or maybe a fun dessert party!

Example: 25 ppl invited Using both budgets

A) $225/25 = $9 per person for food

B) $195/25 = $7.80 per person for food


Step 3- In this step you can decide what option works best for you, if option B is not enough for your food then go to option A. meaning you will have less decor. Tweak and make adjustments at this step, However do NOT adjust your budget, that should never change! Another way to increase your spend per person is to decrease your guest count, if that’s not an option change the formality of the party to decrease the amount or type of food needed.


Example reducing guest count to 20 ppl, adds $2.25 ppl

$225/20 = $11.25 per person for food


Also think about food items you can prepare at home vs. purchasing pre-made food. A fancy bakery cake can  absorb a huge part of your budget, instead make your own and save half of what you would pay at a  bakery . Beverages, in cans and bottles cost twice as much as a fun punch or signature drink. If you entertain often, invest in inexpensive buffet plates and bulk glassware, in the long run you will save money vs. buying disposables. This will also leave more in your budget for the food portion of your event, and it’s better for the environment! So follow these guidelines to plan an event within you budget that you can actually enjoy without the guilt of overspending.


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day 11 

Holiday Party Budgets