Today’s guest post is from Valante Grant, owner of The byDesign Network, a creative network specializing in Graphic Design. She is a writer for Chicago and frequently plans and organizes events. Valante lives in the Chicago metropolitan area and has one daughter, Vanyce.

Keep those dollars in your wallet by creating a theme for your party, and sticking to it.

One of the most stressful things about planning an event is the cost. When you add up the food, decorations and favors, it is easy to spend a small fortune to cover just the basics. Here are five simple things to keep in mind, that can help save you money while planning your big bash.

Imagination: Think about what your dream event would be like. Make a list of everything that you would like to have. Don’t hold back. Include every little thought or concept, no matter how farfetched it may seem.

This is your brainstorming session. So, give it serious thought. Of course, you will not use all of these ideas, but writing them down gives you a map of your ideal event and provides a great starting point.

Theme: Review your list. Group related ideas together. You may be surprised to see that your brainstorming, although random, will have only one or two dominant themes. This will help you figure out what you really want to do. Eliminate everything that does not fit into your theme. You may need to adjust your theme a few times before you get it just right.

Establishing a theme is the first step in creating a festive mood, and it gives you a focus that will help you stay on budget. It even makes the party planning process more fun.

Research: Gather as much information as possible. Find out where to get the things you want. Compare pricing. Talk to friends and family for suggestions. The Internet is a great research tool. Search for outlet stores or discount websites that have what you need. Check sales papers for deals. Make sure to research the location of your event. Even if you are hosting at home, it is important to maximize usage of your space.

Organization: By now, you have a good idea of what you want to do. It’s time to organize your ideas into an outline. Your theme will have subcategories. For instance, if you are doing a Hollywood theme, one subcategory could be rock stars. Another subcategory could be supermodels. Connect activities and concepts to the subcategories. You can also incorporate food, decorations and space into your theme. Keep the focus and the cost will be more likely to stay in check.

Plan: The more solid your plan, the more money you will save. Make your shopping list. Be very strict about including only the items that support your theme. Select specific stores for specific items based on the best value.

The worst thing to do is to go to a party store without a plan. You will want everything you see, buy too much, and you won’t even use all of it. Give yourself enough time to plan your event. You can get some great deals online, if you have enough time for shipping.

Rule of thumb: “Don’t pay full retail price for anything!” Be diligent about getting what you want at a price you can afford. This applies to food, decorations, clothing – anything that pertains to your event. Keep your focus and stick to your theme and plan, and your wallet will still be healthy after your event is done.

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Looking to learn more about how Eventbrite makes planning events easier? Check it out!

See some of our other posts from mom authors, including Julia Hartz and Kim Tracy Prince.

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