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more fun, 
ess money throw a party without going broke 
by Yee-Fan Sun 
1 2

So you're itching to throw a party -- but a quick peek at your bank balance reveals that your current funds situation is pretty dismal. You could reach for the ol' plastic and say screw it: party now, pay later. But personally, I'm of the opinion that life's a lot more fun when you aren't digging yourself ever deeper into debt. Still, just because you're low on cash doesn't mean you have to ditch your party plans altogether. Check out our money-saving tips for throwing a party without going broke…

1 Party-pool it! Why shoulder the burden of putting the party together all by your lonesome? Co-host the party with a few friends and you'll find that spreading the costs and the work load makes the party planning a whole lot less stressful and way more fun.

2 Skip the meal. When budget's a factor, time the party for way post-dinner and all you'll need are appetizers rather than a full meal. If you absolutely must serve a proper meal, at least make it easier on yourself by going the potluck route.

3 Keep it simple. Restrain yourself from going all-out Martha in your food offerings. Concentrate on just one outrageously fabulous show-stopper appetizer if you must, then round out the rest of the offerings with simple favorites like brie and crackers, hummus and pita, chips and salsa, veggies and dip. If your inner overachiever is still itching to make more of the food from scratch, try homemade chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Yeah, they might seem a tad pedestrian, but invariably they're the first things to get gobbled up by guests whenever I serve them. Simple baked goods are great when you're on a tight budget, as they're made from cheap ingredients you probably already have lying around in your cupboards. Try mini-sizing your cookies and brownies -- you'll find that they'll fill out a platter better and look cute and festive to boot.

4 Bartender's special. Yes, it might sound swankier to be able to offer your guests access to a fully kitted-out bar, but let's face it: most of your friends probably don't know much about mixing their own cocktails anyway, and you're likely to find yourself with big expensive bottles of liquor leftover at the end of the party that no one has even touched. Feature a single cocktail or punch instead of stocking a full bar and you can get away with buying only the ingredients you'll need to create the evening's drink special -- no waste!

You'll also find that the liquor stock stretches out a lot further if you provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages as well. Have pitchers of water (it's free!) garnished with a few slices of lime and lemon on hand, as well as plenty of soda.

sidle this-a-way folks! 

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