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Friday, September 11, 2009

Partyphile Pinches Pennies

Partying can take its toll on the pocket. Sometimes, you get hooked with the fun, fabulous feelings you get when out partying that you forget to check on your budget. And then you wake up and it’s a week before your next birthday, and you don’t have enough moolah for the most fantabulous party ever. What does one poor partyphile do? Here are some money saving tips for your next birthday party.

Stay Home: If you want to save a lot, opt to throw your birthday soiree at home. Renting a place for your party costs a lot, so it would really help you save some bucks if you throw your party in your own crib. However, you have got to get ready for some hard work; especially if your friends could get rowdy after a couple of drinks. Partying at home involves (as you probably already know) a lot of after-party cleaning up.

The key to throwing a soiree at home is keeping the party in one space. If you decide to party in the garage (trust me, it is so much easier to clean up afterwards) keep the party there. Don’t let the party spill over to the living area, dining room or kitchen. Keep your guests, their stuff, and all your gifts in the designated party place. Allow no one to trash the rest of your house. It will not only save you time and energy (for cleaning up), it will also make the party more fun; with all the guests within your sight. Trust me, you don’t want to worry about your guests on your own birthday.

Great Gifts: When your friends ask you for gifts you want to receive, don’t actually blurt out products you’ve been eyeing. Instead, suggest that they could bring some alcohol or some finger food. That will not only save them a buck or two, it will also help you keep your guests satisfied at a lower cost. You could even ask them to bring specific types of alcohol like vodka or gin, so you could prepare, in advance, other ingredients you could mix with it.

Street Party: If you are on a tight budget and don’t know how to cook, you might want to try throwing a “street” themed party. You could buy some street food and serve it on nice platters. I recently attended a party where they serve fried intestines, kwek kwek (deep-fried eggs coated with an orange batter), cheap siu mai (those you could buy on the streets for 3 pesos a piece), and fish balls (which, oddly, never resemble balls). You could even hire a cotton candy man or sorbetero to serve some dessert on your party.

Good Food: Sometimes, all you need for a simple party is some good pulutan. Usually, people look for something salty when drinking so serve some peanuts, kropek, green peas, or chicharon. These Filipino favorites are cheap and super easy to find. Even on a tight budget, you could get creative and serve some cheap and easy dishes on your next party. I recently attended a party where they served simple crostinis with cheese and herbs. You may also try serving some instant sisig which comes frozen or in a can.

Carpool Party: If you are on a really tight budget, you might want to gather some friends whose birthdays fall on the same month as yours and throw a party together. What you can do is list all of your common friends and invite all of them, and then invite some of your individual guests. The key is deciding how many guests you can invite (aside form your common friends/guests). You can choose to invite ten or twenty personal guests aside from the group’s list of common friends. This is sure to save you a lot of money, but you’ve got to get over the fact that you’re sharing a cake.

Go DJ-less: You do not need to hire a DJ, all you need is a CD (or mp3 player) with gorgeous party tracks. You could even download a DJing software so you could mash up songs, or minimize the time spent waiting for the next song to start playing (because dead air just creates a lull in the atmosphere of the party). If you don’t have a gorgeous sound system, ask your friends to bring theirs over.

Forced Drunks: Serve some Gin or Vodka with juice (the ones that come in little sachets, ready to be mixed with a liter of water). This is the cheapest drink I could come up with, and it is easy to get the taste right. Plus, vodka and gin isn’t exactly easy to handle, so this will surely give your guests their alcohol fix in no time. If your friends, like mine, have acquired a high tolerance for alcohol, require all of them to drink a shot (or two, as I do) of pure vodka/gin as they enter the party. No “chasers” allowed. If this doesn’t get them buzzed in no time, I don’t know what will.

Taper the List: Maybe you should even consider tapering your guest list. Invite people that matter, and people you actually like. Do not invite guests just because you were introduced before or because you happen to move in the same circle, invite your real friends.

Invites Only: Make invitations. If your budget is really, really tight, just print out your invites on some colored paper from your home printer. Tell every single one of your guests that only people with invites are allowed to go to your party. If they did not get an invite, then they are not invited. And then require everyone to bring their invitations and present them at the entrance. I know everyone knows about this rule but sometimes, we partyphiles can’t get it through o0ur thick skulls. Again, explain to everyone that your guest list is very limited, and only real friends are invited; and tagging along uninvited friends are not cool.

Blow Out: If you can’t afford a gorgeous why not try sticking that candle on something crazily creative like a cupcake, a macaroon, a slice of pizza, puto (rice cake), a cup of rice, mashed potatoes, or even a lechon-shaped bread? This will set the mood for your party and tell your guests that it is going to be a fun and crazy night.

Remember, you are throwing a party to celebrate, and what you are up for is a fun night with people you hold dear to your heart. You are buying an experience, not just food, drinks and give-aways. So don’t worry if you can’t throw the most expensive party; just make sure that fun is your number one priority. Create a “log book” where guests could leave you simple birthday messages which will surely keep you smiling until your next big party.

I hope you find these tips useful and practical, and I hope you actually follow them for your next birthday party. And since I have helped you save up, maybe you could send me an invite? I swear I won’t tag along my uninvited friends.

Confession: Although a fun night with all your friends makes for a great birthday, sometimes, all you need for a great party is a cupcake, a candle, a pack of instant pancit canton, and the person you hold closest to your heart.

Catch Confessions of a Partyphile-- the radio show on 105.9 Mix FM every Wednesdays, 6 to 9 PM.

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