So your child is about to graduate from high school. Congratulations! Watching them cross the stage to receive their diploma is just one of the many benchmarks a parent will witness in their child’s path to adulthood.
More often than not, the accomplishment is also accompanied by a graduation celebration. While a recent survey by a Minnesota-based graduation company reported parents spending upwards of $1,000 for their child’s graduation celebrations, planning a graduation party doesn’t have break the bank or be a stressful endeavor.
Keep in mind that the end of high school often means the beginning of a bevy of hefty college expenses, so it’s always a good idea to save money on the graduation party where you can.
For parents whose children insist on keeping up with their friends by hosting lavish graduation celebrations, this statistic may put things in perspective – close to 70 percent of parents reported hosting their child’s graduation celebrations in their homes rather than finding (and renting out) an offsite venue. That one change can easily save you hundreds of dollars on a graduation party, not to mention the stress of finding the “perfect location.”
Here are a number of other areas where you can save money while planning your child’s graduation celebration.
Venue – As we mentioned above, choosing the venue for your graduation bash doesn’t have to be costly. Having the gathering in your home or backyard can drastically help shave costs. If you don’t have an appropriate space in your home or a friend or family’s home, think about other free spaces like an outdoor park with a pavilion or a community center. Just be sure to pick your date and go through any reservation processes you may need as early as possible to get your choice date.
Invitations – Instead of going to all of the added expense of buying invitation cards and postage, instead, plan to use one of a number of free online invitation program like such as Evite, Paperless Post or Punchbowl. Another cheap and effective option is to create an event on Facebook in which to invite friends and family members. Just be sure to give plenty of notice by sending a save the date announcement first.
Food – There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on caterers, when you don’t have to. To avoid having to provide an entire meal for your guests, plan to hold your graduation celebration mid-day and offer light snacks. Finger foods are always a good idea because your guests be able to walk around and mingle and you’ll also avoid having to provide table settings for each guest.
Entertainment – These days we are lucky enough to have access to a number of different tech gadgets in our homes that mean we really don’t have to hire out to have quality entertainment for parties. Have your child create a play list of to pair with a speaker system to play at your gathering in place of a DJ or band. If you are having your celebration in your home, it might be nice to have a separate room set up with a gaming console for the kids. Another fun idea is to put together a slide show of photos showcasing your child’s journey through their high school years. This can be displayed to guests on a television or a digital picture frame.
Borrow Ideas – One of the best ways to get inspired for the planning of your child’s graduation celebration is to see what other people have done. Go on Pinterest and search “graduation party” and you are sure to find a wealth of cheap and easy ideas to incorporate into your own party.
Join Forces – Still worried about the cost or extra work of throwing your grad celebration? Why not spread the work around and join up with other families who are throwing parties for their grads. Not only will your dollar go farther, you will also have help for the after party, a.k.a. the cleanup!
Kristy Hessman guest blogs at yoursash.com a leading provider of graduation stoles and sashes.