5 Frugal Ways to Celebrate


to celebrateLooking forward to celebrating that birthday or special event with friends and family? Are you worried that your budget will make it difficult to plan a memorable celebration? By thinking out of the box and using items you already have, you can create lasting memories without breaking the bank.

Make a this is your life media presentation

There is no way better to celebrate a milestone like baby’s first year or the graduation of a child than a video presentation.  A cell phone is all you need however, a quality digital camera and a video production program like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker will make the job a snap. Graduation is a perfect time to celebrate your child’s accomplishment and a time to reflect on those special shared moments captured on film.  A nice way to do this is to create a timeline of photographs from birth to graduation. Add the perfect soundtrack and be sure to make lots of popcorn or for an extra special touch, show the movie outdoors at night!

Pack a picnic meal and go someplace special

A picnic can be a great way to celebrate.  When we were kids, we would always enjoy going to the park for picnics. When packing your picnic meal, choose foods that can be served at room temperature and can be eaten with nothing more than your fingers. Some foods that do well without spoiling are: fruit salads, cheeses, french bread, pasta salad, veggies, nuts, and baked goods.   Make sure you check local ordinances as some parks and outdoor events like concerts do not allow food and alcohol. Don’t forget to pack the frisbee!

Invite Friends to a Themed Potluck

There is nothing more special than combining a favorite food and friends to celebrate. To add a frugal twist, try a potluck gathering and ask everybody to bring a dish centered around a theme like a Hawaiian Luau Party or a favorite hobby. For instance, let’s say the guest of honor has a passion for tinkering with old cars. Send homemade invitations with a picture of his or her favorite car on the front and ask guests to dress as mechanics. Check your local thrift shop for a mechanics shirt, bib overalls, or a nice auto themed hat! For the rest, try some recipes from Mel’s Diner , download the music track from American Graffiti, and then enjoy each other’s company around the table.

Write a Special Message on Car Windows

Making someone’s day special does not have to cost a lot of money. For the cost of a Starbucks you can purchase a set of window markers and brighten someones day by writing a message on a car window. Not only will they know how special they are to you, so will everybody else!

Name a Day After Them

Want to impress that someone special?  How does their own day sound? Start by creating a Facebook page with photos and send invites to friends. This will obviously need to be planned in advance and you may want to ask your teenager with help with Facebook since they are most likely an expert! To make their day even better, have the kids hang homemade signs up while you cook their favorite meal!

Readers: What frugal ways have you celebrated with friends and family?

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28 Responses to 5 Frugal Ways to Celebrate

  1. Johnny Moneyseed 03/19/2013 at 6:08 am #

    Pot luck = super frugal. What could be better than spending $10 for food, and then having people bring a TON of food to your house? I’ll tell you what: Nothing.

    • Paul 03/19/2013 at 6:35 am #

      We always bring something with us when we visit the relatives in town. What could be better than watching some football with friends and family and sharing a beer and a brat!

    • Midlife Finance 03/21/2013 at 9:20 am #

      I like potluck too. It’s a great way to get together with friends and share. It seems to be getting harder to get everyone together as we get older though.

      • Paul 03/21/2013 at 12:13 pm #

        Cleanup is a snap too!

  2. AverageJoe 03/19/2013 at 6:24 am #

    I love the pot luck idea also. Nothing better than sharing food with good friends at a low cost. Some of our best entertainment comes from just hanging out with others.

    • Paul 03/19/2013 at 6:46 am #

      With you there Joe. Most of the best memories of being with family and friends are of spending time with them. You don’t need money to have a good time!

  3. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce 03/19/2013 at 10:01 am #

    Great ideas, Paul! Will try some of these for sure.

    • Paul 03/21/2013 at 12:13 pm #

      Glad you found them useful Tony!

  4. Canadianbudgetbinder 03/20/2013 at 3:02 pm #

    One thing we enjoy doing is getting together with friends to celebrate special occasions but making it a pot-luck. It’s awesome trying foods from different parts of the world that we all cook. It’s a great way to start conversations as well because who doesn’t like to talk about food. It’s probably one of our favourite frugal party tips.

    • Paul 03/21/2013 at 12:12 pm #

      I agree with you on the pot-luck Mr. CBB, they are a great way to try different foods!

  5. Felix Lee 03/24/2013 at 12:30 pm #

    I don’t really believe in spending too much when celebrating. What is important is that you are celebrating special occasions or happenings together with your loved ones.

    • Paul 03/24/2013 at 5:19 pm #

      Can’t agree with you more Felix. I think spending a lot of money on material things sends the wrong message to your children and they will grow up expecting it. IMHO it’s not a good idea to mix showing love with buying material things!

  6. John 03/28/2013 at 10:10 am #

    I love going for picnics, and you can invite a whole bunch of friends along and its never expensive, only thing is you got to hope the weather holds out.

    • Paul 03/28/2013 at 9:23 pm #

      Me too John. Picnics can be a lot of fun. We used to have marathon volleyball matches and then enjoy a nice burger and a cold beer!

  7. David Smith 03/31/2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Thanks Paul. celebrations are common for families and friends. You are right that the key to a successful party is not the money you spend but the fact that you enjoy with your loved ones. You can celebrate in a frugal manner but still relish the fun and memories.

    • Paul 03/31/2013 at 9:28 pm #

      Looking back to when I was a kid, the birthday and holiday celebrations were all about friends, family and traditions. My Mother had a way of making celebrations extra special by baking a favorite cake for birthdays or helping my brothers and sisters make homemade Christmas decorations.

  8. Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths 04/05/2013 at 3:29 pm #

    We do themed potlucks all the time, and it turns out great. Definitely a better way to spend an evening with friends.

    • Paul 04/05/2013 at 9:18 pm #

      During football season we would watch the games and have potluck meals with the Family, I miss those!

  9. KC @ genxfinance 04/12/2013 at 9:06 am #

    A picnic under a perfect weather would be really nice. If we have something to celebrate with a group, we do potluck. We ask them to bring something in for sharing and we provide the beers.

  10. zimmy@moneyandpotatoes.com 05/21/2013 at 5:35 pm #

    I am always down for a potluck dinner with friends and/or family. They are always so enjoyable and you get to have several different types of food from different cooks. I would go with a southern BBQ theme for a family poluck as my father-in-law makes the best melt-of-the-bone ribs in Texas.

  11. Praveen @ Piggywise 09/03/2013 at 8:25 pm #

    If you can take a day off and spend time with them for whole day or cook for them :)

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