Family gatherings and parties are always good fun, but with so many guests and such a large number of things to plan and purchase, functions can end up being pretty expensive events. There's no need to call off the family fun, though – with these tips you'll be able to enjoy some quality time with the people you love, without constantly thinking about the state of your bank balance.
Some of the best presents in life are those that take a lot of time to mull over, with this being especially true for gifts of the homemade variety. If you're throwing or heading to a family function where presents will be exchanged, think about making something that the other person will love.
Knitting, woodwork, artwork, poetry, even a song – there are a million things that you can create, and all will show that you truly care, more so than if you had simply having bought a miscellaneous gift.
Small, thoughtful presents
If you're buying for a bigger event – anniversaries or weddings, for instance – then instead of purchasing something big, expensive and flashy, think about buying a less expensive, yet more thoughtful present.
Consider the recipient and any fun or memorable times you may have spent together, using these as inspiration for your gifting. The resulting present will be loving, memorable, and far better than some glitzy gadget.
For centrepieces, place cards, bunting, and pretty much any other decoration you need, save money and enjoy a fun, child-friendly activity by enlisting the help of your kids! Paper supplies, tape, crayons, pens, paints, and glitter are all you'll need, and are far less expensive compared to the pre-made equivalents in the shops.
What's more, having homemade decorations created by the younger members of the tribe will really foster a sense of family and togetherness between you and your guests!
Of course, some of us don't have children, so if there isn't a ready supply of excitable kids to hand, you can always search out some cut-price decorations.
First, in January, make sure to hit the sales and purchase all of the Christmas decorations you'll need for the following festive season; you'll save yourself a huge amount of cash in the process. This strategy can be used for most seasonal functions – Easter, Halloween, summer parties, even national celebrations – and all you need to do is head to the shops exactly 364 days before the next event!
Notoriously expensive, weddings can be a real headache for those who can't afford to spend thousands - but there's a load of ways that you can cut the costs incurred during your big day.
Instead of heading to a country house, hotel or similarly-expensive location, think about hosting the wedding at either yours or a family member's home after the ceremony. This is more of an option during summer, when the garden can be properly utilised, of course, but if the house is large enough, a buffet, drinks, and even a small dance floor can be offered to guests. Community centres, church halls, and other less-flashy establishments are also inexpensive places to host weddings.
If you don't feel the need to have a large wedding, simply downsize! Invite a few friends and relatives to the ceremony, then head to a nice local pub for a few intimate drinks – after all, who said weddings had to be huge affairs?
Don't buy pre-made packs of party food from the supermarket, and instead opt to make it yourself. Buying meat, vegetables and bread, making the dishes and finger-food offerings yourself is not only cheaper than buying ones that you pop in the oven, it shows off your culinary skills as well!
Not sure what to make? A quick internet search or flick through a cookbook will yield some great recipes, and it's likely that they won't be particularly difficult or time-consuming to make as you might have otherwise thought.