As summertime nears an end, many people think about having one last “hurrah” before heading into the fall months. For some that means giving a Labor Day party. The following ideas will provide a starting place to hosting a terrific party, without spending a fortune.

Set a budget. Determining how much money you have to spend for the Labor Day party is probably the first thing to do. Think about what you’ll need:

  1. Location
  2. Invitations
  3. Food and beverages
  4. Paper goods and utensils
  5. Decorations

Once you have an idea of what items you’ll need to spend money on, you’ll be better able to prepare a budget. For each of the above areas you can save money with a little bit of forethought and planning.

Let’s start with location. The cheapest way to host any party is to have it at home. By having your party at your residence, you have more control over who attends and how you decorate. You also don’t incur the extra expense of renting a facility.

Decide how many people to invite. Not only will this number determine how much money you’ll need to spend on food and beverages, it will also help you know how many invitations to send.

Speaking of invitations, with technology today it’s easy to send personal invitations to everyone you’d like to attend by using email or text messaging. Of course, you can also use a computer to make your invitations and mail them if you choose, but that would mean printing them out (paper and ink) as well as postage. Don’t forget to ask people to let you know if they plan to attend.

Food and beverages will most likely be the most expensive part of hosting a Labor Day party. Plan a menu and determine how much of each food item you’ll need. If you find the food budget getting out of hand, don’t be afraid to ask your guests to help. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a pot luck party. Let everyone chip in; be sure to make a list of who is bringing which items so you don’t have all potato salad and no desserts. This same idea can work with beverages, as well.

Paper goods and utensils may be an expense you’re not looking forward to. However, using disposables mean you won’t have to spend time worrying about your good dishes or having to wash all those dishes later. You can also coordinate your table settings and decorations.

And since you’re thinking about decorations, consider what items you can make at home. Enlist the help of your children to make patriotic decorations. Red, white and blue star garlands and Chinese-style paper lanterns in patriotic colors are easy to make and your children will probably jump at the chance to help.

Thinking about how to host a Labor Day party on a budget is good practice for other party occasions. Once you have the basics down, you can plan any party in the future. Consider these ideas and then have a great Labor Day party with family and friends.