Saturday, July 10, 2010

The $30 Party

I'm getting back on track with my money management. I'm not in debt, really, just falling a little short each month. I still, of course, want to have fun! This may involve re-evaluating my version of fun, which I think is a great exercise.

A friend is turning thirty on Saturday. Big step in life! I gathered with another friend to plan her birthday party. Because it's such a short month and I've basically spent my whole paycheck, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do it.

I decided to keep it simple. First of all, it's a short party--just three hours. It's also a surprise, so that will make it that much more exciting. Surprises can be such cheap thrills! For festivity, I picked up a fifty cen birthday banner at the Dollar Store that is shutting down by my work. I can reuse it. Decorations in general are mostly just clean up and waste anyway, but I needed a little festivity.

For food, I decided to make pizzas. I made a ton of dough last night with a jar of yeast and flour I already had. I think it has turned out well, but only tonight will tell. I'm using spaghetti sauce for the sauce, cause I have a lot of it. Hopefully no one will notice! I purchased some mozerella cheese, which I will use in moderation on the pizzas. My 30-year-old friend is also a vegetarian, which saves money on meat! I have some vegetarian meat leftover from another pizza party, and also got onions, green peppers, mushrooms and zucchini.

For a cake, I had some cake mix in my cupboard. For some reason my mom loves to buy me cake mix. I whipped up a 4 tiered cake last night. I purchased frosting, which is actually cheaper than making it, and bought sprinkles and candles. The cake is beautiful in it's ridiculousness, which I am happy about.

The birthday girl also requested hummus and carrots and broccoli, which I gathered up for about $7.

I encouraged everyone else to bring drinks, but I have a little vodka and blueberry-orange italian soda to mix up.

She THINKS we're going to have a nice quiet dinner, so how surprised will she be when she comes over and sees ten of her friends?! Very surprised, I hope.

When shopping and planning for this party, I kept the following in mind:
What is ABSOLUTELY necessary to make this fun and nourishing?
What do I ALREADY have that can be of help? I contemplated making my own hummus, but am not good enough yet and didn't have all the right ingredients.
What will make this MEMORABLE? Hopefully the crazy cake and the surprise factor will help.
Do I need to go ALL OUT? No. Sometimes simple is better.

I'll let you all know how it goes!
UPDATE:  It was a blast!  Everyone seemed to have fun and enjoy the food.  People also brought a lot of little appetizers and beer.  Success! 

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