Budgeting for Special Events

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Shot of friends having a dinner party at a restaurant

By: Rachel Quinn

An old friend invites you get drinks Tuesday after work, your niece has a birthday on Saturday, then your neighbor has a housewarming party on Sunday. You look at your credit card and suddenly all of these unexpected special events really added up.

Many people focus on cutting grocery bills, debt, and daily coffee when looking at their budget. However, the biggest budget breaker is often all of those unplanned expenses, especially during the summer when your calendar fills up with parties and trips.

You don’t want to miss out on all of these events, but budgeting for them can feel impossible. Don’t fret, here are a few tips to help keep that budget in check.

  • Plan All Year:
    • In the same way you budget for holidays, you need to start budgeting for special events. If your family loves to hold cook outs or last minute outings, you don’t want to get caught off guard. When planning your budget, set aside some of your money for a special event fund. By setting aside some cash, you don’t have to worry about blowing your budget when events come up.
  • Get Creative:
    • When you have special events close together, it can be hard to save up in between. This is when you have to get a little more creative to cut costs. Want to have a housewarming party? Have guests bring a dish to pass. Throwing a kid’s birthday? Have them help you make some homemade decorations or purchase decorations you can reuse. Need a gift for a friend? Try combing finances with another guest to purchase a more meaningful gift.
  • Look for Deals:
    • I shop for presents and cards all year long and have a special place in my home they can be stored for months. This might sound crazy, but hear me out. When I see a deal on something awesome, I buy it, no matter what time of the year it is. The key is to know who you always shop for at the holidays and for special events. Does your child attend a lot of birthday parties? Make sure to stock up on children’s toys or books. Do you attend a lot of barbecues or housewarming parties? Grab some extra wine bottles when your grocery store has a sale. By purchasing ahead of time, you save money and the headache that comes when you have to run to store 30 minutes before a party.
  • Learn to Say No:
    • The fear of missing out (FOMO) has become common, especially with social media. You know when your friends or family are hanging out and having fun without you. Seeing them post about the event you had to miss can be painful but the pain does fade. Learning to say no to minor events can help you plan for the larger events that really matter.

What tricks do you use to save for these unexpected special events?

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