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Graduation Party On A Budget

High school and college graduations are right around the corner. Throwing a graduation party may seem beyond your budget, but don’t give up yet! Find out how to have a graduation party without getting into credit card debt.

To avoid debt over catering, homemade cookies are a budget-friendly graduation party staple.

To avoid debt over catering, homemade cookies are a budget-friendly graduation party staple.

Budgeting For A Graduation Party

Even though you want to celebrate, it doesn’t mean you should do so with a mess of consumer debt to show for it. That’s why you need to use every trick you know to help your budget stretch. Between the food, decorations, and other supplies, party expenses can add up quickly. The first step is creating a graduation party budget.

How to Create a Party Budget

A budget lets you know how much you can spend which makes it an essential party planning tool. To create your graduation party budget, use your existing budget to get started. Find areas where you can cut back or ways to generate more income.

You also need to know how much time you have until the party expenses start rolling in. This will allow you to calculate your total budget costs.

If you can save $50/week and you have 5 weeks to save, that gives you a total of $250 to throw a party.

Party Planning Without Credit Card Debt

Now that you have a cash budget, you are way less likely to end up with credit card debt from party planning. Luckily, Pinterest board’s like ACCC’s Holidays on a Budget, offer a ton of resources to host a great party.

Keep the food simple. Catering can be astronomically pricey, and sometimes much of it goes uneaten. Ask close friends and relatives if they wouldn’t mind bringing a salad or a pan of ziti in addition to making your own food. Grilling is also a great way to feed everyone while keeping the cost down.

Make your own desserts. A sheet cake with his or her face on it could run you up to $200, sometimes even more. Use your baking skills to create your own treats that everyone will love. Homemade cookies can go a long way on a tight budget and you won’t be tempted to get into credit card debt at home.

Here are a few other ideas to hep you on your way:

  • Send evites instead of printing and mailing invitations
  • Use Spotify or another free music streaming service instead of hiring a DJ
  • DIY decorations- create cute decorations out of paper rather than buying expensive new party gear
  • Co-host the party for a few lucky grads and share expenses (be sure to talk about the budget beforehand!)

Graduation parties can be thoughtful and fun celebrations without overspending. Create a party budget to avoid consumer debt.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Michelle is a regular contributor to Talking Cents. She has taken several financial courses on debt management and is ready to circulate what she has learned from them as well as lessons from her own life- family to DIY projects to student loan debt.

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