By Nici Perreault, GalTime.com
Graduation on a Budget common sense tips for saving money this graduation season
It's that time of year again! No, thankfully it's NOT the holiday season, but something else just as worthy of celebration… graduation season!
Most likely you know someone marking this important milestone in their life-- whether it's a child, sibling, friend, or even yourself.
With graduation season comes graduation parties and just like the holiday season-these get togethers can threaten to put a dent in your bank account. Whether you are hosting a party or have to bring a gift to someone else's, you can avoid the stress that this season can potentially bring and soak up the fun (and sun!) while celebrating with those most important to you.
Throwing a graduation party doesn't have to be expensive. These money experts have identified party planning tips to stay within your budget.
Frugal Graduation Party Planning Tips
• Teri Gault, CEO and founder of The Grocery Game suggests taking an inventory of things you may already have in your pantry, fridge and freezer and build your menu from there to save money on potentially unnecessary groceries. Once you have decided on your menu, start gathering as soon as possible. Take advantage of the best sales each week. This way you can gather things you need over the course of a few weeks and it will also save you the panic of a last minute rush. Teri also suggests checking deals at your local drugstore for sales on party snacks, food, and paper products.
• Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of Consolidated Credit also has many practical suggestions:
- Send invitations online with Evite
- Find a free location such as your own home or backyard. He also advises talking to your local church or community center if you want to have it indoors.
- Serve beer and wine only, a full bar will run up a large bill!
- Make your own decorations such as a photo collage and use ribbons of the school's colors!
- Bake your own cake-pick the graduate's favorite flavor and go to town!
Related: What Happens After Graduation?
Now that you have gotten your own party details down, here are some fun and unique ideas of what to give your graduates!
9 Thrifty Graduation Gift Ideas
1. A stylish set of pajamas - Look put together even while you are walking around the dorm at night. Regina Novickis, a consumer savings expert at SurfMyAds.com, suggests looking at Target Stores.
2. A Nike Sportband - This product tracks progress towards a fitness goal with a sensor that attaches to NIKE+ shoes. Novickis suggests this gift for any athletic grad, plus it can help them avoid ominous freshman 15!
3. A desk organizer/iPhone/iPod charger - Novickis notes that this well help save space in that tiny dorm room.
4. A personalized canvas - Novickis offers a way to brighten those bland dorm room walls and provide a little piece of home. Save 15%!
5. A piece of jewelry, a key chain, a picture frame or anything else to remember high school memories - Novickis suggests going to Limoges Jewelry and you can get 20%.
6. Allow grads to create a gift list of what they will need money for - Friends and family can contribute with Deposit a Gift, founded by Dana Ostomel.
7. Create a two-sided custom pillow - The Pieced Palette, owned by mom of four Jane Sheinfeld can stitch together the perfect grad gift. The front has the colors and graduating year from high school and the back has those for college.
8. Get a free preloaded gift card from Wrapp - Add anywhere from $5 to $20 to the card and post it to the graduate's Facebook page. The grad can buy stuff from hundreds of name-brand merchants. Once on FB, others can add value to the card!
9. A digital savings bond - On behalf of the U.S. Department of Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt, Katie Fitzpatrick suggests buying a digital savings bond. These bonds earn interest for up to 30 years, so they keep on giving! Print out a graduation-themed digital savings bond certificate.
Now that you have all of these money saving tips, you can thoroughly enjoy this special time of year with friends and family without having to be stressed or overwhelmed by the potential for holiday season like spending!
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