Sunday, April 11, 2010

Graduation Party - at $1.50 per person

I'm super excited for my hubby finishing up his schooling this May, he's completing the paralegal program at a nearby community college and he's made the Dean's List! I couldn't be happier or prouder of him - and since he didn't want the graudation, I am planning a graduation party. Just inviting a few friends and his family - I'm anticipating a crowd of 20-30 people. Yep, he has a big family...and I'm just inviting the local ones.

My first step: Secure the location - we live in a 2 bedroom townhouse, so not a lot of room to throw the party. I've spoke to my mother-in-law and she's willign to help me co-host this backyard BBQ at her place, which (by city standards) has a nice sized yard. She's even offered to cover the soda and water - which is a huge relief to me. For me, that tends to be the most expensive part of entertaining!

Second step: Plan the menu - know what you have on hand to work with and look for deals on everything else you need.

Chicken and hotdogs/sausage on the grill ($8 - that's all I'll spend out of pocket on meat - I think I can manage that and I've got tons of free marinades to use)
Baked Pasta (1 large pan or 2 smaller pans - got everything, so FREE)
Garden salad ($3 - I'll grab whatever is on sale the week of)
Beans & Rice ($2-$3 I've got everything to make the rice, so I just need a large bag of pinto beans)
Baked Bean Casserole (got everything so FREE)
Tortillas & Buns ($5 - 6-8 dozen tortillas and 3-5 pkgs. buns) To get them this cheap, I'll hit the bread thrift shop down the street and the Mexican markets that sell tortillas for $.25 per dozen.
Condiments (got 'em - I've got loads of stuff for this! FREE)
Chips, dip, crackers ($5 - good tortilla chips, dip, guacamole)
Cake (DaMama has offered to bake 2 cakes - yippee)
Cookies & bars (got all the ingredients for them, so FREE)

Third step: Invitations. We'll go semi-modern on this one and do it word-of-mouth, text message, email, and phone calls. His family operates primarily on word-of-mouth anyway, and when there is free food involved, it's sure to gather a crowd. The only difficult part of this is it's hard to gauge how many are going to come - so I'll be planning for 30+ to show up. It's better to have too much food than not enough. Besides, if there are abundant leftovers, we can divide them amongst the different families attending and everybody's happy!

Fourth and final step: Decorating and gifting. I'm skating out of this one, since hubby isn't huge on fanfare, the writing on the cake and a couple of mylar balloons from the dollar store as a centerpiece and we're all set. I'll start scouring Kohl's for deals on dress shirts as a gift - hubby loves to dress nice, so a new shirt would be a perfect, non-fussy gift that he would actually use.

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