With the way the economy is going we are having to do more on less and that includes family functions, church, school, girl/ boy scout, fill in the blank- you name it you will need to do it.
1. Plan buy a calendar the one that have the whole month and room to write in. Mine is a month at a glance administrator brought at walmart. Write in everybody b-day, anniversary, etc in it. Also put in special events as soon as you find out. The back where the address section is great to put special info on family/ friends info sizes, favorite colors what you have given them for the last couple of years as gifts, what you may have already got for next b-day-so you don't double buy.
2.Whats the boy scout motto- Be Prepared. Have a stash of presents that you brought on clearance, regift items this is ok just put who gave it to you so you don't give it back to the person or someone they know. So when you get a last minute invite your covered.
3.Controlling food cost. How many times have you been told last minute you need cupcakes for a class tomorrow or about a last minute potluck. If its a pot luck I know alot of people who either stick with drinks or paper products- both you can get on sale(and combine with coupons) and store easily. If its food your going to bring alot of times cake mixes are cheap and quick once your home to do up. If you do cake mix up but want something special most brands have a web site to look up recipes using there products. Just have everything on hand that you get on sell. Panera bread has even given me idea on what to do.
4.The party its self. Have 2-3 menus planned ie barbecue, formal etc on stand by. Try a different recipes on your family to get feedback on food. Then stock on items as they come up on sale. Keep it simple. When it comes to children's parties. You know when the kid was born so plan a little before hand and you will do better than pizza and Chunky Cheese.
5. The location- Look at different options sometimes back yard is just fine. Maybe a family member has the perfect home you can use, look at parks, museums, club houses, etc.
6. Miscellanies items- Sometimes you need to buy things like punch bowel, platters, tableclothes etc. Buy them at yard sales and thrift stores. Also stay with one one thing in common. If you buy everything in glass or cream cloth you can mix and match. Keep a detail list of what you are looking for,also make notes who you can borrow things from. Think out of the box for somethings.
7.Gifts- Keep a list detail list of interest, color, favorite things and what you give them for 4-5 years and right down next to item if it was a good match. Look through out the year shop at yard sales, regift items(just remember who gave them to you),sales and clearance, web site samples- make great basket fillers and stocking suffers. Collect instructions for handmade gift ideas. Sometimes for Christmas I might make adults the same item but different colors. Buy wrapping paper 1/2 after Christmas basic colors, recycle boxes and bows.
More to come...