Planning a backyard bash on a budget

Summer parties on a budget

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Having a party for the Fourth of July doesn't have to break the bank. There are ways to host a party without having to dip into your savings. Sheila Gunneson explains how just a few bucks can make for a great party. 

First thing is first, just being outside lifts people's spirits. By having a party outside and enjoying the good weather, you can bring smiles to your guest's faces. 

Second, keep your budget in mind when inviting people, the more you invite, the more it will cost. Keep the guest list small. 

Third, make it a potluck. Friends and family are often happy to bring their own favorite side dishes to your gathering. You can ask each person to bring something different and then you have a great spread after everyone arrives. 

Fourth, yard games will keep everyone entertained, whether they play or just watch. Many fun games don;t have to cost much, and you can recruit guests to bring their own if you need to. 

Fifth, keep the decorations and utensils simple. You can get tablecloths from your local dollar store, and use mason jars with simple flowers for the centerpieces if you want. You can also keep costs low by using plastic plates, cups, and silverware.

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