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10 tips for budget baby showers

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By Allison Micarelli

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With the honor of hosting your friend's/sister's/cousin's baby shower comes the headache of paying for it. But there are ways to cut back without looking like you're cutting corners. Here's how to tune in to your inner recessionista.

1. LOCATION

Average Cost: 5% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Instead of hosting the event at a restaurant or club, offer up your home (or ask a relative or another friend to do so). You can also consider holding the party in a public space like a neighborhood park -- just make sure to check on whether the location requires a permit. If you choose an outdoor venue, you'll also need to put a rain plan in place.

2. INVITES & STATIONERY

Average Cost: 10% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Skip the snail-mail invites and use an online service like Evite, pingg, or MyPunchbowl. Guests will appreciate the ease of RSVPing via email, and you'll feel good about saving money and trees. (If mom-to-be's grandma and great auntie are attending, you might want to skip this suggestion.) Instead of a guest book, cut out dozens of stars from heavy card stock. Ask guests to pen their well wishes to baby. Later, paste the stars into a baby book under the heading "A Star Is Born" or "When You Wish Upon a Star."

More from The Bump: 30+ baby shower game ideas

3. DECOR

Average Cost: 5% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Buying in bulk is one of the best ways to save. Before you make any purchases, compare online warehouse prices to your neighborhood store. Instead of mylar balloons, go latex -- whether they're pink, blue, or another color combination, dozens of monochromatic balloons will make a big statement. For tableware, check out stores like Christmas Tree Shops where you can get dishes and cups for cheap. Find plenty of DIY decor ideas in our baby shower themes area.

4. FLOWERS

Average Cost: 5% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Head to a local farmers' market to purchase blooms and make your own centerpieces. A good way to keep amateur floral arrangements looking polished is by sticking to one signature flower. For example, choose white calla lilies or orange tulips. Use monochromatic vases in varying heights to inject personality into the overall look. Another option: Make paper floral arrangements. MarthaStewartCrafts.com offers crafting paper multipacks for under $20.

5. RENTALS

Average Cost: 5% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Holding the party at a home should eliminate the need for furniture rentals entirely. For outdoors showers, get creative with the seating options. Spread out blankets on the lawn and fill large picnic baskets with finger foods like tea sandwiches, strawberries, and homemade cookies. Keep in mind, though, that the mom-to-be will still need a comfy seat available to her.

6. FOOD/DRINK

Average Cost: 40% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Get cooking! Skip the caterers and head to your local bulk grocery store for discount ingredients. Even if you have zero cooking experience, a nice spread of finger sandwiches, cheese, fruit, and crackers shouldn't be a problem. Part of the hefty estimate is service and tip, so cutting out the hired help and letting guests serve themselves at a buffet will also save a bundle.

7. CAKE/DESSERT

Average Cost: 5% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Enlist family and friends to help with the dessert bar. Does mom-to-be's aunt make mouthwatering macaroons? Ask her to bake a few batches. Or set up a DIY cupcake decorating station -- you provide the prebaked plain vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, frosting, and topping options.

More from The Bump: Creative baby shower desserts you'll love

8. ENTERTAINMENT

Average Cost: 10% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Skip it entirely. This isn't a wedding -- strolling violinists aren't required. Make a fresh playlist that guests of all ages will enjoy and plug in the iPod.

9. GAMES & PRIZES

Average Cost: 5% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Forgo the kitsch and stick with games where all you'll need is paper and pens. Check out our list of top baby shower games for ideas. Let your floral decorations double as prizes -- winner gets the table centerpiece.

10. FAVORS

Average Cost: 10% of your overall budget
Ways to Save: Stick to foodie favors -- homemade cookies make the perfect parting gift. Package them with inexpensive cellophane bags from My Own Labels (48 for $4!) and a pretty ribbon.

 

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