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Queen of Free: How save on summer party planning

Many of us will host friends and families in our homes or rent facilities to spend time celebrating together in the next few months.

INDIANAPOLIS — We are entering the spring and summer celebration season with graduations, Memorial Day, the Indy 500, 4th of July and Father’s Day all coming up, not to mention a heavy schedule of weddings that were postponed by the pandemic.

Many of us will host friends and families in our homes or rent facilities to spend time celebrating together. 

But the expense of a summer party adds up quickly. That's why Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free, shared her advice on hosting on a budget this week on 13Sunrise and in her blog.


If you have a graduate this year, you may received offers to order invitations for an open house. They come with little name cards and more. "Quite honestly, it was all a little overwhelming," said Cherie, who said you can use an online social media platform like Facebook or evite to share your event. But if you decide to print your own invitations, use a site like Shutterfly or Vistaprint. Just remember to use cashback site like Rakuten or look for a coupon to maximize your savings.

Welcome help

Friends probably want to bring something to your bash. So consider a pitch-in event. People won't bring their B-list dish, so you can count on a good buffet. Just make sure you coordinate with a checklist by catagory so you don't wind up with all desserts or too much of one thing. Sign Up Genius may help you organize who will be bringing what. Stick to simple menus featuring a main course, veggies, fruit, and dessert.  

RELATED: Queen of Free on stockpiling to save money


"When it comes to decor and party supplies," Cherie said to "look for solid red, blue, or black items."  Red features prominently in summer holidays like 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, and you can bring it back for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Black and white are race day staples, and black can also pair with a school color for a graduation party. After a holiday, look for discounts on paper and napkins for the next party. You can also hit Amazon for your party good needs. Be sure you check Amazon’s coupons to see if you can maximize their prices. 

Cherie also advocates using food as a decoration. Nothing says summer more than a beautifully-carved watermelon, and guests will enjoy the edible decor. 

"People don’t really require fancy decor or even fancy food," Cherie said. "They just want to know that they matter." So try to not to lose focus on trying to do too much for the party. 

"Focus on the people who matter as you celebrate milestones and traditions," said Cherie.

Watch Cherie's full 13Sunrise segment in the video player.

RELATED: Queen of Free: Saving money at restaurants

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