With summer in full swing and enough warm weather to go around, what better time than now to throw a summer party? From pool parties, to bonfires, to luaus, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate the season. Although there are many options for festivities, we should keep our budgets in mind when throwing the perfect summer party. Lucky for us, we live in an age where information is at our fingertips. Many of us can even spend hours at a time perusing the web searching for just about anything. It just takes one simple Google search to find everything we need to not only plan the perfect summer party, but to do so on a budget. To take this one step further, we looked to social media to help us find party ideas and deals that will allow us to make our dreams a reality without breaking the budget. Where to Find Discounts For many of us, when we think of social media, we think of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. We’re used to using these sites to stay up-to-date on the lives of our friends and family, while sharing our own stories from time to time. One thing that we may forget about is the fact that social media is now a great resource for companies to use for showcasing their products, services, and most important, their deals. Although many businesses are still working on their social media game, it is not uncommon to find a number of discounts, coupons, giveaways and other special offers on company Facebook or Twitter pages. These serve as a way to help you save money while also bringing you to their pages, which benefits both parties involved. Some companies will even offer special deals to social media audiences, meaning you will not find them in print or even in email. When all you have to do is “like” or “follow” a company, this simple money-saving opportunity is almost too good to pass up. On top of these deals, many companies also use their social media pages to run contests. Although many people may enter, free is free when it comes to entering a contest at no cost with the potential to win a great product or service. If you’re really lucky, you might even be able to find a contest that could host your party for you. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts to read when you follow a lot of companies, try following a discount aggregator page on Twitter or Facebook instead. You can find out about a number of discounts by following pages like Coupon Cabin (@CouponCabin) on Twitter, or follow discount aggregators that post deals specific to your party needs, such as grocery savings or deals on home improvement supplies. For example, if you’re planning a summer trip, you’ll want to follow an aggregator page like Cheapflights (@Cheapflights) to easily keep an eye on travel deals. Money-Saving Ideas On top of saving you money through discounts, social media can also help you save money by providing cost-effective alternatives to otherwise pricy items. For example, if you’ve ever spent more than five minutes on Pinterest, you’ve probably come across at least 20 different meal ideas and crafts that you’d like to try. Your summer party could be the perfect place to try these Pinterest decorations, snacks and party favors that you’ve always had your eye on. By purchasing the individual components and making these items yourself, you’re not only bound to save a significant amount of money in the long run, but you’re also likely to impress your guests with your creativity and thriftiness. Social media is also a great place to learn about the products and websites that your friends and family members swear by. Maybe you have a coupon-cutting cousin or a crafty sister, either way, by taking their advice, you could get useful tips as well as recommendations on sites and businesses that offer the things you’ll need at a low cost. Another way to utilize social media while planning a party is by making it the primary place to RSVP. A simple Facebook event can do just that, which will allow you to get a good estimate on how many people will be coming. This will help you decide what supplies you’ll need and how many, preventing you from purchasing too much or too little. You can also create a Facebook poll within the event page to help you pick your party’s theme, food offerings and much more. Considering they’re the ones who will be enjoying the festivities, they should provide good insight on what you should look for when making party decisions. Financial Management A major component of saving money for your summer event is knowing your budget. Social media will assist you along the way, but don’t forget the big picture. Traditional money management sites such as the one provided by your financial institution or other third party sites can help you track your savings, preventing you from going overboard. By knowing your limits, you will be able to make the decisions that will keep you from breaking the bank. You can also check out your financial institution on social media for helpful financial tools and tips. By following them online, you can find out about things like financial seminars and upcoming promotions designed to increase your financial literacy. Experts like Jean Chatzky (@JeanChatzky) and blogs like Wise Bread (@wisebread) also offer up tons of free, useful financial advice on Twitter and Facebook. There are many experts on social media now, so don’t be afraid to see what they can offer you. Final Advice With social media on your side, you don’t have to be rich to have a little fun this summer. With a little creativity and a goal in mind, you can make your summer party a memorable one, so go out and do it!
Sarah Bohan is the Vice President Corporate Relations at MSU Federal Credit Union. MSUFCU's headquarters are at 3777 West Road East Lansing, MI 48823. Contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 333-2208.