Firstly, sorry about the break from blogging. Real Life has been a little busy (and stressful) of late. Anyway, things look calmer now so hopefully I'll have some more frequent posts.
Last weekend The King had his 40th birthday. This 40th birthday was celebrated well. Not just on one night, or two nights. No sirree, this was celebrated on at least three nights and some of the daytime too. Friends came from many corners of the country to join in. Some were booked to come, but due to Cyclone Yasi were not able to be here. They were, however, here in spirit and a glass or two was raised to them. Luckily the cyclone didn't do much damage and we are very grateful for that.
Friends coming from interstate meant that some were staying with us overnight and some were going to be here for mealtimes. Therefore my normal planning (see previous post) had to go into overdrive! I had lists upon lists. Lists for food for the party (fingerfood was provided - mostly homemade, it's cheaper and nicer). Lists for dinners, lists for lunches, lists for nibbles, lists for the shopping to provide the ingredients for the food on the other lists. Also lists for general housework, because otherwise I am useless. I like a list. I like to cross things off a list so I feel like I'm achieving. It's a good thing. Maybe a slightly mad, obsessive thing, but a good thing for me.
Obviously feeding anywhere from an extra two to an extra ten adults was going to make a difference to our weekly budget. Luckily we had planned ahead. Things I could get in advance (non perishables or things that could be prepared ahead and frozen) went into the trolley in my weekly shops in the five or so weeks leading up to the event. Two advantages here. One - I had things done in advance and didn't run around like a mad woman during the weekend. Two - when we got to the weekend the budget wasn't blown completely out of proportion, just a bit of disfiguration. When it came to shopping last Thursday for the weekend ahead I had it planned out like a military operation (well almost). I had four different shops to visit to make sure I could get what I needed at the best price - lists were written for each shop so I knew what to get there. It's all about the organisation! I managed to get everything we needed and we still had money in the bank. That's a plus. Also, because I am a big believer in "it's better to have too much than not enough" I have ended up with some food that I didn't use which means that the next shop will actually be smaller than usual as I have at least three meal options already in the freezer. Bonus! We also had planned on how many drinks we would need and made a special trip to a large chain to buy them cheaper. We didn't come near drinking everything so there is lots leftover. That will last us some time too.
Even if you are on a strict budget, you can occaisionally throw a bash or have a big weekend as long as you plan it well. It won't be spontaneous, but it will be satisifying. Give yourself at least six weeks (in reality I would have had much longer for this particular weekend). Meal plan, drink plan, make lists and buy what you can in advance, a couple of things at a time so it doesn't feel like much difference to your budget. Being organised in this instance will not only save you money, but also mean that you have more time to spend with friends and have fun!