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Setting the right mood and creating excitement at an event costs money, but some old-fashioned ingenuity goes a long way toward cutting expenses.

“You can sometimes do your own decor by finding less expensive materials or more cost-effective resources like using a printer instead of ordering signage through your local decor rental company,” says Kelly Parisi, solutions development manager for Spear One, a Dallas-based meeting and convention planning company. “Recently, we did a superhero-themed event and did the ‘BOOM’ and ‘POW’ signs by ordering the signs in bulk and gluing them to themed cutouts our printer was able to create fairly inexpensively.”

Certain popular event themes typically used for birthday parties lend themselves to saving money.

“You can always find items online or at your local party supply store that you can use for an event with a fiesta, superhero or Hollywood theme,” Parisi says. “Generic themes such as ‘Black and White Night’ or ‘All White Party’ are easy to pull off inexpensively, depending on how grand you want to make the event.”

In addition, flower decorations and centerpieces don’t have to be budget-breakers, especially for smaller events.

“Planners can save money on flowers by checking out a local grocery store rather than going through a florist,” she suggests. “Sometimes dramatic flowers like hydrangeas don’t need much primping. You can use tall skinny vases or candlesticks with bouquets on top to make a dramatic centerpiece that is budget-friendly.”

For those who want to incorporate a “green” component in their centerpieces, there are some intriguing money-saving options.

“You can easily create centerpieces from buckets filled with crayons, pencils and other school supplies to later be donated to schools and shelters,” says Joan Eisenstodt, president of Washington D.C.-based Eisenstodt Associates, a meetings hospitality consultant, facilitator and trainer. “Centerpieces made from vegetables and fruit can enhance an event and be donated to a worthy cause.”