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August 15th, 2016

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9 Tips for Throwing a Memorable Party on a Budget

July 9th, 2016
Guest Blog by Kelsa Dickey
Financial Advisor at Fiscal Fitness Phoenix


9 Tips for Throwing a Memorable Party on a Budget

There are many times in your life where you just have to celebrate in a big way. Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, birthdays and showers top the list as the celebrations you usually have to shell out a little more cash. My husband and I had our first daughter on New Year’s Eve last year, so not only are we going to have to plan her first birthday, we are also going to have to plan for a New Year’s Eve Party.  

We love to host parties in general; wine tastings, game night and even a “Prom on the Patio” on Memorial weekend. People dressed up in old bridal gowns, bridesmaid’s dresses and Tuxes they bought at Goodwill and came over to dance and celebrate Prom, some 20-30 years later. It was a blast, but we really tried to stay within a reasonable budget and not go crazy. We used dollar store decor and reused items from another party and shopped for clothes at consignment stores.

As a budgeting professional I pay cash for as much as possible and avoid putting expenses on credit cards unless I can go and pay it off online immediately. With a little planning, preparation and forethought, you can make your party an event to remember, that also didn’t break the bank.

  1. Remember the “why” behind your party

Try to keep in mind why you are actually celebrating. You are celebrating your son or daughter becoming a man or a woman or the love of two people getting married, not trying to impress all your friends. Sometimes the parties that have a homemade and personal touch are more memorable than those that are extravagant.

  1. Pick 2-3 thinks that you want to be the focus of the party

You want to have a memorable party but usually there are only a few things that your guests remember and actually thought made the party.  If you find those 2-3 things you can compromise on price for everything else and not feel bad about it. You might want to just have appetizers and finger foods so you can dance the night away with a DJ with lights, lasers and smoke machine. For some people having an open bar is very important but maybe limit it to only wine and beer. Lastly, maybe you make the cake yourself but cater the food or vice versa.  

  1. Set a budget

Now that you have a few items you are allowing yourself to spend extra money on, think about all of the expenses you will have for your shindig. Here is a partial list: cake/ desserts, food (meal and/ or appetizers), entertainment (DJ or just a playlist on Spotify), venue (hall or backyard), alcohol (for a drink calculator go to, decorations, favors, etc.  Do some research and set a hard budget that you will not stray from. Make sure to overestimate costs because you will likely go over what you plan on. Make plans far in advance so nothing is an emergency and lack of planning won’t be an excuse to put it on a credit card.

  1. Plan your budget as far in advance as possible

Give yourself at least six months of planning. Yes, for real! Take your total amount you budgeted for the party and divide by 6 (or however many months out you are planning).  That is how much you have to save every month. You might have to start way further out than six months to make this work on a monthly basis. The end result is two-fold: you avoid using credit cards to pay for things and you pay extra close attention to what you spend so you won’t overspend. You have the cash in hand and you can’t spend any more than what you have.  

  1. Choose a weekday instead of a weekend

Most venues charge significantly less for a weeknight than on a weekend. Another bonus is that alcohol expenses will probably be a lot less since everyone will have to be heading to work the next day.

  1. Ask for help from friends and family

People love to help their friends and family. This is doubly true when they have a specialty that everyone raves about and you make a point to bring it up to them. You can ask Aunt Jane to make her “famous cake for dessert because nobody else can make it like she can.” Offer to pay for materials, ingredients and other costs. Some people are happy to do it for you for free or as a gift to you. You can put a friend or family member in charge of researching specific vendors. One person can be in charge of food and beverages, another might want to coordinate entertainment.

  1. Get creative with decor

The dollar store is a great place to walk around and let your imagination run wild. Get crafty if you have to by using Pinterest to find the perfect diy decor. You can find deals on Amazon or buy in bulk at Costco or Sam’s club. I was at a wedding where they bought mismatched plates and cups from thrift stores and used mason jars with votive candles in them for centerpieces – it was delightful and memorable. Love flowers? Look for seasonal and locally-sourced varieties for the best price.

  1. Don’t nickel and dime yourself

This is easy to do if you use your credit card for everything you need. If you use cash you will be very averse to splurging. You should try to get large portions of your shopping done at the same time, either on the same day or the same store.  If you buy one item from Amazon then another at Walmart then another few at Target it is easy to lose track of expenditures.

  1. Plan to tell yourself NO!

Remember why you are having the party in the first place and what your top three most important aspects of the party are. Everything else should be replaceable with something less expensive. Sometimes you need to say no to stay within your budget.  

Remember that parties are a celebration of a moment in time. Sometimes the smallest and most inexpensive parts of the party are the most memorable. If you plan on making memories for your guests, celebrating the occasion and just facilitating fun, you will have created the party to end all parties!  

Fiscal Fitness offers many options for financial coaching and advising; 1-on-1 coaching, workshops, coaching for small businesses, couples coaching, debt reduction coaching. For more information about Kelsa Dickey and her financial services at Fiscal Fitness Phoenix call (480) 788-4588 or email

Mustache Pretzels

June 29th, 2016


Great mustaches aren’t born – they’re bread.

Scottsdale-based food truck selling hand-rolled soft pretzels shaped like mustaches.

We’re going to sell hand-rolled, hot and fresh soft pretzels in the shape of handlebar mustaches, and we’re going to do it better than anybody in the history of the world…AND our trucks are available for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah party!

We here at mustache pretzels believe that you deserve a delicious solution for both your mustache- and pretzel-related needs, and we look forward to becoming your go-to provider for pretzels shaped like mustaches.

View More:

Original, Cinnamon Sugar, Garlic Parmesan and The Nutstache: Salted caramel with nuts!


2016 Expo Venue

June 3rd, 2016

Sunday, August 28th 12pm – 4 pm

We are excited to announce that the 2016 Mitzvahs and More Expo
will be hosted at the newly renovated
JW Marriott Camelback Inn Golf Club, Lakeview Ballroom
7847 N. Mockingbird Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

Lakeview Ballroom at Camelback Golf Club is their 6,100 sq ft newly remodeled free-standing Ballroom; perfect for private meetings, inspiring networking receptions or breath-taking weddings and mitzvahs. Lakeview Ballroom is located just 3 miles away from the main resort, and the secluded location will provide the perfect hide-a-way in the middle of Scottsdale.

Lakeview Ballroom features soaring 25’ exposed beam ceilings, three walls of windows overlooking the lake and 9th and 18th holes of the Padre Course, and a paved wrap-around patio and terrace with stunning golf-course views and gas-burning fireplace, ideal for outdoor receptions throughout the year. Camelback Golf Club offers complimentary self parking for all of your event attendees, and is serviced by our award-winning culinary and banquet teams.

Feel Alive

July 31st, 2014


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Prepare to feel alive!  Living Energy is an award winning, boutique event production company sure to deliver quality service with enthusiasm and dedication.  As noted on the Living Energy website:

“We have been designing, planning and producing events that get noticed since 1989.  No matter the event genre or scope, our mission is to provide exceptional customer service and deliver creative event experiences designed to meet the needs, wants, goals and expectations of our clients.”

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From creative event design to coordination, interactive entertainment to lighting production and AV rentals, Living Energy event management teams are ready to assist with any corporate, social, non-profit or school event.

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Living Energy understands that turning to the right team of vendors to make your celebration or corporate event run smoothly is paramount.  For this reason Toby Benton, Certified Special Event Professional and Vice President of Living Energy created the Mitzvahs & More Expo in 2010 of which Living Energy is both owner and producer.

“For anyone planning an event, our Expo offers a great opportunity to meet the best event vendors in the valley in one afternoon.”

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The Modern Taxi

July 31st, 2014

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Say goodbye to the yellow taxi-cab. Uber, a sleek and sophisticated car service available in cities around the world, has incorporated the conveniences of the modern age with the necessity for immediate transportation. As seen on the Uber website:

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 1.13.48 PMAll you have to do is download the Uber app and the process becomes quite simple, “with Uber, there’s no need to call a dispatcher or hail on the street. You can request a ride with the push of a button and track your driver’s progress to your location. Plus, we’ll notify you once your driver arrives so you can wait comfortably indoors.”

Laser Fun

July 31st, 2014


Stratum Laser Tag is an adventure destination! With 13,000 square foot laser tag arena, an arcade, and a café, Stratum Laser Tag is the perfect place to host your next event! As seen on the Stratum website:

“Due to its nature, laser tag inherently will provide a sense of team pride, camaraderie, enhanced communication skills, healthy competition, and a great amount fun.”

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Offering a variety of packages and added extras based on the client’s needs, Stratum Laser Tag is a space that is sure to bring both entertainment and a personal touch to every event.

Whether it be a birthday party, team-building or coporate event, fundraising event, youth group gathering, sports or school event, sweet 16, Bar Mitzvah, or an end of the year grad party, Stratum Laser Tag does it all!

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July 31st, 2014

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Kona Ice, a shaved-ice truck, just changed the face of fun desserts. With the ability to travel to any location, Kona Ice is the ideal vendor for any event from carnivals and fundraisers to weddings, corporate events, and Bar or Bat Mitzvahs. As seen on the Kona Ice website:

“Your Kona Ice experience will always be delicious and enjoyable. We pride ourselves in providing an excellent product, offering superior customer service, and putting smiles on the faces of children.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.44.35 PMBoth efficient and friendly, the Kona Ice workers bring a fun atmosphere to every event. As described on the Kona Ice website:

“A nice cup of shaved ice makes any event just that much better. We can serve these cups of shaved ice to more than 300 people an hour. And we don’t require electric or a water hookup to do the job. We’re a no fuss business because everything about the Kona Ice experience should be an absolute blast!”

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Motion Masters

July 31st, 2014

Though the memories will never be forgotten, most of the details of your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah are sure fade with time. The Mitzvah Motion Picture Company is a trustworthy and talented group of photographers and videographers, dedicated to ensuring that those memories last a lifetime! As seen on the Mitzvah Motion Picture Company website:

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Having worked in a variety of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs located around the country, the Mitzvah Motion Picture Company is familiar with all levels of observance, and is sure to capture the most important moments of each service.

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.32.37 PMAlong with a two-week delivery guarantee, the Mitzvah Motion Picture Company will capture the beautiful memories of your special day with elegance and expertise.

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Flower Flawlessness

July 31st, 2014

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With passion, artistry, and experience, Garden Gate Flowers is the perfect floral designer for your next event. As described on the Garden Gate Flowers website:

“Our services range from fresh floral arrangements to silk and dried designs. Whether you need flowers for your wedding, special event or seasonal home decor I can cater to all your floral needs.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.18.03 PM“Working in the floral industry since 1984, I bring years of expertise and an appreciation for flowers customized for you.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.10.23 PMGarden Gate Flowers is sure to deliver both beautiful and personal arrangements in an elegant and prompt manner to any event. Visit the Garden Gate Flowers booth #1 at our expo on August 24 to learn what makes Garden Gate Flowers so special.

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