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Affordable ideas for party invitations

Your party invitations set the tone for your party. They are your guests' first clue about what to expect regarding theme, activities and level of formality. Therefore, you will want to put some thought into what type of invitation you want to send, how you want it to look and what you want it to say -- all while keeping your overall party budget in mind (no sky-writing invitations, for example).

Read on to learn more about some strategies you can use to create economical yet appealing party invitations.

Buy Off-Season and in Bulk

If you entertain fairly frequently and enjoy sending out formal, mailed invitation cards, it's a worthwhile investment to buy boxes of invitation cards in advance; that way, you can buy them when they're on sale, and you will already have them on hand the next time you need them.

They don't necessarily have to be invitation cards, either -- cards with an appropriately themed picture that are blank inside work great as invitations. For example, buy blank-inside Christmas cards in the last week in December, in anticipation of making up the invitations for the get-together you're going to throw next year.

Design Online: Free Printable Invitations

A quick online search will reveal some of the many websites that offer free invitation templates that you can use to design your invitations and then print off on your home printer. Your only invitation costs will be the card paper (or just use plain paper), ink, envelopes and, if needed, postage.

Go Paperless

These days, electronic invitations are an incredibly popular way to get the word out to your potential guests about an upcoming event. You can create a colorful and fun e-mail to circulate, or you can use an invitation website. Most electronic-invitation sites offer plenty of different designs so that you can still customize your invitations to look the way you want. As an added bonus, they also provide an RSVP function, either through private messages sent to you, the host, or through an RSVP forum for all guests.

And the best part: an electronic party invitation is 100 percent free, leaving you with more money left over to spend on party food.

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