This is Planning a Party on a Budget

My brother graduated the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy this weekend. My mum, sister and I have been planning his surprise graduation party for about 4 months. I am a sucker for surprises, so we figured after the hard work and dedication my brother put into the police academy that he deserved a great celebration with all his family, high school and fraternity brothers.

With planning a party obviously comes money. My family and I don’t come from a lot of money, we work hard for what we have in life. So we wanted to plan this early and plan this smart. I was in charge of the decorations and found a lot of my inspirations through Pinterest.

I ended up buying some of my decorations from Amazon, but the rest I made by myself. Which for me I think this adds more of a personal touch as well.

I wanted to share with you all some of my ideas to show you that you can plan a party on a budget and still party hard!


This picture above shows the banner that I created. I printed each square, bought a string of yarn and blue sparkly clothes pins. In between each letter I printed out police badges. had custom banners that could be made and went for approximately $35. Instead I budgeted by spending about $8 on the clothes pins and yarn.

The caution tape I bought on Amazon, it was 20 feet long and was $3.50. I was able to wrap this around two other stations as well.

drink station.jpg

Picture above is another station we had for drinks where I wrapped the caution tape around.

donut break.jpg

I had to make a station for the stereotypical “donuts.” I found the name for the sign Donut Break on Pinterest. My mum got a dozen donuts that morning from Dunkin’ Donuts.


For the food table, I added little toy sheriff badges and a fake toy gun to give another added touch. I printed out the “Wanted By Police The Hamburglar” online and added this near the hamburg station. I bought yellow poster board at Michael’s. The post board was .99 cents and I printed that picture myself.

center piece.jpg

For the table center pieces I used fake blue flowers that cost $1.00 at the Dollar Store. Blue is the color of the police and a simple flower added a nice touch for the center piece. I had already had these vases so this was a cheap center piece!


For the beer stations I found this sign on as a custom plagque you could buy. To save money I figured why not print this out, will look just as cute. I glued this to a poster board that I got at Michael’s for .99 cents.

ice looge.jpg

The real entertainment was with the ice loodge. My uncle bought this for my brother’s party day of (this was part of his gift) so I am unsure how much this cost. But let me tell you this was a hit! We bought bottles of Dr. McGuillicuddy’s, Fire Ball & Tequila to chase those down the loodge.

balloons.jpgI tried buying police balloons at the party store and they didn’t sell any. Instead I ordered these online for $10, it came with 24 balloons. I dropped these off at the party store and had them blow these up for us. Cost about $27 for the helium charge.


My mum bought this pinata at the party store. It was just a plain silver star and I added a logo that I printed online to give this an official look. We filled this with candy and Dr. McGuillicuddy nips. The nips were a fun touch that everyone enjoyed!


I bought these photograph sticks from Amazon for $12. I figured they would be fun and a great prop for pictures. I printed “Smile For Your Mugshot” from the computer and glued this onto one of poster boards from Michael’s.



I received this idea from Pinterest. I made this “jail” out of cray paper. I bought two rolls from the Dollar Store for a $1. I printed out the letters for JAIL and glued these to the Michael’s poster board. This was a fun photo opportunity.

There are tons of parties to be had and planned in your mid twenties, so just know that you can still have fun and plan a beautiful party on budget!

The party was a success, we all had a blast celebrating my brother and his accomplishments. It was a great time spent with family and friends.



Four months of planning all came together Saturday and my budgeting and homemade decorations were a hit! My brother was very surprised. This is a memory we will all cherish forever.


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