Regardless of where you work, you’re likely to form a connection with some of your coworkers. Over time, it’s inevitable that some of them will leave you and the company behind, as they venture off to pursue other opportunities.
When someone leaves the firm, the head of the department may be expected to handle the task of throwing a going-away party. That’s a great task if you happen to like planning parties.
You can decorate, hire some entertainment, and purchase alcohol. But unless you want to spend your own money, you’ve got to stick to the budget your boss gives you. And it may not be very large.
Although you might want to send off your colleague in style, your boss will probably not welcome a bill for Madonna‘s day rate, Mario Testino, and 10 cases of Chateau Margaux. So, what can you do?
If you fear your budget will barely cover the cost of gas to drive to the nearest 7-Eleven for a box of donuts, don’t worry: You can salute your coworker in style and stick to a minimal budget if you follow these three tips:
- Hire local entertainment
Entertainment can be expensive; professionals don’t work for free. If you want to hire a band, and you don’t have any personal connections you can call to line up Led Zeppelin to play for free food and a party favor bag, you’ll need to find a local band.
Just because a band is local doesn’t mean they’re not going to be any good. The Grooves have spent the last two decades playing for Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Lexus.
Just make sure you discuss the set list with the band prior to your party, or you may end up with the Macarena and the “Happy Birthday” song.
- Scour the dollar store
Dollar stores are called dollar stores for a reason: Everything usually costs a buck. This means you can stock up on all sorts of decorations, like streamers, party hats, table pieces, and even napkins, paper plates, and silverware, at a reasonable cost.
Some dollar stores even have table cloths, fake flowers, and other items that are normally priced at much more in party supply stores. All it takes is a little crafty creativity to turn these dollar-store decorations into beautiful and festive décor.
If you’re serving wine, you can even find wine glasses at the dollar store; not just the cheap plastic ones, but real glass goblets. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars you’d have to spend on a party supply company that rents wine glasses for special events.
And you can use those glasses again for your own going-away party when you decide to fly off.
- Buy cheap beer and wine
Trader Joe’s is known for its cheap yet tasty Charles Shaw red wine, aptly dubbed “Two-Buck Chuck.” Although the price has risen a bit since it acquired its original nickname, the taste has remained grand for an inexpensive cost.
If Two-Buck Chuck doesn’t do it for you, there are plenty of other economy wines on the market. All you typically have to do is take a stroll down the wine aisles at your local grocery market to find decent wines for less than ten bucks.
Don’t forget to buy some beer, too. Though many people love wine, you’d be surprised by how many would rather just crack open a cold brew. But even if your budget is fairly limited, don’t buy beer in a can: That’s tacky.
Make your party fun
The best ingredient for sending your colleague off in style is to make it fun. You might not have the budget to turn your corporate office into an amusement park for the day, but your outgoing coworker will know he or she is appreciated, and that’s what the party is for.