How to hold graduation parties on a budget


Posted at Mar 21 2016 10:24 AM | Updated as of Mar 21 2016 11:26 AM

MANILA - Graduation is a special time not only for the students who have finally completed their schooling, but also for the parents who have invested time, effort, and resources to see their children through school. The graduate's achievement is as much an achievement for the parents, which is why celebrations are always in order.

Between the months of March and April, when most schools hold commencement rites, hotels and restaurants are busy hosting graduation parties. Many of these are lavish celebrations attended by large groups of people.

While there is nothing wrong with toasting the graduate, doing so without spending so much is a practical and equally meaningful way of celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Instead of spending a fortune on a one-off celebration, do look into simpler alternatives that can be equally meaningful without busting the budget.

Here are some ideas on how to hold equally meaningful graduation parties without racking up huge expenses:

1. Hold joint celebrations with other classmates.

Graduation is almost always a happy moment because you are celebrating it with classmates who are also celebrating their own achievement. Instead of holding a solo celebration, why not hold a joint celebration? Not only is this a lot more affordable, it is also practical given that the graduates will most likely be inviting the same set of people, and would be holding their celebrations on the same days. The nice thing about having co-celebrators is that the graduates can have a bigger party and can spend a lot more time together, instead of having to hop from one party to another.

2. Or with other family members.

A variation to the first option is to hold a joint celebration along with other family members who are also graduating such as siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces. By having just one celebration, expenses will be a lot less, plus you spare yourself the hassle of having to organize two parties. Having more celebrators also means more merriment and fun.

3. Have a simple family salu-salo.

Have a fun but simple gathering with the people that matter the most to the graduate. Keep everything low-key and stick to a budget that you can live with. To keep expenses at bay, hold the celebration at home or at another relative’s home, preferably for merienda which costs less to prepare. Better yet, go potluck to keep expenses at bay. Remember that it is not the food but the people who will make the gathering memorable.

4. Have a sleepover.

Instead of a lavish celebration, let the graduate have a sleepover with friends to celebrate their achievement. For the graduate, this is a fun, memorable way to say goodbye to his student years, along with friends. This will not cost much, and expenses will probably be limited to meals and snacks, which the graduate and his friends can enjoy.

5. Go on a family excursion.

Use your party fund for the family’s summer vacation trip. This is essentially hitting two birds with one stone--the graduate gets feted while the whole family enjoys a summer outing. Depending on your budget, you can opt for a simple weekend trip somewhere or you can opt for a more extensive itinerary that will suit the whole family.

6. Pay it forward.

For something more meaningful, do away with the graduation party and use the party fund for a meaningful cause or advocacy, such as supporting scholarships or funding the education of a child. This way, your party fund goes on to make a positive difference in the life of another person, and helps that person come close to also graduating from school someday.

7. Invest the money.

Instead of a party, take the money and put it into a started investment fund in the name of the graduate. This is one way of ushering the graduate into a life of practicality, while also giving him something to start with in his financial journey. For as low as P5,000, you can open an investment fund in leading institutions for the graduate. This is a very “grown up” way of celebrating which will not only benefit the graduate, but his future family.


Grow Your Money is an editorial partnership between and Citi Philippines to promote financial education and provide helpful information to Filipinos on how to better manage their personal finances.

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