Image: Leon Elder

Bar and bat mitzvahs have become big investments in recent decades, and many parents are turning to do-it-yourself to save money and add a personal touch. But even DIY can get expensive, not to mention time consuming, if you aren’t careful. Here’s how you can go big without breaking the bank.

Early Bird Special

Your child may only be 10, but it's not too early to plan. By booking a venue a couple of years early, you may be able to lock in the current year's rate. Keep an eye out for Black Friday deals and other seasonal offers for things you may need, like salon services, clothing, and decorations. 

Free Speech

You don't need to mail a fancy invitation or spend money on stamps. Facebook allows you to create a private event, invite guests, and track who's coming. The same goes for invitation websites, like Evite and Paperless Post, which offer a variety of beautiful templates as well as tracking tools to organize responses. 

Decor Galore

Build out a Pinterest board, where you can visualize your ideas and research designs to avoid unnecessary spending. Fiverr offers inexpensive poster and logo design, and with Canva templates, you can create a design from your phone and send it right to your local photo or print shop. The Dollar Store, Trader Joe's, Amazon Prime, and Etsy will become your good friends. 

A Feast for Least

While people can and do cater their own celebrations, this is typically an area where you'll want to enlist professional services. However, this doesn't mean a spendy sit-down filet mignon meal. Opt for a dairy brunch or platters from that Middle Eastern place you love. Serve buffet style, limit (or eliminate) alcohol, and enlist that aunt whose cakes rival Martha Stewart's.

Picture Perfect

While professional photos are a time-honored tradition at bar and bat mitzvahs, you can instead rent a photo booth or create a photo station with silly props. Another possibility is to hire a student with a passion for pictures or to rely on a family member or friend with a good eye (and maybe just a good iPhone). 

Buck the Trends

It may be hard to resist the urge to keep up with the Steins (that sushi bar though!), but you can have a deeply meaningful celebration without deep pockets. Reserve a picnic shelter, host the party in your best friend's backyard, or book a school or community center space (all that Pinterest planning will go a long way). 

Don't Go It Alone

Ask for and accept help! See if family and friends are willing to put their talents to use. Be sure to have a real-life or online support network for troubleshooting, ideas, and venting. DIY doesn't mean doing everything yourself.

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