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Cinco de Mayo party on a budget

Who says you can’t have a super bash for this traditional Mexican holiday (mostly celebrated by Americans) without charging up a big credit card bill? Let’s get to work.


In Arizona, grocery store cycles are mostly Wednesday through Tuesday, so starting today get cracking on your grocery list. Most stores will have Mexican items on sale.

Take advantage of the deals. Look for canned beans, sour cream, avocados, fajita meat, chicken, salsa, chips and many other Mexican food staples for cheap. A lot of authentic Mexican food stores around the Valley like Food City, El Super and Pro’s Ranch Market, often have cheaper prices than those you can find at the rest of the grocery stores. You can also price match all of these stores at Walmart, so you finish your grocery shopping in one trip (See previous post on price matching 101). Or, if you’re expecting a lot of people over, consider having a potluck. You can divide up the dishes so it’s cheaper for you to focus on everything else.


The same thing goes for beverages, look for deals. Every time there is a holiday or at least a time where we like to have gatherings, sodas and alcohol go on sale. A lot of people are tempted with simply going to Sam’s Club or Costco and getting the big packages. Of course, it’s convenient. However, during holidays, grocery stores will run better deals that can save you considerably. As for alcohol, try the big liquor stores like BevMo or Total Wine and More. They also take advantages of seasonal celebrations to sell more at a better price. Drinks are also one of those things you can stock up on. Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are coming up. If you find a good deal on drinks, stock up so you’re all set for the upcoming party.

Or, you could ask each of your guests to bring in a beverage; it’ll help minimize your cost.


You can add the extra punch to your party by sprucing it up a bit. But it can be expensive to hit up the party stores. Instead, think generalities. For a Cinco de Mayo party you need green, white and red. Those are the Mexican flag colors. You don’t have to go all out and deck your party out with sombreros, but focus on those colors. With white being one of them, you can go generic on plates, cups, utensils, etc.

Procrastinating actually helps with buying decorations. The closer you get to the date (say, the morning of the 5th, if you’re having a late afternoon/evening party), the more the chances that stores will mark down themed decorations to get rid of their inventory. Perhaps the best tip: Go shopping AFTER the party is over. Of course, it’ll be too late for this year’s party, but you’ll be stocked for next year at half the price or even cheaper!

Things to keep in mind:

Saving money is mostly about preparation, but I also think of it as prevention. Holidays like Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Halloween can be dangerous for kids and pets. Keep kids safe by thinking up activities ahead of time if kids will be at parties like these. Have movies and games ready. Always watch them near the water, and, have a designated watcher, whether it’s a family member taking turns to always have an eye on the kids, or better, hire a baby sitter who can focus on letting you do the entertaining.

Have a plan for your pet so it doesn’t get overwhelmed with lots of guests, or doesn’t end up getting sick from eating scraps of food. It’ll save you on your pet bill.

Overall, have fun, it’s time to celebrate!