This year Vanity Fair made its exclusive Oscar party even more difficult to attend when it canceled the gala Los Angeles event. Graydon Carter, the magazine’s editor, announced the cancelation last week to show support for the then-striking Writers Guild of America, who days later reached a labor agreement with the major Hollywood studios. “We just didn’t think it was the appropriate year to throw a big party,” said Vanity Fair spokesperson Beth Kseniak.
Now Entertainment Weekly is announcing that they, too, are canceling their New York Oscar party. While these cancellations may carry political overtones, the reality is also that skipping the parties this year will save the hosts some serious cash. (In the past, Vanity Fair's party has reportedly cost as much as $1 million!)
Are you looking to tighten your budget this year? Whether the cause for cutting back is due to a pay cut, or the anticipation of a recession, financial experts say that personal budgets are made to be reviewed. “First of all people should not look at it as giving up things,” says Bob Nusbawn, a certified financial planner with Middle America Planning. “By spending less you can get a whole lot more out of life.”
For starters people should review their bills, says Aaron Patzer, the CEO of Mint.com, a website offering financial planning software. New plans and promotional rates come out every day for Internet, TV, and mobile phone service, which many people overpay for in the first place. Combining these services to one provider can save households an average of $300 to $800 each year, says Patzer.
Nusbawn also suggests a review of how much you spend dining out, buying daily snacks or coffee, and on entertainment expenses such as movie tickets and magazines subscriptions. As alternatives, he suggests renting movies or joining a service like Netflix, reading books from the library, and, if possible, home cooking. “If you annualize things and look at how much you are spending it shows you just how much you can be saving and makes you question if you are getting real value out of the things you are paying for,” says Nusbawn. These areas of potential cutbacks can even be applied if your Oscar party survived the writer’s strike this year. By cooking at home and celebrating with homemade decorations, the party will please your guests and your bank account. Though we can’t guarantee that it will offer the same excitement as a $1 million party in LA….
Then take those savings, be it a million or a few twenties, says Patzer, and make it work. Why have money sitting in a savings account that earns just 0.50% in interest, when it can be in a high-yield account that offers rates up to 5%? The Capitol One MMA, ING Electric Orange and HSBC Direct Savings accounts are great choices for accelerating savings funds. That way if they ever create an Academy Award for the best party on a budget, your name might be on the envelope.