Bar and Bat Mitzvah Budget Survey Results

Posted by Heidi on February 21st, 2015 in Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, General, Party Pointers, 5 Comments
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What is an appropriate amount of money to spend on a Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebration? According to our recent Bar and Bat Mizvah Budget Survey, celebrations have a wide range of starting budgets. Most of you admit that while you had a starting number in mind, this number is not where you actually finished. A common comment among those surveyed was, “Things cost more money than you think”.  So let’s dig a bit deeper and see why.

How did you arrive at your budgets? Over 60% of you tell us that you relied on your family and friends for budget advice. A little over 40% admit to digging a bit deeper and researching what things actually cost before putting a budget together. Some acknowledge they simply guessed what they thought it would or should cost. Less than 10% of those surveyed spoke to an event professional about what things cost before determining a budget.  Our question is, how reliable was the advice you received from your family and friends?

RoomPicVIPSo just what is a ‘typical’ budget for a Bar and Bat Mitzvah Celebration in 2015?  Our survey results find a very wide range of answers with budgets starting at $10,000 and climbing as high as $75,000.  The top range for a starting budget appears to be $25,000-$29,999. Close behind that, and equally divided, $10,000-$14,999 and $15,00-$19,999. Your budget is a personal decision. It is no different than considering what you are willing to spend when you buy a car or invest in your child’s education; each family is different.  The only right answer is to have a budget that is comfortable, yet realistic.

A whopping 96% of you used savings to pay for at least some part of your event. Savings can be defined asRoyal Sonesta & Uplights monies set aside for other purposes including your child’s college fund, your vacation fund or your retirement savings. 25%  relied partially on credit cards. We’d like to think that is to earn travel rewards rather than to add to debt.  25% of you received assistance from your family members (which in our experience seems rather low).

Event ExperienceOur survey asked you to rank in order of importance a number of elements that could be included in your celebration. To no one’s surprise, the most important elements are the food, the location and the entertainment.  And what party could go on without those elements? High on the list is also photography and decor, while the element that repeatedly was at the bottom of your ranking was videographer. Last on the list of importance in your responses was hiring a party planner and we have to admit that many of you probably think that hiring a party planner is expensive. However, did you know that party planners offer you significant cost savings, guiding you to vendors who are appropriate for your budget and style, saving you time and money?

Endless Gouping with 8 benches and ottomon 4 cubesSo what if you just can’t afford everything you had hoped to include?  Half of you admit to cutting elements out of your events, while more than 55% of you increased your budgets (and this was not mutually exclusive). Over 75% of you did things yourselves to save money. So if you can’t afford it all, what did you cut out?  Highest on that list is lighting, additional entertainment like novelty activities, and club furniture. Others cut the popular candy bars or custom stamps. Respondents tells us they sometimes went for the lowest priced items their vendors offered and a few admit to using Groupons.  If you are looking for another way to cut your budget, we suggest you cut your guest list.  One good rule of thumb to follow is if they do not know your child, then they do not need to be at your child’s celebration.

PostageWe asked you if there were items that you forgot to include in your original budget. First and foremost, postage; include stamps to mail out your invitations as well as the stamps for the reply envelopes.  Ask if the invitations you want will need extra postage due to the size or weight.  Also high on the ‘I forgot to include list’ is clothing and shoes for your family.  Others forgot to include money for DJ give-a-ways, caterers service charges, taxes, tips, security, hair and make-up.

Thank you to all who have participated so far. If you would like to participate in our survey, we will continue to keep it open and update this blog.  We also welcome your comments below.

Heidi Bloch Hiller is the Owner and Creative Director of Innovative Party Planners.  She has worked in the event industry for almost twenty years and has planned and decorated thousands of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  She can be found on twitter @innovativeparty.

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5 Responses

  1. Sheri K says:

    A great article. Though the family contribution aspect may seem “low” to you. You’d be surprised that fewer and fewer grandparents are donating to offset the expense of the celebration or religious aspect of the Bnei Mitzvah.

    • Heidi says:

      Thank you for your feedback Sheri. We are curious to know if others find that as well.

      • Kappy says:

        I have found that grandparents are not donating to offset expenses because they find the amount of money spent on these celebrations has gotten out of control and the true meaning of the entire coming of age is getting lost. It’s not about throwing the biggest party with the most stuff and grandparents see how in the end there are far more important things to donate towards that will last longer such as a college education or even a first car. I have heard of grandparents offering money to their children (not their grandchild) to NOT throw a thing ring circus! Great article – thank you.

        • Heidi says:

          Excellent point. It is our experience that when the grandparents are helping it is in situations where the parents don’t have the means and the significance and meaning of the day is not lost.

  2. Susan says:

    Here’s another tip re postage for the invitations. Obviously, if you use email invites, postage is not an issue. The invitation plus envelope really doesn’t have to weigh more than a standard postage in order to convey meaning, so paper weight and add-ons are also a consideration. We opted for phone and email RSVPs, thus eliminating the cost of reply cards, envelopes, AND stamps.

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