Having a bar or bat mitzvah today can be an expensive prospect. Some families I know host what amounts to a mini-wedding for their children when they turn 13. But if your budget is tight, it doesnt mean that you cant have a nice event anyway. It just means that you may have to be more creative than your richer neighbors. When my brother turned 13, my mother was a single parent on a very limited income, and didnt know how she was going to afford to hold anything to celebrate this occasion. Yet my brother had worked hard for the ceremony and my mother truly wanted to help him commemorate the day in the presence of close family members and friends. She got on the phone and called every restaurant and catering hall in the area, hoping to find something she could afford. Finally, she was successful. A small, informal Italian restaurant had a weekday luncheon buffet that she could swing with a little effort. While this was a far cry from the typical lavish afternoon and evening affairs we were used to attending, it also had a much more relaxed feel, and after all, everyone likes pasta. The only centerpieces on the table were the shakers of grater cheese and hot peppers. And we heaped our food on plates that had red and green stripes on the rims. But what was lacking in the décor was more than made up for by my mothers determination to make the day special. So while my brothers bar mitzvah was certainly the most unconventional one that I and most of the other guests had ever attended, at least for me, it was also one of the most enjoyable. And I learned from my mother that you dont have to spend a lot of money for an event to be memorable.