Your next party doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive to impress the cool kids. Cheap doesn’t mean bland or boring. You merely need to plan more before you buy. Doing so will ensure that you throw a party on a budget.
Of course, you need some tips when it comes to planning. Being in the know will ensure you score the best deals and save the most money.
So, here are some do’s and advice for frugal fun and how to throw a party on a budget.
6 Tips To Throw An Awesome Party On A Budget
#1. Do Hit Up Friends
In the South, you always come with something to add to the party. Start your planning there.
Most people are happy to bring bags of ice, condiments, drink mixers, a six-pack of whatever, a bottle of alcohol, or a bag of chips. People who show up know that goodwill and a good time are at stake.
So start by reaching out to your guests and ask them if they could bring something to the party.
Go the extra mile: Most people are comfortable to help in the $10-15 range, reassured knowing they won’t have to clean up afterwards. Let them know what you need in advance!
#2. Do Consider A Cocktail Party
A cocktail party can cut your party budget in half. You balance the high cost of alcohol with not having to serve a full meal. Also, no full bar is required. You can even choose one cocktail as a theme (e.g., Mojitos from Cuba or Peach Bellinis from Italy).
Next, stock up on finger foods such as nuts, crackers, chips, wings, fruit, crudite platter, and cheese. Pick a great theme (The 80’s, the World Cup) or make it a game night (Poker, Bingo).
The next step is to send out invitations. You can design one with your theme using a free template and send out emails with Evite.
Go the extra mile: Pick the friend with the best taste in party music and put them in charge of the playlist.
#3. Do Serve One Type Of Alcoholic Drink
The next tip for how to throw a party on a budget is all about alcohol. Whether you invite people for a dinner or cocktail party, it’s OK to keep drink options limited. One type of beer. One red and one white wine. One cocktail if you’re fancy. T
he more “open” a bar, the more expensive it is. Besides, once the booze starts flowing, revelers care less about what they’re drinking.
If you choose a cocktail, gin, vodka and white rum drinks are lighter for the summer months. All go with juices and mixers. For example, a mojito needs light rum, limes (cheap), sugar (on your counter), club soda (super cheap) and mint (free if you grow it).
Go the extra mile: Bonus points if your cocktail is equally satisfying without alcohol. You still want to please those who don’t indulge. Santé! Cheers!
#4. Do Raid The Farmer’s Market
Whatever is in season is affordable. Whatever is in season is your friend.
When farmers bring goods to market, they can slash prices without the supermarket as middle man. Colorful fruits and vegetables grow in the summer and you can find them everywhere. For example, in California, you can buy $5-bags of 20 avocados from locals on street corners.
House Method offers these ideas for getting the most out of the farmer’s market in this guide for budget-smart party planning, including how to get the right meat for a good price.
Go the extra mile: Pick plentiful (i.e. cost-effective) vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes) for crudite or salsa and one juicy fruit (peaches) for a perfect cobbler. One trip to your farmer’s market or fruit stand and your food shopping is nearly done.
#5. Do Use Your Own Dinnerware And Glasses
No one says you have to use your wedding china. Still, dinnerware is nicer than paper and plastic. Thrift shops and second-hand stores are perfect places to stock up on glasses and plates. Clean and shiny matters. Matching styles do not. You can get a lot without spending a lot.
Go the extra mile: Cloth napkins. If you can cut cloth and sew a straight line, you can make your own. You increase the “warm and welcome” factor for your party with a little extra effort.
#6. Do Decorate With A Personal Touch
People who collect things (pine cones, seashells, Star Wars figurines) have an advantage when it comes to decorating: Readily available (free) materials.
Don’t think anything is weird. If you are consistent with this tip, people will show up excited to see hwo you weave your personal touch into your decorating.
Go the extra mile: Arrange them as centerpieces on tables. Add candles like votives, tapers, tea lights for ambiance. Voilà. Done.
So there is some great advice for how to throw a party on a budget. You don’t need to break the bank when it comes to hosting a party. Take the time to plan and incorporate these tips into your routine and you will be able to enjoy fun frugally.
For instance, one of the best parties I’ve even been to started with a friend calling and saying, “We’re getting rid of an old freezer. We’ve got chicken to burn. Come on over. And bring a bottle of Texas Pete!”
They were asking for help and telling me to come ready for fun. That is the best recipe for a great party at any price.
Hi, my name is Jon and I run Compounding Pennies. I’ve been interested in personal finance since high school and love writing and talking about it. You can learn more about me in the Authors section of this site.