8 Tips for Throwing a Budget-Friendly Party

1. Make Your Own Invitations.

You can create invitations on your social media accounts, send an e-invitation via email, or use the old-fashioned method of calling your friends or family on the phone. You can also make your own invitations for those more special occasions and save on postage by hand-delivering them.

2. Choose Selective Decorations.

Decorations help create your party theme, especially for a graduation, birthday, or holiday celebration. Look for simple buys at your local dollar or discount store. Select a festive centerpiece, a decorative sign, or a theme-related prop that can be re-used for another party down the road. Keep your party planning budget in mind before you go to the store to avoid making an impulse buy.

3. Keep Your Guest List Small.

If you’re hosting a dinner party, you may want to keep your guest list at a minimum. Not only will you stay within your food budget, you’ll also have more time to socialize with your guests. Avoid preparing dishes that require expensive and hard-to-find ingredients, unless you already have them on hand, and keep your menu simple. One example of a simple party food idea on a budget is the old time favorite, hamburgers on the grill. Or, how about lasagna, salad, and garlic bread, or a chicken and vegetable stir-fry? If you’re throwing a kids’ birthday party, some simple party food ideas include finger foods, like pigs in a blanket, bite-sized pieces of fruit, mini-cupcakes, and ice cream sandwiches.

4. Go Potluck or BYOB.

By asking your guests to bring a favorite dish to share, such as a snack or appetizer, and/or an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage of their choice, you’ll get a wider variety of foods to share and stay within your budget. Make sure you specify on your invitation what you’d like your guests to bring, and follow up to make sure that you will have enough appetizers, snacks, and drinks on hand. As the host, you can also supply paper plates, napkins, cutlery, and your own favorite dish and beverage to share with everyone.

5. Have a Street Party.

What better way to get to know your neighbors better than by hosting a street party. In order to do this, you’ll need the participation and cooperation of several of your neighbors who live near each other. A different activity or refreshment should be available at each neighbor’s house, as you all gather at one home and then move on to the next. This is a fun way for everyone to share in the planning and fun of making the party the talk of the neighborhood. Some examples of home offerings include arts and crafts, outdoor games, a barbeque, or a special dessert.

6. Ice Cream Social, Anyone?

Party planning on a budget can also include creating a theme revolving around a certain food, such as an ice cream party or a make-your-own-pizza party. As the host, you buy the ice cream or make the pizza dough and ask everyone to bring a favorite ice cream topping, like sprinkles, chocolate sauce, or cherries, or, for the pizza party, toppings like olives, pineapple, or pepperoni.

7. Meet at a Public Place.

You can also save money by inviting your friends to a public place, such as the beach or a lake, a picnic area, a park, or a playground. Budget party food for these kinds of gatherings can be snacks, fruit, vegetables, sandwiches, and drinks. The venue will provide your entertainment!

8. Host a Game Night.

Game nights are an inexpensive way to have some fun. Get out your favorite board or card game, and ask your guests to bring theirs. Some party food ideas on a budget include finger foods, such as fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and meats, and various dips. Instead of purchasing prepared fruit salads and vegetable trays, which can be costly, purchase fruits and vegetables and you do the slicing. You can also make your own baked goods, such as cookies, with staples you may already have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator, like flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.

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