Tips for Throwing a Great Party on a Budget

Whether you want to throw a party for a birthday, major holiday, or just as an excuse to get your favorite people together in the same place at the same time, it can wreak havoc on your budget. Unless you’ve been setting aside money for the party or are willing to dip into savings, a party can definitely put you in the red for the month unless you’re careful about it. Here are some ways to host a party without breaking the bank.

Host at Home or Outdoors

Renting a party facility can be one of the most expensive parts of the event, and you can save a ton by hosting the party at your house. If your home or yard isn’t big enough for the gathering you’ve pictured, consider whether a local park may be an option. Many parks have picnic shelters you can reserve for a nominal fee or even use for free. If none of these will work, churches and community centers often have multipurpose rooms that are less expensive to rent than party-specific facilities.

Prepare Food Yourself

Hiring a caterer, ordering take-out, or purchasing ready-made food from a deli or other establishment is another way to break the bank with your party. Instead, prepare all of the food on your own. For a birthday party, serve simple snacks like baby carrots with ranch dressing, chips or crackers with dips, and of course a cake. If you want a meal, consider grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, which are relatively inexpensive, and serving them with cost-efficient side dishes like cole slaw and potato salad. You can even make fancier food for your party, especially if you stagger the preparation so many of the foods are ready a day or two ahead of time and just need to be reheated.

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Shop at the Dollar Store

Party supplies, like plates, cups, cutlery, tablecloths, and decorations can be expensive, especially if you order them for a theme you’ve chosen. Instead, consider starting your party supply hunt at the dollar store, which often stocks a wide range of party supplies. Once you know what’s available, design the theme around what you found. You can also use craft supplies, foliage, and other things you have at home to create decorations for the party. And if you’re hosting a small gathering, consider using your household dishes rather than buying disposable ones.

Play Party Games

Rather than paying for expensive entertainment, rely on fun, simple party games for the bulk of your activities. Some parties don’t even need an agenda because people will just mingle and let the party guide itself. If you do need activities, choose some games that will work with the size of gathering you have. You could play charades, trivia games, or for kids, classic party games like pin the tail on the donkey or creative outdoor games that let them run some of their energy out.

The best parties aren’t about expensive, extravagant fixings, but about warm hosting and a great group of people. Next time you want to host a gathering, focus more on the people and activities and find creative ways to cut corners on the costs.

What are some of your favorite tricks for throwing a fun party on a tight budget?