14 Creative Ways to Throw a Summer Party on a Budget

Sabrina's Organizing
by Sabrina's Organizing

Summer is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends. With birthdays, graduations and the 4th of July barbeque activities, it can be a pretty packed summertime, spending lots of money on hosting the parties. But, why? There are creative ways to throw a summer party on a budget to minimize the cost.

It's all about planning when throwing an affordable party!

We love to give parties in our smaller home. Our good size backyard is an ideal place for a summer party. In previous posts, we talked about various creative party ideas. From a Glow in the Dark Sweet 16 to a Large Bridal shower on a small budget, we talked about planning as being an integral part of making the party a success. Ask yourself these questions to help you zone in on what your party will be and how much you need to get everything you want.

Ask these questions to decide how to have an affordable summer party,

How many people will be coming to the party?

Decide how many people are going to be at the party. If there are children, assume that two children are equivalent to at least one adult when counting the number of servings.

How much do you want to spend?

Determining a budget range beforehand will give you some restrictions, but it will also spark some creativity. So, it is OK to restrict yourself at this point. I find that a good amount of money for a party of 8-12 people is $5 to $10 per person. This would include drinks, appetizers, main course, and desserts. If you plan on not offering one or several of these options, the cost will go down.

What's the theme?

Determining a theme gives you the direction that will help you find the affordable items you will need for the party. If it is after a holiday, you can purchase items that are on sale already. For example, if you like the color pink and the party is after Valentine's Day, picking up valentine's day colored items to use at the party could be an option to reduce costs for decorations.

Determine the meal?

Look through food websites, like Food Network, Yummly, and Allrecipes. I like to gather these recipes URLs in my Pinterest Party Planning board or print them out to help me determine the menu for the event.

Do the guests have food intolerances?

This question will severely determine the direction of the party meals since you will most likely want to please this person.

After you have decided what your theme and menu are for your party, let's try to save you as much money as possible. Below are 14 tips on making your party as affordable as possible.

Fabulous Affordable Hosting a Party Tips

  1. Shop at secondhand places for party supplies. Some of the items that you can find are platters, bowls, plates, silverware, and party trays. These items are very easy to find at local thrift shops and charity locations like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Call your closest location or check their website to find out if they carry the item you are looking for to use at the party.
  2. Ask family members to bring chairs and tables if you need them. It's OK to ask for help, so you don't have to spend money. Chairs, tables, platters, serving bowls, and beverage holders are great items to see if anyone has them.
  3. Make decorations with items you already have. Finding things around the house is an easy way to decorate. If you are a crafter, you probably have several different odds and ends that you can quickly put together for an elegant centerpiece. For a kid's party, see if there are any items in their massive toy collection that you could use for their party for decoration. These items can easily be incorporated into their theme. Use natural garden flowers and greenery for your centerpieces.
  4. Make three stations - a beverage station, a dessert station, and an entree station. Making stations help manage the number of items you need for these areas and you are more likely to spend less. Remember on average; people usually drink a minimum of 2 glasses of soda at a party. Offering water as an option helps bring down the cost of buying soda.
  5. Remember that your guests will most likely eat light. One-quarter pound per person is usually sufficient for a guest especially if there are other side dishes like potato salad and pasta salad.
  6. If you are willing to do the prep work, you will save even more. Buy bulk items like carrots, and celery, and make your dip from scratch. Cutting the veggies will save you a good amount on the extra cost when buying them already cut.
  7. Cook your meals instead of buying prepared food. This one may not be appealing to everyone, but it has to be mentioned. Some favorite and easy dishes to make are lasagna using the preboiled pasta, making meatballs, baking them, then freezing them, and making a soup that can quickly be frozen and defrosted in a crockpot the day of the event. Check out one of my favorite soup recipe for a crowd.
  8. Pick recipes you can make ahead of time and then freeze. My meatball recipe above can be made ahead of time which will give you time to find ground beef on sale.
  9. Look for meat deals at your local wholesale store like Costco or BJs Wholesale Club. Bulk buying is the best I found to get massive amounts of affordable meat at one time. At various times in the year, different cuts are on sale so keep an eye out. We recently purchased a pork shoulder for a perfect price, so we decided to incorporate that dish into the upcoming party we are having at our home.
  10. Make tea and lemonade instead of sodas. You can even make your own beverage, like blueberry tea. Mixing them in large pitchers works nicely. If you have enough glassware, that will also save you money on disposable products.
  11. Buying drinks at a wholesale store gives you the largest quantity for the price. If you want to, you can collect coupons for soda purchases by leveraging your local grocery store. BJ's Wholesale allows you to use manufacturer's coupons.
  12. Minimize the liquor purchase. If you want to have alcohol at your event, try making an adult punch. It will limit how much you need to buy when you only have one option for liquor. Look for drink recipes that you can use for the alcohol you already purchased. We tend to have a lot of sparkling wine, so we like to make mimosas.
  13. Email invites to guests or creates an invite for the private event on your favorite social media site like Facebook. If you want to create a customized invite, you can check out Canva's Invitation Maker tool. they have a variety of invitations you can customize. If all the invitees are on Facebook, creating a private event that will give the guests a platform for sharing is very helpful. This is great if you are doing a potluck dinner. People can share what they are bringing so there aren't duplicate dishes.
  14. Use small plates instead of large dinner plates. I have done this in the past, and it really works. People will not overstuff their plates so using a smaller plate will minimize the amount of food they will consume at one time. If you are having a smaller party, you can put out small appetizers and then only use small dessert plates.

Wow, that's some list. It's essential to take all of these tips into account to ensure the most affordable party possible. I hope this helps you get organized for your next cheap party. Please leave a comment below with your favorite tips when throwing an affordable party. My guests and I would love to hear from you.

Visit some of our other posts to help you with your amazingly affordable party:




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 1 comment
  • Ktu28004688 Ktu28004688 on Aug 05, 2022

    Where is the recipe for the beautiful flower cookies with what looks like fruit pie filling in them?