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 parties. But why? There are creative ways to throw a summer party on a budget to minimize the cost. Follow along and learn about these Summer Party on a Budget tips.
It's all about planning when throwing an affordable party!
We love to have 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 and minimizing cost. 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.
2 kids = 1 adult
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 $10 to $15 per person, taking into account inflation. This would include drinks, appetizers, a 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?
Deciding on 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.
Making a theme can also help you streamline the menu. Some examples of themes could be:
- Movie night
- Hawaiian luau
- Pool party
- Pot luck party
- Outdoor games
- Fireworks themed party
Determine the meal.
Look through food websites, like Food Network, Yummly, and Allrecipes. I like to gather these recipe URLs in my Pinterest Party Planning board or print them out to help me determine the menu for the event.
Making a bar will streamline what you will need to buy. Below are some examples of bars for a party.
- Hot dog bar
- Burger bar
- Beach bar
- Ice cream or Sundae bar
- Mimosa bar
- taco bar
- Pasta bar
- Cheese and wine bar
- Snowcone bar
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 several creative tips on making your party as affordable as possible.
Affordable Hosting a Party Tips
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.
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.
Borrowing tables and chairs from neighbors also can save you big bucks.
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.
If you have decorations you didn't use from another party, feel free to throw them in the mix of decorating.
Also, look online and find party decorating kits to save you money. Below are party kit products I found on Amazon (affiliate).
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, ice tea, etc... at a party. Offering water as an option helps bring down the cost of buying soda.
Remember that your guests will most likely eat light.
One-quarter(¼) pound per person is usually sufficient for a guest, especially if there are other side dishes like potato salad and pasta salad.
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.
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 lasagnas 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 recipes for a crowd.
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.
Things like ice cream sandwiches can be easily made ahead of time.
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 of 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.
Make tea and lemonade instead of sodas.
You can even make your own beverage, like blueberry tea. Mixing them in large pitchers works nicely. Powdered teas and lemonade can be bought at a cheaper price. If you have enough glassware, that will also save you money on disposable products.
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.
Minimize liquor purchases.
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 mix 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.
Email invites to guests.
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.
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.
Update 2023 low-cost summer party tips:
Below are some additional Summer Party on Budget tips.
Make your own lawn games.
If you are a handy person, you can make a variety of lawn games with the excess wood you have in your shop. Below are some examples.
- Plinko-Style Bottle Opener Game - HGTV.com
- Crowd-Pleasing Cornhole - HGTV.com
- Super-Sized Tic-Tac-Toe - HGTV.com
Make Your Own Party Favors.
You can easily make your very own party favors from repurposed glass Oui yogurt jars. Turning them into candles or containers to hold hard candy works great for a yard party.
Below are some of my favorite party favors.
- HOMEMADE FRENCH VANILLA CHAI TEA MIX GIFT JAR DIY
- DIY TEACUP CANDLE PROJECT
- HOW TO UPCYCLE A GLASS YOGURT JAR INTO A GNOME STORAGE
- HOW TO MAKE FUN SOCK-STUFFED FAVOR GIFTS FOR YOUR NEXT PARTY
Buy candy in bulk.
If you want to give the kids or family a take-home treat, buy some individually wrapped candy. It doesn't melt and can easily be a grab-and-go item for family members. Some examples of candy that will not melt are:
- Red Hots
- Atomic Fireballs
- Gummy bears
- Fruity hard candies
- Salt water taffy
You can buy most of these candies in bulk, reducing the out-of-pocket expense.
Wow, that's a list. It's essential to take all of these tips into account to ensure the best Summer Party on a Budget. I hope this helps you get organized for your next affordable 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 "summer party on a budget" posts to help you with your amazingly affordable party:
Check out these posts for more tips on hosting a party on a budget.
6 Tips to Throw a Summer Party on a Budget - Money USNews
18 Budget-Friendly Summer Party Ideas - The Spruce