Whether you’re planning a holiday party, a birthday shindig or a baby shower, hosting friends doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to throw an awesome party on a tight budget.
Having a party is one of my favorite things to do!
2020 might have put a damper on some of our celebrating plans but as long as there’s a safe way to gather friends, you better believe I’ll figure out a way to do it.
Sometimes I’m in the mood to throw a big bash that spares no expense…and sometimes I have a tight budget with which to make everything happen. The party pictured here was a baby shower for my sweet friend Mary, who was expecting her second set of twins! I really wanted to celebrate this momentous accomplishment, but I needed to do it without spending a fortune. Here’s how I made it happen:
Make an inventory of party supplies, THEN decide on a theme
Most of the time when you throw a party, you end up with quite a few extras: a birthday banner, leftover paper plates, streamers, etc. Taking inventory of the supplies you have stashed in a closet somewhere is a great way to save money and help you decide on a theme for your next celebration. There’s nothing that causes more unnecessary spending than choosing a theme that you have NO supplies for!
Thankfully, I had lots of decorations left from a previous girl baby shower I’d thrown and so I hauled them all out and made a plan. Instead of decorating the entire house (pricey and labor intensive), I chose to make one dining room wall the focus of the decor, and place the food and drinks right along this wall.
Beg & borrow before buying
Borrowing decorations and tableware is a great way to stretch your dollar and luckily for me, I have a fabulous mother-in-law with a house full of cute things. I borrowed the drink dispenser and wire tree decoration from her which filled out my food table and helped pull everything together.
I knew I needed to make some sort of eye-catching decoration to frame the food table and decided that a balloon arch was about the cheapest way to do it! These balloons cost me a total of around $20 (I used 100 ballooons) and then I bribed my kids with a movie while they blew them all up. I used plastic jewelry filament to string them all together and the whole thing was done in under 2 hours!
NOTE: you might be tempted to purchase a balloon-arch kit from a party store or Amazon like I was, but they’re always more expensive than just doing it yourself.
Make a menu and price it out
If I’m on a budget, I almost always decide to do my splurging on the food; sub-par decorations are always a better idea than sub-par food! I decided that I wanted to make a bruschetta platter for this party and I knew that some of my favorite ingredients would take up the bulk of my budget.
If you want a great idea for yummy, crowd-pleasing snacks, bruschetta (also called crostini) is easy and super delicious! I just slice up a loaf of french bread and added the following toppings for 3 different flavor profiles:
- A little olive oil, sliced tomates, fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic glaze (I forgot the glaze when making them this time but it’s the best part!)
- Fig jam, goat cheese and prosciutto
- Goat cheese, Granny Smith apple slices, chopped pecans (or walnuts) and a drizzle of honey
Decide ahead of time what ingredients you want to splurge on (I usually choose good meats and cheeses), and then find discounted versions of the rest.
I filled in the rest of the food table with a platter of cut vegetables and ranch dip, homemade cookies (this is the best recipe ever!) and a batch of bacon wrapped dates filled with goat cheese. YUM!
Remember your party goal
It’s really easy to get caught up in the decorations, food, music and cleanliness of your house before hosting a get-together but in reality, your guests don’t care much about these things!
People come to a party to celebrate so if you find yourself stressing over your lack of budget or time to prep, just take a deep breath and realize that guests will have a good time no matter what the party looks like.
I hope these tips help you throw an awesome party on a tight budget. Happy celebrating!
You might also like this post on how we cut our household spending by 30%!