How to Host a Party on a Budget

People often feel hosting a party can cost more than they can afford. It's easy to spend when preparing for a party; the dollars add up fast. But it is possible to have an elegant affair on a tight budget. Careful planning, a creative menu, and twenty-five bucks are all you need. Here are some tips on how you can host a cocktail party on a budget!

budget party

How to Host a Party on a Budget


Getting together with friends shouldn't be stressful! Remember the whole reason you want to gather in the first place is to spend time with one another! So try not to sweat the small stuff on this one.

The first and most essential step to keeping your budget is assigning your guests the task of bringing their favorite wine or beer. Alcohol is often the most expensive ingredient of any party. Take advantage of guests' eagerness to bring something and let it be their favorite beverage.

You can offer to have mixers on hand too or spice up the fun and add in a competition aspect and have a cocktail-making competition. Each guest can bring their favorite cocktail to share and you can create a taste test! 

With the drinks out of the way, you can focus on the food and presentation. Food arrangement is a great opportunity to show off your creativity. Go through cabinets and drawers to find interesting platters, plates, and bowls. Don't be afraid to consider alternative uses for pretty pieces, like a vase to hold long pretzel sticks or votive candle- holders as mini candy dishes.

Variety is important when it comes to the food you will serve; balance is key. There should be some protein, vegetables, fruits, and carbs, and don't forget dessert!

Party Menu on a Budget

party menu on a budget

A good charcuterie board is having a moment right now. Embrace it! Here are some ideas on how you can feed some friends on a budget!

Crescent-roll wrapped hot dogs: Wrap hot dogs with crescent dough and bake until golden brown. Cut each dog into 2-3 pieces and serve with toothpicks as well as ketchup and mustard dipping sauces.

Chili dip: Spread one brick of cream cheese on the bottom of a microwave-safe dish and cover with a can of chili. Top with a little sharp cheddar from your cheese plate, heat until bubbly hot, and serve with tortilla chips.

Fruit and cheese plate. One pound of grapes, three apples, a brick of sharp cheddar, and a brick of Monterey jack. Slice apples and cheese, then arrange on a large platter with grapes. Shop the produce sales and add fruit, nuts, and cheese that might be on sale.

Pro Tip: If you have a local Grocery Outlet, this is a great time to shop there first! You'll often find everything you need at a fraction of the cost!

Vegetable platter: One bag of carrots, a bag of celery, two red peppers, and ranch salad dressing. Take one red pepper, cut the top off and gut. This can be used as the dish to hold the ranch in the center of the plate. Proceed to cut your carrots, celery, and pepper into long dipping sticks and arrange them around the dressing. 

Snacks: One bag of pretzels and one bag of potato chips. Another great way to bring fun to the party is by having lesser-known snacks and chips to taste. If you've ever popped into a specialty store, you'll know that there are often flavors of chips {dill pickle chips anyone?} and snacks you've never tried. Why not buy a few bags and have a fun taste off.

A great way to keep your guests circulating is by spreading the food out, so be sure to put the munchies into several bowls and disperse. You could also offer voting cards for their favorite and least favorite flavors.

Cookies: Buy pre-made cookie dough and pop them in the oven about halfway through the party. Or premake the dough {this is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe} and freeze it to save time! No one can resist the smell or taste of a warm baked cookie.

party on a budget

Food prices can fluctuate slightly from location to location. Be aggressive in checking your local sale papers to see who is offering the best deals on the ingredients you'll need for your party menu, or better yet, plan your menu around what's on sale. 

As you can see, you can easily turn anything into entertainment from a chip taste off to a cocktail competition. Simply gathering with friends is the best reason to get together, you don't need a large budget to pull it off. Hopefully breaking it down like this a bit will help take some of the pressure off! 

So what are you waiting for! Go invite some friends over and enjoy your time together!

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