How to Throw an Awesome Party on a Tight Budget

Saving Money Throwing a Party

Just in case you missed it, the Super Bowl (which is a BIG deal for most people here in the U.S.) was this last weekend.

I spent Super Bowl Sunday at a party with several friends of my friends. It was pretty fun and everyone was really welcoming, but the whole time I kept wondering one thing: How much did they spend to have this party?

I guess it’s moments like this when you know you’ve really become a personal finance blogger. 🙂

Looking back on it, I’m sure the hosts spent a pretty penny in order to entertain a large group of people. However, there were a few things the hosts did to help cut back on expense without sacrificing fun.

Next time you have an occasion to throw a party, here are some tips to help you host a fun party on a small budget.

Skip Formal Invitations

I can’t remember the last time I got a formal invitation to anything other than a wedding or graduation. Most other occasions for a party are not very formal, thus they don’t require paper invitations. Instead you can use digital invitations for most events. One way to do this is with email invites via a service like Evite. You can also create a Facebook event and invite your friends to attend that way as well. Finally, you can call or text friends to remind them and find out if they are coming to your party.

Minimize Decorations

Most parties for adults don’t really require decorations. People know what to expect at most kinds of parties, thus decorations are not really needed to help “set the mood” for the party. But if you really want to use decorations, stick to the basics and use what you already have if possible.

You can use candles you already own to create centerpieces for a dinner party, and mix and match paper ware is just fine for most casual get togethers with snacks. Another great trick is to use a Sharpie to write everyone’s name on their plastic cup so they don’t lose track of it and so you don’t have to supply as many cups for your guests.

Simplify Food Offerings

At the Super Bowl party I was at the food dishes were all pretty simple. The hosts provided a delicious buffalo chicken dip (which was amazing), and a couple of main dish options that were vegetable-based. Using vegetable-based main dishes really brings down the cost of most entrees. They also asked guests to bring a side dish or dessert to share.

This is an excellent way to diversify your offerings as a whole, but keeping your budget simple. You can serve the main course, yet ask your guests to bring a side, appetizer, or dessert. It’s really a great way to try new foods, get people involved, and keep your budget in check.


Of course one of the most expensive parts of a party is usually supplying alcohol. It can be difficult to know what to provide for party guests as everyone has different tastes when it comes to alcohol. Instead of blowing your budget by stocking up on lots of different types of drinks, ask guests to bring their own. This way you only have to provide non-alcohol drinks like water, tea, and maybe punch for guests who don’t drink.

Having your guests bring their own alcohol can also keep some liability away from you. There are some instances if you supply a party with a lot of alcohol, you actually need to get a license as a supplier. It depends on your state, but they do have guidelines. BYOB is a perfect way around this as you’re not supplying any alcohol.

Hosting a fun party doesn’t mean you have to go all out with your spending. In fact, my favorite parties are usually the ones that are the simplest and cheapest. It’s the company that really makes the party fun, not the food or decorations.

What other ways can you think of to host a fun party on a small budget?

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About the Author Kayla

Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

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Leave a Comment:

Emily @ JohnJaneDoe says February 10

One thing I like to do for special occasions is have a little bubbly, but I use cava or prosecco, which are pretty reasonably priced for the quality. (Also sparkling grape juice, so the kids have their own special drink).

    Kayla says February 11

    That’s a great way to have something special at your party without having to spend too much!

Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says February 13

Asking everyone to bring some food is a great idea. I have tried this more often and I think it’s really as we can talk about the food during the party.

James says February 14

I use e-mail invitations or text, Kayla. I actually design my own invitation using photoshop, but I am trying to look for an app that would help me make an invitation more easily.

Ramona says February 15

We had a similar event, but not the superbowl. It was the New Year’s Party.

We all brought some drinks and a dish and, while the host did prepare something, it was clearly not as expensive for them as it could have been.

And it was great, I made some really tasty deviled eggs and a killer Tiramisu. While I’m not known to cook much, our friends were pleasantly surprised to see I delivered some pretty outstanding dishes 🙂

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