How To Throw a Budget-Friendly Summer Party

Happy man serving meat while woman holding board.
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Summer is in full swing, and with vaccinations on the rise, many people are feeling empowered to host parties again, indoors and out. However, while your party goals may be big, your budget may not be. A small budget does not have to be a deal breaker — use your creativity, your ingenuity and things you already have on hand to pull off a summer party everyone will talk about. Think outside the traditional party box, and read on for tips to throw a budget-friendly summer party.

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Pick a Free Location

Besides your backyard or living room, there are a surprising number of places you can hold a party for free or low cost, particularly if it’s outdoors, according to The Spruce. Try a beachfront party with everyone bringing their own cooler full of snacks and drinks. Hit up a local park (consider county and state parks, as well) and bring camping chairs, take advantage of existing grills or reserve the picnic tables at a nearby campground in a lovely natural setting.

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Go Potluck

There’s probably no budget-friendlier way to host a party than to make it a potluck. If everyone brings a different dish, you could simply be responsible for the main dish or meat for the grill and benefit from variety, too. Most people are happy to bring something anyway, so it’s not putting your friends and family out, and it saves you on food costs, as well as meal planning.

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Keep the Menu Light

If you’re not going to do a potluck, consider a menu full of finger foods and small salads — foods people can eat with a toothpick rather than a plate. Sliced veggies and fruits with a few dips can be extremely filling. Or put out a meat and cheese charcuterie rather than a big meal with all the fixings, according to Cheapism. If it’s hot, people’s appetites may be smaller, anyway. Consider hosting it as a lunchtime party rather than a dinner party, as well.

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Get the Most Bang for Your Buck on Decorations

The costs add up quickly for parties, especially if you’re going beyond just food and drinks to include decorations. Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t decorate — just do so simply, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Stick to flowers and plants you can find in your own neighborhood or at a local farmer’s market. Consider shopping at a Dollar Store for inexpensive items to liven up tables, or enlist your kids in DIY crafts that cost very little.

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Make Pitcher Cocktails

Rather than spending a lot of money on beer and wine, consider picking two or three of your favorite cocktails and making a couple of pitchers, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Then, if people have a hankering for any other booze or spirits, they can bring their own.

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Focus On Fun Over Food

Instead of worrying about feeding the masses, give your guests something to do — from a swimming pool party to a croquet set — activities that can be done in warm weather that provide a focal point to your party other than food. And you don’t have to go out of your way to purchase equipment or games, just pull out the old board games in your attic or break out the badminton net if you have one.

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Last updated: July 8, 2021


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