Helpful Tips and Tricks for Entertaining on a Budget

While everyone wants to save money these days, it is no fun to cut back on entertaining. With a little creativity, you can still spend quality time with old and new friends and not have to worry about spending too much money.

Here are some suggestions for budget friendly parties to throw and how to entertain on a budget:

Have Dessert Instead of a Meal

Instead of choosing to serve a full blown out dinner menu with appetizers, main course, side dishes, etc. just opt to have people over for a dessert buffet rather than a full meal. It’s a great way to cut costs without cutting deliciousness.

Making several desserts to serve will cost much, much less than a full dinner menu but you can still enjoy eating together.

You could even have your guests bring their favorite dessert and have everyone vote on which dessert is the most original, tastiest, or easiest to make. This takes a traditional potluck idea and puts a slightly classier and more fun spin on it.

Cherry Cupcake Shot on wooden table.

Go for Brunch

Invite just a few close friends for a Saturday morning brunch. Serve waffles, bacon, and fresh seasonal fruit. Waffles cost very little to make and are a tasty main dish, and fresh fruit can be bought at a local farmers’ market very inexpensively when it is in season.

Complete the meal with coffee, milk, and hot tea for a cozy way to start the weekend and the perfect entertaining on a budget strategy.

Hold Gag Gift Exchanges + Cookie Swaps

Instead of a drawn out Christmas or Holiday party, throw a gag gift exchange and invite friends and family over for a cookie swap. At a gag gift party, every guest will bring a gift and a bring a dozen homemade cookies.

The cost for this type of party is virtually nothing, but there will still be lots of laughter and fun as you exchange gifts and goodies. You can serve frugal finger foods.

Variety of cookies for Christmas, cookie swap party.

Host A Dance Party

You’ll need an area either inside or outside that is large enough. Then call all your friends and invite them over for a dance party. Bring out your favorite music and crank up the stereo. This is great fun and excellent exercise as well! Set out tubs full of ice and chilled sodas and let people help themselves throughout the night.

Dance parties are great ways to really entertain on a budget and give your family and friends plenty of memories to make.

Got A Pool- Stay Cool

On a hot day in the middle of the summer, ask your friends to come over for a swim. Bring out the cooler full of popsicles(a fun treat and a great way to reduce the cost of food) and enjoy a lazy afternoon cooling off in the water. Play water volleyball, water polo, or other fun games in the water.

Pool Party sign with arrow.

Cozy Up When It’s Cold

When you have a chilly evening coming up, ask your friends to head over to warm up by the fire. Grab a few boxes of donuts from your grocery store, and serve them with steaming cups of homemade hot chocolate. Hot chocolate in the slow cooker is one of the easiest ways, and can be the most inexpensive way to make drinks for a large group. You can even make some fun Hot Chocolate Bombs for everyone.

As you enjoy your donuts and drink, sit around the table and play card games or board games as a group.

Two Families Getting Together At Home

Fun And Frugal Ways To Save On Your Entertaining Budget:

  1. Use mild decorations or decorate with white. White decorations tend to cost less than brightly colored ones. Use plants like succulents that you may already have around the house for easy decor ideas.
  2. Check your local Dollar Store or like store to find some decorations and party supplies. Look for table cloths or paper plates and other products. Depending on your location, you can find nice products for VERY cheap.
  3. Plan ahead- plan your menu ahead of time. This helps you find the best deals for your party menu and let’s you find ways to save a little more on expensive ingredients (use coupons, find sales on meats, bulk buy things, etc). Make a shopping list and stick to it.
  4. Serve a signature drink. Instead of stocking a full bar, offer one, maybe two signature drinks to your guests. You can buy the ingredients in bulk, saving more money and don’t have to buy a little of everything to serve various types of drinks to your guests.
  5. Cut the guest list- Limit your number of guests. While nobody wants to think about cutting out friends and family, this is one of the first things you should do when planning to entertain on a small budget this holiday season.
  6. Serve a bar- no we aren’t talking alcoholic beverages, we are talking food served on a bar (a cheap way to serve a bunch of food). Your guests will have so much fun plating up their own delicious food. Think mashed potato bars, taco bars, ice cream bars, donut walls, etc. Your guests can make the perfect plate and enjoy good conversation with friends- talk about cheap entertainment.
  7. Use free printables to decorate with. You can find so many online.
  8. Pick a theme you already have decorations for- no need to spend extra money or reinvent the wheel. You can casually reuse them and change it up a bit.

As you can see from all of these great options, having a fun visit with friends does not have to cost a great deal of money. Try some of these great ideas and come up with even more creative solutions for entertaining on a budget for your next party! Share some of your favorite ideas with us in the comments below for entertaining on a tight budget.

Outdoor entertaining party table decorated with text overlay.

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