Ask the Readers: How Do You Host Budget-Friendly Parties?

By Ashley Jacobs on 26 April 2016 52 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Lisa, Gina, and Matt for winning this week's contest!

Spring and summer are popular times for partying, especially the outdoor kind! But parties can be a lot of work if you're hosting. Food and drinks, supplies, decorations and entertainment -- you'll need to take care of all these things (or delegate the work to someone else and make sure they take care of it). It can also cost you a pretty penny if you need to buy things for your party.

How do you host budget-friendly parties? What aspects of a party do you usually make yourself (food? decorations?) and what do you usually end up buying from a store? Do you ask your guests to contribute in any way?

Tell us how you host budget-friendly parties and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For Extra Entries:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, May 2nd at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 2nd on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
     
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
     
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
     
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck! 

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
ShareThis

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


Guest's picture
Guest

My friends and I do a shared party, so everyone brings something, so that it isn't a cost burden on any one particular person.

Guest's picture
Mami2jcn

Pot luck parties, where you ask guests to bring a dish, are budget-friendly.

Guest's picture
Julie Wood

Have your Guests to Bring a Favorite Dish or Drink to help save with the cost of hosting a party on your own. Saves a lot of money for the host.

Guest's picture
Gina

I skip decorations. I cook lots of food and have guests bring drinks.

Guest's picture
Candice

Make big batch cocktails! Sangria is always a favorite since you can purchase cheap wine and make it look beautiful with fresh fruit!

Guest's picture
Matt

Host pot luck dinners or ask people to pitch in!

Guest's picture
Elena

I host budget parties by serving simple affordable foods

Guest's picture
doodled33

I have a lot of boardgames and card games. I buy games with a lot of replay value so we can play a lot without having to buy anything else. My friends usually end up bringing snacks and we batch drinks. It's a lot of fun and a great way to bond.

Guest's picture
Elle

Have the guests bring dishes/desserts with them so everyone contributes to the party and is budget friendly for the host.

Guest's picture
Kelli

I don't usually end up hosting parties. When I go as a guest I always offer to bring something to help the host(ess) save on costs.

Guest's picture
Jenny D

When I host a party I usually make as much of the food as possible. I keep the menu simple: pasta salads, sandwiches, veggie tray, a dessert, lemonade and sun tea. Sometimes I buy the ingredients for s'mores. Most parties are done in the summer around the pool and patio. I shop the house for decor. I use cloth napkins and real tableware, plus I have a stash of vintage tablecloths that I use. My husband likes to buy a small amount of new pool items every year, such a floodles and inflatables. Contributions from guests are always welcome! :)

Guest's picture
rjp

I always make a dish to feed the masses, Chili, jambalaya, or lasagna ect.. If I am the host I feel like I should supply the meal.

Guest's picture
amanda sakovitz

I have guests bring an appetizer

Guest's picture
Lynda

we live with the in-law's so we're actually not allowed to host any parties - cost $0!

Guest's picture
Renee

Pot-luck and/or BYOB usually works well.

Guest's picture
Lisa

When guests if they can bring something, say yes please! Then include their offerings in your meal/beverage planning.

Guest's picture
Monique

I try not to have my get-togethers be a burden for guests, so I take on the majority of provisions though guests are welcome to bring what they like. I make most of the food and use my own plates and utensils rather than disposable. I'll buy some booze and let guests bring some if they have special tastes.

Guest's picture
Pat Pierce

I make the main dish and the guests bring the sides. Usually we have something to grill or a big pot of soup. Saves time and money and clean up is easy.

Guest's picture
Eric

I welcome guests to bring dishes... it helps ensure variety and keep cost down.

Guest's picture
Donna D

When folks ask what they can bring I am very specific and cook reasonably priced meats.

Guest's picture
Susan P.

If I have a party for friends, everyone brings something and we have a pot luck for food and drinks.

Guest's picture
bomb57

Save on ice by freezing water in a couple of aluminum trays. Use a hammer and pick to break it apart before pouring it in the drink cooler.

I ask my guests to BYOB. I put out recycle bins for empty cans/bottles because where I live I get 5 cents back for every bottle/can I turn into the local recycling center.

Instead of buying cases of bottled water, I have a 5 gallon water jug that I fill up with tap water and ice (homemade). I run the water through a Brita water purifying pitcher before putting in the jug so it tastes cleaner and more like purified water.

For barbecues, I buy my meats from the local wholesale meat distributor because buying in bulk from wholesale distributors can save a couple of dollars a pound.

Guest's picture
Linda

During our first "snowbirding"winter, I learned that several couples in our RV park, saved money, time, and effort by having a dinner party every night!
So, if you have 4 couples, you cook every 5 or 6 nights.
One couple cooks one night and shares with the group, and so on until the 5th night, when all couples share the leftovers. If needed, simple no cook items can be added to round out the meal.

Guest's picture
Mary W

A great party needs a theme. We choose a fun theme such as Star Wars, The 70's or Your Favorite historic figure and ask guests to bring dishes or drinks linked to the theme. We come up with games that reflect the party theme so everyone has a good time. Sometimes we request that guests wear costumes and that makes parties memorable and fun. These are a few low cost ideas for an enjoyable party on a budget.

Guest's picture
BRB

By cooking large meals, turkeys etc that are cheaper per pound on sale and then tons of leftovers!

Guest's picture
Julie Lundstrom

I try to plan meals for the party that is low cost but feeds many people. I also watch for what is on sale to plan my party and for coupons.

Guest's picture
CF

I have pot lucks where everyone pitches in.

Guest's picture
Tracy

I enjoy treating my friends so I do it all. But nothing too extravagant so that it keeps it intimate and fun and within budget.

Guest's picture
Susan Smith

I host pot luck dinners so people bring their favorite dishes.

Guest's picture
Susan

I would use evite invitations to save on postage and manage responses.

I would use a public park or beach area so that the venue is free if I don't have it at my home.

I would create an inexpensive signature drink, and tell people if they want something else to BYOB.

I would use in season fruits and vegetables to make sides, and ask people to bring their favorite dish to supplement the food.

I would find a Smartphone app for music.

Guest's picture
Emily S.

Potluck -- always!

Guest's picture
Lauren

I often host drink-food pairing parties and ask friends to bring some inexpensive drinks (a bottle of wine or beer cans) for the night. I'm a good cook so I invest time and effort to cook the food and provide space, while friends pick up drinks which is convenient for them. We play some good music from our phones and sometimes play board game or watch movies. I think this is a great to get together with friends without spending loads of money. Where I live (San Francisco), you can easily blow over $100 for a night out with dining, drinking and some entertainment!

Guest's picture
Rebecca Ross

I rarely host any parties, but when I have people over to eat, it is usually a cookout/potluck, so pretty inexpensive.

Guest's picture
Michelle D.

I have everybody bring a dish, whether drinks, chips, dessert or an entree.

Guest's picture
Lisa Puckett, @mcgraw14me72

I ask others to bring side dishes or drinks. I also shop for decoration & supplies at dollar stores or make my own.

Guest's picture
Ernest S.

Potlucks are a great way to keep parties budget-friendly and also have interesting and new dishes available! Also, in the event that we need more food, I usually keep a few frozen pizzas that I can throw in the oven.

Guest's picture
Betty D

When guests ask what can they bring, ask for a side or dessert. You can make a pitcher of a signature drink, so you only have to buy one kind of alcohol instead of full bar.

Guest's picture
Jeff

pot luck... doesn't matter if everyone just brings chips, it's more about being with friends than what food is brought.

Guest's picture
Laurajj

To help keep summer gatherings budget friendly, we usually ask everyone to bring something to share. Helps cut down the cost, and we can all still get together on a budget and enjoy each others company!

Guest's picture
Pamela

We live on a boat so parties are small and casual. Usually one couple supplies food, the other provides alcohol.

And when you're enjoying a cockpit under the stars, what more do you need?

Guest's picture
C Hui

Ask people to pitch in and bring things or I cook something that's on sale and affordable, like chicken wings and potato salad.

Guest's picture
J. Pario

Board games and munchies!

Guest's picture
Guest

Potlucks! Or at a minimum BYOB.

Guest's picture
april

I host a potluck.

Guest's picture
Happy Love

Potluck, of course.

Guest's picture
Danielle

We choose one item to be our main splurge (usually the meats) and keep the remaining items rather simple. For example, trip tip roasts (meats that CA be served sliced cost less per person) would be paired with a simple green salad, beans, and bread.

Guest's picture
Carmen N

Whenever we have get-togethers, our group of friends ask "what can I bring?" so even if we didn't plan it as a potluck, it often ends up to be that way. It's great because we save money, get to try different foods and our friends feel like they are contributing.

Guest's picture
BRB

Yes, usually make everything instead of buying pre-made platters etc from the store. Most of the time just use things that are already in the pantry/fridge etc.

Guest's picture
Michael

We do a shared party where everyone will pitch in

Guest's picture
Suz_Glo

Pot lucks are the best. I really enjoy sharing the cooking responsibilities and costs. I clean my house, if I'm hosting, but I rarely decorate beyond that.

Guest's picture
Miss kim

We rarely host parties so I am usually the one going to parties and I'll bring something to help out, like a couple of bottles of wine or a pie.

Guest's picture
Louly

Boxed wine and potlucks!! :)

Guest's picture
Ashley

I do a potluck and everyone brings their favorite dish.

Guest's picture
Thomas Murphy

I tell everyone to bring something.

Guest's picture
Kat

I serve food that's on sale and affordable.

Guest's picture
Ana

I ask others to bring side dishes and I provide the main course.