How to Throw a Big Party on a Small Budget

One of the things most people love about the holidays is the parties. Getting together with friends, loved ones, or co-workers is fun and a great way to relax.

However, if you are the host of the party, you have a lot more to do than show up and have a good time. In addition to being at the party, you have food, supplies, and decorations to buy.

These extra expenses can strain your wallet, especially when there are already so many other things to buy during the holiday season. But you shouldn’t have to go into debt to have a holiday party.

Instead, think of a party as a practice exercise for being frugal. Try using these tips to have a big party on a small budget.


1. Choosing the Time

Since you are the host of the party, you get to decide when to have it. If it works for your schedule, choose an afternoon for the get together instead of an evening.

By having an afternoon party you can reduce the cost of food and beverages by not serving a full meal. Instead, have a couple of different foods people can snack on while they socialize.

Another good reason for an afternoon celebration is that you can get away with not serving any alcoholic drinks. This is another way to save money since alcohol is one of the pricier elements to most holiday parties.

2. Sending Invitations

For formal and semi-formal parties, printed invitations used to be the norm. But, using printed invitations can really add to your expense, especially once you include the postage.

Thankfully, times have changed and there are alternatives to printed invitations. These days, for instance, you can send e-invitations instead. There are plenty of free sites to choose from on the internet to help.

You could also create an event and send invitations through Facebook. This option also allows you to post a reminder a day or two before the event.

If you must do printed invitations, consider making them yourself. If you can, use a postcard invitation which is cheaper to mail.

3. Decorating

It’s easy to spend more than you should on decorations because there are so many fun things you can do. Because of the internet you have more access and choices than ever before. But if you’re careful, you can save money and have your seasonal trimmings too.

Save money by using what you have on hand to decorate. In addition, you can use glue, glitter, and other materials to make what you don’t already have. Another option is to see if a friend will loan you a few items.

Adding sparkle to your party is easy to do without having to spend a small fortune. Avoid sites like Pinterest to help avoid overspending.

4. Food and Drinks

Again, try making a couple of different hors d’oeuvres or finger foods as an alternative to a full meal if you can. Skip the caterers because it will significantly add to your party costs and hamper your ability to have a big party on a small budget.

Using salad or dessert plates instead of dinner plates can also help to lower the food bill. Guests will take less food overall which means you can stretch the food and your money further.

If the party is less formal, you could choose to make it a potluck event. Guests get to bring their favorite foods and you have less expense.

Serve a nonalcoholic drink or two. But, if you must have alcohol, try adding bubbly champagne to juice or making a single signature drink. Buy your alcohol from a warehouse club to save money.

5. Work Ahead

When you can, consider working on as much as possible ahead of time. Not only will you be less stressed, but you can avoid having to hire help for party prep.

There may also be sales you can take advantage of when it comes to food, drinks, or other supplies.

6. Entertainment

You may wish to have some entertainment for the party, such as music. Or, another idea is to exchange small gifts or play a holiday game.

Soft holiday music playing in the background can add to the party atmosphere. But you don’t have to shell out a lot of money for it. Use your own phone or music on your computer to add to the holiday spirit inexpensively.

If you don’t have any holiday music, try streaming Pandora. It’s less than $5 for a month of the commercial-free version, which is less than the cost of a single Christmas CD and you’ll get more variety that way.

Some holiday parties are grand and expensive affairs. But using these ideas you should be able to host your own big party on a small budget.

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