10 Tips for Planning a Fabulous Party on a Budget

Stick to one or two drink types to keep your party costs down.
Stick to one or two drink types to keep your party costs down.

You want to host a terrific party at home. You can already picture the DJ, the dance floor, the top shelf liquor mixed by a professional bartender right in your very own kitchen … and then you come crashing back to earth as you remember the sad state of your bank account. Don’t worry; you don’t have to be rich to have a great party. Here are ten top tips for planning a budget party that will have everyone talking:

1. Pick a great location. Do you have a fab apartment? Then have it there. Do your parents have a huge backyard? That would work. Do you know someone who knows someone who can get you VIP group seating at a club? Work your connections to choose the place for your party so that it doesn’t cost you anything.

2. Make it potluck. It’s totally okay to do this. Nobody will be offended. People almost expect it these days. By doing this, you get great food and drinks and you don’t have to shell out a lot of cash to make it happen. If you’re casual and close with the people you’re inviting then you can even tell them specifically what you’d like them to bring.

3. Plan for some basic party games. Party games get things going and amp up the fun factor of any party. You can play things like Charades that everyone knows, almost everyone loves and won’t cost you anything at all. Card games are another option.

4. Consider getting creative. Do you have some friends that are writers who would love to read some of their work in an open mic at your house? Are you brave enough to host a painting party if everyone will bring their own supplies? Encouraging free creativity will make for a really memorable party.

5. Keep the drinks simple. One of the most expensive mistakes that people make is trying to offer a lot of different types of alcohol at one party along with lots of mixers and some extras for people who don’t drink. That’s not necessary and it’s a waste of money. Instead, keep it simple. Have one or two main drinks that both use the same type of alcohol and mixers. Buy a few large bottles in bulk at a discount store. Offer water to non-drinkers. You’ll save a lot of money this way and your party won’t suffer for it.

6. Be careful with themes. Themed parties can be a ton of fun. They can inspires lots of ideas and create great memories. But think carefully before you choose the theme because some themes are easier to do on a budget than others. For example, the 1920’s make a great theme but unless you happen to own lots of vintage things, it might get pricey to set it up. In contrast, almost everyone has something from the 1980’s that they could throw into a cheap themed party.

7. Invite Lots and Lots of People. This might seem counterintuitive since keeping it small would seem to keep costs down. However, when it all comes down to it, it’s the people at a party that make the whole thing fun. Nobody will care if the decorations aren’t so stunning or the drinks aren’t so strong if the energy of the crowd is terrific.

8. Stream Some Music. Don’t get carried away spending money on song downloads or buying CDs. Either use what you already have, get people to bring their own music or just stream the music from a site like Pandora that doesn’t require you to pay a fee.

9. Whip out the cameras. Everyone has a digital camera these days so have some fun with that. Encourage people to get silly and crazy taking photos that you can all upload to a shared Flickr account that you create or to Facebook if you’re all friends there. Encouraging this kind of no-cost silliness will make your party a blast. Bonus tip: If you have a Mac then use Photobooth to set up your own little Photobooth corner at the party, encouraging the use of the special effects for silly photo fun.

10.Make a budget. It’s a boring tip but it’s the one that actually matters the most. Figure out in advance how much money you have to spend on this party. Co the math to make sure that you can fit the party into that budget before you do any real spending. Commit to the budget no matter what.

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Comments 4 comments

leros003 profile image

leros003 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Great advice!


Robie Benve profile image

Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

I like to entertain, and your ideas and advice are great. Thanks for sharing! :)


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

All good party tips.


jaswinder64 profile image

jaswinder64 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada.

All tips are good. I like it.

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