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How to Throw a Party That Doesn't Cost Much

Updated on June 24, 2014

Fun Free Party Music

Inexpensive Party Ideas:

Your finances may not be what they used to be, so here are a few great, low cost ideas for a great party:

It is a basic human need to be around other humans. Loneliness can be brutal. We are a social species and enjoy making quality memories. During the Great Depression, families and friends would plan to spend time playing games, sharing food, and laughing at old stories. They would alternate houses and bring all the children to play with each other.

Whether the economy is growing or not, you can always plan for an inexpensive party with your loved ones. If you are earning a comfortable salary and can afford more extravagant experiences, that is wonderful. However, there are times you can have fun without spending a ton of cash.


Games of All Kinds

Board games and card games are great fun. The new technological games like Wii, PS 3, and Xbox 360 to use for a little exercise. You can include a group of couples, if you are committed to another, or you can include your single friends. If you’d like to mix your groups of friends (i.e. work friends, neighbors, high school friends, family) feel free to invite them all.

Some of the most amusing board games for adults and older teens are:

  • Twister
  • Karaoke
  • Fact or Crap
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Apples to Apples
  • Pictionary
  • Clue
  • Charades
  • Balderdash
  • Life
  • Monopoly
  • Poker
  • Wii Sports Games
  • Wii Just Dance


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Refreshments: Snacks and Beverages

If this is going to be an adult get together, then may I suggest that everyone BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverages) and a snack. Be sure to shop early and purchase your drinks and mixers on sale. If the plan is to enjoy family of all ages, then everyone bring a snack, and each family decide to bring one 2 liter bottle of soda, juice, water or tea. Again, look for beverages that are on sale or you have a coupon for.

Great items you can contribute to the food table for a party of about 8-10 people include the following:

Hot Snacks

  • Pizza bagels $4-7
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip Mini Bread Bowls $5-7
  • Pigs in a Blanket $4-10

Cold Snacks

  • Finger Sandwiches $6-8
  • Cheese Plate $8-12
  • Veggie Platter $10-14
  • Chips and Dip $6-15 (Depending on the dip; Spinach Artichoke dip, Smoked Fish dip, Con Queso, Salsa, Sour Cream and Onion)


  • Sorbet $8-10
  • Fruit Plate with Chocolate or Caramel dips $8-12
  • Warm Oatmeal Cookies $4-7

If times are really tight, just corn chips and pretzels would be fine.

Relaxed at Home With Friends; A Breast Cancer Awareness Event, or a ZZ Top Theme?


Movie or Sports Game Night

Most everyone I know owns several movie DVDs. Choose 5 movies from the host’s collection and allow everyone to vote. Of course, first place is watched. Second place is watched if there is enough time before it gets too late and your friends need to head home.

Provide popcorn. It is probably one of the most inexpensive snacks, it’s healthy, and it is easy to make. Enjoy your friends. Laugh, make memories and reduce stress without going broke.

Decorations and Themes

Decorations are not necessary unless you want to use the items you already have around the house. Throwing a themed party can be lots of fun! Here are some theme ideas:

  • Western Wear
  • Goth (including vampire and werewolves)
  • All White and Neon with a Black Light
  • Reggae (wearing caps with dreadlocks)
  • Laser Pens
  • Hawaiian Luau (with bonfire, if possible)
  • Toga (only printed sheets will be admitted)
  • Favorite Movie Star Costumes
  • Pajama Party
  • Superbowl/Stanley Cup/NASCAR or Other Sporting Events
  • Black Tie Affair (Only black tie is required. Hats, bathing suits, cut off jean shorts, dresses, t-shirts are all approved, but you must wear a black tie...somewhere)

No theme at all is certainly acceptable. The list is just a few ideas to use to help keep the events fresh and fun. Don’t forget the music, because dancing in between activities is highly recommended. For the best results, group singing at the card table is also encouraged.

Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoyed my writing. Please feel free to leave a comment.

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan


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    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, alliemacb. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      LOL, FP!

      Thanks for the comment!

    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

      Great ideas. Everyone is having to watch what they spend in the current financial climate so it's great to have ideas about how to have fun without blowing the bank. Voted up

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Margie - Nice work. I have figured out of late how to party like a rock star on other people's money. It's so easy even Obama figured it out.

      The Frog