An envelope with confetti coming out of it.

It’s time to celebrate! Whether you’re preparing for a birthday, anniversary, baby shower — or simply to celebrate the change of seasons — a party is in order. And yes, hosting a party on a budget is possible. The secret? Planning ahead and getting a little creative with the food and party supplies.

Here’s how to be a memorable host on a sensible budget!

Serving up affordable party drinks

The first step for a successful party is providing multiple beverages for guests to enjoy. When it comes to convenience and saving a little extra cash on a run to the grocery store, consider buying drink mixers in bulk. Some ideas include larger bottles of wine for sangria and canisters of hot cocoa mix for spiked hot chocolate (depending on the type of party you’re hosting).

For nonalcoholic drinks, stick with the classics, like coffee, tea, water and lemonade. You can buy and brew drinks in bulk, then serve them in pretty glassware you already have. To stretch savings even further, pair your beverage purchases with coupons to get even more per ounce.

By mixing the drinks yourself, rather than buying individual cans or bottles, you’ll get more sips for your buck. Plus, guests can make them the way they like — with just a splash or a double shot — to suit their taste. And having an outgoing guest play bartender can be a great way to start conversations among partygoers.

Planning for a cost-effective menu

From appetizers or snack trays to a sit-down meal, food can be the most expensive part of a party. But if you want to keep the event within a certain dollar amount, simply choose what works for you. Slider sandwiches, a salad buffet and a quick, no-bake dessert are perfect for hosting a dinner party on the patio in the summer. You don’t have to grill up hamburgers and steaks for every outdoor party!

The timing of the party can also determine the food you serve.

  • Morning party. Perhaps you’re organizing a little get-together after a religious service. Consider big bowls of fruit and yummy yogurt dip that you can usually find on sale at the front of grocery stores. It’s the morning! No one wants anything too heavy.
  • Midday party. If you can only afford a veggie tray and fruit tray from the local grocer, have a party between lunch and dinner where guests will appreciate the light snack.
  • Dinner party. There’s something charming about potluck dinners, where guests can show off their favorite recipes and homemade dishes. You could also create a list of items needed for your chosen menu and have each person claim an item to bring along.

As the host, you don’t always have to foot the bill for everything. When guests are RSVPing and asking if they can bring anything, take them up on their offer. Guests can easily help with food, drinks and supplies like paper plates, napkins, cups or plastic silverware without throwing your menu off course.

Setting the scene with inexpensive decor

Before you decide what decorations to add to the party space, start with cleaning and decluttering, especially if you’re hosting at home. Sometimes all it takes is putting away piles of stuff, turning on an essential oil diffuser and organizing shelves to make the living room, kitchen or patio the perfect party hangout.

Then, work with what you have on hand! Use decorative candles or the “good” dishes that have been tucked away in the closet. You can also upcycle holiday decor. For example:

  • Silver or gold holiday bulbs or stars can be put out for an anniversary party
  • Bunnies from Easter work well for a baby shower
  • A few small branches from that maple tree out back coupled with late summer blooms and fall leaves can make a great bouquet for the center of a fall-themed dinner table

No matter what food or drinks you serve or decor you use to design the party space, you and your guests will have a great time — simply because you’re together.

Inspired to plan your next event? Download the app to help save even more money on food and drinks when hosting a party on a budget!